Republic Day 2019: President
Kovind confers Ashoka Chakra on Shopian martyr Lance Naik Nazir Wani
Arabia Blacklisted For Lax Control on Terror Financing: Report
Day 2019: President Kovind confers Ashoka Chakra on Shopian martyr Lance Naik
Day 2018: There Were Many Firsts At The Parade This Year Including An All-Women's
Contingent Of The Assam Rifles And The Inclusion Of Four INA Veterans.
Family in Pakistan Looks After Church For Three Generations
Clerics, Religious Scholars Highlight Need To Eradicate Sectarian Violence
Old Questioned On Islam By Counter-Terrorism Officers
Self-Rule Backed In Philippines' Troubled South
Arabia Blacklisted For Lax Control On Terror Financing: Report
Groups Demand Access To Political Prisoners In Saudi Arabia
shows US deploying 250 trucks of arms in Syria despite pullout claim
Commander: Syria Anti-ISIS Forces Must Keep ‘Special Status’
killed in failed ISIS counterattack in east Syria: Monitor
Arabia building its first ballistic missile factory: Report
'welcomes' Kurdish negotiation appeal, talks to start 'in days'
priest who saved Christian heritage ordained Mosul archbishop
MP on hunger strike in Turkey jail gets release order
Day 2018: There Were Many Firsts At The Parade This Year Inlcuding An
All-Women's Contingent Of The Assam Rifles And The Inclusion Of Four INA Veterans.
on Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’s Growing Influence Alarmist: Official
Benefit Plank against AMU Minority Status
soft power is very effective in Afghanistan
Rizvi’s controversial remark on madrasas; here’s how intellectuals react
militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir gunfight with security forces
arrests absconding accused for 2006 Kerala twin blasts
sets up new five-judge bench to hear Ayodhya case on Jan 29
receives $2 bn from UAE, Saudi Arabia
says winds of change have started blowing in Sindh
committee calls for abolishing travel blacklist
licences of 16 members of banned organisations cancelled by Punjab govt
leader terms PTI govt ‘directionless, visionless’
promises hydel profit payment under AGN Kazi formula
tragedy: Fire opened on SSP Jawad Qamar’s orders, probe reveals
Says ‘Senseless’ To Condemn Every Immigrant As Threat
await trial for racist threats to Muslim MSP Anas Sarwar
group pulls application to hold religious events
set to sell weapons to Doha amid tension with Riyadh
faces diplomatic test in Egypt amid human rights pressure
increases spending to stop migrant departures in Channel
to assess ‘governments' steps’ on Khashoggi case
Muslims forced into labour in China’s ‘concentration camps’
to Develop RM20 Million School For Rohingya Muslims
carver leaves his mark making granite Muslim gravestones
US Think-tank No Longer Accepts UAE Funding Over Human Rights Issues: Report
charged in plot to aid Islamic State group are Lansing School District
youth charged in terror ‘plot,’ explosive seized
man captured in Syria charged with aiding ISIS
cops charge minor with terror offense after security raids
Opposition Leader Says Bashir ‘Must Leave’ As Hundreds March
8 soldiers killed in Boko Haram attack
killed in Sudan demonstrations to date: Former PM
Shabaab: A retake on the science of the DusitD2 attack
expert urges caution on Bangladesh’s Rohingya island ‘relocation’ plan
45,000 Afghan forces have lost their lives in past 4 years: Ghani
claims to have arrested last fugitive suspect in Gulshan attack
prospect Rohingya refugees can go home soon, UN envoy says
before PM Sheikh Hasina in her unprecedented third term
and Coalition Forces kill 6 militants in separate operations, airstrike
underway to recruit youths to Afghan Army territorial force
ISIS-K group member killed in drone strike in Nangarhar province
Expects Creation Of Syria Security Zone In Few Months, Erdogan Says
Of Yemenis Rally To Honour 'Martyrs' Of Saudi War
says it rejects Qatari aid over Israeli conditions
dead, 30 injured after Houthi militias shell camp for displaced persons in
protester killed, 22 others hurt as hundreds protest at Gaza border
‘will go it alone’ with Syria security zone
says fire damages two food silos near Yemen’s Hodeidah
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Arabia blacklisted for lax control on terror financing: Report
Arabia has reportedly been included in an EU draft list of countries that pose
a threat to the bloc due to their lax control on money laundering and terrorism
EU source and a Saudi source told Reuters on Friday that the European Commission
had added Riyadh to its blacklist, which already includes 16 states based on
criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based anti
EU claims that the countries blacklisted "have strategic deficiencies in
their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes
that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union.”
bloc has recently taken a new methodology, under which jurisdictions may also
be blacklisted if they fail to provide sufficient information on ownership of
companies or if they have lax rules on reporting suspicious transactions or
monitoring financial customers.
EU’s decision to include Saudi Arabia to its blacklist needs an endorsement by
the bloc’s 28 member states before being formally adopted next week.
updated list is still confidential, according to the two sources.
Arabia is under mounting pressure over the assassination of dissident
journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018. The
killing is widely believed to have been ordered by the kingdom’s US-backed
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
has sought to distance him bin Salman from the case despite US senators and the
CIA’s conclusion that he was behind the murder.
possible blacklist would further complicate Saudi Arabia’s financial ties as
the EU’s banks are required to carry out additional checks on payments
involving entities from listed jurisdictions.
Economics halves Saudi growth forecast for 2019
on Friday, a report from London-based research firm Capital Economics found
that key economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to
be hard hit this year as oil output drops and governments rein in spending.
Arabia, the report said, will see its growth almost cut in half to 1.3 percent
in 2019, down from 2.5 percent last year.
further predicted the kingdom’s return to austerity in the latter half of the
year, saying the planned generous spending announced in the Saudi budget is
likely based on dodgy assumptions.
budget seemed to be based on an optimistic forecast for oil to average $80 [per
barrel]," the report added.
is while Saudi Arabia is struggling with the high cost of the protracted war on
has signed multi-billion-dollar contracts to purchase weapons and military
equipment from several western countries amid stiff resistance from the
Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life
fighting a group of terrorists in Shopian in Kashmir in November, was awarded
the Ashoka Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind Saturday.
award - India's highest peacetime gallantry honour - was received by Wani's
wife and mother at the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath. Wani is the first
Kashmiri to be conferred the Ashoka Chakra.
November 25, 38-year-old Wani, hailing from Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgam district of
Jammu and Kashmir, lost his life in a counter-terror operation against six
terrorists in Hirapur village near Batgund in Shopian. Under intense hail of bullets from the
terrorists, he eliminated the 'district commander' of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
and one foreign terrorist in a daring display of raw courage, Army officials
said. In the ensuing gunfight, he was
hit multiple times including on his head. He also injured another terrorist
before succumbing to his grievous wounds, they said.
to the citation, Wani single-handedly killed two terrorists during the Shopian
operation and injured a third one despite receiving serious injuries. "In
an unparalleled saga of sacrifice, Lance Naik Wani prevented escape of the
terrorists from the target house and made a huge contribution in neutralisation
of six hardcore terrorists, in the process laying down his life upholding the
highest tradition of the Indian Army," it said.
Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani, who lost his life while killing 6 terrorists in an
operation in Kashmir, awarded the Ashok Chakra. Award was received by his wife
and mother #RepublicDay2019pic.twitter.com/3bjYdiwTLp
Naik Wani joined the Army's 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and
Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004. Wani was a recipient of the Sena Medal for
gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018. Wani
was from a humble background and used to work for the benefit of the underprivileged
sections of society in his locality.
Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous
action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
Day 2018: There Were Many Firsts At The Parade This Year Including An
All-Women's Contingent Of The Assam Rifles And The Inclusion Of Four INA
Express Web Desk
Delhi | January 26, 2019
The event started with PM Modi paying his
tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti after which
President Kovind unfurled the national flag with the national anthem being
played in the accompaniment of booming 21 gun salute in the background. The
well-coordinated gun salute by seven cannons of 2281 Field Regiment starts with
the first note of the national anthem and ends with the last. Special clocks
are used to measure time in smaller units for precision.
after this, President Kovind awarded the Ashoka Chakra — India’s highest
peacetime gallantry honour — to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a
militant-turned-soldier who was martyred while fighting a group of six
militants in Shopian in Kashmir in November. Wani is the first Kashmiri to be
conferred the Ashoka Chakra and the award was received by his wife and mother.
Day 2019: India's rich culture, military might on display; President awards
Ashok Chakra to Nazir Wani
states, organisations and government departments also showcased their
achievements through 22 tableaux this year. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
year, the overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations was the 150th birth
anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and tableaux of many states, themed on him. The
highlights of the parade were four Indian National Army (INA) veterans, aged
over 90 years, taking part in the parade, among the many firsts for a Republic
Day parade as well as ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power) which was on full display on
the ceremonial boulevard with an all-woman Assam Rifles contingent creating
history this year by participating for the first time in the parade, which was
led by Maj Khushboo Kanwar. Contingents of the Navy, Army Service Corps and a
unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) were led by women
officers too, as the crowd cheered.
Rajpath, India showcased its military might as well as its rich cultural
heritage and traditions. The military might was on display, with the artillery
gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US,
and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun, showcased on Rajpath, being new
additions this year.
day parade 2019 watch highlights
parade also showcased 33 people on 9 motorcycles forming a human pyramid, lead
by Subedar Major Ramesh. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
states, organisations and government departments also showcased their
achievements through 22 tableaux this year. The tableaux of Sikkim, Delhi,
Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, West Bengal, Tripura, Goa, Andaman and Nicobar
Islands and Uttarakhand were displayed on the occasion. The Governors unfurled
the tricolour in their respective states to mark the day.
event ended with the flypast which began with the Rudra formation comprising
three ALH Mk IV WSI helicopters and featured Sukhois, MiG fighter jets. The
parade also witnessed a ‘vic’ formation of An-32 aircraft, whose lead plane
flew on a mix of traditional and bio-fuel for the first time. It also showcased
33 people on 9 motorcycles forming a human pyramid, lead by Subedar Major
Ramesh. A lone woman officer exhibited bike stunts as part of the iconic team.
event ended with the flypast which began with the Rudra formation comprising
three ALH Mk IV WSI helicopters and featured Sukhois, MiG fighter jets.
(Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
of people had reached to watch the parade. The Indian Army’s T-90 tank, Ballway
Machine Pikate (BMP-II/IIK), Surface Mine Clearing System, 155 mm/52 Calibre
Tracked Self-propelled Gun (K-9 Vajra), Transportable Satellite Terminal, Troop
Level Radar and Akash Weapon System were also showcased at the parade.
senior leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj, and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda,
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Delhi Chief Minister
Arvind Kejriwal were present on the occasion at Rajpath. Also, continuing his
tradition of donning colourful turbans at the Republic Day and the Independence
Day, PM Modi wore a yellowish orange headgear with a red tail and traditional
kurta pajama along with the trademark Nehru jacket.
Modi wore a yellowish orange headgear with a red tail. (Express Photo: Tashi
women commandos, mobile hit teams, snipers are among the varied layers of
security under which the national capital was placed for the Republic Day
celebrations. Elaborate measures, including deployment of anti-aircraft guns, were
put in place to secure the airspace.
family in Pakistan looks after church for three generations
A Muslim family has looked after a church in Pakistan for over a 100 years now.
A lone caretaker, rings the church bell, even though there are no Christians
left in the area. Social media users have commended the family’s efforts,
against the sectarian backdrop of Pakistan.
weather has wreaked havoc on the church, but it still stands in all its
grandeur,” caretaker Waheed Murad told the Pakistani news website Dawn.com.
entirely out of cedar wood, the quaint St. Matthew’s church is located among
the hills of Nathia Gali, in the Hazara District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province. It was designed during the British colonial era, by Colonel Hope
Waddell Kelsall. Murad, told the German news agency Ruptly: “The church was
built in 1914, so it is 104 years old... and our family has served for almost a
is the third generation of caretakers in his family. He has served the church
for 17 years, his father for 45 years, and his grandfather for 35 years before
that. Murad explained why he chose his particular path in an interview with the
am a Muslim. But the church is a place of worship. It can be of any religion.
To look after it is our duty. ...I am holding onto my religion while I work
serving the church, and I will continue doing it.”
social media users were moved and appreciated the gesture of unity.
Omar posted on a Facebook comment thread: “Saw this church when we visited
Nathia Gali last year. It was getting renovated and I could only see Muslims
there. So proud.”
@le_me_taimoor posted: “St. Matthew’s Church is in a rural area of Pakistan,
where there are hardly any Christians.For the last 100 years it has been looked
after by a local Muslim family. Faith in humanity.”
user Zaynab Saleem Khurram posted: “I have been fortunate to go inside this
place. Such peace.”
previous Pakistan governments did not provide financial support, the current
Imran Khan-led government, true to its word about protecting minorities, took
over and provided funds. This has allowed for more maintenance work to be done,
Murad said in an interview with German news agency Ruptly.
the same Pakistan, that was divided over the reversal of the death sentence of
Asia Bibi for blasphemy, this story is a telling portrait of humanity that has
survived the toll of time.
and religious scholars at seminar highlighted the need to carryout struggle at
grass root level to eradicate the menace of terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence
from Pakistan and from within the Muslim Ummah.
addressing Paigham-e-Islam Convention on Thursday in Faisalabad, the clerics
and religious scholars from different religious organisations vowed to observe
2019 as the year for annihilation of terrorism, extremism and sectarian
violence from Pakistan. Commenting on military courts’ issue, the
representatives of religious organisations of the country also stated that the
elements who are opposing extension to military courts, why did these elements
did not make legislations to reform the judicial system of the country.
Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Tahir Ashrafi presided over the Paigham-e-Islam
speakers lauded the efforts of Pak-Force and law enforcement agencies of the country
in annihilating the menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. Notable
speakers of the convention included Tahirul Hassan, Maulana Izharul Haq,
Maulana Umar Waqas Baig, Mian Muhammad Irshad, Maulana Tayyab Gurmani and
Maulana Habibur Rehman Abid.
clerics underlined the importance of carryout a joint struggle for elimination
of terrorism and extremism at grass root level. The clerics also pointed out to
keep check on religious decrees being issued without proper mechanism and
authority. Speaking at the conference, PUC Chairman Tahir Ashrafi stated that
Darul Afta Pakistan was being established in Lahore in aegis of PUC to keep
check on anti-Shariah decrees. Tahir Ashrafi also lauded the efforts of the
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for streamlining relationships of Pakistan
with Muslim brother countries and also lauded efforts on part of Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia for initiating a peace talk process for peace and stability in
also stated that the Paigham-e-Pakistan draft was a very positive outcome to
eradicate the menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan adding that some
elements are endeavouring to make this draft controversial.
Paigham-e-Pakistan draft is a very effective narrative, which has been endorsed
by all the religious sections of the country and the government should initiate
consultative process for legislation of this draft,” he said.
convention also welcomed the decision of Punjab government for not celebrating
Basant. The participants of the convention while condemning the Sahiwal
incident demanded of the government to expose the reality of this inhuman
incident, adding that if elements responsible for Model Town incident had been
punished, this brutal incident could have been avoided.
participants of the convention while endorsing the Islamabad Declaration,
issued the following declaration with mutual consent.
religious leadership of the country dissociated itself with any sort of
extremism being carried out on pretext of religion.
orator, scholar and cleric will not utilise derogatory remarks about other
religious sects. Any such orator and cleric will not be considered as
representative of any religious sect and organisation.
religious sect will not be declared as infidel or any individual could not be
declared doomed to death extra judicially. As per the Constitution, followers
of any religion and religious sect are allowed to live as per their religious
values and culture.
on misuse of loudspeaker will be made. Loudspeakers at mosques will be used
only for Friday sermons and azaan. For religious gatherings, permission should
be sought from respective local governments.
complete ban will be ensured on hate speeches, hate content and other abusive
online material. Any derogatory remark about religious scholars and other
notables will not be tolerated.
the responsibility of the government to ensure protection of worship places of
minorities living in Pakistan. Strict action will be taken against elements
responsible for causing harm to minorities and their holy worship places.
government should seek every possible effort to ensure implementation on
National Action Plan in letter and spirit.
Metropolitan Police and Redbridge Council have launched separate investigations
into why a boy as young as 8-year-old was subjected to questioning by two
counter-terrorism police officers and a social worker about alleged radicalism
at his school in east London.
parents of the child, who wish to remain anonymous, said they had lodged
official complaints about their son was left “frightened” and “traumatised”
after he was separated from his classmates at an Ilford school to be
father claims his son was asked about Islam, the mosque he attends, whether he
prays, and his views on other religions. He was also asked to recite verses
from the Qur’an, according to a report in the Independent newspaper.
are absolutely shocked and appalled that our son was questioned alone and in
this manner and without informing his parents,” he was quoted saying. “We as
parents have never asked our eight-year-old son some of these questions and are
deeply upset some stranger would ask these questions of him.
son is only in Year 3 and is significantly impacted by this. He has since asked
us why he had been questioned and not any other children were questioned. He
feels betrayed by his teacher, as it was someone he trusted who took him to the
officers to be questioned in this manner.”
incident happened at the end of the summer term last July but no safeguarding
issues were identified from the interview and no further action was taken by
the police. But the parents are seeking legal advice after being “extremely
upset” by the experience which they say made them feel like criminals.
Police Assistant Commissioner, Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terror
policing, told the Home Affairs Committee last October that safeguarding
children was at the heart of the Government’s controversial Prevent Extremism
programme. “We have got to challenge extremist behaviour even if it doesn’t
cross the criminal threshold because of the kind of intolerance it breeds.”
recent case involving a child in east London emerged after the latest
Government figures showed that more than half of people referred to Prevent in
2017-18 were aged 20 or under.
Office figures reveal that as many as 2,009 under-15s were flagged up over
terror concerns in the year to March, a 20 per cent rise on the year before.
Stoughton, Advocacy Director at civil rights’ group Liberty, said the country’s
“counter-terrorism legislation, particularly the Prevent duty, has consistently
spread discrimination and distrust, pushing schools and other public
authorities to question people based on their religion and skin colour.”
Khan, a spokesman for Prevent Watch, a group that supports people affected by
the Prevent Duty, said “A child asked to recite from a sacred text is wrong on
so many levels and smacks of an authoritarian state. Prevent does little to
prevent terrorism but instead sows deep and structural prejudices towards the
Met Police has confirmed that counter-terrorism officers “undertook a visit to
an east London school earlier this year following concern raised about a child
under 10 years old” and that a complaint has been received and is “being
investigated by the Counter-Terrorism Professional Standards Unit.”
Redbridge Council spokesman said it was “unable to comment” on the incident
that is now being “investigated.”
Independent report also said that it “understands radicalisation concerns were
sparked by the father’s links to members of an Islamist group.” It mentioned
that the child was interviewed without consent following concerns, albeit five
years later, “about the father’s attendance at dawah stalls in 2014 which
allegedly had links to Anjem Chaoudary’s al-Muhajiroun.
self-rule backed in Philippines' troubled south
Voters have decisively approved a new Muslim-led region in the Philippines’
south, which is hoped will bring a measure of peace after decades of fighting
killed thousands and mired the area in poverty.
results, announced Friday, will begin the process of the Catholic-majority
nation’s largest group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, laying down its
weapons and assuming political power.
150,000 people were killed in the rebellion that began in the 1970s and aimed
to push the government to grant independence to a Muslim minority concentrated
on the island of Mindanao.
are very happy about the overwhelming support of the people,” MILF leader Murad
was a landslide. There’s been nothing like this.”
who were expected to back the so-called Bangsamoro region, delivered a
convincing result of about 1.7 million in favour and some 254,600 against,
according to official results from the Philippines elections commission.
handful of smaller areas, which were not included in Monday’s referendum due to
administrative delays, are set to vote on February 6 on whether to join.
and the government in Manila hope a new peaceful Bangsamoro will finally draw
the investment needed to pull the region from the brutal poverty that makes it
a hotspot for radical recruitment.
part of the peace process, the MILF has joined the government in battling the
hardline, Islamic State-aligned factions waging guerilla campaigns in the
Rodrigo Duterte, himself from Mindanao, has been a staunch supporter of the
Bangsamoro and signed the law last year paving the way for the vote.
the terms of the law which lays out the region’s powers, Bangsamoro will get
$950 million in development funds over the next 10 years, as well as a chunk of
the tax revenue generated within its borders and national receipts.
will keep control over the police, but it is hoped close cooperation on
security with the Bangsamoro’s leaders will help get a handle on the region’s
have long been battling for independence or autonomy on Mindanao, which they
regard as their ancestral homeland dating back to when Arab traders arrived
there in the 13th century.
groups demand access to political prisoners in Saudi Arabia
International and Human Rights Watch have demanded that Saudi Arabia allow
independent monitors access to political prisoners in the country, amid new
reports of torture.
International made the demand on Friday after it obtained new reports of
torture and abuse against 10 human rights activists who have been held in an
unknown location in Saudi Arabia since last summer.
Saudi Arabian authorities have repeatedly proven themselves unwilling to
effectively protect detainees from torture, or to carry out impartial
investigations into claims of torture in custody. That is why we are calling on
Saudi Arabia to give independent monitoring bodies immediate and unfettered
access to the detained activists,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s
Middle East research director.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said monitors also had to get access to the royals and
businessmen still being held in what the Riyadh regime claims is an
anti-corruption campaign but is commonly believed to be an attempt by Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to silence his domestic critics.
US-based advocacy group said the kingdom’s Human Rights Commission and public
prosecutor’s office — both government entities — lacked the independence to
conduct a credible and transparent probe.
Arabia’s internal investigations have little chance of getting at the truth of
the treatment of detainees, including prominent citizens, or of holding anyone
responsible for crimes accountable,” said Michael Page, the deputy Middle East
director at HRW.
Riyadh governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah, Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed
al-Amoudi, and former economy minister Adel Fakieh are believed to be among
those still held in detention since Mohammed started rounding up his critics in
monitors can help confirm what has happened to people detained during these operations
and find out about their current wellbeing,” Page said, adding, “Without such
scrutiny, there is every reason to believe that the Saudi authorities may still
be treating them with unspeakable cruelty.”
group of British lawmakers threatened to release a detailed report on
allegations of torture if Riyadh did not give them access to the women
detainees by the end of the month, British media reported on Thursday.
January 2, a cross-party group of British parliamentarians and international
lawyers asked Saudi Arabia to allow them access to the maximum-security Dhahban
prison, where the regime holds female activists, but the request has not
received a response.
recent years, the Al Saud regime has come under intense pressure by rights
groups for mistreating women and minorities.
May, Saudi authorities have detained more than a dozen prominent women’s rights
activists, most of whom have formerly campaigned for the right for women to
Arabia’s human rights record has also come under scrutiny after the killing of
dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in the
Turkish city of Istanbul last October.
US has reportedly deployed at least 250 trucks filled with weapons to its bases
in Syria despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all American
forces from the Arab country.
video by the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the UK,
purportedly shows the entry of about 250 trucks loaded with weapons and
SOHR said it had obtained information from a number of reliable sources that a
column of over 100 vehicles carrying military and logistical equipment had
entered the Syrian territory in the east of the Euphrates, coming from the
Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
to the Observatory, the arms have been distributed among US military bases in
Hasakah, Raqqah and Aleppo.
month, Trump announced a plan to withdraw American forces from Syria amid
preparations by Turkey to launch an operation against US-backed Kurdish
militants in northern Syria.
abrupt move sparked concern among officials in Washington, prompting Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis to step down in protest.
of the decision argued that leaving Syria would amount to a victory for Iran
and Russia, which have helped the Syrian government purge foreign-backed
militants from most parts of the country.
what seemed to be a sign of disagreement in Washington, US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo recently announced that American military forces would remain in
Syria until Daesh terrorists were defeated.
so in Syria, President Trump has made a tactical decision,” Pompeo told Fox
going to withdraw our 2,000 uniformed military personnel from that country, but
make no mistake about it: the defeat of the caliphate, the ISIS caliphate in
Syria, is almost complete. We’re going to stay there till it’s done,” he said,
using another acronym for Daesh.
unveiling his plans for Syria, Trump claimed that American troops were going
back home because, with Daesh defeated, their mission had come to an end.
founder of an infamous private military company recently said US troops in
Syria could be replaced with mercenaries.
an interview with Fox Business, Erik Prince, who founded Blackwater now called
Academi, welcomed Trump's Syria pullout decision, adding that US allies should
not be abandoned in the war-torn country.
commander: Syria anti-ISIS forces must keep ‘special status’
deal between Syria’s Kurds and Damascus should respect the “special status” of
Kurdish-led forces who fought the ISIS extremist group, a top Kurdish commander
of those forces said.
political agreement should include the special status” of the Syrian Democratic
Forces after they fought ISIS “on behalf of all humanity and even the Syrian
army”, SDF commander-in-chief Mazloum Kobani said.
is our red line and we will not concede this” in ongoing talks with the
Damascus regime, he told AFP in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
SDF control around a third of Syria after expelling extremists from a large
northeastern swathe of the war-torn country with backing from the US-led
Kurdish-led alliance “protected northeastern Syria... liberated these areas,
and have the right to continue protecting the region”, said Kobani, who was
speaking near the northeastern city of Hasakeh.
Bashar al-Assad’s government has gained ground against rebels and extremists with
key Russian backing since 2015, and now controls almost two-thirds of the
is determined to reassert its authority over SDF-held areas, which make up the
lion’s share of the rest.
after years of marginalization, the Kurds are determined to keep some of the
autonomy they gained during the eight-year war.
SDF could “agree to be part of the national army of a future Syria, but only on
the condition they keep their special status”, Kobani said.
has rejected self-rule in northeastern Syria, but Kurdish leaders started talks
with the government in July in a bid to seek some form of decentralization.
discussions are ongoing but have not yet reached any positive result,” he said.
regime “keeps on thinking it can go back to the way it was before 2011. It
still hopes it can take military control of the whole region”.
needs... to understand that is impossible.”
said the SDF were however prepared to “protect the Syrian border and the unity
of Syrian territory”.
made an aborted attempt to retake a village from US-backed forces in eastern
Syria Thursday, a monitor said, leaving 50 fighters dead on both sides.
failed assault came a day after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are
backed by the US-led coalition, took the village of Baghouz from ISIS.
Thursday, the group launched a counterattack including at least three suicide
bombers wearing explosive belts against SDF fighters, the Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said.
SDF and 34 ISIS fighters were killed in the assault aimed at retaking the
village near the Iraqi border, the Britain-based monitor said.
further “21 ISIS fighters were taken prisoner as they tried to open up a gap”
in defenses and make an escape towards Iraq, Observatory chief Rami Abdel
SDF have since September been whittling away at a pocket of territory on the
eastern banks of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
latest advance by the US-backed group has left the last diehard ISIS fighters
holed up in scattered farmhouses near the Euphrates.
of people, mostly women and children, have fled into SDF-held territory in
recent days, according to the Observatory.
overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a
“caliphate”, but they have since lost almost all of it to various offensives.
Arabia, already known as the world’s top importer of foreign-made ballistic
missiles, has started building its first missile production factory near the
central town of Al-Watah, The Washington Post has quoted experts as saying.
a Wednesday report, The Post quoted leading experts as saying that satellite
imagery dating back to November appears to show Saudi Arabia's debut ballistic
missile factory located at an existing missile base near Al-Watah.
would reportedly be the first known instance of Saudis manufacturing the
weapons indigenously, after importing foreign-made ballistic missiles for
photos were discovered by Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and founder of the
Arms Control Wonk blog, and his team.
photos raise "the possibility that Saudi Arabia is going to build
longer-range missiles and seek nuclear weapons," according to The Post.
Lewis said that "we may be underestimating their desire and their
findings were further confirmed by Michael Elleman of the London-based
International Institute for Strategic Studies and Joseph Bermudez of the
Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
reports of a Saudi ballistic missile base in Al-Watah first surfaced in the
form of an article published in July 2013 by IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. The
site revealed satellite imagery that appeared to show surface-to-surface missile
sites being constructed to accommodate the deployment of Chinese Dongfeng DF-3A
intermediate-range ballistic missiles, purchased in the 1980s during the war
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein imposed on Iran.
Arabia publicly unveiled its DF-3A arsenal for the first time during a military
parade in April 2014. That same year, Newsweek reported that the CIA helped
facilitate a secret deal to allow Saudi Arabia to buy improved Chinese DF-21
missiles in 2007.
year, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the kingdom will make nuclear
bombs if the Islamic Republic of Iran moves to develop an atomic weapons
have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do
everything we can to do the same,” Saudi Arabia’s former Foreign Minister Adel
al-Jubeir said in May 2018.
there are reports that Riyadh is buying information from the Israeli regime
that would allow it to develop nuclear weapons, a senior Israeli nuclear expert
revealed last year.
Dor-On, a senior nuclear commentator with the Israeli military organization
iHLS, said in May 2018 the cooperation has been made possible in the wake of
the widening ties between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is indicative of an emerging nuclear
arms race in the region.
to the Israeli writer, the Tel Aviv regime is aware that Saudis would
eventually make the move for developing nuclear weapons and want to make sure
they would not go to other regional players such as Pakistan to obtain the
can be assumed that Israel may take the initiative to develop Saudi Arabia’s
efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and not leave it solely to Pakistan, given
the growing Saudi-Israeli relations,” the expert added.
Arabia has already asked the US for permission to expand its nuclear program to
include uranium enrichment, a move that experts warn is not to be taken lightly
considering the Riyadh regime’s never-ending thirst for political and military
dominance in the region.
kingdom is widely viewed as the financier of Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Ironically, Saudi royals took the first steps in the 1970s after finding out
that Israel and India had already taken major steps towards developing nuclear
head of a Syrian Kurdish group says talks with Damascus will begin "in
days" following the government's "positive" reaction to a
are attempts to carry out negotiations. The Syrian government stance was
positive," Reuters quoted Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) chief
Sipan Hemo as saying. "We believe they will start in the coming
Kurds have been granted some degree of self-rule by the government since the
war began in 2011. Last month, they sought to come back under the full Syrian
sovereignty after the US announced plans to withdraw troops.
in the Kurdish-populated areas are wary of a planned Turkish incursion into
northern Syria in order to establish a “safe zone”.
views the YPG as the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
which Ankara sees indistinguishable from PKK militants who have waged an
insurgency inside Turkey.
want to be on good ties as neighbors, but the Turkish state does not accept
this," said Hemo. "If Turkey attacks our region, we will respond appropriately."
return of the territories under Syria's sovereignty would piece together the
two biggest chunks of a nation splintered by eight years of war.
Kurdish leaders have sought Russian mediation for talks with the government of
President Bashar al-Assad, hoping to safeguard their autonomy when US troops
coordinates its moves in Syria with Iran and Turkey - the guarantors of the
Astana process which has resulted in the return of a succession of militant
bastions to the government fold and movement of civilians to safe zones.
Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was planning
a trilateral summit “in the near future” to further discuss the situation in
last meeting between Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s
President Hassan Rouhani took place in the Iranian capital, Tehran, last
talks led to the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone separating Syrian
troops from Takfiri militants in the northwestern province of Idlib.
An Iraqi priest who saved a trove of religious manuscripts from the Daesh group
was ordained on Friday as the new Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul.
Michaeel, 63, was inaugurated in a ceremony in Mosul’s St. Paul Church attended
by Catholic leaders from the region and the US, as well as local officials and
message to the whole world, and to Mosul’s people, is one of coexistence, love,
and peace among all of Mosul’s different communities and the end of the
ideology that Daesh brought here,” Michaeel said.
entered religious life at 24 and spent years serving at Al-Saa Church (Our Lady
of the Hour) in Mosul.
he managed the preservation of nearly 850 ancient manuscripts in Aramaic,
Arabic and other languages, as well as 300-year-old letters and some 50,000
2007, he transferred the archives to Qaraqosh, once Iraq’s largest Christian
city, to protect them during an Islamist insurgency which saw thousands of
Christians flee Mosul.
when Daesh — who was notorious for defacing churches and destroying any
artifacts deemed contrary to its neoconservative interpretation of Islam —
swept across Iraq in 2014, Michaeel again took action.
the militants charged toward Qaraqosh, the Dominican friar filled his car with
rare manuscripts, 16th century books and irreplaceable records and fled east to
the relative safety of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
two other friars from his Dominican order, Michaeel also moved the Oriental
Manuscript Digitization Center (OMDC), which scans damaged manuscripts recovered
from churches and villages across northern Iraq.
the Kurdish capital Irbil, he and a team of Christian and Muslim experts
digitally copied thousands of Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian and Nestorian
forces recaptured Mosul from Daesh in the summer of 2017, and Michaeel returned
to the city months later to attend the first post-Daesh Christmas mass.
found his church in ruins, with rooms transformed into workshops for bombs and
explosive belts and gallows had replaced the church altar.
he insisted there was reason for hope.
optimistic. The last word will be one of peace, not the sword,” Michaeel said
Friday, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church called for more international
support to Iraq’s Christians.
from outside Iraq are participating in this occasion to support the Christians
of Mosul,” said Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako.
A Turkish court on Friday released a Kurdish lawmaker who was jailed last year
for criticizing Ankara’s military operation in Syria and has been on hunger
strike for nearly three months.
Guven still faces trial and up to 31 years’ jail over charges of terrorism
leadership and propaganda for her opposition to Turkey’s incursion into
northwest Syria’s Afrin region.
judge in the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir released Guven as she had
already been in custody for a year. Her health has deteriorated during a 79-day
hunger strike to protest against the prison isolation of Kurdish militant
leader Abdullah Ocalan, those close to her say.
is a bittersweet joy for us,” Guven’s daughter, Sabiha Temizkan, told Reuters,
saying her mother would continue her hunger strike despite her release.
hope her demand will be met and her hunger strike will be finished before it
does damage to her,” Temizkan said.
wearing a surgical mask, made a victory sign from inside an ambulance after her
has been consuming water with sugar, salt and vitamins. The pro-Kurdish
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), says 250 inmates and politicians have joined
the hunger strike.
was among some 600 people detained over social media posts and protests
criticising Turkey’s operation last year into Afrin where it pushed out the
U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG, viewed by Ankara as a terrorist group.
June, Guven was elected to parliament as a HDP member while in detention. Ten
former HDP parliamentarians detained are still in prison.
is also co-leader of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group
of civil society organisations based in Diyarbakir.
on al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’s growing influence alarmist: official
top intelligence official on Thursday dismissed as ‘alarmist’ a U.S.-based
think tank’s report that contends that the al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent
(AQIS) was exploiting the growing incidents of violence against Muslims in
India and attacks in the name of “cow vigilantism” to recruit cadres.
that the study by The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank, was misleading,
the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “researchers appear
to have extrapolated isolated instances, imaginatively.”
report titled ‘AQIS — The Nucleus of Jihad in South Asia’ asserts that the rise
in inter-religious clashes in India due to a changing political discourse had
resulted in further divisions between Hindus and Muslims. Increasing incidents
of violent attacks on Muslims in India, who are accused of eating beef, was
being exploited by groups like AQIS to “incite Indian Muslims to join what is
being called a fight for their honour,” according to the study’s authors.
is a pluralist country with 180 million Muslims,” the intelligence official
said. “Indian Islam is based on rich Sufistic traditions of pluralism, inclusivism
and composite nationalism. The wave of al-Qaeda in the 1990s and 2000s did not
impact the Indian Muslim. The wave of Islamic State had minimal impact, with
only about 108 individuals succumbing to its lure. In the past few decades,
global Islamist uprisings and terrorism have not impacted the Indian Muslim, as
they were based on Jihadism, born out of exclusionism,” the official added,
dismissing the report’s premise on the increasing vulnerability of the Indian
Muslim to recruitment by the AQIS.
was created in August 2014 and is led by an Indian, Maulana Asim Umar, who was
later identified as U.P. resident Sanaul Haq. In 2015, central intelligence
agencies helped Delhi Police arrest three members of AQIS. Two of them,
Mohammad Asif and Zafar Masood, belong to Sambhal district in Western U.P. and
the third, Rehman, belongs to Orissa. AQIS was banned by the Home Ministry last
Soufan Center also said in its report that there was strong evidence of ties
between the AQIS and the LeT. According to the report, AQIS operative Abdul
Rehman, who was arrested from Orissa in 2015, travelled to Pakistan in 2014 as
a LeT recruit. “ISI facilitated his entry into Karachi via Dubai, but once
inside Pakistan, Rahman met with several high-ranking AQIS leaders, including
its chief, Asim Umar. Through his LeT contacts, Rehman later joined AQIS. The
indictment documents of Abdul Rahman reveal that numerous LeT leaders visited
AQIS headquarters in South Waziristan including Sajid Majid, ISI operative who
masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai attacks,” it said.
of the contributors to the report is IPS officer Sajid Farid Shapoo, who is
currently a Phd scholar at Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Princeton University. He is
also a Senior Fellow at The Soufan Center.
common notion that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates only operate and thrive in
conflict zones, such as Yemen, Libya, and Syria, is incorrect. AQIS illustrates
how al-Qaeda successfully infiltrates, operates, and spreads its ideology in
countries experiencing relative calm, like India. This model may prove to be
al-Qaeda’s blueprint for the future,” the centre said in its report.
report said that AQIS maintains a diverse funding portfolio that includes
donations from individuals and charities, kidnapping for ransom and money
solicited or siphoned from other terrorist groups, including Lashkar e Taiba
(LeT). “Since nearly one-third of AQIS’ operating budget is derived from
donations from individual citizens, this will make it extremely difficult to
counter the group’s finances, a major long-term challenge in combating the
group overall,” the report said.
think tank said the situation in Kashmir had also taken an “unprecedented
turn.” “For the first time since the onset of conflict in Kashmir, the region
is responding to the appeal of groups like al-Qaeda.”
know that terrorist forays into India, in the name of AQIS, are the handiwork
of Pakistan’s ISI,” the intelligence official said.
benefit plank against AMU minority status
constitutional body headed by a BJP parliamentarian has asked the government to
argue in court that removing the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University
would benefit the Scheduled Castes.
suggestion came in a letter to the higher education department early this month
from Pritam Singh, secretary to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes,
headed by MP Ram Shankar Katheria.
dispute over AMU’s minority status is before the apex court, where a scheduled
hearing failed to take place on January 22. The UPA government supported the
university’s minority status but the NDA government is against it.
functioning as a minority institution, AMU does not have to implement caste
quotas but removal of the status will force it to. Two of its teachers said the
commission was invoking Dalit interests for “political reasons” ahead of the
the HRD ministry has written to the commission saying it does not need to bring
in the quota angle since the 1967 apex court judgment on which it has based its
stand is strong enough.
Muhammadan Ango-Oriental College, which philanthropist Syed Ahmed Khan founded
in 1875 mainly to promote Muslim education, became AMU in 1920 through an act
of legislature, whose preamble said it had been passed to establish the
did not say AMU was a minority institution but some of its provisions, such as
compulsory religious teaching and a Muslims-only court (its highest
decision-making body), indicated its minority character. After the Constitution
was adopted, the act was amended to make religious teaching optional and revoke
the university court’s all-Muslim membership rule.
1967, on a petition from Azeez Basha, the apex court held that since the
university was set up by an act rather than by Muslims, it’s not a minority
President Donald Trump recently mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has
promoted soft power policies in Afghanistan that benefit India and the US,
about building a “library” and not doing enough to help stabilise the war-torn
country. Some believe Trump mistook the Afghan parliament for a library, but
whatever the intention, the perception was not welcomed by Afghans, Indians and
US citizens. From an Afghan perspective, India’s soft power is effective in
Afghanistan and the Indian government doesn’t need to have direct military
involvement in the country.
are three reasons for these conclusions: historic India-Afghanistan links; a
feeling of kinship due to Bollywood’s popularity; and India’s support to
historic links form the bedrock of friendly relations. Afghan vice-president
Mohammad Sarwar Danish highlighted this during the 70th Indian Independence Day
celebrations at the Indian embassy in Kabul by saying, “Afghanistan and India
have 1,000 years of historic relations…As a result, both countries’ history is
nested together and cannot be divided.” According to a study, there are
countless Afghan-related monuments and historic and cultural items across
India. Similarly, there are more than a dozen sites in Afghanistan with Indian
film industry has nurtured a feeling of friendship among Afghans.
own experiences helped me understand Bollywood’s influence on Afghans. I was
four months old when I left Afghanistan with my uncle’s family in 1984 to
settle in Peshawar, Pakistan, because of the Soviet invasion. I was 12 years
old when I watched the Indian movie Saajan. Watching Indian films was a family
tradition and men and women gathered to watch them every Friday night.
the 1990s, we returned home when the mujahidin took power in Kabul. Every
Friday night, Afghan national television beamed Indian movies. In those days,
the mujahidin forces, who defeated the Soviets with the help of the US and
Pakistan, were fighting each other for power.
bombings and gunfire from every direction, almost everyone waited for the
little joy of Friday nights. Thanks to limited electrical power in Kabul, some
nights in Kabul were dark. I still recall collective prayers by my family for
the power to not go off before the movie ended. Like me, I am pretty sure most
Afghans who speak Hindi have learned it by watching Indian movies.
the past 17 years of the US involvement in Afghanistan, most TV and radio
stations play Indian songs as part of their routine programming.
support to the Afghan government is vital due to its soft power and influence
on the population. India has influenced Afghans and gained their trust and
respect for two reasons: India has helped economically to rebuild Afghanistan;
and both countries face a shared threat from Pakistan.
is the largest regional donor to Afghanistan, having provided $3 billion. The
new parliament building, Salma dam in Herat province, and a highway to Iran’s
Chabahar port, are a few prominent projects backed by India. Chabahar is of
immense importance to Afghanistan because it provides access to the oceans and
reduces dependence on Pakistan. Through an indirect military role, India trains
Afghan security forces and supplies modest quantities of defence gear.
and politically, these are the most beneficial options in India’s Afghanistan
policy that strengthen the consensus that India should not deploy troops in
Afghanistan. Our country has seen many foreign military involvements and, as a
result, Afghans dislike many foreigners. But this dislike does not include
India. In December 2015, when Modi visited Kabul to inaugurate the parliament
building, people welcomed him and expressed their love for Indian people
through social media.
has been a victim of Islamabad’s “strategic depth” policy that sees Afghanistan
as the fifth state of Pakistan. India too has been a victim of Pakistan’s proxy
wars. The shared threat from Pakistan, home to the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba,
has strengthened India-Afghanistan ties.
with the world’s second largest Muslim population, has suffered from the
proliferation of radical Islamic ideologies in Afghanistan and Kashmir by
Pakistan. India cannot mitigate these transitional threats without help from
Afghanistan and a friendly relationship with a legitimate Afghan government is
in India’s vital interest. Also, Indian support for an Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process is very important for both countries.
Delhi: Anger prevails among the Muslim community against Shia Waqf Board
Chairman Uttar Pradesh after his provocative remark against the madrasas.
Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi on Tuesday said that madrasas
promote ISIS ideology. Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to
shut Islamic seminaries across India so that Muslim children are not influenced
madrasas across the country are not shut down soon then after 15 years half of
the Muslims will start favouring the ISIS ideology. It has been observed across
the world that ISIS is targeting children and asking them to follow them,”
Rizvi wrote in the letter.
UP Shia Board chief added that Muslim children should study with students of
other religions in schools so that they are able to get a better education. In
his letter to the prime minister, Rizvi cited the example of Kashmir to
substantiate his point, “In Kashmir, ISIS supports can be seen in huge numbers.
In rural areas, Madrasas are destroying the future of our children being run on
donations as their owners are hungry for money,” he stated.
strongly on Rizvi’s remarks, former Mustafabad MLA Hasan Ahmed said the presence
of madrasas in the country is inevitable. The same madrasas had initiated the
freedom struggle against the Britishers, as a result, we have got freedom
today. He added Wasim Rizvi’s remark will create unrest. With his remark, he
has tried to appease his bosses and organisations like BJP, RSS and Bajrang
Mateen Ahmed said people like Wasim Rizvi cannot succeed in their nefarious
plans as long as secularism and brotherhood prevail in the country.
and Khateeb of Madina Masjid in Jafferabad Maulana Mohammed Shameem Qasmi said
the role played by Islamic madrasas in the freedom struggle will be written
with golden words in the Indian history.
India Muslim Ekta Committee chairman Haji Ikram Hasan said today we are living
in an independent country just because of the sacrifices made by the ulamas,
poets and sadhu saints. But unfortunately, people like Wasim Rizvi want to
disrupt peace by issuing such statements.
militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfit were killed on Saturday in a
gunfight with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar district, police
were killed in Khonmoh area on the outskirts of Srinagar city. They had planned
to disrupt the Republic Day functions being held here, the sources said
AK-47 rifles and ammunition were recovered from their possession. The slain
militants’ names were not given out.
search operation was going on in the area.
Rashtriya Rifles, the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir
Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) earlier surrounded Khonmoh
area following information about the presence of militants.
the cordon was tightened, the militants fired, triggering the encounter,” a
police officer said.
DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday said it has arrested
one of the men involved in the 2006 Kerala twin blaste from the airport here.
Ashar, who had since been absconding, was arrested on Wednesday from the Indira
Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here after he arrived from Saudi Arabia, an
NIA spokesperson told IANS.
cases pertain to the twin IED blasts that had occurred at the KSRTC and
Mofussil Bus Stands in Calicut (Kozhikode) City on March 3, 2006, causing
injuries to two persons besides damage to property. NIA had taken over the
investigation of the cases on December 18, 2009 and had filed a chargesheet
against eight accused persons, including Ashar,” the NIA said in a statement,
reported The Hindu.
had escaped to the Middle East nation in 2007. He would be produced later in
the day before an NIA Special Court in the national capital to obtain a transit
remand to take him to Kochi for his production before the Special Court in
twin blasts near the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and Mofussil bus
stands had rocked Kozhikode on March 3, 2006, and left two persons injured and
a few properties damaged.
counter-terror agency had taken over the case from the Kerala Police in 2009
and filed the charge-sheet against eight accused in August 2010 under several
sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Arms Act and Unlawful Activities
NIA official said that thier probe revealed that besides Ashar, another
absconder P.P. Yusuf, was involved in the conspiracy hatched by prime accused
T. Naseer and others to carry out the IED blasts after bail was denied to the
accused involved in the Marad communal riots of 2003 in Kozhikode district.
DELHI: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Friday constituted a fresh fivejudge bench
for the January 29 hearing of the legal battle for ownership of the 2.77-acre
Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed land in Ayodhya, importantly drafting in
the lone Muslim SC judge in Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
politically sensitive case relating to the over century-old litigation has been
pending in the SC since 2011.
reconstitution of the bench was necessitated after Justice U U Lalit recused
from the case on January 10. This was followed by Justice N V Ramana
withdrawing citing personal reasons.
two judges dropping out, the CJI decided to draft Justice Ashok Bhushan and
Justice Nazeer into the five-judge bench led by him. The other two judges on
the bench are Justice S A Bobde and Justice D Y Chandrachud. The developments
meant that on the previous two hearings, the court could not draw up a schedule
which could have provided an inkling of when a final verdict could be expected.
had on January 4 reported that as per tradition, Justice Bhushan and Justice
Nazeer were expected to be part of the bench that would decide the Ayodhya
dispute since they were part of the three-judge bench that had on September 29 rejected
the plea of Muslim parties for reference of the vexed litigation to a
the CJI sprang a surprise on January 8 by announcing a bench that comprised
himself and four future CJIs in Justice Bobde, Justice Ramana, Justice Lalit
and Justice Chandrachud. However, on January 10, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan pointed
out that Justice Lalit, when he was an advocate in 1997, had appeared for a
party in the criminal case relating to Babri Masjid demolition on December 6,
1992. This led to Justice Lalit immediately announcing his recusal.
September 29, a bench of then CJI Dipak Misra and Justice Bhushan and Justice
Nazeer, by 2 to 1 majority held that appeals against Allahabad HC’s verdict on
Ayodhya land dispute would be heard by a three-judge bench. Justice Nazeer had leaned
in favour of the Ayodhya dispute being sent to a five-judge bench.
are 16 appeals and petitions by Hindu and Muslim parties challenging the
Allahabad HC’s September 30, 2010, verdict,
had divided the 2.77 acres equally between Ram Lalla, Sunni Wakf Board and
SC had on May 9, 2011, admitted the appeals and stayed operation of the HC
order. The first hearing on the appeals against the 2010 HC verdict took place
on December 5, 2017. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing
for Muslim parties, had used politics, religion and even alleged ‘agenda’ and
‘bias’ for the “hurry’ being shown by then CJI Misra-led bench in deciding the
70-year-old litigation and sought its reference to a five or seven-judge bench.
January 10 this year, CJI Gogoi had explained why he constituted a five-judge
constitution bench to adjudicate appeals against the Allahabad HC verdict on
title suits despite a three-judge bench rejecting the plea for reference of the
petitions to a larger bench.
Cash-strapped Pakistan has received $1 billion each from Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), as part of the bailout package by the two Gulf
nations to help shore up Islamabad's dwindling foreign currency reserves.
country's central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on Friday confirmed
that Pakistan has received the third tranche of $1 billion as part of
balance-of-payments support from close ally Saudi Arabia.
Thursday, the SBP tweeted that $1 billion has been received from the UAE. The
assistance was the first part of the $3 billion assistance announced by the
amount was received under an agreement, signed on Tuesday, by SBP Governor
Tariq Bajwa and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Director General Saif Al
Suwaidi, the SBP said.
Arabia's assistance was part of the $6 billion bailout package - $3 billion
balance-of-payments support and another $3 billion in deferred payments on oil
imports - which Riyadh had agreed in October last year.
kingdom has already deposited $2 billion to provide vital cushion to Pakistan's
dwindling reserves. Pakistan, which is in talks with the IMF for a bailout
package, has also reportedly received financial assistance from China.
to the SBP, Pakistan's foreign currency reserves dropped to a 57-month low of
$6.63 billion as of January 18, 2019.
these reserves, Pakistan can hardly cover one-and-a-half-month of imports. The
reserves have continued to drop for the last two years due to the country's
high foreign expenditure and low income, which is better known as the current
account deficit, the Express Tribune reported.
deficit was recorded at $8 billion in the first half (Jul-Dec) of the current
fiscal year 2018-19, which was slightly lower than $8.4 billion in the same
period of previous year.
assistance has improved Pakistan's position in terms of import payments and
debt repayment in the short term.
deposits will help Pakistan achieve financial stability and overcome economic
challenges," the Foreign Office had tweeted after the agreement between
Pakistan-UAE was inked with Abu Dhabi.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that winds of change have
started blowing from Karachi and will reach every nook and cranny of Sindh.
Qureshi said at a large gathering outside the residence of Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Lal Malhi here on Friday that people of Punjab and
Balochistan had rejected the Pakistan Peoples Party and now people in Sindh
would follow suit.
change is also visible in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir,” he said.
said that South Punjab used to be a stronghold of PPP but it was now a fortress
change will soon come to Umerkot and Tharparkar as well,” he said.
criticised PPP leaders who claimed to champion the cause of democracy but at
the same time subjected poor voters who supported PTI in general election to
asked PTI supporters and his spiritual followers not to be frightened by PPP’s
“oppressive policies”. People of Sindh had become fed up with the 11-year rule
of PPP government.
party won majority seats in Tharparkar district but failed to serve people, he
Qureshi said that people of the province would soon hold PPP accountable for
its “mega corruption and worst governance” in Sindh’s history.
condemned attack on PTI MPA Mohammad Ramzan Ghanchi, who was elected from
Lyari, and asked Sindh government to arrest culprits involved in the attack.
said the National Accountability Bureau was an autonomous organisation which
did not take orders from anyone. Electronic visa service had been started for
many countries, he added.
Lal Malhi said that people understood the importance of their vote and they
would never again put their trust in corrupt people.
said that the prime minister would visit Tharparkar next month and he had high
hopes that he would work for the development of the desert region.
PM would announce laying of a railway track and gas pipelines and issuance of
health insurance cards for the people of Umerkot during his visit.
Describing the blacklist as being without constitutional and legal sanctity,
the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Friday recommended
abolishing it along with all such lists that impinge upon the fundamental
rights of citizens.
practice of putting names on the blacklist should be stopped immediately,” said
the chairman of the committee Senator Javed Abbasi.
a look: Why the law governing FIA's opaque blacklist should worry us
Senator was presenting a point of order raised in the house in December last
year regarding the procedure for putting names in the blacklist and its legal
point of order was referred by the Senate chairman to the Standing Committee on
Law and Justice for consideration.
committee considered the matter in its meetings held late December and then
again this month. It also invited ministries of interior and human rights for
their inputs on the subject.
house was informed that during the course of the briefings, Immigration and
Passports Director General Ishrat Ali said that the blacklist was being
maintained in pursuance of the Passport Manual, 2006. The provision has
remained part of the manual since 1957. However, some of its parts and
categories were incorporated in the Passport Act, 1974, and the remaining
continued to be part of the passport manuals, as and when issued.
report said that the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports do not
initiate this list but the names were added on the recommendations of Judicial
and quasi-judicial forums.
quoted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general as saying that
the agency only implemented the blacklist through an automated system, which
did not process the case of a person whose name had been added in the list.
report mentioned Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari as stating that such
lists and the likes of it were not acceptable in a democracy, which impinged
upon the fundamental rights and had no legal sanctity behind it.
said that the authorities concerned also recognised that the blacklist and the
likes of it had no legal value and that the exit control list (ECL) was the
only valid list in this regard.
members present deplored the long-standing practice of issuing and maintaining
blacklist and termed it as ultra vires and in violation of fundamental rights.
committee also noted that the Passport Act was enacted by the parliament and no
such power of maintaining blacklist was delegated to the executive.
absence of any such power, the government had no authority to maintain such
lists, it said.
an end to putting names in the list, the committee recommended that the
Ministry of Interior submit a compliance report regarding abolishing it before
the Senate within 10 days.
matter was also taken up the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights under
its chairperson Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar late in December 2018.
The Punjab government has cancelled all arms licences, irrespective of their
categories, issued to 16 members of banned organisations whose names are on the
Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.
to sources, the move for the cancellation of the arms licences came about on
the recommendation of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and deputy
commissioners and that the concerned authorities in Punjab and the National
Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) have been informed to take further
commissioners, divisional police chiefs, additional inspectors general of
police, CTD, city police officers and district police officers across the
province have been informed by the Punjab government that under rule 31 of the
Punjab Arms Rules, 2017, the government has cancelled all arms licences,
irrespective of their categories, issued to 16 members of banned organisations
who are also placed on the ATA’s Fourth Schedule.
names of the individuals, their CNIC numbers and arms licence numbers have been
sent to the authorities concerned for intimation of cancellation of arms.
individuals whose arms licences were cancelled are Haji Mushtaq Hussain,
Mohammad Ilyas, Rana Mohammad Ilyas, Abdul Latif, Khalid Mehmood alias Mooda,
Ejaz Ahmed, Ghulam Shabir Joiya, Abdul Hameed Khalid, Haq Nawaz, Ehsanullah,
Rana Mamraiz Ali, Mohammad Asif Javed, Mohammad Abdullah, Mohammad Abu Zar
Naqvi, Hafiz Mohammad Ahmed and Abdul Rasheed.
the reason for the cancellation of these licences was not given by the
ATA 1997, all individuals placed on the Fourth Schedule are bound to inform the
police when leaving their permanent residence and also when they return. They
are also bound to submit a surety bond to the concerned police station,
guaranteeing peaceful conduct.
senior police official said it is not necessary that all members of a banned
organisation be placed on the Fourth Schedule and that it depends case to case.
However, he said, if someone is placed on the watch list, their arms licenses
are cancelled under the law.
can be cancelled for many reasons under the Punjab Arms Rules 2017 including if
it is used for the commission of an offence or it is not renewed for three
consecutive years. A licence can also be cancelled on receipt of a complaint as
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) secretary general Liaquat Baloch has said that the
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government remains directionless and visionless.
to media at the local press club on Friday, he said that another mini-budget
was thrust on people who were already groaning under price hike.
said the mini-budget, which was also replete with taxes, would increase
said the government on the one hand claimed that it would provide relief to
people, but on the other higher taxes were introduced in the budget.
said the shortage of gas supply was the height of poor administration of the
present government while delay in import of liquefied natural gas would affect
domestic and industrial consumers.
said the country could not progress with a “borrowed” economy.
Minister Imran Khan raised a slogan against corruption, but except for Nawaz
Sharif, others, whose names appeared in Panamagate too, were not taken to
court, he said.
said the names of those who got their loans waived off, looted national wealth
and transferred money to offshore banks were available, but since the name of
Aleema Khanum surfaced, the issue had been put in cold storage.
said that accountability was not on the agenda of the government and thus it
was being made controversial. He did not rule out collusion among the Pakistan
Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), “corrupt mafia” and state institutions.
termed the Sahiwal tragedy the height of barbarism on the part of law
said it was not only Sahiwal, but such incidents were also reported in other
parts of the country, adding that missing persons cases were being reported in
Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a large number, but no measures for
their recovery were being taken.
said people had lost trust in joint interrogation teams (JITs), adding that the
PM hinted at formation of a judicial commission on the tragedy and the JI had
demanded the same.
paid tributes to the sacrifices of the armed forces for implementation of the
National Action Plan (NAP).
The federal government has assured the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of the
resolution of issues about the payment of net hydel profit and its arrears to
it under the AGN Kazi formula.
assurance was made during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with Chief
Minister Mahmood Khan in the federal capital, said a statement issued here on
statement said the provincial government would form an independent and
high-powered authority to use the royalty of oil and gas projects and invest it
in the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the province.
chief minister informed the premier about the net hydel profit issue and sought
his intervention for its resolution under the AGN Kazi formula.
also briefed the prime minister about four energy projects in Chitral,
electricity produced in the province, and its use for industrial growth or
statement said the federal government agreed to give representation to KP in
the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, National Transmission and Despatch
Company, all boards and forums.
premier accepted the chief minister’s proposal to grant additional new blocks
near the existing Lakki block to the KPOGCL so that the province could execute
oil and gas related projects and facilitate investment.
chief minister also briefed the prime minister about 356 micro-hydel projects
executed in the province for the provision of cheap electricity to people in
far-off areas, where water resources are untapped.
said work on mini-hydel power stations had been completed, while a mechanism
for running them had devised.
chief minister said those power stations would be handed over to the local
communities within two to three months. He said the communities would own, run
and manage those stations on their own.
statement said the meeting also decided that measures would be taken to control
oil and gas theft in the province. Mr Mahmood highlighted the exploitation of
natural resources in the province for the people’s development.
have a comprehensive multidimensional plan covering all sectors, where the provincial
government will begin projects for the long-term sustainable development,” he
chief minister said the government was focusing attention to explore productive
areas and execute money-generating projects to achieve self-sufficiency.
PROMOTION: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Friday announced that the government
was committed to promoting tourism as an industry in the province.
government is working to ensure easy access of local and foreign tourists to
the attractive and beautiful tourism sites,” he said.
chief minister was talking to a delegation of investors led by MPA Nazir Abbasi
at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here.
to a statement issued here, head of delegation Henri (Hans) WR Kennedie,
president and CEO of Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, revealed that
they were working on establishing luxury hotels in several cities of the
said hotels would be established in Peshawar and Swat in the first phase and in
Mardan, Chitral and Malakand in the second phase.
visitors showed interest in investing money in the development of tourism spots
on the proposal of the chief minister.
chief minister said 20 new sites had been identified in Chitral, Malakand and
Hazara for tourism promotion for which both national and international
investment would be welcomed and facilitated.
said reconstruction and rehabilitation of access roads to those sites were in
The investigation into the Sahiwal tragedy on Friday revealed that orders of
opening fire on the car were given by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) team was just not in the mood to arrest
Zeeshan, a terror suspect,” sources said.
added that SSP Jawad Qamar was also seen reaching the site of the incident
after the shootout.
bodies of the Sahiwal incident victims were also shifted to police lines on the
orders of SSP Qamar, sources said and added that efforts were underway to save
the police official.
says ‘senseless’ to condemn every immigrant as threat
Francis said in Panama on Friday that it was “senseless” to condemn every
immigrant as a threat to society.
was speaking after leading a solemn ceremony for hundreds of thousands of young
pilgrims at the Catholic World Youth Day event.
said the Church wanted to foster a culture “that welcomes, protects, promotes
and integrates, that does not stigmatize, much less indulge in a senseless and
irresponsible condemnation of every immigrant as a threat to society.”
a wide-ranging speech to round off a massive gathering of young people in a
Panama park, the pope also made a plea for the environment that he said was
“trampled underfoot by disregard and a fury of consumption beyond all reason.”
in general “has lost the ability to weep and to be moved by suffering.”
of solidarity “from an opulent society” many encountered rejection, sorrow and
misery “and are singled out and treated as responsible for all society’s ills.”
people are awaiting trial accused of threatening Anas Sarwar, the Glasgow MSP,
and his family. The Muslim politician made the revelation during a meeting of
the Scottish parliament’s cross-party group on tackling Islamophobia.
have conducted eight investigations into alleged threats against him and his
family since he began trying to root out racism in Scottish society last year.
Mr Sarwar, 35, said that the past 12 months had been “extremely challenging”
but urged others to share their experiences.
said that the potential threat to his wife Furheen and sons Adam, ten, Ahmed,
eight, and two-year-old Aliyan has been extremely difficult to deal with.
Muslim group that sought permission to use an area of Fauquier farmland as a
site for Islamic retreats for thousands of participants has withdrawn its
appeared unlikely the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors would approve a
special-exception permit sought by the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam after the
county planning commission unanimously recommended that the supervisors not do
recommendation followed a Jan. 17 public hearing that drew more opponents than
supporters of the application. Concerns focused on the additional traffic the
events would generate on Meetze Road south of Warrenton. There were also
concerns about noise and the number of people coming to the events.
group needed a special-exception permit to hold one summer event for a maximum
of 5,000 people and three other events drawing up to 1,000 people on 515 acres
land it planned to purchase at 8721 Meetze Road.
Sayed, who handles property matters for the Ahmadiyya Movement, informed the
Fauquier County Community Development Department on Thursday that “given the
outcome of the public hearing AMI has decided to withdraw the application for
now and rethink our approach.”
said after the planning commission vote that “our hope was that there would be
a postponement and that we would make an effort to reach out” to the community
to better explain what the group was about and how it planned to use the
has approved exporting military equipment to Qatar amid deepening tensions with
Riyadh, Doha’s rival.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers in a letter dated January 23rd
that the German government approved selling to Qatar four RAM naval missile
Angela Merkel said in October that Berlin would stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia
over the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s
consulate in Istanbul earlier that month.
called Khashoggi’s murder an “atrocity” that “had to be clarified,” calling on
fellow European governments to follow suit and suspend arms exports to the
decision was met with strong criticism from a major German arms manufacture
which threatened to take legal action against the decision.
AG - one of Germany’s largest military contractors - believes the halt in arms
sales to Saudi Arabia, which has waged a war on Yemen since 2015, has already
affected approved exports worth up to 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
developed by Germany and the United States, RAM is a ship-based rolling
airframe missile that protects naval vessels against missiles, aircraft,
helicopters and other ships. The sale also includes 85 dual-mode radar and
infrared seekers that guide the missile into its target.
Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar
in 2017, accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism”, a charge Doha strongly denies.
then released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera
television network and downgrade of relations with Iran in return for the
normalization of diplomatic relations.
rejected the demands as an attack on the country’s sovereignty and interference
in its domestic affairs and foreign policy agenda.
When French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Paris in
October 2017, five months after taking office, he handed him a list of
activists he believed the Egyptian president could release from prison.
looked at Macron, suggested he was naive and meticulously outlined the reasons
why each person should not be released, stressing their links to militancy or
the Muslim Brotherhood, three sources aware of the exchange told Reuters.
aback, the young French president, who sees El-Sisi as a stabilizing force in
the region and wants to bolster trade and defense ties with Cairo, told a
subsequent news conference it was not up to him to “lecture” Egypt on civil
13 months and Macron is nuancing his approach, French officials say. As he
prepares for a three-day visit to Egypt starting on Sunday, he hopes to secure
more business and defense contracts while not abandoning the human rights file.
problem Macron faces is that while he has been less outspoken on rights since
his first meeting with El-Sisi, Egypt has not come through on defense and
civilian deals, and rights groups say the crackdown on liberties has only
are piling pressure on Macron to be firm in confronting the Egyptian president,
who in April secured a second term, shoring up his position as a powerbroker in
Elysee admits to an “evolution” in Macron’s thinking.
president’s approach in October 2017 was maybe a bit different ... but time has
passed,” a presidential adviser said.
time, rather than delivering a narrow list of names of people who should be
released from prison, French authorities have sent Cairo a broader accounting
of human rights shortcomings and jailed non-militant activists that they think
El-Sisi will find it harder to dismiss out of hand.
think Macron realizes that there have been limits to his silent diplomacy,”
said a French diplomatic source. “He needs to find a balance between not
upsetting El-Sisi and making a public point about human rights.”
El-Sisi rose to power in 2014, Franco-Egyptian relations strengthened. Both
countries shared concerns about a political vacuum in Libya and the threat from
militant groups in Egypt.
French President Francois Hollande took a quiet approach on rights, and defense
deals were signed, including the sale of 24 Rafale combat aircraft, a
multi-mission frigate and two Mistral warships, deals worth some €6 billion.
in return for France’s blind eye in the realm of human rights and democratic
standards, Cairo bought billions’ worth of weaponry,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a
geopolitics lecturer at the University of Versailles. “But things have changed
a bit lately. El-Sisi’s grip on power is much firmer.”
Macron came to power, business has cooled. France’s trade surplus with Egypt
has not improved in three years, hovering at about €1 billion. Germany and
other states have managed to secure major civilian contracts.
Egyptian pledge to buy a further 12 Rafale fighters has been on hold for almost
two years. French officials hope that may change in the coming weeks, although
there is an awareness that signing such a contract during Macron’s visit would
be poor optics amid the clamor over human rights.
private, they are saying Macron has understood, but the test for him will be
whether it’s just words to keep us happy or there is something concrete like
the release of prisoners at the end of it,” said one official with a
Macron can find a formula of words and actions that keeps human rights on the
agenda and convinces El-Sisi to re-engage on trade remains unclear. But even if
he can convince the Egyptian president that France is a trusted partner, it may
not be enough, given Cairo’s financial situation.
is to spend over £6 million on surveillance equipment to step up its fight
against illegal migration across the Channel Sea, the worlds busiest shipping
lane. After the signing of a plan between France and UK ministers, CCTV will be
installed in port areas and potential embarkation points and new night goggles
will be bought. The two counties will also increase intelligence sharing and
migrants rescued will be taken to the nearest safe port.
is vital we continue to work closely with our French partners to stop
vulnerable migrants making these treacherous crossings and tackle the people
smugglers who are putting their lives in danger. The joint action plan strengthens
our already strong relationship and increases joint action around keeping our
borders secure and discouraging these dangerous journeys,” said Sajid Javid,
the UK home secretary.
deal was sealed by Mr Javid his French counterpart Christophe Castaner. Roughly
half of the £6.07 million had already been pledged in January 2018.
agreement once again shows the UK’s commitment to managing our shared border
along with us. By combating illegal Channel crossings by migrants, we’re saving
lives and deterring new migrants from coming to Hauts-de-France," said Mr
504 migrants attempted to cross the Channel last year compared to only 3 the
UN official on extrajudicial executions will assess the “steps taken by
governments to address and respond” to the killing of a Saudi journalist in
Istanbul, and launch an international inquiry, the United Nations said on
a statement, the UN’s Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said that
Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions, will head an international inquiry into the killing last
fall in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, starting with a visit to Turkey from Jan.
28 to Feb. 3.
will “assess the steps taken by governments to address and respond to the
killing, and the nature and extent of states’ and individuals’ responsibilities
for the killing,” the statement said.
inquiry will also seek to identify ways by which states can strengthen
fulfillment of their international commitments to protect the right to life, prevent
violations and ensure accountability,” the statement quoted Callamard as
inquiry was established at Callamard’s request, the statement added.
probe will “review and evaluate, from a human rights perspective, the
circumstances surrounding the killing of Khashoggi,” the statement said,
adding: “Callamard will be accompanied by Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC, and
Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira from the University of Coimbra [Portugal].”
Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey is
carrying out a transparent process on the case and that it is important to
expose the culprits in the killing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks calling for an international
probe of the case, Cavusoglu said Callamard would visit Turkey at the end of
a contributor to The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in
Istanbul on Oct. 2.
producing various contradictory explanations, Riyadh acknowledged he was killed
inside the consulate building, blaming the act on a botched rendition
Chinese Government has been detaining people belonging to Muslim minority
groups for the past two years.
China’s northwest lies East Turkestan, a large province twice the size of
Germany. East Turkestan is home to the native Uyghurs, one of China’s ten
Muslim minorities, as well as Kazakhs, Tajiks and Uzbeks from neighbouring
states. The Chinese Government refer to the province as Xinjiang, meaning “new
territory” in Mandarin Chinese, refusing to acknowledge the people’s desires
for an independent state. In their latest attempt to “Sinicize” the people, and
erase their culture, they have been detaining Muslims without charge in
to propaganda within China as well as the limited entry of foreign journalists,
international awareness was limited. Within the first 18 months, an estimated
1million people had been detained, separated from their families and imprisoned
without any basis. When challenged on the issue, the Government denied the
existence of the camps.
satellite reports clearly showed images of the internment camps growing on a
large scale. Only recently, after members of a UN committee challenged them on
the issue, were senior Chinese officials forced to publicly respond in an international
forum. They admitted that ‘criminals’ involved in minor offences had been
assigned to so-called ‘re-education centres’ where they received vocational
education and training as part of a rehabilitation programme.
from inside the camps reveal a vastly different picture; political
indoctrination is the norm, with detainees being forced to renounce their
religious convictions, instead pledging allegiance to the Chinese Communist
and death are common, and international human rights experts say these
‘re-education centres’ are akin to concentration camps. Recently, reports
emerged that factories are being built at the camps, and detainees are coerced
into forced labour, with very little or no pay.
company Badger Sportswear has been receiving shipments from a factory inside
one of these internment camps, despite it being illegal in the US to import
products of forced labour. John Anton, the CEO of Badger Sportwear, a leading
sportswear supplier in North Carolina, said that the company would source
sportswear elsewhere while this issue is being investigated.
experts now agree that this latest campaign by the Chinese Government is
perhaps the largest and most brutal repressive practice conducted in China
since the Cultural Revolution, on par with Myanmar’s treatment of the Muslim
Rohingya minority. However, China continues to claim that the heavily guarded
Muslim camps are actually training centres offering free vocational training to
the minorities as part of a plan to eliminate poverty. Chinese authorities
allege that the people in the centres have signed agreements to receive
maintain that vocational training is a method of solving the global issue of
extremism and terrorism, which they describe as the ‘common enemy of human
civilization’. In a wave of propaganda, the CPC insist the expansive network of
camps in Xinjiang is for the good of the people, offering them a way out of
poverty, and an escape from the temptations of ‘radical Islam’.
China’s claims of contributing to poverty eradication, numerous reports from
relatives of detainees say that their loved ones were actually well-educated
and were in high-paying jobs before their arrest; they were not in need of the
Government’s poverty alleviation programme.
Nulale, a 25-year-old college graduate, worked in advertising in Xinjiang’s
capital city Urumqi, where she afforded a comfortable urban lifestyle. After
returning from a visit to her family in Kazakhstan, she disappeared into one of
the detention camps and was discovered to have been forced into weaving clothes
within one of the factories.
mother, Nurbakyt Kaliaskar who lives in Kazakhstan, learned that her daughter
wasn’t being paid, nor was she allowed to leave. Contact between detainees and
family members is mostly prohibited or strictly monitored if allowed at all.
County, in South Xinjiang, bore the brunt of the crackdown. Despite being a
relatively sparsely populated county, with only 280,000 residents, it is home
to eight internment camps.
an analysis of 28 camps across Xinjiang, the Australian Strategic Policy
Institute found that there was a 465 per cent expansion rate in the size of
camps since 2016, with one camp increasing 2469 per cent in size between 2016
and 2018. Over the past two years, Government spending on domestic security in
Xinjiang has almost doubled and Hotan prefecture, where Luopu county is, has
seen a threefold increase.
has become one of the world’s most urgent human rights crises, and despite
small-scale action by a handful of individuals, it has still not received the
attention needed to cause change. Maung Zarni, a human rights activist and
intellectual, was scheduled to deliver a speech on his country’s Myanmar
genocide at a Beijing-sponsored forum in London on December 7.
protest the detention of the Uyghurs, Zarni withdrew from the event, and said
he will be boycotting all Beijing-sponsored events until China takes action
against the ‘racially motivated persecution of Uyghur Muslims’.
New Jersey Republican Congressman, Chris Smith, has called on the Trump
Administration to ban Chinese imports with any affiliation to the detention
camps. He rebuked US consumers and business for buying goods made in what he called
‘modern-day concentration camps’.
ten foreign governments, the UK and the US among them, have now denounced China
for the camps and called for their closure. US lawmakers, led by Florida
Senator Marco Rubio, have recently petitioned the White House to impose
sanctions on the Chinese officials believed to be responsible for the campaign
against Muslim minorities in East Turkestan.
December, the UN requested direct access to the camps after reviewing the
credibility of reports stating that at least 1.1 million ethnic Muslim
minorities had been detained, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Huis.
LUMPUR: A Muslim NGO plans to begin work this year on a primary school and
community centre in Kelantan for Rohingya Muslims.
Wan Harun, founder of 7 Sanaabil International, a company formed in 2011, said
the 10-story school cum centre would be built in Kota Bharu.
building, expected to take two years to build and costing more than RM20
million, is to be completed by 2021.
groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held in March or April.
floors will be allocated for lodging for Rohingya Muslim families, orphans and
single refugees while two floors will be allocated for the school and training
centre. Two more floors are for administration staff.
building will accommodate 500 Rohingya at a time. Of the several hundred
students who will be part of the school, 15 top scoring students will be put in
a private college nearby which Ya’akob owns.
said he has met representatives from the office of Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan
Azizah Wan Ismail to ask for an allocation from the Qatar government’s US$50
million (RM198.9 million) donation last year to help the Rohingya.
has always wanted to give back to society, something he picked up from his
family and Islamic studies. So, it makes sense that Islamic education will form
a major part of the school when it comes in 2021.
Ya’akob has yet to decide what education system will be used in his school. He
has also yet to decide if the school will only admit Muslim students. “We’ll
see how things go,” he said.
said, however, that teachers would be well equipped to teach Rohingya studies,
with Rohingya natives as part of his staff.
will look into this. Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, they all have similar
programmes. We will emulate them,” Ya’akob told FMT at the Yayasan 7 Sanaabil
International headquarters in Wangsa Maju here.
our programme, we want to educate the Rohingya orphans and young people to
become independent and no longer rely on government assistance… so that in the future
there is no need for us to support them.
want to bring about a new generation of Rohingya who are entrepreneurs and can
help themselves in this country. They can then be good workers for Malaysia and
fulfil our economic needs.”
Rohingya in Malaysia attend community schools where they learn about religion,
the Malay language, and other literacy skills. They are not allowed to study at
public or private schools.
55, announced his company’s intention to open such a centre back in 2017. The
initiative was to be in Langkawi, Kedah, and open to all minority groups, but
it did not work out as planned.
chose Langkawi because it’s a beautiful place but it wasn’t easy to get land
for the project. I had land ready for a hotel in Kelantan that happened to
match what we needed so we used it instead,” he said.
Ya’akob announced his plan to open a school, he said it would reflect
Malaysia’s “proactive” stand in dealing with the Rakhine crisis between the
Myanmar military and the Rohingya community there.
on the map after the Kelantan project is the setting up of a similar centre in
Kuala Lumpur. But Ya’akob said this might take some time as he had “too many
projects” in Kelantan at present.
also claims to have spearheaded similar projects for Muslims in Palestine and
SELANGOR: Kuah Leong Chuan has been making headstones for 40 years, but for the
past decade, his clients have mostly been Muslims.
63-year-old, who comes from a family of carvers, can even carve onto headstones
in Jawi (an Arabic alphabet or writing system used for Malay or related
learned to write in Jawi from my customers,” Kuah told Bernama when met here
is a fifth-generation carver. His ancestors had migrated from China in the late
1800s to trade. As carvers, they used their skills to carve statues of Buddha
and at Buddhist places of worship.
learned the technique of carving on headstones from his late father. He was in
his early 20s at the time.
his 40 years in the trade, he has carved on headstones for the Chinese and
Indians as well. However, demands from non-Muslim customers have dwindled over
the years as many of such services have been taken over by burial homes.
has a makeshift “workshop” under a tree in an old part of Kuala Selangor, near
Bukit Melawati. This is where he goes to cut down the granite-like slabs
collected to make headstones.
lives not far away from the location and cycles from his home to the workshop
daily, working from 8am to 6pm.
many other headstone carvers who use machines to carve onto headstones, Kuah
engraves on granite by hand – a skill that is quite a rarity these days.
first process of making a headstone involves cutting the granite-like slabs that
he had collected.
is a particular method to chisel down rocks, just like there is a method to
open a durian,” he said.
slabs are cut using a diamond-tip chisel and measured into the sizes requested
by customers. If the customer requests it, the stones would then be engraved on
next process involves carving down the requested information onto the headstone
in Jawi. This work is done in another workshop and could take up an hour per
is a detail-oriented person and as such prefers to do things by hand instead of
relying on a machine.
small headstone measuring two feet could take three days to complete while
larger ones could take up to three weeks. The prices range from RM150 to RM700.
customers are from all over Malaysia.
Kuah is wary of the dos and don’ts of writing on a Muslim gravestone.
knows that Quranic verses should not be carved onto them as there was a
possibility that visitors to gravesites might step on them or even sit on them.
He therefore refuses to entertain such requests.
of the deceased have also asked him to carve the word bismillah (in the name of
Allah) onto headstones but Kuah firmly rejects their requests as he does not
want to bear any blame for committing a disrespectful act.
your religion (Islam) says that headstones are just to mark the grave and
should not be anything fancy,” he told this writer, revealing the depth of his
knowledge on the matter.
says that granite headstones tend to remain firmly in the soil due to their
rough surface. Limestone headstones, on the other hand, could easily topple
over due to its smooth surface.
is possibly the last of granite headstone carvers in Malaysia to engrave by
of the most prominent thinktanks in the United States has reportedly announced
that it no longer accepts funding from the “anti-democratic government” of the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is the most significant ally of Saudi Arabia
in a Saudi-led brutal war against impoverished Yemen.
Washington-based Center for American Progress (CAP), a public policy research
and advocacy organization with a declared goal of presenting a liberal
viewpoint on economic and social issues, further said it sought to distinguish
itself from the “authoritarian regimes” around the globe, the UAE included,
with which US President Donald Trump’s administration has developed a close
bond, The Guardian newspaper said in a report on Friday.
a rising undemocratic tide around the world, and serious questions about which
side of that struggle our own president stands on, it seemed clear that all
Americans should take extra steps and leave no doubt where they stand,” The
Guardian quoted a CAP spokesperson as saying.
to the report, CAP’s move came amid heightened public scrutiny over the
financial support Washington-based thinktanks receive from authoritarian
regimes. It also cited a detailed funding list the organization previously
released showing that it had obtained between $500,000 and $1 million from the
UAE embassy in the US capital.
considerable Emirati-provided financial support, overseen by CAP’s foreign
policy team, placed the Arab country in the upper echelon of the group’s
donors, fueling speculation that the organization’s policies, in a way or
another, are shaped by the wealthy donor, a conjecture strongly denied by the
funding never impacted any CAP position or policy, but everybody here agrees
it’s just the right thing to do,” the spokesperson was further quoted as
this month, The Intercept, an online news publication, claimed that CAP was
shaping its policies under the influence of the UAE, alleging that the group
fired two of its staffers suspected of being involved in leaking an email
exchange that the pair thought reflected improper influence by the Emirati
government within the organization.
however, rejected the claim, saying that the two staffers had not been fired
“for leaking or whistle blowing.”
report further suspected that the content of the email exchange revolved around
an internal debate over how to frame CAP’s response to the brutal murder of
Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
in early October last year. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has
concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the gruesome
murder, which triggered a global outcry.
report alleged that CAP’s initial draft statement denounced the killing and
Saudi Arabia’s role in it, calling for “specific consequences.” However, the
publically-released statement, purportedly under the influence of the UAE,
which is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, dropped the specifics and confined
itself with merely calling to “take additional steps to reassess” the
however, strongly disputed the Intercept’s characterization of events.
The Guardian said in its Friday report that after reviewing a number of
documents it came to the conclusion that CAP’s refusal to accept funding from
the UAE started in June last year, well before the Saudi journo’s murder,
adding that the decision, however, was finalized in December.
Guardian went on to say that other top thinktanks in the US capital had also drawn
criticism for receiving financial support from the Emirati government and
maintaining close ties with the Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba,
who allegedly acts as the go-between for Emirati money flowing into the US
capital and who has cultivated a reputation as an influential figure inside
capital Abu Dhabi.
is also known to have played a particularly key role in championing the Saudi
report added that the main source of criticism against leading American thinktanks
is obtaining funding from the dictatorship regime in the UAE that launches
crackdown on human rights while at the same time maintaining a close
partnership with Saudi Arabia and the two regimes’ role in a nearly
four-year-long brutal war against Yemen, creating a humanitarian crisis that
experts believe could soon leave 14 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation.
Saudi-led war has reportedly claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis since
its onset in March 2015.
have already called on the US thinktanks and universities to take a “democracy
pledge” by rejecting both Saudi and Emirati money.
the Emirati government is known for its purposeful spending in the US capital,
in pursuit of creating a friendly environment while pushing forward its own
strategic goals, The Guardian added.
charged in plot to aid Islamic State group are Lansing School District graduates
– Mohamed Mberwa first met Mohamed Salat Haji about two years ago at Beacon
Soccer Field, near downtown Lansing.
complemented Mberwa for his skills and even offered tips on how to improve his
just came to me and said, ‘Oh, you’re a good player!'" Mberwa recalled of
their first meeting.
who is 18 and originally from Kenya, and Haji, 26, lived in the same Lansing
neighborhood. And, at no point when they played soccer together, Mberwa said,
did he consider Haji dangerous.
changed this week.
and two other Lansing men were charged Tuesday by federal prosecutors for
conspiring to provide "material support" to the Islamic State group.
said he remains stunned and confused as to why Haji may have wanted to kill
not just everyday people who wake up and think about things like that,"
Mohamud Abdikadir Muse, 23, and Muse Abdikadir Muse, 20, allegedly pledged
allegiance to ISIS in self-recorded videos, according to a federal complaint
filed in Grand Rapids.
is part of the larger Islamic militant organization that broke with the
al-Qaida network and declared a caliphate, a traditional form of Islamic rule.
It is largely made up of Sunni militants from Iraq and Syria but found success
recruiting fighters from across the Muslim world.
Muse and Haji allegedly took their loyalty for ISIS a step further when they
"discussed with each other their desire to join ISIS, kill non-believers
and even potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down
non-believers here in the United States if they could not travel overseas to
fight for ISIS," the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote in court documents.
to provide material support to a terrorist organization is punishable by up to
20 years in federal prison upon conviction.
detention hearing for the men is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in Grand Rapids,
court records show.
activities allegedly supporting ISIS had been tracked by undercover federal
agents since 2016, according to court records.
were able to develop a relationship with the three suspects by posing as a
Somali male and African-American living in Chicago who had converted to Islam.
exchanged messages with the three suspects, and the FBI monitored the suspects'
Facebook accounts, according to a federal complaint.
a message to Mohamud Muse, Haji said he loved how ISIS burned people, the
this week by the State Journal to reach relatives of the three Lansing men were
of the men appear to have a history of criminal convictions in Ingham County,
based on online records searches.
Muse and Mohamud Muse are brothers, officials said. Haji is a cousin and
brother-in-law of the Muse brothers, they said. All three were born in Kenya.
is a naturalized U.S. citizen, while the two brothers received U.S. citizenship
as minors through the naturalization of their parents, officials said.
of the three men are graduates of the Lansing School District.
Kolt, a district spokesman, confirmed in an email that records indicate Haji
entered Otto Middle School in 2005 and graduated from Sexton High School in
Muse entered Eastern High School on Sept. 6, 2016 and graduated a year later,
are no records, Kolt said, that indicate Mohamud Muse, the 23-year-old brother
of Muse Muse, 20, ever attended a school in the district.
and Mohamud Muse were arrested Monday at the Gerald R. Ford International
Airport in Grand Rapids shortly after Muse Muse checked in for a flight there
and was also arrested.
Muse Muse and Mohamud Muse were arrested about a week after an undercover
federal agent met the men at a Lansing-area Walmart, the complaint said.
discussed items for a trip to join ISIS in Somalia, the complaint said. Two of
the defendants told the agent "they would conduct an attack or martyrdom
operation" if they failed to join ISIS, it said.
Monday's arrests in Grand Rapids, federal agents searched a Lansing residence
shared by Mohamud Muse and Muse Muse.
federal complaint said Haji and Mohamud Muse helped Muse Muse buy airline
tickets to Mogadishu earlier this month.
and Mohamud Muse drove Muse Muse to the Grand Rapids airport, according to the
complaint, knowing that Muse Muse planned to join ISIS.
Zarwea, 24, of Lansing, considers Haji a lifelong friend. They've played soccer
in the Lansing area for several years.
hard for Zarwea to think of Haji as someone who may promote violence.
people ask me about him," Zarwea said, "I’m going to tell them what I
never expected him to be that type of person.”
Facebook page Zarwea confirmed to the State Journal belongs to Haji shows posts
dating back to at least 2014 that appear to reference Islam and passages in the
most recent post is dated 8:44 a.m. Monday — nearly three hours before the
federal complaint was filed in Grand Rapids. It appears to be from Haji and
refers to loyalty within the Islamic faith.
tells us that this Book the Quran Do Not Have Doubt about it, that this Quran
is a guidance for anyone who fear the Lord Allah," an excerpt from the
said he's never interpreted messages Haji posted on Facebook to be pro-ISIS or
said he's found most of Haji's messages to be focused on healthy relationships
and loyalty among family members.
Zarwea of Haji's legal situation, "I'm thinking 'Wow! How? Why?'"
for a sense of belonging
Farha Abbasi, a Michigan State University psychologist, doesn't know the three
Lansing men and said she isn't familiar with the case.
Abbasi has spent more than a decade researching why men and women can be drawn
to radicalized groups. She said social media platforms like Facebook can be
problematic because groups like ISIS often use them as recruiting tools.
people across the globe can be drawn to groups of all kinds online if they feel
disenfranchised, disturbed because of untreated trauma or just bored, Abbasi
the youth right now — Muslim or not — are looking to this utopia, the place
where they can be this great person," Abbasi said. "These kids are
looking for role models. They are looking to reclaim their identity, to know
what’s right from wrong.”
who established the annual Muslim Mental Health Conference 11 years ago, has
found through her research in the United Kingdom that men attracted to ISIS
often have a history of exposure to violence. She often shares with colleagues
that "hurt men hurt men."
of ISIS can lure young people into their world through deception, especially
with misuse and misquotations of the holy Quran, Abbasi said.
minor has been arrested in Canada and charged with two terrorism-related
offenses, police said on Friday after the seizure of a suspected explosive.
Peter Lambertucci of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told reporters that
Canadian investigators received in late December “credible FBI information regarding
an attack plot with no specific time, date, or location affixed to it.”
was never a threat to public safety, Lambertucci said, but the young suspect
“was reported to be involved in the manufacturing of homemade and improvised
explosive devices and that was one of the subjects of our investigation.”
a search of two Kingston, Ontario homes early Friday officers found a suspected
“explosive substance” which was removed and later detonated, Lambertucci said.
minor, whose identity is protected under Canadian law, was charged with
knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and counseling a person to deliver,
place, discharge or detonate an explosive device with intent to cause death or
serious bodily injury.
RCMP also arrested a second suspect, an adult man, on Thursday night in
Kingston, mid-way between Toronto and Montreal. He has not been charged and has
to be released within 24 hours unless a formal criminal complaint is laid.
media reported that the two suspects knew each other.
broadcaster CBC named the adult arrested but not charged as 20-year-old Hussam
Eddin Alzahabi, and reported that he was of Syrian descent.
parents arrived in Canada as refugees in 2017, after living in Kuwait for
nearly a decade.
tell me they search about him about terrorists. I know my son, he didn’t think
about that,” Alzahabi’s father Amin told the CBC.
investigation involved about 300 personnel and various agencies including the
US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
also used a surveillance plane which spent several days over Kingston in
January, Lambertucci said.
Minister Justin Trudeau praised the police work and said Canada is among the
safest nations on the planet.
34-year-old Texas man who was captured in Syria and brought to the United
States has been charged with providing support to ISIS.
Christopher Clark, 34, of Sugar Land, Texas, appeared before a federal court
judge in Houston on Friday, the Department of Justice said.
said Clark was charged in an indictment unsealed on Friday with providing
material support to ISIS -- which the United States has designated as a foreign
Justice Department said Clark was captured in Syria by members of the Syrian
Democratic Forces, an anti-ISIS alliance of Kurds and Arabs, and transferred to
US custody this week.
arm of American Justice has a lengthy reach,” US Attorney Ryan Patrick said in
FBI continues to aggressively pursue individuals who attempt to join the ranks
of ISIS foreign fighters or try to provide support for other terrorist
organizations,” FBI special agent Perrye Turner said.
convicted, Clark, a former substitute school teacher, could face 20 years in
in an interview with NBC News before his transfer to the United States, said he
went to Syria to become an English teacher for ISIS and was never a fighter.
wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing,”
said Clark, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki.
The Canadian police said on Friday they had charged a minor with terror-related
offenses in connection with a pair of national security raids in Kingston,
Ontario Thursday night.
people were arrested late Thursday after the raids. One, a minor, has been
charged with knowingly facilitating terrorism and counseling a person to place
a bomb “or other lethal device” in public, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) said in a statement.
bomb was never placed, police said. As a minor, the person cannot be named under
second person was identified by his older sister, who spoke with Reuters, as
20-year-old Hussam Eddin Alzahabi. He has since been released with no charges,
police confirmed Friday afternoon.
investigation originated from a Federal Bureau of Investigation tip in December
and involved multiple agencies, RCMP officers said during a press conference.
was a substantial and credible attack plot, however there was no indication of
where that attack was going to take place” and there was never any imminent
danger to the public, RCMP officer Peter Lambertucci told reporters.
said officers conducting the Thursday night arrests detonated “an element ...
believed to be an explosive substance.”
are confident that there is no risk to public safety and there are no trace
elements remaining,” Lambertucci said.
burst into her family’s house Thursday night and placed guns to her parents’
heads, 21-year-old Rose Alzahabi told Reuters.
got into the house in a really violent way,” she said, adding that they
wouldn’t let her mother wear her hijab.
said a man not known to the family had recently met her brother and his friend,
approaching them near their high school and inviting them to do some computer
programming for him.
man started coming to her family’s home and asking “absurd” questions about how
many rooms they had and whether he could see them, she said.
an interview with CBC following the arrests, Alzahabi’s father Amin Alzahabi
protested his son’s innocence. The family, originally from Syria, came to
Canada as privately sponsored refugees, according to a pastor at one of the
churches who sponsored them.
Korczynski, a church member who sponsored the Alzahabi family, said he worries
about the way the arrests will shape perceptions of Muslims and refugees in
is a fear, because that’s the kind of ill-informed knee-jerk reaction that puts
any group in potential harm’s way. ... This is hypothetically about two
individuals who may or may not have made a bad decision.”
Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the country’s official threat level would
remain unchanged at “medium,” where it has been since 2014.
told reporters Friday afternoon it was too early to say whether the alleged
plot was connected to others elsewhere in the world and cautioned against
than leaping to conclusions, let the police do their job, let’s get the facts
on the table,” he told a news conference in Edmonton, Alberta.
is a small city east of Toronto, home to a major university and several
Alzahabi was happy her brother was released, but she wasn’t surprised.
opposition leader says Bashir ‘must leave’ as hundreds march
leader of Sudan’s largest opposition party demanded that President Omar
al-Bashir’s administration bow to mass protests and step down, in an address to
hundreds of party supporters in a mosque near Khartoum on Friday.
Sadiq al-Mahdi’s remarks at Friday prayers, hundreds of protesters then marched
through Omdurman, across the River Nile from the capital, and police fired
teargas to try to break up the rally.
activists and other protesters have held almost daily demonstrations across
Sudan since Dec. 19, calling for an end to economic hardships and mounting the
most sustained challenge to President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades in power.
most important demand is that this regime must leave and be replaced by a
transitional government,” Mahdi said at Al-Sayed Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi mosque,
which has links to his Umma Party.
former prime minister expressed support for the protests and condemned security
forces’ use of live bullets, saying more than 50 people had been killed since
unrest began. The official death toll stands at 30, including two security
also gathered in different neighborhoods in Khartoum. South of the capital,
hundreds of protesters blocked a main road, chanting “peaceful, peaceful,
against the thieves”, drawing tear gas volleys from police, a Reuters witness
has blamed the protests on foreign “agents” and challenged his rivals to seek
power through the ballot box. He has shown no sign that he is prepared to
concede any power.
has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget
deficit, causing spiralling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its
Friday, AFP quoted police spokesman General Hashim Abdelrahim as saying that
two protesters were killed during anti-government demonstrations that rocked
Sudan’s capital in the past day.
were several illegal gatherings in different states and also in different areas
of Khartoum state,” Abdelrahim said.
dispersed them with tear gas. In the state of Khartoum we have recorded two
deaths,” he said, without specifying how the people died.
had also detained an individual who was carrying a pistol in a demonstration,
car equipped with “long distance communication equipment” was also captured, he
least eight Nigerian soldiers have been killed in an Boko Haram attack on an
army position in the restive northeast, local media reported on Friday.
deadly attack occurred in the heavily fortified northeastern Geidam town on
Wednesday evening, causing multiple injuries to the troops, the news outlet
Premium Times quoted the local military sources as saying.
Boko Haram militants also died in the ensuing fight, it added.
army has neither confirmed nor denied the attack.
in statement on Friday, the army said four terrorists were killed and caches of
weapons were seized when troops raided their hideouts in northeastern Borno
least 50 people have been killed in Sudan since the country was engulfed by
popular protests in mid-December, Sadiq al-Mahdi, an opposition politician and
former prime minister, said Friday.
thousands of supporters in Khartoum, al-Mahdi called on the Sudanese security
forces to stop using deadly force to disperse unarmed demonstrators.
called for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir.
have credible information that the number of deaths since the protests began
more than one month ago now stands at 50,” al-Mahdi stated.
support these demonstrations and roundly condemn the use of violence against
protesters,” he added.
leader of the opposition National Umma Party, went on to say that his party had
agreed with Sudan’s Independent Professional Association on the need for a
post-Bashir “transitional period”.
Friday prayers, large demonstrations erupted in both Khartoum and Omdurman,
Sudan’s second largest city.
does not repeat itself, but it rhymes, so goes the aphorism often attributed to
the iconic American author and satirist, Mark Twain.
there lacks evidence it is Twain who coined it, the nifty line was once
described as “too good to resist”.
is what occurred to me when I recalled this rather unremarkable sentence: We
look to the New Year with the threat of terrorism as real as it has ever been.
Note that this could be said of any other year.
was the opening sentence in this column in January 2015 after yet another round
of Al Shabaab attacks in Kenya as the previous year drew to a close. (See
“Understanding terrorism through mathematics”, The New Times, January 03, 2015)
not to suggest there’s anything wrong with the sentence. But that it is the
attack at the DusitD2 Hotel earlier this month in Nairobi that provoked my mind
to that nifty line about history and rhyming.
reminded of the macabre reason we should enter each new year with renewed
vigilance wherever we may be.
threat of terrorism or its consequences is not about the particular country it
I write, international investigative agencies including the FBI and Interpol
are camped at the DusitD2 gathering clues about the attack and the attackers.
is to update their databases on the attackers’ profiles and the changing trends
of their tactics to better counter them in the global war against terrorism.
the DusitD2 assault reveals how the face of regional terrorism has literally
before the stereotype of the Shabaab terrorist was Somali, the attackers were
Kenyan – born and bred.
was until their radicalization, as evidenced by the well-pocketed Kenyan
middleclass lifestyle of the lead attacker and his girlfriend, a journalism
tactic to source from the country is to enable attackers to blend in their
target social environment and evade the detection of security agencies.
to the International Crisis Group says the Shabaab, the change of tactic
started shortly after the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi with
the establishment of local cells.
intended results are clear, complete with the high-value target at the
up-market location of the hotel nested close to Western embassies – German,
Australian and Dutch – to extract maximum media attention.
with some of the major international media organization headquartered in the
city, it reminds us that the underlying terrorist principle remains the same,
which is to gain the broadest attention whatever their deranged cause may be.
say deranged advisedly. Physicists and mathematicians looking at the terrorist
phenomena created equations and generated data that reflects the universal behaviour
of the individual insurgents or clusters of them. (See “Understanding terrorism
through mathematics”, The New Times, January 03, 2015).
their computer models, the attackers behave like random, thoughtless particles,
demonstrating that terrorists don’t have to be rational or require central
command to effectively consummate their deadly attacks.
would certainly wonder how rational the young Kenyan men were to willingly go
to the slaughter despite that apparent living the good life with money to splash
in one of the universal justifications for terror, a successful strike is not
one that does the most damage, but one that draws the most attention.
that the casualty figures at the DusitD2 attack numbered just over 20 dead,
compared to 71 at the Westgate Mall attack and the 150 dead at the April 2015
attack at Garissa University.
brings in the other lesson, also observed globally: that the reduced number of
the fatalities was due better preparedness and a much-improved counterterrorism
2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) reports a decline in terrorism with deaths
falling for the third consecutive year after peaking in 2014. The number
decreased by 27per cent in 2017.
the GTI highlights an ongoing persistence of terrorism in several countries in
Asia and Africa. Somalia and Egypt have both registered increases in deaths
from terrorism in 2017.
while terrorism deaths by Al-Shabaab declined in Kenya to 100 in 2017 from 256
in 2014, the ominous portent for the region is that the group overtook Boko
Haram as the deadliest terror group in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time
total number of deaths increased by 93 per cent from 2016 to 2017 to stand at
1,457. Boko Haram’s stood at 1,254.
numbers make it worrying, especially about what the increase portends
regionally unless something is done.
the other observation, to come back the computer models referred to above: that
the terrorists are not invincible even as they change their tactics.
probability or what the mathematicians are terming percolation theory, each
terrorist in a cell or network can be independently detected depending on
factors such as the number of law enforcement agents tasked with tracking
suspects as well as on the willingness of citizens to offer information.
must not “rush to relocate refugees” from the Rohingya Muslim minority, a top
UN rights official said on Friday, amid plans to move the community to an
island vulnerable to extreme monsoon weather.
750,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar escaped a bloody military crackdown in
northern Rakhine state since August 2017 and joined some 300,000 refugees
living in the already overcrowded Bangladesh camps.
has spent some US$280 million transforming Bhashan Char, a muddy silt islet
that only emerged from the Bay of Bengal nearly two decades ago, into a camp
for some of the refugees.
the island, in a coastal region where extreme weather has killed hundreds of
thousands of people in recent decades, is one hour by boat from the nearest land
and over a stretch of sea prone to violent storms.
Lee, a UN Special Rapporteur of human rights, visited the island on Thursday
and urged Bangladesh to observe “caution and patience” before proceeding with
any relocation plan.
should be no rush to relocate refugees, such as before the monsoon season which
is one of the possibilities that has been outlined to me,” she told reporters
is imperative that any measures to relocate the refugees enhance their
enjoyment of rights and do not create a new crisis,” she added.
also advised Dhaka to share feasibility studies and allow the UN to carry out a
“full technical and humanitarian assessment, including a security assessment,
before making any further plans for the housing of people on the island”.
island’s isolation does particularly trouble me, especially in the event of
cyclones or other natural disasters,” she added.
did not provide further details about the island, which is still strictly off
limits to the public and the news media.
for the island camp were first floated in 2015 and Bangladesh had previously
wanted to start relocating refugees to the island last June before the monsoon
Minister Sheikh Hasina was then slated to open the new settlement, built to
house 100,000 refugees, last October, but the inauguration was postponed.
senior disaster management official said in September that nearly
three-quarters of the project was complete, with the navy fast-tracking
construction of shelters and evacuation centres.
officials have pointed to a newly-constructed three-metre (nine-feet)
embankment around the island that they say will keep out tidal surges in the
event of a cyclone.
who also visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, said the refugees “cannot
return to Myanmar in the near future”.
encourage the government to begin to engage in longer-term planning and prepare
the local population for this reality,” she said.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said over 45,000 Afghan forces have lost their lives
since he assumed office as the president of the country in 2014.
since I have become president, a hundred thousand troops left. Over 45,000
Afghan security personnel have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” President Ghani
said during a discussion with journalist Fareed Zakaria on the sidelines of
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
said “The number of international casualties is less than 72. So it shows you
who is doing the fighting and the support is mutual. We need to get a stable
Afghanistan as an entity that can ensure security of America and Europe and
others on the one hand, but more fundamentally our own democratic rights and
institutions and our right to live in peace and harmony.”
Ghani had earlier said around 28,000 Afghan soldiers have lost their lives
until the start of 2019.
latest revelation by President Ghani comes as the Taliban militants have
increased their attacks against the security forces during the recent years.
RAB camp in-charge Sayeed Abdullah Al Murad said they arrested Shariful alone
known aka Nahid aka Abu Sulaiman, 27, on Nachol-Mohipur road around 3pm on
Friday following information given by the force’s Dhaka office.
is a top leader of the banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh’s
revived faction Neo-JMB, which is blamed for the deadly 2016 attack on the
Holey Artisan cafe attack, the RAB official said.
were preparing to send Shariful alias Khalid to Dhaka, he added.
deputy commander Major Shibli Mostafa told bdnews24.com that Shariful is among
the two militants sentenced to death for the killing of Prof AFM Rezaul Karim
Siddiquee of Rajshahi University’s Department of English.
was a student at the department, the law enforcers said.
Siddiquee, 58, was hacked to death in the city’s Shalbagan while he was waiting
to ride a university bus on Apr 23, 2016.
to a tweet of SITE Intelligence Group, Islamic State claimed in its Amaq News
Agency it killed Siddiquee for ‘calling to atheism’.
authorities and security agencies, however, deny the presence of the Middle
East-based radical group in the country despite its claim of credit for the
Gulshan attack as well.
arrest of Shariful came 15 days after the arrest of another absconding suspect
in the Gulshan attack, Mamunur Rashid Ripon, in Gazipur.
Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crimes Unit had previously said that they
believed Khalid and Ripon had fled across the border to India.
to a report from Indian publication Anandabazar in early 2017, Indian detective
agencies believed that Khalid and Ripon were attempting to raise militant
groups in West Bengal under the aliases ‘Abu Sulaiman’ and ‘Banglar Bagh 2’.
trial over the Gulshan cafe attack proceeded in their absence. The court had
issued arrest warrants against them and ordered their property seized.
the night of Jul 1, 2016 a group of five young men shot and slaughtered 20
people, including 20 foreign nationals in the upscale cafe.
attackers were killed by army commandos the following day. They were identified
as Nibras Islam, Rohan Ibne Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam Payel
and Shafiqul Islam.
Jul 23, 2018, two years after the incident, Counter Terrorism Unit Inspector
Humayun Kabir identified 21 people in connection with the attack and formally
charged in court eight living suspects.
to the investigation report, the attack was carried out by Neo-JMB militants
after six months of planning. The goal was to create ‘unrest’ in the country
and transform it into a ‘militant state’.
Dhaka Anti-Terrorism Tribunal accepted the charges on Nov 26 of last year,
starting the trial.
BANGLADESH—A UN human rights envoy said Friday that hundreds of thousands of
Rohingya Muslim refugees won’t be able to return to Burma soon because of
threats to their safety in the Buddhist-majority nation.
has been criticized by global rights groups and many nations for
state-sponsored violence against ethnic minorities.
Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, also criticized India
and Saudi Arabia for mistreatment of the Rohingya in those countries amid
global calls for protections for Rohingya Muslims.
spent 10 days in Thailand and Bangladesh, speaking to people from Burma,
authorities, UN agencies and international experts. More than 700,000 Rohingya
refugees have fled into Bangladesh since late August 2017.
is clear that Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh cannot return to Myanmar in the
near future,” she said.
said violence against the Rohingya by the Burma army in Rakhine state that
prompted them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh “bear the hallmarks of
genocide.” Burma has repeatedly turned down her request for allowing her to
visit the country.
told journalists she was disturbed by reports of new violence in Rakhine state
and she accused Burma of failing to create a peaceful environment so the
refugees could return from Bangladesh.
campaign of violence against the Rohingya continues, with the security forces
slowly bleeding the remaining Rohingya population and continuing to force them
to flee to Bangladesh,” she said.
added: “From the discussions I had with Rohingya this week in Bangladesh, it is
evident that Myanmar is not working to create conditions for return for the
Rohingya but is engaging in a sustained campaign of violence, intimidation and
said she was dismayed by Saudi Arabia’s recent deportation of 13 Rohingya to
Bangladesh, where they have been arrested and charged with forging the
passports that they used to travel to Saudi Arabia.
also said about 1,300 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from after Indian
authorities deported them to Burma, and they crossed into Bangladesh from
exodus of Rohingya began after Burma security forces launched a brutal
crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts in late August
in 2017. The scale, organization and ferocity of the crackdown led the UN and
several governments to accuse Burma of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
30 December, the 11th parliamentary election was held in Bangladesh. The
election was historical for many reasons: (a) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hit
a hat-trick, as she became the first in the country to form a government for a
third consecutive term. Hasina’s party, Awami League (AL), and its allies won
288 seats out of the 300. This is a victory similar only with the country’s
first election in 1973, when the AL won 293 seats. (b) Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were
used for the first time in a parliamentary
election in the country. (c) This election also recorded the highest number of
woman-contestants. However, this election was not free of controversies. The
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), an arch rival of the Awami League which
could win only 7 seats, rejected the poll outcome and expressed doubts about
its fairness. The party alleged vote rigging.
Here is an assessment of the election and the likely future course of
politics in the country.
the boycott by the BNP, the Hasina government faced criticism globally. The BNP
boycotted the election after its demand for reinstating a caretaker government,
which was abolished following a constitutional amendment in 2011, was not met.
However, this time, all political parties participated in the election and this
saved the government from calling the poll one-sided.
AL and the BNP are the dominant parties in the country. These parties are led
by two begums – the AL by PM Sheikh
Hasina and the BNP by Khaleda Zia. In
the 2018 election, both parties preferred alliances. The prominent alliances
were: (1) Grand Alliance spearheaded by the ruling AL. AL’s partners are Jatiya
Party, the Jatiya Samajbadi Dal, Tarikat Federation, the Workers Party, and
Bikalpadhara Bangladesh. (2) Jatiya Oikyo Front (JOF), led by former AL leader
Kamal Hossain, who severed ties with the party and founded the Gono Forum. Its partners included the BNP, the Krishak
Sramik Janata league, the Jatiya Sramajtantrik Dal and Nagorik Oikya.
Interestingly, the BNP, apart from participating in the JOF, was leading another
alliance, popular as 20-party alliance. Key partners of the BNP in the 20-party
alliance were Liberal Democratic Party, the Khelafat Majlish, the Bangladesh
Kalyan Party, the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam, the Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar), the
Nationalist People’s Party and the Labour Party. The left parties also formed
an alliance known as the Left Democratic Alliance and the major parties of this
alliance are the Communist Party of Bangladesh, the Samaj Tantrik Dal and the
Revolutionary Party of Bangladesh. A
total of 39 political parties fielded candidates in the election.
is worth to note that the 22 members of Jamaat-e-Islami, an influential
religious political party banned from fighting elections following the
cancellation of its registration, also participated in the election using the
BNP’s symbol. The participation of Jamaat, a major coalition partner of the BNP
government (2001-06), indicates that the party will be present in the country’s
political scene while it may not either use the name or the symbol of the
Sangsad’, the parliament of Bangladesh, consists of 350 members. Three hundred
members are directly elected and the rest 50 are reserved for women who are
nominated. On 30 December, the election was held in 299 seats as polling in one
constituency was postponed following the death of a candidate. Around 1800 candidates contested the
election, out of which 69 were women. The number of woman-constants was highest
in the history of the country, though it is still very low when compared to the
number of women voters, who comprise half of the voters. Twentytwo women have
been elected to the 11th parliament. Participation from the minority in this
election was around 74 candidates -- 18 nominated by the AL, 7 by the BNP and 3
by the Gono Forum. Around 18 of them
won, and most of them being from AL. In Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country,
minorities comprise 10 percent of the population.
Election Commission (EC) supervised the election. And it was the second
election after the abolition of the caretaker government system in 2011. The
system of caretaker government was installed following a constitutional
amendment in 1996 to ensure a credible election. So, the present election was a test for the EC’s
credibility to deliver an impartial election. The EC claims that the election
was free and fair. The international observers also did not question its
absence of the top opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, in the election is
considered a reason for its weakness. Begum Zia, the BNP chairperson, was
unable to fight the election after her candidature was rejected due to her
conviction in a corruption case. She is serving 10 years jail term, and
according to Bangladesh’s constitution, one is disqualified from fighting
election if that person sentenced to a prison term of more than two years.
Similarly, Tarique Rahman, her son and successor and living in London for a
decade, alsocould not enter the electoral race following his life sentence in a
criminal case. Fakhrul Islam Alamgir,
the General Secretary of BNP, led the party in this election. The party’s poor
performance suggests that the charisma of General Zia, the founder of the BNP,
is still a major factor for the party and people are not ready to test the new
leadership without his kin.
election was marked by the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM)
in the parliamentary poll. To enable introduction of EVMs, the Representation
of the People’s Order was amended last year. The EVMs were used in six
constituencies on a pilot basis. The introduction of EVMs indicate the EC’s
efforts to bring in transparency in the electoral process.
of social media as a tool for campaigning
added a new dimension to the election. Both the Awami League and the BNP
used social media as a major platform for reaching the voters. The BNP claimed that the party had to take
refuge in the virtual platform since it faced resistance in campaigning in the
real world. There are 81 million internet users in the country, which corresponds
to 49 percent of the country’s population. This number is substantial for a
country which has 100 million voters.
The authorities watched the influence of the virtual medium in forming
public opinion. Prior to the election, the authorities had shut down around 54
news sites as a precautionary measure. Again, during the election, the speed of
the internet was slowed as a security measure.
election saw large deployment of the army and law enforcement agencies for the
maintenance of peace during the election. The army was deployed in 389 Upazila
or sub-districts, covering 270 constituencies, for assisting the civil
administration in the conduct of the election. The army gained popularity due
to its experience in the 2008 parliamentary election held under a
military-backed caretaker government and recognised as the most credible
election in the country’s entire history. The deployment of the army was
welcomed by all the political parties. Although 17 people died in the election,
it was considered by and large peaceful because in Bangladesh, violence has
been an integral part of politics where loss of life is quite common.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first to congratulate her. Soon, China
followed the suit. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, the United Arab Emirates,
Bhutan and Pakistan congratulated PM Hasina.
The EU and the United States also pledged to cooperate with her
government. The international recognition has strengthened PM Hasina’s position
in the country.
this month, Hasina took the oath of secrecy for the 3rd consecutive term and
formed a 46-member cabinet, including 24 full ministers, 19 ministers of states
and three deputy ministers. Giving a refreshing look to her cabinet, she
dropped many of the influential leaders who have been in the ministry for a long
time. Thirty one members of her cabinet are new comers in the cabinet.
trends suggest that PM Hasina has settled down to rule the country for the next
five years and work to fulfil the promises made to the people. During her
campaigning, Hasina promised development and democracy and the expectation is
that she will transform the country into a developed nation. Along with
accelerating economic growth, attention also need to be given to improving the
democratic institutions because democracy was also a desire for people to fight
for the liberation from Pakistan in 1971.
least six militants were killed in separate ground operations and airstrike
conducted in three provinces of Afghanistan in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Chk-e Wardak district of Maidan Wardak province yesterday killing 1 Taliban
fighter and destroying bomb making materials, including a suicide vest.
sources further added that a coalition air strike killed 2 Taliban fighters in
Qarah Bagh district of Ghazni province.
Special Forces conducted a clearance operation in Zerkoh district of Herat
province killing 3 Taliban fighters and destroying a weapons cache, the sources
the Afghan and Coalition Forces have increased ground operations and airstrikes
against the anti-government armed elements in the restive parts of the country.
Wednesday, the 205th Corps hosted a shura of over 200 district and tribal
leaders within Kandahar to include the acting Provincial Governor, Abdul
Muneeb, the Provincial Chief of Police, Major General Tadin Khan, and the 205th
Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Imam Nazar. There were 18 different
speakers to include Masood Akhunzada, the keeper of the Holy Cloak and the
Director of Kandahar University, who housed the students who initiated the peace
protect in Kandahar just a week ago.
Provincial Governor Muneeb said “We can introduce 1,000 youth recruits to the
Corps. Afghan National Army Territorial Force Soldiers can live in their homes
with their families while serving. It is all of our responsibility to protect
our country.” “I thank all the district elders for their support. We want to
bring peace. We should try to bring peace, whether its the government, we
should all hold hands and stand together because the war has been going on a long
time and it only harms the Afghans. There is no profit in fighting and it is
destroying our country,” he added.
Chief of Police Tadin Khan said “The youth can defend our country and we need
the youth to volunteer to serve for this country. This country needs service
and sacrifice and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our security forces.”
Akhunzada, keeper of the holy cloak said “We know Afghanistan has a lot of
enemies, all around Afghanistan there are our enemies. But we need to support
our government and our Army. If the tribal leaders work with our security
forces, it will bring peace. We are ready to sacrifice for this country.”
Uruzgan Province had a similar shura in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan with 50 tribal
elders to discuss recruitment efforts of the ANA Territorial Force which will
help bring peace to Afghanistan. They stated that there were rumors that Tarin
Kot would fall but residents have already stood up to defend their communities,
the initiation of the Territorial Force would be beneficial to maintain
security across the province.
Provincial Governor Asadullah Saeed said ” The people of Uruzgan are taking a
big part in joining and building the ANDSF. We have 4,000 forces in Uruzgan and
nearly 80% of them are Uruzgan residents.”
resident of Uruzgan said “People believe that the government is the right
government and everyone has the right to a peaceful environment. We believe
that our government is important, governance is important and the constitution is
important to all Afghans.”
key member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) was killed
in a drone strike which was conducted in eastern Nangarhar province of
media office of provincial government of Nangarhar in a statement said Qari
Naqibullah, a key group member of ISIS-K was killed in a coalition drone strike
in Chaparhar district.
statement further added that airstrike was carried out late on Thursday night
in Aghez area of the district.
to the local officials, Qari Naqibullah was a key group member of ISIS-K who
was involved in destructive activities in this province for the past several
expects creation of Syria security zone in few months, Erdogan says
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the Ankara government expects a “security
zone” to be created in neighboring Syria within a few months as the United
States withdraws its troops from the war-torn Arab country.
zone should be aimed at protecting our country from terrorists not protecting
terrorists right beside our border, and should be established within a few
months,” Erdogan said in a speech in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum on
we will definitely form this safe or buffer zone ourselves. Our only
expectation from our allies is that they provide logistical support to Turkey's
effort,” he added.
patience has a limit,” Erdogan said. “We will not wait forever for the
fulfillment of the promises given to us.”
2012, Turkey has been calling for the establishment of a safe zone of 30-40
kilometers between the northern Syrian towns of Jarablus and al-Rai in a bid to
drive out Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and to protect civilians.
However, the plan has not come to fruition so far.
and his US counterpart Donald Trump held a telephone conversation last week,
where the Turkish leader expressed Ankara's determination to establish a safe zone
in northern Syria.
has suggested creation of a 30-kilometer safe zone along Turkey’s border with
Syria, but has not specified who would create, enforce or pay for it, or where
it would be located.
has been threatening for months to launch an offensive in northern Syria
against US-backed YPG militants.
considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous
region inside Turkey since 1984.
Turkish military, with support from allied militants of the so-called Free
Syrian Army, has launched two cross-border operations in northern Syria, dubbed
“Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch”, against the YPG and Daesh Takfiri
of Yemenis have rallied on the streets of Yemen's northern city of Sa'ada to
commemorate fallen soldiers on Martyrs' Day.
demonstrators stressed their willingness to counter what they described as
foreign occupation and American policies in the region, Yemen's al-Massirah TV
channel reported on Friday.
chanted slogans such as "We shall remain loyal to our martyrs" and
"We will not abandon our principals" as they marched while they
condemned those who had "betrayed the nation".
protesters also expressed their determination to resist sanctions, fight the
Saudi-imposed aggression and raise awareness among the public to thwart the
the rally, Ansarullah movement leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi urged the
Yemeni nation to continue resistance against the invaders.
said “hypocrites and those who committed profoundly evil deeds” carry out
schemes drawn up by arrogant powers.
enemy seeks to use all methods to weaken the will of our nation in the face of
its aggression,” said al-Houthi.
month, Yemen’s warring parting withdrew forces from the strategic port city of
Hudaydah following a peace deal signed in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on
Saudi-led coalition has, however, violated the truce on many occasions. On
Thursday, heavy clashes were reported in the city following a Saudi attack on the
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing a former
government back to power and crushing the Houthi movement.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.
rulers Hamas said on Thursday they would not accept a fresh tranche of Qatari
funds, accusing Israel of imposing new conditions on the money entering the
blockaded Palestinian territory.
rejection of the expected $15 million raised fears of fresh tensions along the
Gaza-Israel border, ahead of weekly protests on Friday.
refuse to receive the third Qatari grant in response to the (Israeli)
occupation’s behavior and attempts to evade the agreement,” Khalil al-Hayya,
Hamas’s deputy head in Gaza, told journalists.
an informal agreement struck in November, Qatar has sent $15 million a month
into the strip.
funds to pay salaries of Hamas employees and support impoverished Gazans are in
exchange for relative calm along the border, where often violent protests have
taken place since March 2018.
permission is required since the cash must be delivered via its territory.
is labelled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European
Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.
blocks third tranche
third tranche had been expected to enter this week but Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu blocked it on Tuesday after two shooting incidents along the
Gaza border, including one in which a soldier was lightly injured.
did not name specific conditions that were changed, but said Israel was playing
politics with the funds ahead of upcoming general elections.
Israel Hayom newspaper reported that Netanyahu had proposed conditions on when
the funds be dispersed, including a suggestion that they would be given out on
Fridays before weekly protests to dampen enthusiasm for violence.
is running for a fifth term in April elections and has faced criticism from
right-wing Israelis who accuse him of being too soft on Hamas.
al-Emadi, ambassador of the Gulf state to Gaza, met Thursday in the enclave
with Hamas officials, including leader Ismail Haniya.
protests will be seen as a key test of whether Hamas wishes to increase
tensions along the border.
in Gaza on Thursday evening encouraged Palestinians to go to the border after
prayers the following day for the protests.
least 244 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, mostly
during border clashes but also by tank fire and air strikes.
Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.
are calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to return to their
former lands now inside Israel.
Houthi militias shelled a camp for displaced persons in Haradh in Yemen’s
Hajjah province on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding 30 others, an Al
Arabiya correspondent reported.
correspondent said that the wounded included women and children, and that the
camp is located about 15 kilometers from areas where clashes occur.
also pointed out that the shelling was carried out by guided missile.
in Hodeidah, a Yemeni military source said that “the militias shelled grain
mills and silos where wheat is stored using a number of missiles,” causing
young Palestinian man has been killed by Israeli fire and another 22 sustained
gunshot wounds as hundreds of people staged demonstrations in multiple spots
along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied
territories for the 44th consecutive Friday.
spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, named the dead man
as 25-year-old Ehab Atallah Hussein Abed, stating that he was fatally shot east
of the border town of Rafah, located 30 kilometers south of Gaza City, during a
“Great March of Return” protest rally.
added that 22 civilians, including 14 children, were struck with live bullets
while dozens of others suffered tear gas inhalation.
went on to say that Israeli military forces directly targeted an ambulance,
leaving six Palestinian paramedics and a photo journalist injured. Medic Yousef
Zino was treated for a wound after a tear gas canister hit him in the hand.
source, requesting anonymity, said 15 civilians, among them two children, were
injured by Israeli live fire. One of the minors was struck in the foot while
another was hit in the pelvis.
other protesters were admitted to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir
al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. One of them is said to be in a critical
dozens of Palestinian demonstrators suffered excessive tear gas inhalation east
of Rafah and Jabalia after Israeli forces sought to suppress anti-occupation
have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled
from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation
protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians
have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with
the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian
deaths in the Gaza Strip.
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
Turkey may establish its own 32km security zone in northern Syria to keep
Kurdish militias away from its border, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on
threat by Ankara to “go it alone” with a buffer zone follows silence from
Washington on US involvement in the plan.
Donald Trump proposed the border zone, but has not specified who would create,
enforce or pay for it, or where exactly it would be.
expect the promise of a security zone, a buffer zone aimed at protecting our
country from terrorists, to be fulfilled in few months,” Erdogan said on
Friday. “Otherwise we will establish it ourselves.
only expectation from our allies is that they provide logistical support to
Turkey's effort. Our patience has a limit. We will not wait for ever for the
fulfilment of the promises given to us.”
said neither the UN nor the international coalition formed to protect the
Syrian people were capable of creating a safe zone or maintaining security in
only power that can in a true sense establish the safety and functioning of
this region on our Syrian border is Turkey,” he said. “We are closed to all
proposed solutions besides this.”
said Turkey had the right to enter Syrian territory when it was threatened
under a 1998 agreement with Damascus after Syria expelled the Kurdish militant
leader Abdullah Ocalan, now jailed in Turkey.
regards the Syrian Kurdish YPG as an extension of Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey.
YPG has played a key role in the US-led coalition against Daesh. Trump had
previously warned Ankara not to attack Kurdish fighters in Syria, and
threatened retaliation against Turkey’s economy.
special Syria envoy James Jeffrey held talks in Ankara on Friday with Turkish Defense
Minister Hulusi Akar and armed forces chief Gen. Yasar Guler. Akar told him
Turkey expected the US to end its support for the YPG and complete the road map
which the two countries agreed upon for the Syrian town of Manbij to the west
of the Euphrates.
operations against Daesh in Syria are wrapping up and the last pockets of the
self-proclaimed “caliphate” will be flushed out within a month, a top commander
operation of our forces against Daesh in its last pocket has reached its end
and Daesh fighters are now surrounded in one area,” said Mazloum Kobani, head
of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
A fire on the edge of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah has reportedly damaged
two food silos, the UN said Friday, adding it appeared a mortar shell hit
are very concerned that some of our wheat stocks at the Red Sea Mills have been
damaged,” said the UN World Food Programme’s Yemen director Stephen Anderson,
quoted in a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
WFP has 51,000 metric tons of wheat stored at the Red Sea Mills site on
Hodeidah’s outskirts, but has been unable to access the site since September
last year, due to fighting, the statement said.
forces, supported by a regional coalition that includes Saudi Arabia and the
UAE, have battled to oust Iran-backed Houthi rebels from the lifeline port
peace talks in Sweden last month brought about a fragile truce for Hodeidah,
but the embattled government on Thursday accused the rebels of failing to abide
by its terms.
urgently needs to get access to the Red Sea Mills so we can assess the level of
damage and begin transporting the unaffected wheat stocks to areas of Yemen
where it is desperately needed,” Anderson added.
UN agency’s stores at the facility represent a quarter of its wheat stock in
the country — enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month — the OCHA
war has pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine in what the UN
describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
situation in Yemen is heart-breaking,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator for
Yemen Lise Grande, in the statement.
quarter of a million people are in a catastrophic condition, facing near
starvation if assistance doesn’t get to them. We need this wheat,” she added.
UAE’s official news agency WAM accused the Houthi rebels of targeting the mills
with a mortar shell, causing what it described as a huge fire that destroyed a
large quantity of wheat.
was no immediate response from the Houthis.
state-run Saba news agency said Friday that five soldiers and a child were also
killed by an exploding land mine in Al-Baida in central Yemen.
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