Showing posts from December 9, 2018

US sanctions 3 over activities in South Sudan's civil war

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The United States said Friday it has sanctioned three people over their roles in South Sudan's five-year civil war, saying it will continue to target those who "profit off the misery and suffering of the South Sudanese people." A Treasury statement named the three as retired Israeli military official Israel Ziv and South Sudanese businessman Obac William Olawo, for leading entities whose actions have extended the conflict, and South Sudanese official Gregory Vasili, "for actions that have undermined peace, stability, and security." The U.S. also designated six entities owned or controlled by two of those named, without giving details. There was no immediate response from South Sudan's government, which has bristled at rising U.S. criticism and pressure, including the threat to withdraw aid. The statement said the U.S. is targeting people who have "provided soldiers, armored vehicles, and weapons used to fuel the conflict.&q

Ahmed Kilani is using Islam to rehabilitate extremists

Photo:  Ahmed Kilani is one of four Muslim chaplains employed across NSW prisons.  (Supplied) Imran* became one of Supermax's youngest inmates when he was imprisoned on terror-related charges. Disowned by his father, who refused to visit him, Imran was consumed by rage and hatred. But then he met Ahmed. Ahmed Kilani is one of four Muslim chaplains employed across NSW prisons to counter extremist doctrines and provide spiritual guidance to the small population of Muslim inmates. Every month, he drives hundreds of hours across the state to visit Goulburn Supermax, Long Bay, Lithgow, Bathurst and Oberon prisons. Our 10-minute phone call is strictly monitored by Corrective Services New South Wales and took more than two months to be approved. His work is controversial, but Mr Kilani believes it's life changing. When Mr Kilani finally convinced Imran's father to visit, Imran asked the chaplain to place his hand through the small opening in his cage. Mr Kilani hesitate

Nigeria accuses UNICEF staff of spying for Islamist militants, suspends activities

It said UNICEF had been training people to sabotage troops` counter-insurgency efforts by uncovering the military`s alleged human rights abuses. MAIDUGURI: The Nigerian military on Friday accused United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) staff of spying for Islamist militants in northeast Nigeria, and suspended the agency`s activities there. It said UNICEF had been training people to sabotage troops` counter-insurgency efforts by uncovering the military`s alleged human rights abuses. The northeast has been torn apart by a decade-long insurgency by Boko Haram and its splinter group Islamic State West Africa, in which more than 30,000 people have been killed and many more driven from their homes. In its statement, the Nigerian military said UNICEF staff "train and deploy spies who support the insurgents and their sympathisers". These were "unwholesome practices that could further jeopardise the fight against terrorism and insurgency". It said UNICEF`s operatio

Twitter Appeases Islamists, warns global users their tweets violate Pakistani law

WASHINGTON: When Canadian columnist Anthony Furey received an email said to be from Twitter's legal team telling him he may have broken a slew of Pakistani laws, his first instinct was to dismiss it as spam. But after Googling the relevant sections of Pakistan's penal code, the Toronto Sun op-ed editor was startled to learn he stood accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad - a crime punishable by death in the Islamic republic - and Twitter later confirmed the correspondence was genuine. His perceived offense was to post cartoons of the prophet several years ago. Furey and two prominent critics of extremism in Islam say they are "shocked" to have received notices by the social media giant this past week over alleged violations of Islamabad's laws, despite having no apparent connection to the South Asian country. They say the notices amount to an effort to stifle their voices - a charge Twitter denies, arguing the notices came about as a result of "

Curbing radical sermons in Indonesia

Indonesia’s national intelligence agency (BIN) revealed in November 2018 that 41 mosques connected to government institutions and state-owned enterprises conduct sermons laced with extremist advocacy. The discovery was part of a survey by the Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic Boarding School and Community Development Association (P3M NU), which identified as many as 500 mosques suspected of radicalising worshippers. The advancement of radical messages in formal institutions in Indonesia is not new. Several studies have uncovered support for subversive Islamist organisations and militant preaching within state university mosques in recent years. The Indonesian government is falling short in addressing the problem on campuses, and the new revelations may further test its willingness and ability to intervene. Faith-based intolerance in Indonesia has been in the spotlight since the bitter campaign for the April 2017 gubernatorial elections in the special administrative region of Jakarta.

Zambo police on alert vs. possible NPA attacks

Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, Police Regional Office-9 director (right), answers questions during a press conference Friday in Camp Batalla, Zamboanga City. To his right is Chief Supt. Edwin De Ocampo, deputy regional director for administration of PRO-9.  (Photo courtesy: Remus L. Ong)   ZAMBOANGA CITY  -- The Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) has placed its personnel on alert and strengthened security measures to thwart any possible attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the region. Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, PRO-9 director, issued the order after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) directed its armed wing to launch offensives across the country in response to the extension in the imposition of martial law in Mindanao. Licup said Friday all provincial and city directors have been ordered to adopt “target hardening” measures, especially the undermanned municipal police stations and vital government installations. The municipal police station in Ti

US-backed forces expel IS from east Syria hub

BEIRUT: Kurdish-led forces seized the Islamic State's main hub of Hajin Friday, a milestone in a massive and costly US-backed operation to eradicate the jihadists from eastern Syria.  The  Syrian Democratic Forces  secured Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by IS, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.  "After a week of heavy fighting and air strikes, the SDF were able to kick IS out of Hajin," Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation, said.  The operation was completed at dawn, he said, a day after SDF forces fanned out across the large village in the Euphrates valley.  On Thursday, the last IS fighters were confined to a network of tunnels and the edges of Hajin, which lies in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the border with Iraq.  The area held by IS is sometimes referred to as the "Hajin pocket", the last rump of a once-sprawling "

CPP orders NPA to ‘mount offensives across PHL’ in response to martial law extension

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Wednesday commanded its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), to intensify its offensive tactics across the country on the heels of the extension of martial rule over Mindanao. "The CPP calls on the New People’s Army (NPA) to mount tactical offensives across the country in response to the extension of martial law in Mindanao," CPP said in a statement. "All NPA units must exert all possible effort to punish the worst fascist units and officers of the AFP who have committed grave crimes against the people," it added. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will further fall into corruption as they soak in absolute power under the extended martial law, the CPP said. The CPP also claimed that military forces will take advantage of the martial law in the upcoming midterm elections. "The AFP is set on heightening its election meddling in order to manipulate t

Teachers are at the frontline of the struggle against the rise of the far right

The reach of today’s far-right is just extraordinary (Photo: Paul Davey / It is our hard-pressed educators, in schools, colleges and universities that are on the frontline of dealing with a shocking rise in far-right referrals to the Government’s counter-extremism Prevent programme, which have  shot up  by over a third during the past year. And it comes at a time when the traditional far right is rapidly morphing and changing, presenting a new threat and increasing challenge for those who have to help spot the signs of possible radicalisation among young people. While new  Home Office  figures reveal that referrals for Islamist extremism fell by 14 per cent, they rose 36 per cent for far-right extremism. Officials said the number of suspected far-right extremists had been rising since 2015, amid increasing awareness of the threat posed by banned neo-Nazi groups as well as atrocities such as the  murder of Jo Cox . Taken together, the number of people flagged to P

44 J&K policemen killed in militant attacks this year, says govt

At least 44 policemen were killed in militant attacks in different parts of J&K in 2018, which marked the highest number of casualties in the state since 2006. The rebels even abducted and then released family members of the policemen in south Kashmir after the arrest of their relatives. Mir Ehsan At least 44 policemen were killed in a series of militant attacks in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, which marked the highest number of casualties in the state since 2006. The rebels even abducted and then released family members of the policemen in south Kashmir after the arrest of their relatives.  According to the Ministry of Home Affairs data, till date this year, as many as 87 security personnel, including 44 state police personnel, 32 army jawans, seven CRPF men and one CISF, BSF and SSB jawan, were killed in the state. Data also showed 230 militants died in encounters with security personnel.  “Our operations this year were result oriented, and in frustrat

Surrendered Maoists in Odisha cheer for India in world cup hockey

As a jam-packed stadium cheered for the Indian team, there were 30 former Maoists in the audience at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Thursday evening watching the match flanking the chief minister. It was not just former Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag who watched the men’s World Cup Hockey quarterfinal match between India and the Netherlands with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. As a jam-packed stadium cheered for the Indian team, there were 30 former Maoists in the audience at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Thursday evening watching the match flanking the chief minister.  Led by Malkangiri’ superintendent of police Jagmohan Meena, the Maoists shook hands with the chief minister before sitting down to watch the knock-out match. Ten of them are from Koraput and 20 from Malkangiri districts and held the ranks of armed cadres and divisional committee members in the Maoist outfits before surrendering to the government. Many of the surrendered Maoists had the I

3 women stabbed in German city, unclear if attacks linked

BERLIN (AP) — Three women have been stabbed and wounded in the German city of Nuremberg, police said Friday as they investigated whether the incidents were connected. There was no immediate word on what weapon was used in Thursday evening's attacks. Police said there was no indication of any link to terrorism. The stabbings took place in the Bavarian city's St. Johannis district. The first victim, a 56-year-old, required surgery after a man attacked her on the street and fled. The other two attacks took place in quick succession about 3 ½ hours later. A 26-year-old and then a 34-year-old sustained injuries that were initially described as life-threatening. Police said Friday that all the victims had been treated successfully and their lives were no longer in danger. They said that they couldn't rule out the same person having carried out all three attacks. Police beefed up their presence in the area on Friday, with both uniformed and plainclothes officers. The

Analysis: In democracies' political chaos, new model emerges

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2018 file photo, a demonstrator waves the French flag on a burning barricade on the Champs-Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background, during a demonstration against the rise of fuel taxes. Across the world, people are questioning truths they had long held to be self-evident, and they are dismissing some of them as fake news. They are replacing traditions they had long seen as immutable with haphazard reinvention. In France, people who feel left behind by a globalizing world have spent the last few weeks marching and rioting to protest a government they call elitist and out of touch. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)  LONDON (AP) -- Bickering in the Oval Office. Shouting at the Houses of Parliament. Rioting on the Champs-Elysees. It's a chaotic moment for the countries that have long underpinned the global order, a time of instability for the balance of power that has reigned for decades. Across the world, people are questioning truths

Philippines: 66 alleged militants convicted in kidnappings

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court has found 66 alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf guilty of kidnapping dozens of students, teachers and a Catholic priest in the south in 2000, in the largest single conviction involving the brutal Muslim militant group. The Regional Trial Court branch 261 on Friday acquitted 20 other people who have languished in jail for several years while insisting they were innocent in the brazen March 2000 kidnappings of 52 people, mostly young students at two schools on Basilan island. Two kidnapped teachers were beheaded and a priest died while in the custody of the militants. Nearly 100 people were charged in the kidnappings. An Associated Press investigation in 2014 indicated that dozens of people were detained without strong evidence. Source:

Georgia police officer shot to death; gunman killed

Atlanta (Reuters) - A rookie suburban Atlanta police officer was shot and killed Thursday by a man who was also killed in a shoot-out with other officers, officials said. The names of the DeKalb County police officer and the suspected gunman were not immediately available and few other details were released. Police said that the officer, who had been with the force for a little more than a year, made a traffic stop in suburban Atlanta about 5 p.m. Thursday. "Tonight, a DeKalb County police officer died in the line of duty serving the citizens of DeKalb County," James Conroy, the DeKalb County chief of police, said in a statement on the Internet. The suspect ran from the traffic stop and shot at the officer, Conroy told local media. Other police officers arrived at the scene with police dogs and tracked the suspect, who was hiding behind a nearby business, police said. One dog who helped track the suspect was also shot and was in critical condition early Friday, of