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August 9, 2018

Argentine senate votes against legalisation of abortion

Argentine senate votes against legalisation of abortion

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Thursday, August 9, 2018



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July 22, 2018

Israeli Knesset passes ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill

Israeli Knesset passes ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Crime and law
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On Thursday, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the “Jewish nation-state” bill granting Israel the status of “national home of the Jewish people”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel”.

The bill was passed at 3 AM with 62–55 majority. Two lawmakers abstained. The bill declared Hebrew as the only official language and demoted Arabic from national language to a “special status” language. Netanyahu said, “An absolute majority wants to ensure our state’s Jewish characters for generations to come.” Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein said this bill, which received just 51.66% votes in favour out of the full Knesset of 120, was “one of the most important laws ever to be passed by the Knesset”.

The Knesset began the voting on Wednesday. Previously, the bill had clauses declaring the state as a Jewish-only community as well as direction for judiciary courts to consider Jewish values over democratic values. Both of the clauses were challenged by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the Attorney General. The latter clause about Jewish values for courts was dropped in May; the other clause was eventually dropped, and the final draft of the bill was approved on Monday. The bill was first introduced in 2011 by the right-wing Likud party.

The latest draft of the bill said the Hebrew calendar is to be the official calendar of the state. It also read, “Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established” and “the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.” Israel is home to about 1.8 million Palestinians, who account for roughly 20% of the national population. The bill also declared Jerusalem, in its entirety, as the capital of Israel.

The bill received negative reception from a number of people. The Arab Joint List multi-party alliance called it “anti-democratic, colonialist, racist, and with clear characteristics of apartheid.” Calling it a “shameful night”, Meretz Party’s Tamar Zandberg said it was a “debased and tainted law”. The Joint List’s Ahmad Tibi questioned, “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?”.

Last week, Netanyahu said, “We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel’s democracy but the majority also has the rights and the majority decides”. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a US-based Jewish Organisation, said the bill “was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ‘will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”



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July 9, 2016

Banglagesh suffers bomb attacks on Eid al-Fitr

Banglagesh suffers bomb attacks on Eid al-Fitr

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

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On Thursday, a militant group attacked a mosque in Sholakia in the Kishoreganj district of northern Bangladesh on Eid al-Fitr killing at least four people including one attacker and two officials, injuring at least twelve people, Bangladeshi police said. Al Jazeera reported two suspects were arrested.

Location of Kishoreganj
Image: Nafsadh.

More than 200,000 people had gathered for Eid prayers marking Ramadan’s end. The attackers reportedly used homemade explosives. Officials said the incident injured nine policemen. By reports at least one blast took place while the people were offering prayers. The attackers also used sharp objects which killed one official. The other policeman was killed by explosives. Shafiqul Islam, a local, said the police searched for suspects amongst devotees and nearby houses.

Government officials said the attacks were made in order to “destabalise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‘s government”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “We will not allow any terrorist activities on our soil. Those who commit such acts are the enemies of Islam((ar)).

A few days ago, more than 20 people were killed in an attack in Dhaka.


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February 14, 2016

Mahamaham Festival begins at Kumbakonam in South India

Mahamaham festival begins at Kumbakonam in South India

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

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Mahamaham festival began on Saturday at Kumbakonam, a temple town of Tamil Nadu in South India, with a flag hoisting ceremony at six associated Shiva temples. Planners anticipate this Hindu festival, celebrated once in twelve years for ten days, could attract over four million devotees.

File photo of Mahamaham tank, 2010.
Image: Ssriram mt.

During this ten days festival ending on February 22, 2016 Hindus take a holy dip in the Mahamaham tank. Mahamaham tank has 20 wells.

The government of Tamil Nadu has made elaborate arrangements to ensure devotees safely take their holy dip in the tank. Special facilities have been arranged for comfortable transportation of people. Many ministers and government officials are camping at the holy town to ensure the comfort of people. Ten thousand police men are deployed to regulate the crowd. Many Hindu religious heads are now camping in this town.

The Indian Postal Department has also made arrangements to supply the packed holy water through post to any part of India. This festival is considered as South India’s Kumbh Mela. The previous Mahamaham was celebrated in 2004. The next festival is scheduled to be held in 2028. Twelve Shiva temples and six Vishnu temples of Kumbakonam are associated with this festival.



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January 2, 2016

Saudi Arabia executes 47 people as \’terrorists\’

Saudi Arabia executes 47 people as ‘terrorists’

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

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Yesterday, Saudi Arabian officials said they have executed 47 people whom courts convicted as terrorists.

Officials said the executions were not done in public. Saudi cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh in justifying the executions cited Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Sharia Law and said the executions prevented the accused from committing further crime, calling it a form of “mercy”.

File photo of Dira Square, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where public executions are carried out under Sharia Law; Saudi officials said the 47 people executed were not executed publicly, but rather within prisons.
Image: Luke Richard Thompson.

Some of those executed were reportedly Al-Qaeda militants behind terrorist attacks. Before the executions, an Al-Qaeda branch from Yemen threatened Saudi authorities with violence if they executed their members.

Among those executed was a Shia Muslim cleric who criticized both the royal family of Saudi Arabia and that of Bahrain; he condemned Bahrain‘s suppression of protests with Saudi aid. He reportedly avoided advocating violence. He was convicted of causing violence against authorities, and a Saudi court rejected his appeal of his conviction this past year. His execution led to condemnation from Iranian officials, who had previously said it “would cost Saudi Arabia dearly”.

When news broke the 47 were to be executed, in November, regional Amnesty International director James Lynch said Saudi Arabia was settling “political scores” under “the guise of counter-terrorism.”

The organization said at least 150 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2015, while only 90 were executed a year ago in 2014.



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December 28, 2015

Boko Haram attack in Nigerian city kills at least fifteen

Boko Haram attack in Nigerian city kills at least fifteen

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Monday, December 28, 2015

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According to witness reports, Boko Haram gunmen and suicide bombers killed at least fifteen people in an attack in the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria yesterday, before the military drove them off.

Locals reported hearing gunfire as evening prayers ended at local mosques. The military pushed back the militants, who were on trucks and firing at civilians with guns and grenade launchers, with heavy weapons fire. Amidst the fighting, suicide bombings were carried out.

A local resident Sheshu Mala said that during the attack, “all the residents in the area fled their homes to other parts of the city.” As people fled, two female suicide bombers reportedly detonated themselves in groups of people.

Government sources say ten other suicide bombers have been killed.

The militant group Boko Haram started in the city of Maidugari, where the attacks took place; they lost the territory three years ago as the military retook the city.

The news came after another Boko Haram attack on the village of Kimba killed at least fourteen people on Friday.



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Boko Haram attack in Nigerian city kills at least fourteen

Boko Haram attack in Nigerian city kills at least fourteen

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Monday, December 28, 2015

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According to witness reports, Boko Haram gunmen and suicide bombers killed at least fifteen people in an attack in the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria yesterday, before the military drove them off.

Locals reported hearing gunfire as evening prayers ended at local mosques. The military pushed back the militants, who were on trucks and firing at civilians with guns and grenade launchers, with heavy weapons fire. Amidst the fighting, suicide bombings were carried out.

A local resident Sheshu Mala said that during the attack, “all the residents in the area fled their homes to other parts of the city.” As people fled, two female suicide bombers reportedly detonated themselves in groups of people.

Government sources say ten other suicide bombers have been killed.

The militant group Boko Haram started in the city of Maidugari, where the attacks took place; they lost the territory three years ago as the military retook the city.

The news came after another Boko Haram attack on the village of Kimba killed at least fourteen people on Friday.



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December 9, 2015

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

Petition calls for Trump UK ban – Wikinews, the free news source

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2016 United States presidential election
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A petition reached over 300,000 signatures today urging Donald Trump, considered the front runner to become the Republican Party‘s candidate for President of the United States, be banned from entering the United Kingdom. This follows Mr Trump’s comments that Muslims should be blocked from entering the US.

Donald Trump defended his policy on Tuesday of banning Muslims from the US
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Also, Scotland‘s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, removed Trump from his role as business ambassador for Scotland.

On Monday, Mr Trump said he wants a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US” until the country can understand “what the hell is going on” with regard to terrorism. He said in a statement that a large number of Muslims show “great hatred towards Americans”.

Trump’s comments on Monday came days after a shooting in San Bernardino, California by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, in which fourteen people were killed. US President Barack Obama said in an address from the Oval Office on Sunday the attack was an act of terrorism.

Donald Trump’s statement has been widely criticised, including by members of his own political party. Republican Matt Moore said the policy is a “bad idea” and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said “this is not Conservatism”.

Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton described Trump’s comments as “shameful”. Secretary of State John Kerry argued Trump’s statement would not help in the ongoing fight against Islamic State (IS), saying his remarks were “not constructive”.

Trump argued that his policy idea is “no different” to that of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy which saw large-scale confinement of Japanese US citizens in internment camps following Japan’s attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Mr Trump also said the policy should not be implemented on Muslims currently living within the US.

Kassem Allie from the Islamic Center of America, accused Trump of evoking fear “reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalin“. The Pentagon expressed concern Trump’s demands could be counterproductive in the fight against IS, saying it “bolsters Isil’s narrative”.

Mr Trump also said on Tuesday that police in London are “afraid for their lives” in some areas because of radicalisation in the city. These comments were rebuffed by the United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron who said Trump was “simply wrong” and Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the claim was “ridiculous”.



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November 27, 2015

At least 52, including six Shia Muslim activists, to be executed in Saudi Arabia

At least 52, including six Shia Muslim activists, to be executed in Saudi Arabia

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Friday, November 27, 2015

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In Saudi Arabia, six Shia Muslim activists, along with at least 46 other people, are to be executed for terrorism on an unspecified date, according to reports on Thursday.

Varying local media reports said at least 52 people will be executed. Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz said some of the people convicted of terrorism were members of the militant group Al-Qaeda, and were convicted of attempting to overthrow the government and planning terrorist attacks. The 52 have allegedly killed at least a hundred civilians and seventy security personnel.

Amnesty International said others who are also to be executed were people from the city of Awamiya, where most of the population consists of Shia Muslims, a minority within Saudi Arabia. Protests have been held there, across the past several years, over alleged mistreatment of Shias by the government. Among those convicted of terrorism were the six Shia Muslim activists, at least two of whom reportedly were minors when they allegedly committed their crimes. Amnesty International has said the trials leading up to their conviction were clearly “unfair”.

File photo of Dira Square, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where public executions are carried out under Sharia Law.
Image: Luke Richard Thompson.

James Lynch, Middle East and North Africa deputy director of Amnesty International, said Saudi Arabia was settling “political scores” under “the guise of counter-terrorism.”

The three Shias, Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher, and Hussein al-Marhoon, said they have confessed to their supposed criminal acts under torture, according to Lynch.

More than 150 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2015, while only 90 were executed a year ago in 2014, said Amnesty International.

This news came after Saudi-born Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia, which Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle called an example of Saudi Arabia’s “complete intolerance for anyone who may not share government-mandated religious, political, and social views.”



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November 21, 2015

Saudi Arabian court convicts poet of apostasy, sentences to death

Saudi Arabian court convicts poet of apostasy, sentences to death

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

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A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Saudi-born Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh to death on Tuesday for allegedly committing apostasy, a crime punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Sharia Law. The court decision was brought to light yesterday by Adam Coogle, a researcher working for Human Rights Watch.

File photo of Dira Square, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where public executions are carried out under Sharia Law.
Image: Luke Richard Thompson.

Fayadh has previously posted a video online of a public lashing by religious police. Mona Kareem, an activist from Kuwait calling for Fayadh’s release, said “some Saudis think this was revenge by the morality police.”

Fayadh was detained by police in August 2013, accused of blasphemy and promoting atheism through his poems. According to Fayadh, this stemmed from a dispute with a fellow artist. He was soon released under bail.

Fayadh was again arrested in January 2014. He was tried at a court in Abha in February under allegations of committing blasphemy, promoting atheism, and having illegal relationships with women. He was sentenced in May that year to four years of jail and 800 lashes. Fayadh appealed the decision, and the case was retried by another judge, who sentenced him to death.

Activist Mona Kareem said the judge for Fayadh’s retrial “didn’t even talk to [Fayadh], he just made the verdict.”

Fayadh was given 30 days to appeal the court ruling, but according to Kareem, Fayadh “was unable to assign a lawyer because his ID was confiscated when he was arrested” in January 2014.

Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle called the court ruling an example of Saudi Arabia’s “complete intolerance for anyone who may not share government-mandated religious, political, and social views.”



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