Fundamentalist religious cleric arrested in Pakistan

Pakistani authorities have arrested the fundamentalist Islamic cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi whose supporters have held violent rallies against the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit the Christian woman, Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case. Supporters of the Islamic cleric and his party the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party (TLP), have responded to his arrest on Friday by vowing to shut major cities in a call for stricter adherence to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Khadim Hussain Rizvi son, claimed that his madrassa (religious school) in the eastern city of Lahore was raided during the night and he was taken away...

Suicide bombing and Chinese consulate attack in Pakistan leave 27 dead

A suicide bombing in the northwest region of Orakzai in Pakistan on Friday killed at least 25 people. A suicide bomber drove into a crowd which had gathered to visit a market and attend a festival before detonating explosives. No group has claimed responsibility for this attack. Abbas Khan, the assistant commissioner of the district, told Reuters that among the 25 killed were three members of the minority Sikh community and two security officials. The attack follows an attack on the Chinese consulate in the southern city of Karachi. This attack was carried out by three attackers and resulted...

Suicide bombing in Afghan mosque kills at least 26

Security officials have reported 26 people were killed and 50 wounded in a suicide bombing on Friday in a mosque in the Ismail Khel district of Khost province, Afghanistan. Whilst there has been no immediate claims on who is responsible for the attack, the Taliban is believed to be responsible. The Taliban has waged a series of attacks against Afghan security forces in recent weeks in the hopes of ousting the Western-backed government and foreign forces.

Mumbai farmers protest over land rights

Thousands of farmers have marched close to 40 km from the western state of Maharashtra to the state capital Mumbai to demand the transfer of forest land to villagers who have worked the land for decades. The protest which took place on Thursday is the second major demonstration against the BJP government with the first occurring in March when over 35,000 farmers marched over 180km from Nashik to Mumbai, led by the left-winged All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). In March they had seemed to reach an agreement with the government accepting most of the demands in writing but farmers complain that the...

UN Security Council extends mandate of Western Sahara self-determination resolution; talks commence in December

The United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) earlier this month. Adopting resolution 2240 (2018) by a recorded vote of 12 in favour with 3 abstentions, the Security Council extended the MINURSO mandate by a further 6 months, and backed the UN Secretary General’s plan to initiate negotiations for a “realistic, practicable and enduring political solution..which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.” Initially established in 1991 with proposals accepted by Morocco and the Frente Polisario movement the MINURSO was tasked with monitoring the ceasfire; overseeing exchange of political prisoners, repatriation of refugees and the eventual organisation of a free and fair referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco.

Denmark suspends arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Denmark’s foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen announced this week Denmark will suspend its exportation of weapons to Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and consistent human rights violations in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest weapons importers and is part of a military coalition waging war in Yemen, that has engaged in human rights violations. “With the continued deterioration of the already terrible situation in Yemen and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we are now in a new situation," Samuelsen told journalists. The suspension also...

Spanish Foreign Minister says an independent Scotland should be allowed to join the European Union

Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrel, told reporters that Spain would not impede Scotland’s attempts to join the European Union (EU) if it gained independence from Britain. The announcement stands in contrast from Spain’s previous position which was to veto Scotland’s attempts to join the EU so as to dissuade Catalonian separatists. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has expressed opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal and stressed the importance of Scotland staying within the European trading bloc. Speaking to Politico on this issue Josep Borell told said: “If they [Scotland]...

US gathers intelligence on migrant caravan through social media, as judge blocks asylum ban

The United States Department of Homeland Security has reportedly been gathering intelligence on a caravan of predominantly Central American migrants towards the US-Mexico border through various social media channels, as federal judge ruled that the group could attempt to claim asylum in the US. It is reported that approximated 3,000 asylum seekers have entered Tijuana and their hopes of asylum swells after US District Judge Jon Tiga blocked president Donald Trump’s ban on migrants claiming asylum. Tiga said the order was an "extreme departure" from previous practice, adding that “whatever the...

Airbnb removes Israeli West Bank settlements from site

The US based rental accommodation firm Airbnb announced its decision to remove Israeli settlements in the West Bank from their website, stating the settlements break international law and impede a peace solution. This move has been hailed by Palestinian groups as a positive first step whilst also being decried by Israeli organisations as an act of capitulation. The UN Security Council deemed settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem violate international law in its resolution 2334. Israel however continues to dispute this and defend the settlement projects. Over 600,000 Israelis live...

Third Committee unanimously approves resolution on self-determination for adoption at UN General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly Third Committee has unanimously passed a resolution supporting self-determination as a fundamental human right. The resolution, tabled by Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi, was passed by the UNGA’s Third Committee which deals with social humanitarian and cultural issues. Tweeting after the vote whish aw a record number of 83 countries cosponsoring it, Dr Lodhi said, “Co-sponsorship by 83 countries of Pakistan’s resolution on self-determination was reaffirmation of the international community’s continued support for people’s...

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