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Month: May 2017

Canada to raise funds for drought-hit countries in Africa

Read original article by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban on the Africa News or read a quick summary below;

  1. “The Canadian government has officially launched a fundraiser to help combat famine in three African countries and Yemen.”
  2. “The fund was launched on Monday May 29, 2017. “For every eligible donation made by individuals to registered Canadian charities between March 17 and June 30, 2017, the Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Famine Relief Fund,” the government noted.”
  3. “The aid is not restricted to only the four countries (Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen) but will also extend to countries in the Lake Chad region – Niger, Chad and Cameroon – as well as others in East Africa region – Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.”
  4. “The government will use the fund to support experienced Canadian and international humanitarian organizations using established Global Affairs Canada channels and procedures,” an official statement read.”
  5. Canada is the second country to Canada to raise funds for drought-hit countries on the continent, the first was Turkey. Erdogan accused the West of playing ostrich when Africa was suffering during a visit by Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo to Istanbul.


Putin follows Trump with his own Saudi Arabia meeting

Read original article by Joel Gehrke on the Washington Examiner or read some of the key points below;

  1. “Russian President Vladimir Putin wasted no time in meeting with Saudi Arabian officials, just days after President Trump’s visit to Riyadh for his first foreign trip.”
  2. “Putin and Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud exchanged compliments and pledged themselves to increased economic cooperation in the energy industry, a major component of the Russian economy.”
  3. “”I would like to start our meeting by noting that relations between our countries are making steady headway,” Putin said”
  4. “Salman was even more effusive. “Today, relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia are going through one of the best stages,” he said, according to a translation posted by the Kremlin.”
  5. “Salman also said. “As for those issues on which we are divided, we have efficient mechanisms for overcoming our differences. We are moving ahead at a fast pace and the current visit will become a big achievement in consolidating relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia.”
  6. “First, Putin is always opportunistic,” a congressional Republican aide told the Washington Examiner. “And this is a good photo-op for bracketing purposes. Second, Saudi Arabia wants leverage by showing it has options. Especially as it pushes for air defense missiles to counter Iran. It wants THAAD and other high-tech systems from the U.S. that can be sensitive due to the need to keep Israel’s qualitative military edge.”

Teacher alarmed by toy set with ‘Allah’ flag, alleges terror link to Islam

Read original article on the Malay Mail or read some of the key points below;

  1. In Kuala Lumpur, a teacher in Perak has lodged a police report after spotting the word “Allah” in Arabic printed on the tiny toy flag that came with the toy brick set bought for his son.
  2. Berita Harian, Mahnun Mat Isa, 40, said he found the toy set which had little figures dressed in black and carrying the questionable flag that he claimed to resemble “terrorists”, adding that it “offended the sensitivities of Muslims”.
  3. He said, “I ask the authorities to not freely allow the entry of toys that touch on religious sensitivities in this country,”.
  4.  The “terrorist” toy set he bought was part of the Falcon Commandos series by Chinese manufacturer Sheng Yuan, that sells knock-offs of the famous Lego bricks.
  5. Mahnun said he has reported the toy to the police and the Parit Buntar branch of Perak religious authorities last week. He also urged the Home Ministry to investigate the matter and removed the toy from shelves.


Human shield row: Army major who ‘tied’ Kashmiri man to jeep honoured


Read original article on Hindustan Times or read some of the key points below;

  1. An army major, who was in the eye of a storm for allegedly tying a Kashmiri man to a jeep to use him as a human shield, has been awarded the army chief’s commendation card. Confirming the development, army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said the officer had been awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation (COAS) card for “sustained efforts in CI (counter insurgency) operations”. Sustained efforts imply that the officer has been recognised for work done by him over a period of time.
  2. While awarding the officer, Col Anand said, “all factors including notable performance of the officer and overall emerging indicators of the court of inquiry have been well-considered”, according to army sources. The government also backed the army, with the country’s top law officer saying in April that the officer-in-charge “did a smart thing and defused a nasty situation”.
  3. The army found itself in the middle of a firestorm after the surfacing of a video clip that purportedly showed a man tied to the fender of a Rakshak jeep and paraded through villages. A day after the video clip surfaced on April 14, the army ordered a probe into the incident.
  4. In the video, announcements of people being warned that “this will be the fate of stone-pelters” could be heard in the background. The incident had triggered outrage in Kashmir, with separatists saying it was on “expected lines from an oppressor”.
  5. The force and the government had defended the action ordered by Major Leetul Gogoi from Assam. Army officials had earlier said the troops were forced to take the extreme step to save themselves from stone-pelting, which has become one of the most common and frequent forms of protest in Kashmir since the killing of Burhan Wani.


Cyber security firm: more evidence North Korea linked to Bangladesh heist

Read original article on Reuters or read some of the key points below;

  1. Cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab on Monday said it had obtained digital evidence that bolsters suspicions by some researchers that North Korea was involved in last year’s $81 million cyber heist of the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Russian-based Kaspersky released a 58-page report on Lazarus, a group linked to the heist in Bangladesh and the 2014 attack on Sony’s Hollywood studio, which the U.S. government blamed on North Korea. Among its findings, the report said Lazarus hackers made a direct connection from an IP address in North Korea to a server in Europe that was used to control systems infected by the group.
  3. And Rick Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, told reporters at an Aspen Institute event on March 15 that private sector research tying North Korea to the Bangladesh bank heist was strong. “If that’s true, then that says to me that the North Koreans are robbing banks,” Ledgett said. “That’s a big deal.”
  4. The North Korean government has denied allegations of hacking made by officials in Washington and South Korea as well as security firms.Kamluk said he could not conclusively say that Pyongyang was behind the attacks because it was possible the hackers went to great effort to make it look like they were from North Korea, or that North Koreans were working with others.
  5. The Bangladesh Bank heist was one in a string of financially motivated cyber attacks by a division of Lazarus dubbed Bluenoroff, the Kaspersky report said. Targets included banks, financial and trading companies, casinos and digital currency businesses in at least 18 nations, the report said.


Bangladesh, Austria to boost cooperation in trade and investment


Read original article on bdnews24 or read some of the key points below;

  1. The decision was announced after a meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern on Tuesday. Hasina returned to Dhaka on Wednesday morning after her visit to Vienna, where she attended a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA, marking its 60 years.
  2. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque briefed the media on the aircraft carrying the prime minister and her entourage back to Bangladesh. “The two leaders have agreed to further strengthen the ties between the countries.”
  3. Hasina was the first Bangladesh prime minister to visit Austria as a head of the government since its independence in 1971.
  4. The Austrian president was also keen about Hasina’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where she attended the ‘Arab Islamic American Summit.’ The prime minister said that the leaders held talks on joint initiatives undertaken to stamp out terrorism and militancy.
  5. At a joint media briefing with Chancellor Kern on Tuesday, Hasina said she first visited Vienna in 1969 as a tourist and as the leader of the Opposition in 1993.


Palestinian power struggle threatens further Gaza power cuts

Read original article on The Washington Post or read some of the key points below;

  1. “When Gaza’s 2 million residents break their dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, much of the territory is engulfed by darkness and homes have to rely on generators or batteries for the post-sundown family meals. Rolling power cuts, a mainstay of life in a decade in the blockaded Gaza Strip, have never been worse, largely because of the international isolation of Hamas. Israel and Egypt, which border the coastal strip, imposed a blockade on the territory after Hamas’ takeover in 2007.”
  2. “Power is only on for four hours at a time, followed by 14 to 18 hours of outage — and the blackouts could grow even longer amid an escalating struggle for dominance between Hamas and its West Bank-based rival, the Palestinian Authority of internationally backed President Mahmoud Abbas.”
  3. “In some apartment buildings, residents have pooled resources to buy communal generators. Most Gazans buy food daily because they can no longer use refrigerators. Formerly routine activities such as showering or running a washing machine are done at odd hours, when power is on. “Now we are entering the second or third month of four hours of electricity, yet there is no sign of public protest, it’s a political problem!,” said Ashour, a pharmacist.”
  4. “Hamas could not afford to buy new fuel, leaving Gaza with 10 power lines from Israel as the main source of electricity — about 30 percent of the territory’s needs. The Israeli electricity is funded by the Abbas government at a cost of about $11 million a month. The monthly payment is deducted by Israel from customs and tax reimbursements it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority every month.”
  5. “In a letter published by the Israeli media last week, Steinitz wrote to Mordechai that “we should be the ones to decide where to cut electricity,” sarcastically suggesting the Abbas headquarters in Ramallah as a starting point. Israel should “not become a pawn in their hands,” Steinitz wrote to Mordechai, referring to the Palestinians.”


Portland stabbing suspect shouts ‘Free speech or die’ in court

Read original article on The Independent or read some of the key points below;

  1. The suspect in a fatal stabbing spree on a Portland, Oregon, commuter train yelled remarks about “free speech” as he entered the courtroom where he was being arraigned on Tuesday on charges of attacking bystanders who intervened when he shouted religious slurs at two women of Muslim appearance.
  2. Suspect Jeremy Joseph Christian, a 35-year-old convicted felon, entered the courtroom yelling “Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place. This is America – get out if you don’t like free speech.” As he was escorted out of the courtroom after the arraignment, Christian shouted, “Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedoms… You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.”
  3. One of the two women who was the target of the religious slurs on Friday, Destinee Mangum, who was with a friend wearing a Muslim head scarf, said in a video posted on CNN’s website on Monday that she did not know the men who intervened and thanked them for putting their lives on the line.
  4. Trump condemned the stabbings on Monday, calling them “unacceptable.” “The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them,” he said on Twitter.
  5. Trump’s remarks came after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on him to condemn the rampage and speak out against what the advocacy group sees as an increase in anti-Islamic sentiment. Anti-Muslim incidents increased more than 50 percent in the United States last year, it said.


Muslims should help full face veil disappear from UK within 20 years, says Baroness Warsi

Read original article on The Independent or read some of the key points below;

  1.  Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet minister has said she hopes women will stop wearing the Islamic face veil in the UK within 20 years.
  2.  Baroness Sayeed Warsi, who served as Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under David Cameron’s leadership, said she did not want the veil banned, but instead insisted Muslims to lead “lead the charge” against the niqab.
  3.  “I just don’t know what its purpose is in terms of British Islam,” she said at the Hay literary festival.
  4.  “In Britain, and as I am a huge civil libertarian, we don’t ban things. We actually allow communities to say this is not a good thing for us and the argument I’m making is I want British Muslims to lead that charge, to say this is not the best manifestation of British Islam and, therefore, is this a garment which in 10 or 20 years time is going to be part of the landscape?
  5. Debate around Islamic dress reignited in Britain when Ukip proposed a ban on the burqa and niqab in its manifesto. Among the reasons given by the party was that a burqa “prevents intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight”.

Comedienne Kathy Griffin Beheads Donald Trump In Shock Photo

Comedienne Kathy Griffin took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to apologize after participating in a photo shoot while holding a bloodied, severed head that resembled that of President Donald Trump.

Griffin posted an apology video to Twitter on Tuesday evening hours after photos from the shoot circulated online.

“I sincerley apologize,” Griffin said. “I’m a comic, I cross the line. I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far.”

“I made a mistake, and I was wrong,” she said later.

As reported by ABC News:

“I caption this ‘there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his … wherever,’” Griffin tweeted, referring to an exchange between Donald Trump and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during the primary season.

But in an attempt to appease those who were offended by the image, the controversial comedienne then tweeted, “OBVIOUSLY, I do not condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone, ever! I’m merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.”

Maybe because of the very recent terrorist suicide bombing at the Manchester Arianna Grande concert, but I feel a bit uncomfortable with this image. On the other hand, isn’t that what good art is supposed to do?  Make you feel uncomfortable?  Make you question your feelings?  Start a conversation?


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