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Islamic State (IS) Threatens 80 Lashes for Wearing Nike and Adidas

The new rules were issued by ISIS’ Hisba religious police in Al-Furat province in Iraq

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Representational Image. Wikimedia

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ISIS extremists have forbidden the wearing of football strips made by sportswear companies Nike and Adidas. The new rules were issued by ISIS’ Hisba religious police in Al-Furat province in Iraq, according to The Mirror. Jerseys from clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid come under the category as they are manufactured by….repubhubembed{display:none;}


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Iraqi Forces capture Ancient City Nimrud from Islamic State (IS) Terrorist Group

Archaeologists first began excavating the Assyrian city of Nimrud, built nearly 3,000 years ago in the 1840s

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FILE - An Islamic State fighter holds the extremist group's signature flag and a weapon in the Iraqi city Mosul, June 23, 2014. Preparations are underway to wrest the city from IS control. VOA

Baghdad, Nov 14, 2016: Iraqi forces recaptured the ancient village of Nimrud and the site of the ruins as part of the ongoing battle for Mosul, the Islamic State (IS) terror group’s last major stronghold in the war-torn country.

The recapture took place on Sunday, according to Colonel Mohammed Ibrahim, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint operations command.

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While the village was now under control by Iraqi forces, clashes were still underway to retake the town, less than a mile west of the ruins, Ibrahim told CNN.

Nimrud is 30 km southeast of Mosul.

Archaeologists first began excavating the Assyrian city of Nimrud — built nearly 3,000 years ago — in the 1840s.

In the decades that followed, they unearthed priceless treasures from the city, including palaces adorned with unique frescoes and giant sculptures.

Last year, the IS blew up the ancient walled city.

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Unesco described the deliberate destruction of Nimrud as a “war crime”.

Nimrud flourished between 900 B.C. and 612 B.C. Buildings there “have yielded thousands of carved ivories, mostly made in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C., now one of the richest collections of ivory in the world,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica’s website.

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The famous British mystery novelist Agatha Christie accompanied her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, at his excavation in Nimrud and helped clean some of the ivories.

The Iraqi and Kurdish troop offensive to liberate Mosul began on October 17 with a three-pronged offensive along the north, south and eastern fronts, which has enabled the liberation of various eastern Mosul neighbourhoods. (IANS)

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Siege and Bombardment of Syria’s Aleppo constitute Crimes of Historic proportions, says United Nations

The Russian ambassador accuses Britain and its allies of protecting terrorists from destruction

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People inspect the damage as a civilian walks near blood stains at a market hit by air strikes in Aleppo's rebel-held al-Fardous district, Syria, Oct. 12, 2016. VOA

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein says the siege and bombardment of Syria’s northern city of eastern Aleppo constitute crimes of historic proportions. He is calling on the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Zeid says well over 300,000 Syrians have been killed and countless others wounded and traumatised in the course of more than five years of civil war. He says the relentless bombardment of Aleppo has turned the ancient city into a slaughterhouse.

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Without mentioning Russia by name, the high commissioner blames the indiscriminate airstrikes across the eastern rebel-held part of Aleppo by government forces and their allies for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties.

He says the violations constitute war crimes and calls for those guilty of international crimes to be held accountable.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chair of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, agrees all parties to the conflict guilty of crimes must be brought to justice. VOA
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chair of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, agrees all parties to the conflict guilty of crimes must be brought to justice. VOA

“Perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity will only cease to violate the laws of war when it is clear they will be held to account,” he said. “This why referral of the conflict in Syria to the ICC (International Criminal Court) or an ad hoc international justice mechanism is critical to resolving this conflict.”

People remove belongings from a damaged site after an air strike Sunday in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria, Oct. 17, 2016. VOA
People remove belongings from a damaged site after an air strike Sunday in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria, Oct. 17, 2016. VOA

Pinheiro says members of the investigative commission will continue to document war crimes in Aleppo. The British minister for Africa and the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, launched a blistering attack on Syria and Russia.

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“Hospitals have been bombed repeatedly. Hundreds of civilians, many of them children, have been killed since the (Bashar) Assad regime and Russia launched their assault on Eastern Aleppo.”

The Russian ambassador accuses Britain and its allies of protecting terrorists from destruction and allowing them to regroup so they can continue what he calls their barbaric acts. The Syrian representative calls Britain’s accusations baseless and fabricated to enhance its political agenda. (VOA)

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Afghanistan asks for Aid from European Donors to keep Afghan Migrants at Home

High unemployment combined with growing insecurity drove nearly 200,000 Afghans to Europe last year, exacerbating the global migrant crisis

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(Representative image) FILE - Refugees and migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, walk toward the transit center for refugees near the northern Macedonian village of Tabanovce, after being returned from Serbia, Feb. 22, 2016. VOA

October 4, 2016: Afghanistan is appealing to European donors to open their wallets at an international donors’ conference Wednesday, arguing that jobs created through development projects will help stem the tide of migrants that is destabilising the European continent.

High unemployment combined with growing insecurity drove nearly 200,000 Afghans to Europe last year, exacerbating the global migrant crisis.

European nations have struggled to cope with the flood of young Afghan asylum seekers and exerted pressure on Afghanistan to roll back the human exodus.

FILE - Afghan women wash and dry their clothes in Piraeus, near Athens, March 8, 2016. VOA
FILE – Afghan women wash and dry their clothes in Piraeus, near Athens, March 8, 2016. VOA

“If we hesitate to address the migration issue, public opinion in European countries will change, and this could impact aid,” Eklil Hakimi, Afghanistan’s finance minister, told Afghan lawmakers Sunday.

Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan foreign minister, added that European nations have warned Afghanistan that it risked a reduction in aid if it did not act on migration.

European nations have struggled to cope with the flood of young Afghan asylum seekers and exerted pressure on Afghanistan to roll back the human exodus. Click To Tweet

“The migrant crisis has changed politics in the host countries,” Rabbani told members of Afghanistan’s lower house of Parliament. “They have put forward strict immigration laws and repeatedly asked Afghanistan to take responsibility for its asylum seekers.”

Afghan officials say they can stop the migration to Europe, but they need international support to create jobs that will keep the youth in the country.

Support for Afghanistan

The two officials are accompanying President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to the Brussels conference where Afghanistan will present its new national peace and development framework — a five-year reform, governance and economic development plan.

FILE - An Afghan refugee jumps the fence as he tries to enter Macedonia at the Greek-Macedonia borderline near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Feb. 22, 2016. VOA
FILE – An Afghan refugee jumps the fence as he tries to enter Macedonia at the Greek-Macedonia borderline near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Feb. 22, 2016. VOA

Afghanistan and the European Union are co-hosting the conference, which will be attended by representatives from more than 70 countries and 20 international organisations and agencies. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are among conference speakers.

The development framework, which aims to “achieve self-reliance and increase the welfare of [the Afghan] people,” requires billions of dollars in funding.

Hakimi estimated that donors will pledge $3.5 billion toward financing the development plan.

Among major donors, Britain said this week it would provide almost $1 billion in development aid to Afghanistan over the next five years.

A State Department spokesman declined to say how much the U.S. planned to commit and referred questions to the conference organisers.

James Cunningham, who served as U.S. ambassador to Kabul from 2012 to 2014, said there is wide support for the continued commitment to Afghanistan.

“Another cause for optimism is it’s pretty unprecedented to have that degree of international agreement on almost anything,” Cunningham said Monday, speaking on a panel about Afghanistan at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Creating jobs

While asking for billions of dollars in funding, Afghanistan is also pledging to wean itself off foreign aid through economic growth and job creation. The development plan envisions Afghanistan’s reliance on foreign aid dropping from 70 percent of government expenditure to 40/50 percent by 2020, as domestic revenue grows from 10.3 percent of GDP to about 14.0 percent of GDP.

FILE - Afghan migrants on an overcrowded inflatable boat approach the Greek island of Lesbos in bad weather after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, Oct. 28, 2015. VOA
FILE – Afghan migrants on an overcrowded inflatable boat approach the Greek island of Lesbos in bad weather after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, Oct. 28, 2015. VOA

Job creation will be key not only to reducing reliance to foreign aid, but also to stopping the mass migration from the country.

Without “a big increase in jobs, Afghans will continue to resort to desperate measures such as illicit narcotics production, out-migration, and joining violent criminal networks,” according to a draft of the development plan.

The plan will take time to bear fruit and will require sustained donor support.

“The sustainable development that will help Afghanistan meet its many challenges, bring an end to poverty, and ensure security and stability for our country will take longer than a single generation to realize,” the plan says.

The Brussels conference comes less than three months after NATO leaders met in Warsaw and agreed to fund Afghanistan’s security forces for the next four years, to the tune of $3 billion.

The U.S. provides roughly $3.5 billion annually in support of the 350,000 members of the Afghan armed forces, in addition to about $1 billion in development aid.

The United States and its partners have a shared interest in supporting Afghanistan’s reform and development agenda, Cunningham said.

“The planks are already in place to demonstrate there is going to be long-term international engagement in Afghanistan,” he said. (VOA)