Zakir Naik apologizes to Malaysians for racial remarks


MNA International Desk: Controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik apologized on Tuesday for making racially sensitive remarks in Malaysia, a day after he was questioned by police for hours over the comments. Naik, who faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India, has come under fire for comments that pitted Malaysia’s ethnic and religious minorities against the predominantly Muslim Malay majority. Malaysian police grilled Naik for 10 hours on Monday about a speech earlier this month in which he said Hindus in Malaysia had “100 times more rights” than the Muslim minority in India, and that Malaysian Chinese ...

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Trump says US not ready to make trade deal with China


MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that economic growth may be faltering, saying on Sunday (local time) they saw little risk of recession despite a volatile week on global bond markets, and insisting their trade war with China was doing no damage to the United States. “We’re doing tremendously well, our consumers are rich, I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they’re loaded up with money,” Trump said on Sunday. But he was less optimistic than his aides on striking a trade deal with China, saying that while he believed China was ...

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Hope It Furthers Spirit Of Peace: PM Modi Wishes Nation On Eid-Al-Adha


MNA International Desk: Eid al-Adha, also known as Bakri Eid, is marked by by sacrificing an animal that is close to the devotees as they prove their devotion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning greeted the nation on the occasion of Eid-Al-Adha as people from the Muslim community gathered at mosques across the country to offer prayers. “My best wishes on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. I hope it furthers the spirit of peace and happiness in our society. Eid Mubarak!” PM Modi tweeted. Eid al-Adha, also known as Bakri Eid, is marked by by sacrificing an animal that is ...

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India urges Pakistan to reconsider decision to downgrade ties


MNA International Desk: India on Thursday urged Pakistan to review its decision to downgrade diplomatic ties over the withdrawal of special status to Kashmir, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Pakistan said it would expel India’s ambassador in Islamabad and that its envoy who was to start his assignment soon will not move to Delhi after India revoked the special privileges to Kashmir, Reuters reported. “The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved,” the Indian foreign ministry said.

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China, Pakistan slam India’s move to change Kashmir’s special status


MNA International Desk: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to change the status of Kashmir ran into fierce opposition from China and its ally Pakistan on Tuesday as the disputed territory lay under a telecoms blackout to forestall protests for a second day. In a move to tighten its grip on Jammu and Kashmir, parts of which are claimed by Pakistan and China, India dropped a constitutional provision that allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws. The changes imposed by Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government are the most sweeping in the nearly 30 years that India has ...

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19 die in Cairo car explosion


MNA International Desk: A multiple-car crash set off an explosion that ignited a fire at Egypt’s main cancer hospital and caused 19 deaths, the government said. The health ministry said 30 others were injured by the crash near Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square late Sunday. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that a vehicle driving outside the National Cancer Institute collided with up to three other vehicles, causing the explosion. The blast caused a fire in the hospital, which was evacuated. The fire was later brought under control, with television footage Monday morning showing shattered windows and doors. The health ...

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Heathrow cancels 172 flights as staff prepare to strike


MNA International Desk: Heathrow Airport, a major international airport in the United Kingdom, has decided to cancel 177 flights on Monday and Tuesday as thousands of workers overwhelmingly preparing for a strike after rejecting a revised pay offer. Around 4,000 Unite members including engineers, firefighters and security staff voted on the airport’s revised deal, with 88 per cent opting to strike, reports BBC. If the walk-outs go ahead, Unite says, almost 2,500 staff will miss work. Heathrow is yet to announce which flights will be cancelled, and said passengers should check with their airlines to see if they were affected. ...

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Malaysia to reform labour laws to cut ‘over-dependence’ on foreigners


MNA International Desk: Malaysia will review its labour laws to cut an ‘over-dependence’ on foreign labour and address other issues, its prime minister has said. The country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has taken the decision amid simmering discontent against overseas workers who make up 46 per cent of the labour force of the country. The third biggest economy of the Southeast Asia had a labour force of 15.5 million in the first quarter of the year, reports Reuters. More than 7.0 million of them were foreigners, from countries such as Bangladesh, with many working in the construction and hotel industries. ...

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China’s travel programme to Taiwan suspended


MNA International Desk: A pilot programme that allows residents of 47 Chinese mainland cities to travel to the island of Taiwan on individual trips will be suspended from August 1 due to the current cross-Straits ties. The information was revealed through a notice issued by the Association for Tourism Exchange across the Taiwan Straits on Wednesday. Travel agencies such as Ctrip and CYTS told the Global Times that they have already received the notice. Zhang Hua, an associate research fellow of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the suspension is clearly ...

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Brazil police arrest one over $29m gold robbery case


MNA International Desk: Brazilian police said on Sunday (local time) they arrested one person and are seeking an arrest warrant for another in connection with the theft of a gold shipment at São Paulo’s international airport on July 25. The authorities did not name any of the suspects in the theft, which involved 718.9 kilos of gold worth an estimated $29 million from the cargo terminal of Guarulhos international airport, reports Reuters. Security firm Brink’s Co, which was responsible for delivering the gold to the airport, said in a statement last week that it had completed the delivery and the ...

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World powers meet Iran in Vienna to salvage nuclear deal


MNA International Desk: Representatives from Europe, China and Russia, nations that are still committed to the Iran nuclear deal, plan to meet with Iran’s representative in Vienna on Sunday to discuss how to salvage the unraveling accord. The diplomats aim to examine issues linked to the implementation of the nuclear accord after Iran surpassed stockpile and enrichment limits set out in the deal. Iran recently begun surpassing uranium enrichment limits in the 2015 nuclear deal, saying these moves can be reversed if the other parties to the agreement — Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union — come ...

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US Supreme Court lets Trump use disputed funds for border wall


MNA International Desk: The US Supreme Court on Friday handed President Donald Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the US-Mexico border even though lawmakers refused to provide funding. The conservative-majority court on a 5-4 vote with the court’s liberals in dissent blocked in full a ruling by a federal judge in California barring the Republican president from spending the money on the basis that Congress did not specifically authorise the funds to be spent on the wall project fiercely opposed by ...

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Filmmakers, historians urge Indian PM to stop mob attacks on minorities


MNA International Desk: A group of Bollywood filmmakers, historians, and citizens have written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to stop mob attacks on minority Muslims and others at the bottom of society. Hindu mobs have targeted Muslims on suspicion of slaughtering cows they consider sacred as well as Dalits, the lowest group in the Hindu caste hierarchy, for being engaged in the cattle trade. Upper-caste Hindus consider the cow to be a holy animal that should be revered, while lower caste Dalits and minority Muslims slaughter cows and consume beef for business and nutritional purposes. “The lynching ...

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Kenya’s finance minister arrested on corruption charges


MNA International Desk: Kenya’s finance minister has surrendered himself to the police after the chief prosecutor ordered his arrest over allegations of corruption. Henry Rotich is accused of flouting procurement procedures in awarding a contract worth over $450 million (£405m) for the construction of two dams to the Italian company CMC de Ravenna. In March Mr Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advert. The company has also denied the accusations, reports BBC. Director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji is also investigating how the tender was awarded for $170 million more than was in the original contract. “It was ...

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Priyanka Gandhi detained in UP

Priyanka Gandhi

MNA International Desk: General Secretary of the AICC in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was on Friday detained near Varanasi by the Uttar Pradesh police, who prevented her from traveling to Sonbhadra district, where 10 persons were gunned down by a village head and his men over a land dispute on Wednesday. The administration has imposed restrictive orders for assembly, under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, in Sonbhadra, reports the Hindu. While being taken away in a police jeep, media persons asked Priyanka if she was arrested, to which she replied, “Ji,” in the affirmative. ...

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Defiant Trump intensifies attacks on four congresswomen


MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump stepped up his vilification of four liberal lawmakers as un-American at a raucous rally on Wednesday, underscoring that the attacks will form a key part of his strategy for winning re-election in 2020. Despite criticism from Democrats that his comments about the four minority congresswomen are racist, Trump went on an extended diatribe about the lawmakers, saying they were welcome to leave the country if they did not like his policies on issues such as immigration and defending Israel. “So these Congresswomen, their comments are helping to fuel the rise of a dangerous, ...

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US imposes sanctions on Myanmar commander in chief over Rohingya abuses


MNA International Desk: The United States has announced sanctions on the Myanmar military’s Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and other military leaders it said were responsible for extrajudicial killings of Rohingya Muslims, barring them from entry to the United States. The steps, which also covered Min Aung Hlaing’s deputy, Soe Win, and two other senior commanders and their families, are the strongest the United States has taken in response to massacres of minority Rohingyas in Myanmar, also known as Burma. It named the two others as Brigadier Generals Than Oo and Aung Aung. “We remain concerned that the Burmese government has ...

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Italy seizes air-to-air missile, guns in raids on neo-Nazis


MNA International Desk: Italian police have seized a large arsenal of weapons, including an air-to-air missile, in raids on neo-Nazi sympathizers, they said on Monday. Elite police forces searched properties across northern Italy following an investigation into Italians who had fought alongside Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a police statement said. Three men were arrested, including a customs officer who had previously stood for parliament for an extreme right party, reports Reuters. During their raids, police discovered a French-made Matra air-to-air missile that appeared to have once belonged to the Qatar armed forces. Subsequent checks showed the weapon was ...

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Trump’s tweets against four liberal congresswomen called racist


MNA International Desk: Starkly injecting race into his criticism of liberal Democrats, President Donald Trump said four congresswomen of color should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S. His attack drew a searing condemnation from Democrats who labelled the remarks racist and breathtakingly divisive, according to AP. Following a familiar script, Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s Sunday morning broadsides against the four women. But the president’s nativist tweets caused Democrats to set aside their internal rifts ...

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Quake with 7.3 magnitude strikes eastern Indonesia


MNA International Desk: An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck southeast of the city of Ternate on Sunday, in the Moluccas in the eastern area of Indonesia, the US Geological Survey reported. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) at an area 168 km south-southeast of Ternate, the USGS said. Indonesia’s meteorology agency said there is no tsunami potential from the quake. A 5.8 magnitude aftershock followed around 30 minutes after, the agency website showed. There were no immediate reports of damages or casualties in the quake, reports Reuters. “There are no reports of infrastructure ...

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US labor secretary to resign


MNA International Desk: President Donald Trump said Friday that Alex Acosta, his embattled secretary of labor, will resign following controversy over his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier, Jeffrey Epstein, when he was a prosecutor in Florida. Acosta called the president in the morning and informed him of his decision to resign, Trump said, as he left the White House for travel to Milwaukee and Cleveland, reports The New York Times. The resignation comes just two days after Acosta convened a news conference to defend his actions in the 2008 case when he was the US attorney ...

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Iranian boats ‘harass’ British tanker in the Gulf


MNA International Desk: Five boats believed to belong to Iranian Revolutionary Guards approached a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday and asked it to stop in Iranian waters close by, but withdrew after a British warship warned them, US officials said. Britain’s Ministry of Defense had no immediate comment. The incident occurred almost a week after British Royal Marines boarded an Iranian tanker, Grace 1, off Gibraltar and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria. Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Britain would face “consequences” over the seizure of ...

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British ambassador to US resigns


MNA International Desk: Britain’s ambassador to Washington resigned on Wednesday after Donald Trump labelled him “stupid” and “wacky” following the release of confidential memos from the envoy in which he branded the US president’s administration inept. “Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador,” Kim Darroch said in his resignation letter, reports Reuters. “I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would ...

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Nigeria signs African free trade area agreement


MNA International Desk: African superpower Nigeria has signed an agreement which aims to increase trade between African countries. This leaves Eritrea as the only African country not to be part of the trading bloc, reports BBC. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) summit in Niger. The first step is to cut tariffs for goods from countries within the bloc but the timeframe to do this is yet to be announced. At the moment, African countries trade only about 16 per cent of their goods and services among one another, compared to 65 per ...

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Powerful new earthquake rattles California


MNA International Desk: A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has rattled parts of Southern California, the biggest tremor to strike in 20 years. It struck at the shallow depth of 0.9km (0.6 miles) and its epicentre was near the city of Ridgecrest, about 240km north-east of Los Angeles. A 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area on Thursday at a depth of nearly 11km. Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones said the quakes could continue. “This is an earthquake sequence,” she said at a press conference. “It will be ongoing.” “Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely,” she added, saying there was a 10% chance ...

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Oil prices rise amid geopolitical tensions


MNA Business Desk: Oil prices climbed on Friday as tensions over Iran came under the spotlight. A senior Iranian official said Friday that Iran should seize a British oil vessel in case London refuses to release the Iranian oil tanker, Press TV reported. On Thursday, British Royal Marines in the Strait of Gibraltar seized an Iranian ship which was heading to Syria “in breach of EU sanctions,” according to media reports. Tensions in the Middle East eased market worries over oversupply and supported oil prices. The West Texas Intermediate for August delivery increased 0.17 dollar to settle at 57.51 U.S. ...

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Chinese state media blames West’s meddling for Hong Kong unrest

Hong Kong

MNA International Desk: Chinese state media blamed meddling by Western governments on Thursday for unrest in Hong Kong amid an escalating diplomatic spat between China and the United Kingdom over protests in the former British colony. “Ideologues in Western governments never cease in their efforts to engineer unrest against governments that are not to their liking, even though their actions have caused misery and chaos in country after country in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” the official China Daily said in an editorial. “Now they are trying the same trick in China,” the English-language newspaper said. Hundreds ...

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