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New Zealand’s PM promises tougher terror laws after mall attack

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(Last Updated On: September 4, 2021)

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed on Saturday to pass legislation to tighten counter-terrorism laws this month after a knife-wielding “extremist” known to the authorities stabbed and wounded seven people in a supermarket.

Police shot dead the 32-year-old attacker, a Sri Lankan national who had been convicted and imprisoned for about three years before being released in July, moments after he launched his stabbing spree on Friday.

Ardern said earlier the man was inspired by the Islamic State militant group and was being monitored constantly but could not be kept in prison by law any longer.

“I am committing, that as soon as Parliament resumes, we will complete that work – that means working to pass the law as soon as possible, and no later than by the end of this month,” Ardern told a news conference.

The Counter Terror Legislation Bill criminalizes planning and preparation that might lead to a terror attack, closing what critics have said has been a loophole allowing plotters to stay free.

But Ardern said it would not be fair to assume that the tighter law would have made a difference in this case.

“This was a highly motivated individual who used a supermarket visit as a shield for an attack. That is an incredibly tough set of circumstances,” she said.

Ardern said the man arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and it was not known to hold any extreme views. He first came to the police’s attention in 2016 after he made concerning posts on Facebook.

He was later arrested at the Auckland Airport where authorities believed he was traveling to Syria. In August 2018 he was charged with possession of objectionable material and possessing weapons.

She said she wanted to explain why the terrorist was not deported but can not yet because of suppression orders.

Ardern was unable to reveal the name of the deceased attacker for now due to a court order but said she had no intention of naming him anyway.

Police were following the man when he went into the Countdown supermarket in New Lynn mall in Auckland. They said they had thought he had gone in to do some shopping but he picked up a knife from a display and started stabbing people.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help at-risk families in Maidan Wardak province

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Bayat Foundation officials said Friday they have sent in a huge consignment of food aid to Maidan Wardak province to help hundreds of needy families.

According to officials, the aid includes flour, rice and oil, which they have started distributing to deserving families in the province.

“In continuation of the Bayat Foundation aid campaign, which sees us distribute aid every winter, today we had a program in Maidan Wardak province to distribute to deserving people. The aid included flour, rice and oil. The aid will be distributed in other provinces also,” said Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of Bayat Foundation.

Recipients of the food parcels welcomed the initiative and called on other charity organizations to help families in need.

“This winter, many people are in need [of aid]; they assisted us, we are grateful. We want them to help us again [in the future],” said one Maidan Wardak recipient.

“Our people are in need. No one has helped them so far. We are grateful to Bayat Foundation that helped us during this difficult time,” said another recipient.

“We are very grateful, because they helped us. We want them to continue their aid so we can survive this difficult situation,” said another resident of Wardak.

Each year, Bayat Foundation carries out a winter campaign, providing needy people with food. This winter, however, the foundation has ramped up efforts to reach as many Afghans as possible across the country amid the ongoing economic crisis.

Already thousands of desperate families have received food parcels from Bayat Foundation in over a dozen provinces in the country.

Food parcels are given to only the most at-risk families who are identified through a comprehensive assessment carried out by the foundation once an area has been earmarked for distribution.

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IEA warns media against publishing rumors

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

The intelligence department of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government said Thursday that media outlets should not spread false news and baseless rumors.

“A number of figures want to insult Islamic values so that they can achieve western citizenship,” the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) tweeted.

According to the GDI, these individuals have made untrue statements about the IEA which some media have reported on.

The country’s media, in accordance with the principles of journalism, should strictly refrain from publishing false news and baseless rumors, GDI tweeted.

The intelligence department has pointed out that insulting religious sanctities and rituals is not acceptable to the people.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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