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UNAMA Condemns Herat Mosque Attack

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2017)

The Office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned last night’s attack at the Jawadia Mosque in Herat which killed at least 31 civilians, including two children, and injured more than 60 others.

Two attackers entered a mosque during the evening prayer time when at least 300 worshipers were present, opening fire and detonated two improvised explosive devices.

“This attack deliberately targeting civilians at prayer can have no justification whatsoever,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.  “Fanning terror and sectarian violence against a specific community is abhorrent and those responsible must be brought to account.”

The Special Representative’s statement further urges the Afghan authorities to take “Appropriate security measures in place” in order to maintain the security for places of worship and religious festivals.

“During 2016, UNAMA recorded four separate attacks against Shia mosques and religious gatherings. Islamic State – Khorasan province claimed responsibility for two of those attacks.”

Yesterday’s attack in Herat is the fifth attack this year against religious places in Afghanistan, killing a total of at least 44 civilians and injuring at least 88, according to UNAMA.

Four of the attacks occurred in Herat and the other in Kabul. Daesh claimed responsibility for two of these attacks.

“International humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including places of worship,” the UNAMA statement said.

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Messi calls off contract renewal negotiations and is ready to leave Barca in 2021, according to report

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday (July 2).

The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

The report added that Messi is angry about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, such as the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad’s lack of quality.

The Argentine’s representatives and Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday (June 30) against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew the game 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barca trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race with five games remaining after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year.

In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

In a February interview with newspaper Mundo Deportivo, he declared the team were not good enough to win this season’s Champions League.

Then in April, he criticized the board for implying players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to help the team’s financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Reuters

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Key Taliban commanders among 16 killed in Baghlan, Badakhshan clashes

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

At least 15 Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces in Baghlan-Samangan highway, police said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, police stated that the militants attacked and blocked the highway on Monday.

According to the statement, a combination of army, National Directorate of Security (NDS), police, and the special unit of police and air forces have launched a counterattack in the area.

At least 15 militants including a group’s key command – Qari Juma Gul – were killed in the air and ground raids, the statement said.

The Afghan forces have pushed back the Taliban, the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the insurgents attacked Pahn Dara, Persian name, area in Yaftal district of Badakhshan on Monday, and faced “resistance” by the Afghan security forces, Sanaullah Rohani, the provincial police spokesman said.

Rohani said, the Taliban designated judge for Yaftal was killed and two key commanders of the group were wounded as police pushed back the attack.

No casualties inflicted on the Afghan forces, he added.

The Taliban militant group yet to comment about the incidents.

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U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok: Pompeo

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Monday that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.

“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.

U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.

Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.

TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.

Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

Source: Reuters

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