Today, the Ministry of Health announced the recovery of 670 cases of (Covid-19) disease in the past twenty-four hours, bringing the total number of people recovering from the disease in the State of Kuwait to 90,168.


ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia has filed terrorism charges against a prominent media mogul and opposition politician from the Oromo ethnic group, Jawar Mohammed, the attorney general's office said on Saturday.

Jawar, founder of the Oromiya Media Network and a member of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, was arrested in June amid the widespread unrest that followed the assassination of popular Oromo musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.

Jawar and 22 other activists, including Oromo opposition leader Bekele Garba, face charges relating to the violation of anti-terrorism laws, telecom fraud laws and firearms laws, the attorney general's office said in a statement on social media.

Those charged include journalists and scholars. Bekele is a senior leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress.


They will appear in court on Monday to answer to the charges, the attorney general's office said in the statement.

Jawar, a former ally of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, was instrumental in the Oromo protests that brought Abiy to power in 2018. But he became a critic of Abiy, accusing the prime minister of failing to protect Oromo interests.

Tuuli Baayyis, Jawar's lawyer, told Reuters that they had learnt about the charges from social media as formal charge papers had not been provided to them yet. He did not comment on the charges.

At least nine people have died in the Oromiya region around Addis Ababa following clashes between Ethiopian security forces and protesters demanding the release of the detained Oromo opposition politicians.

The unrest in Oromiya highlights the challenges facing Abiy ahead of elections which were due this August, but were postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.


At least 94 former Turkish military personnel arrested for links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, were remanded in custody on Saturday, according to a judicial source.

The suspects were among 131 ex-military officials arrested on Sept. 16 in anti-terror operations in 34 provinces, with a primary focus on Istanbul, said the source, requesting anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The arrested individuals included former army commanders, lieutenants, non-commissioned officers, and sergeants.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary./aa



Russia sent 400 pro-regime militias from Syria’s northeastern Qamisli region to Libya to fight for warlord Khalifa Haftar in exchange for money.

Russia continues to strengthen the ranks of the putschist Khalifa Haftar -- who relies on foreign fighters -- with mercenaries from Syria, according to local sources.

At least 400 "Shabiha" militants from the local militia forces, established by the Assad regime in Qamisli, were sent to eastern Libya by Russia.

The war criminal militants, who joined Haftar's side in Libya, had arrived at the Russian Khmeimim Air Base in Syria's Latakia province from the Qamishli airport the previous day.

Russia monthly pays each mercenary sent from Syria to Libya around $1,500-2,000.

Last month, Russia reached an agreement in Qamishli in the regime-controlled area with 1,000 people aged between 20 and 45, who are also expected to be sent to Libya soon.

It is estimated that the number of mercenaries sent by Russia to fight for Haftar from various provinces of Syria has exceeded 5,000 so far.

Foreign warriors in Haftar's ranks include Russian mercenaries, “Janjaweed" militias brought from Sudan, as well as armed rebels from Chad.

- Shabiha

The local militia group Shabiha, currently also backed by Iran, was founded by the Assad regime to suppress the peaceful demonstrations which began in 2011.

In the third so-called parliamentary elections held in July without the participation of the public, the Assad regime also brought the war criminal Shabiha into the parliament.

The UN has reported war crimes committed by the Shabiha, including the use of chemical weapons, rape, torture, targeting of civilian settlements, and deployment of terrorist organizations./aa


A senior Indian journalist based in the capital New Delhi has been arrested for passing “sensitive information to Chinese intelligence,” local police confirmed late on Friday.

A case under India’s Official Secrets Act was registered against 61-year-old Rajeev Sharma on Sept. 13 and he was arrested the next day, police said.

Two more people, a Chinese woman and a Nepalese man, were arrested in connection with the case, police confirmed in a second statement on Saturday.

In the more detailed statement, Delhi Police’s Special Cell accused Sharma of “working for Chinese intelligence officers,” claiming that “confidential documents related to Indian Defense department” were recovered from his possession.

The statement identified the Chinese woman as Qing Shi and her Nepalese associate as Sher Singh, saying the two were arrested for paying Sharma “huge amounts of money” through illegal channels “for conveying sensitive information to Chinese Intelligence.”

It said, “shell companies … operated by foreign intelligence” were used to transfer the funds.

There has been no reaction from the Chinese side yet.

The issue has come to the fore during a time of heightened tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, who remain engaged in a border standoff since June, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops.

Sharma, a freelance journalist who also runs a YouTube channel, focused on foreign affairs and defense matters.

He has previously worked with several Indian media outlets, according to local media reports.

The police statement also mentioned that Sharma wrote a weekly column for Global Times, a daily run by China’s Communist Party, from 2010 to 2014.

He wrote for the Chinese paper this July too, detailing a “rapprochement roadmap for Beijing and New Delhi.”/aa


Turkish security forces in the past 24 hours neutralized eight terrorists attempting to infiltrate into the area of Turkey’s anti-terror Peace Spring Operation in northern Syria, an official statement said on Saturday.

The National Defense Ministry said in a Twitter statement that commando units eliminated the infiltration attempt, and a total of eight YPG/PKK terrorists were neutralized.

The statement said the Turkish army would not allow terrorists to disrupt the peace and security atmosphere of the region.

Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria since 2016 to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian branch./aa

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh and India on Saturday agreed to launch joint border patrols to curb killings and crimes.

"Both sides have agreed to extend joint border patrolling, mass awareness programs and necessary socio-economic development activities with a view to downing the incidents of murders, injuries and attacks on unarmed civilians of both countries to zero level," said a joint statement issued after a four-day conference attended by border forces of both countries in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.

A Bangladesh-based rights watchdog in a report earlier in July said that at least 25 Bangladeshi civilians were killed by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in the first half of this year.

The two sides also agreed to educate citizens living in the border area about international law.

They also agreed to exchange digital photographs of smugglers and other criminals.

They also discussed the management of barbed wire fences on borders and common rivers.

The conference is being seen by observers as an effort to salvage ties after tensions due to a controversial citizenship register and law that could send thousands of ethnic Bengalis settled in India to Bangladesh, which is already struggling due to a Rohingya refugee wave which started in 2018 from neighboring Myanmar.

These efforts have become even more pronounced after Pakistan and China, India's arch rivals, were reportedly cozying up with Dhaka./aa

JAKARTA, Indonesia 

The Thai government last Sunday met a delegation of Muslim groups in southern Thailand to hear their aspirations amid ongoing violence in the region.

The Southern Thai Peace Delegation was led by Baba Abdulrahman, the chair of the Pattani Islamic Religious Council, while Wanlop Rugsanaoh was present as the head of the government delegation.

Muslim representatives asked the government to proclaim Friday, a holy day for Muslims, as a public holiday and for the Malay language to be declared as the official language of southern Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla provinces.

The four provinces have a large population of the Muslim Malay community, Patani, with 1.4 million residents, according to government data.

Representatives also proposed those familiar with Islamic practices be put in charge of pilgrimage affairs, drafting Islamic laws for the provinces and the development of a halal industry.

Historical legitimacy

Teuku Zulkhairi, an Indonesian Islamic expert in Southeast Asia from Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, voiced appreciation for the meeting.

Zulkhairi told Anadolu Agency minority groups in the south are part of the Malay Muslim entity that has a strong and long history in southeast Asia.

He said they are not a new community in southern provinces and noted that Islam had entered the region in the 15th century, which led to the establishment of the Patani Darussalam Kingdom.

"The Patani name came from al-Fatani in Arabic which means ‘intellectuals’ since there were many Muslim ulemas [scholars] born there," Zulkhairi said.

The Patani Darussalam Kingdom was then conquered by the Kingdom of Siam, the Thai ruler, in 1785. Siam took control of Patani’s entire territory and divided it into seven provinces.

Thai ruler, King Chulalongkorn, broke the peace treaty with the provinces in 1901 and launched a military campaign. It ended in 1909 with the Anglo-Siam treaty, which paved the way for the Kingdom to annex the southern Thailand region.

Freedom for Muslim minorities

Zulkhairi voiced the importance for the Thai government to provide freedom for Muslim minorities in carrying out religious teachings in language and an education curriculum.

He also called on the largest Muslim countries in southeast Asia -- Indonesia and Malaysia -- to encourage Thailand to protect the rights of the Patani Muslim minority.

Zulkhairi said if Muslims in southern Thailand can live in peace and enjoy freedom and justice, it will have a positive influence on Thailand’s image in international eyes.

"This is a challenge for the Thai government to show its commitment," he said.

Human rights activist Mustopha Mansor from the Malaysian Civil Society Solidarity Association, which often provides humanitarian assistance in southern Thailand, has a similar view regarding Muslim minorities.

“The demands from Patani Muslim delegations were in accordance with the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Mansor said.

Based on the declaration, he said, Patani Muslim minorities have the right to express their opinion, choose their religion and beliefs and be free from fear.

Dialogue with insurgent group

Zahri Ishak, a Thai human rights activist from the NGO Bicara Patani, said it was the third time Wanlop visited the southern region to accommodate the aspirations of Patani Muslims.

"He was there to hear proposals or demands from various parties, it can be done at any time by the Thai government," he told Anadolu Agency.

Ishak, however, reminded the peace negotiation team not to abandon the ongoing dialogue with the most influential insurgent group, Malay National Revolutionary Front (BRN), since it is a different entity that the Southern Thailand Peace Delegation.

Thailand officially launched a peace process with insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) on Jan. 21 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The negotiations have been mediated by Malaysia.

"There is an impression that the Thai government wants to localize the Muslim minority case and make it remain as a domestic problem, not an international issue," the activist said.

Meanwhile, Mansor said that since the administration of Malaysian former ruling party Pakatan Harapan collapsed, negotiations between BRN and Thailand were no longer as solid as they used to be.

In March, the two parties issued a joint statement agreeing to a cease-fire.

Do not let this be formality

Meanwhile, Marwan Ahmad, 29, a Muslim in Pattani province, voiced his wish that meetings between authorities and Muslim groups were not just a formality.

"Many Patani people don’t trust the Thai delegation's peace negotiation team because currently there has been a wave of protests in Bangkok against the abuse of power by military junta government," Ahmad said.

He said the government sees the conflict in the south as an ordinary riot, even though the conflict started since Patani was annexed in 1909.

"The government has to build trust and show a democratic behavior," he said.

Thai government imposed martial law in three Muslim-majority provinces in southern Thailand -- Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala -- following deadly violence in 2004.

At least 7,040 residents have since been arrested by the military, while 4,928 have been released, according to Bicara Patani./aa


Three more PKK terrorists surrendered to Turkish security forces in the country’s southeastern provinces, the Interior Ministry announced on Saturday.

Police and gendarmerie in coordination with the ministry worked to convince the terrorists to turn themselves in in Mardin and Sirnak provinces, the ministry said on Twitter.

It added that the terrorists joined the terror organization in 2014 and 2015.

A total of 157 terrorists have surrendered to Turkish forces in 2020 through these persuasion efforts, the ministry said.

Turkey recently launched an anti-terrorism operation in the region aimed at eliminating the separatist terror group from the country and neutralizing all terrorists taking shelter in the region.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

YANGON, Myanmar

Coronavirus fatalities in Myanmar continue to rise steadily, reaching 75 as of Saturday after dozens of patients have died in recent weeks.

More than 4,200 new cases have also been reported since late August when Myanmar, which seemed to have the virus under control with about 400 infections in nearly five months, started experiencing a second wave.

With hundreds of COVID-19 cases announced daily in Myanmar, political parties have been pushing to have the upcoming elections scheduled for Nov. 8 to be pushed back.

The Union Election Commission (UEC), however, rejected those demands Tuesday, saying the polls would go ahead as planned.

In addition to COVID-19 case numbers skyrocketing, political parties say a widespread flawed voter list is also a big reason to delay the elections.

“The voter list contains up to 70-80% errors. The dead are on the list but those who are alive are not there,” said Kyaw Zeya, vice-chair of the People Pioneer Party.

“So we don’t think these errors would be all fixed by October when UEC is to release final voter lists,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Meanwhile, the country’s immigration agency is conducting a campaign to issue national ID cards to adults who have not received them yet to vote.

An official in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar Township said “mix-blood persons,” a term widely used by government agencies to refer to ethnic Chinese, Indians, Nepalese, Muslims and those with a foreign parent or grandparents, are, however, excluded.

“The operation was designed to provide IDs to adults, who are listed as one of the country’s 135 national races, before the November polls,” the official said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

“Mix-bloods, however, have to apply for IDs through regular procedures,” he told Anadolu Agency during a ceremony in which hundreds of mostly Buddhist adults, received identification cards.

The campaign was widely criticized by rights activists across the Buddhist-majority country for treating Muslims and Hindus as second-class citizens.

The 1982 Citizenship Act of Myanmar, in which nationality was established based on membership in one of 135 natiosnal races, effectively denies citizenship rights to those of so-called mix-bloods.

Aung Myo Win, who leads the Human Rights and Equal Rights Movement, a network of activists helping those who are facing difficulties in applying for national ID cards, said the campaign reflects the government’s discrimination policy against minority communities in Myanmar.

“There are many, many people who have not received national IDs despite living in the county for generations,” said Win, who is a Muslim community leader in Bago, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of the commercial capital, Yangon.

He said mix-bloods are forced to pay large informal fees to bypass complex bureaucratic procedures in applying for national ID cards.

Those who apply for national registration cards are required to present documents to prove that their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were approved citizens. The problem is that many of the elderly do not have documentations.

Many of the elderly do not apply for official papers which is a common problem everyone faced but it was much easier to obtain for members of the 135 national races. For mix-blood older individuals, they face corrupt, racist and discriminatory government officials.

“The children from such families are also being excluded from programs issuing national registration cards in schools,” he said.

Without a national registration card, he said they are not entitled to receive important documents such as passports.

“It is a longstanding issue that must be changed immediately,” he said, adding that many people would be sidelined in the elections unless things are changed.

The UEC claimed those who do not have national registration cards would not lose their right to cast a ballot if their name is on electoral lists, which are currently on public display to be checked and corrected.

UEC spokesperson Myint Naing told reporters earlier this month that those whose names are on the list would not necessarily be required to have national ID to vote.

“Those who don’t have NRC cards would use other ID cards such as student cards or labor cards to identify themselves and cast ballots on Election Day. What is most important now is to check the vote list and help us make correct in time,” he said at a news conference.

Many Muslims told Anadolu Agency that they were able to vote in previous elections although they do not have national registration cards.

An administrator of a Muslim-majority village in central Mandalay region said all eligible voters in the village were registered on electoral list and will be able to exercise their rights to vote.

“Some 40 Muslim adults from the village however don’t have national ID cards,” said the administrator who asked not to be named due to the fear of reprisal.

“They were born here, their parents are approved citizens. Their grandparents and great grandparents built this village for about a century ago. But the immigration department said they are not entitled to receiving a national ID, but they are allowed to vote. It is extremely confusing,” he said.

“Are we just merely entitled to a vote (rights to cast ballots) every five years, but no other citizenship rights?” he asked rhetorically./aa