HAMAS HAILS EFFORTS TO REVOKE ISRAEL’S AU OBSERVER STATUS

Palestinian resistance group Hamas on October 17 welcomed a decision to postpone the approval of Israel’s observer status in the African Union (AU). “The decision by the AU Executive Council to postpone taking a final decision to grant the occupation state observer status is a step in the right direction,” Hamas leader Basem Naim said in a statement. On October 15, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said a decision was taken by the AU Executive Council to delay a decision on granting Israel observer status in the pan-African body until the AU summit in February 2022. In July, African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat decided to grant Israel observer status, prompting outrage across the African continent. Last month, a group of international lawyers, researchers and activists filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights seeking the revocation of Israel’s AU observer status.

SYRIA ACCUSES ISRAEL OF ASSASSINATING INTEL OFFICER

Syria has accused Israel of being behind the assassination of a high-ranking government official near the border of occupied Syrian Golan Heights on October 16. Midhat Al-Saleh, 54, an intelligence officer, was the head of Syria’s Golan Affairs Office and a former lawmaker. According to the state-run SANA news agency, Saleh was shot outside his home near the village of Ain Eltineh, situated opposite the Druze town of Majdal Shams. Al Jazeera reported that he was killed by an Israeli sniper, although the Israeli military has not confirmed or denied the incident in line with a longstanding policy. “The cabinet stressed, in a statement, that those terrorist acts will only increase the determination of the Syrian Arab people to continue resisting the occupier and liberating the occupied Syrian Golan,” SANA reported. The Syrian cabinet also condemned the “cowardly criminal act”.

TALIBAN ALLOW GIRLS TO ATTEND SECONDARY, HIGH SCHOOLS: UN

During a press conference in New York, Deputy head of the UNICEF Omar Abdi cited the Taliban officials that Afghan girls will soon be allowed to attend secondary and high schools, a report said on October 17. Expressing hope that soon Afghan girls be allowed to attend secondary and high schools, Abdi said that they have urged the Taliban not to wait over the issue. Abdi had met Afghanistan’s acting minister of education who had told him about a plan based on which they will allow girls to attend secondary schools in two months. He also emphasised that the situation is dire in Afghanistan and children pay the utmost price. Highlighting concerns about Afghan children, he said that nearly ten million children need humanitarian aid and the number is expected to rise in the future. Abdi paid a visit to Afghanistan last week.

BAKU DENIES REPORTS ON AZERBAIJANI TRUCE VIOLATION

Baku has dismissed as inaccurate Armenian reports alleging truce violation by Azerbaijani servicemen near Arazdayan settlement. The information disseminated by Armenia about the alleged firing by Azerbaijan army units in the direction of Arazdayan settlement does not reflect the truth and is another lie of the opposing side, Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said on October 16. Earlier, the ministry dismissed as fake another Armenian report alleging that Azerbaijani army units opened fire in the direction of Arazdayan settlement. “The unfounded information spread by the Armenian side about the alleged firing by Azerbaijani Army units in the direction of the Arazdayan settlement is untrue and absolutely fake,” the Defence Ministry reported on October 15. The ministry stressed that by spreading fake information of this kind, “Armenia is trying to prepare the ground for next provocations”.

UAE SLAMMED OVER ACQUISITION OF WOMEN’S CYCLING TEAM

The UAE has come under fire by a human rights organisation, which has raised concerns following the country’s recent acquisition of a female cycling team for 2022. The current men’s WorldTour team, which is sponsored by the Gulf state, announced that it will be buying the UCI licence of the Italian professional Alé BTC Ljubljana team in order to launch its own women’s team. However, the Geneva-based International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) said the purchase of the team was “deeply regrettable” especially as it is “a regime that systematically discriminates against women in law and in practise”. Speaking to Cycling Weekly, the director of ISHR Phil Lynch accused the UAE of “using sporting sponsorships and cultural events to wash its dirty human rights record.”

ALGERIAN PARLIAMENT MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF 1961 PARIS MASSACRE

Rebuffing controversial statements by France’s president about the colonial period in Algeria, the nation’s parliament on October 16 said that on a single day in 1961, some 300 peaceful Algerians were massacred by the French police. A special session of the National People’s Assembly, the lower house of Algeria’s parliament, was held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Oct. 17, 1961 massacre in Paris, when peaceful demonstrators supporting the independence movement in their country were suppressed by the French police. The massacre, according to Parliament Speaker Ibrahim Boughali, remains a shameful stain on France, because crimes against humanity do not expire. A statement by the Algerian Information Ministry stated that the Algerian demonstrators in France were civilians who were subjected to brutality, torture, and killing.

AFGHANISTAN’S FORMER PM AHMAD SHAH AHMADZAI PASSES AWAY

Afghanistan’s former prime minister Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai has passed away at the age of 78, a report said on October 17. Ahmadzai served as prime minister of Afghanistan from 1995 to 1996 soon before the Taliban took control of the country. Earlier this month, he was reported to have returned to Afghanistan from India through Attari check post with Pakistan.

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