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Saudi foreign minister says Iran main sponsor of global terror

MUNICH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday rejected Iranian calls for dialogue saying
Tehran was the main sponsor of terrorism in the world, a destabilising force in the Middle East and
wanted to “destroy us.”

“Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Adel Al-Jubeir told delegates at
the Munich Security Conference. “It’s determined to upend the order in Middle East ... (and) until
and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.”

Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, funding the
Houthi separatists in Yemen and violent groups across the region. He said the international
community needed to set clear “red lines” to halt Iran’s actions.
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Trump promises new immigration order as DOJ holds off appeals court

Washington :President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to roll out a new immigration executive
order next week that will be tailored to the federal court decision that paused his travel ban.

"The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision,"
said Trump during a news conference, referring to a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
that blocked his travel ban earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department told the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that it did not need a
larger panel of judges to rehear its failed emergency challenge to a lower court's temporary
suspension of Trump's executive order on immigration at this time, because a new order is on the
way. The Ninth Circuit agreed Thursday evening to put any rehearing of the matter on hold for now.

The Justice Department wrote at length in a 47-page about the "seriously flawed" Ninth Circuit
ruling from last week, but neverthless said: "(r)ather than continuing this litigation, the President
intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised
executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns."

"In so doing, the President will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than
pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," it added.

Questions have swirled over what the Trump administration would do this week after a three-judge
panel on the Ninth Circuit refused to lift a federal judge's temporary restraining order on Trump's
executive order barring foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen
from entering the country for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and all refugees from Syria
indefinitely.

Last Friday, an unidentified judge on the Ninth Circuit requested that the full court vote on whether
to rehear the decision reached by the three-judge panel. Such requests are not uncommon, but the
call for a vote came at time when the Justice Department's position on pursuing the appeal was
uncertain.

The states that brought the lawsuit -- Washington and Minnesota -- said in their court filing on
Thursday that there is no basis for rehearing the case, as the opinion from the three-judge panel is
"firmly grounded in precedent."

And while the nation waits on a new or modified executive order on immigration from the Trump
administration, at least one federal court is barreling ahead on litigation over the original one.

US District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle -- the judge who originally halted the key
provisions of the travel ban -- denied a request from the Trump administration earlier this week to
postpone any further proceedings in his court, which means the parties will now proceed to the
discovery phase of the case.
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PAVLYUCHENKOVA CLEARS JANKOVIC CHALLENGE ON RAINY DAY IN
DOHA

DOHA, Qatar - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was the only winner on Tuesday at the Qatar Total
Open, moving through a rainy Valentine's Day to dispatch former World No.1 Jelena Jankovic, 6-
1, 6-4, and advance into the second round.

"It was quite a long day, but I'll take it," she said after the match. "I'm happy to be one of the first
ones done today, and it's a nice present for myself, as well."

Pavlyuchenkova came in hot after a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals, completing a career
set of last eight appearances at major tournaments. But stormy weather threatened to cool off the
big-hitting Russian, who was set to open play against Jankovic, one of the most dangerous
qualifiers in recent memory.

"I haven't such a good start to a season before, but it's exciting, and I'm just trying to take it
tournament by tournament."

Court floor being dried in order to resume the matches of the @WTA #Qatar_Total_Open! Keep
following us for more updates! pic.twitter.com/IEGFVI5wIe

— Qatar Tennis Fed. (@QatarTennis)
Jankovic had to battle through three rounds of qualifying for the first time since 2004 (Filderstadt),
but after a year full of injuries, the 2008 US Open finalist discussed the need for more matches to
help ease her back into competitive play.

"I'm feeling good but I need to get my game up there and of course my confidence and just being
comfortable in the matches, being in those situations all over again, match in, match out, day in, day
out, compete and fight and find my way," she said on Monday.

Even with multiple rain delays, the Serb ultimately had few answers against Pavlyuchenkova, who
hit 23 winners to just 14 unforced errors while Jankovic went 0/5 on break point opportunities.
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Protests greet Malaysia aid ship for Myanmar's Rohingya

YANGON: Anti-Rohingya protesters gathered at a Yangon port on Thursday (Feb 9) to meet a
Malaysian ship carrying aid for thousands of refugees from the persecuted Muslim minority fleeing a
bloody military crackdown.

Dozens of Buddhist monks and demonstrators waving national flags and signs reading "No
Rohingya" congregated at the Thilawa port waiting for the ship to dock.

Hundreds of Rohingya are thought to have been killed in a brutal four-month campaign by security
forces that the UN says may amount to ethnic cleansing. Tens of thousands have fled to
neighbouring Bangladesh bringing harrowing tales of murder and rape.

"We want to let them know that we have no Rohingya here," a Buddhist monk named Thuseitta
from the Yangon chapter of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union told AFP at the docks.

Myanmar denies citizenship to the million-strong Rohingya, despite many of them living on its soil
for generations. Buddhist nationalist groups are especially strong in their vitriol, portraying them as
illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya has sparked criticism from Muslim-majority Malaysia, in a
rare spat between Southeast Asian neighbours.

The Nautical Aliya set off from Malaysia last week carrying 2,200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and
clothing along with hundreds of health workers and activists.

Hundreds of Rohingya are thought to have been killed in a brutal four-month campaign by security
forces that the UN says may amount to ethnic cleansing. Tens of thousands have fled to
neighbouring Bangladesh bringing harrowing tales of murder and rape.

"We want to let them know that we have no Rohingya here," a Buddhist monk named Thuseitta
from the Yangon chapter of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union told AFP at the docks.

Myanmar denies citizenship to the million-strong Rohingya, despite many of them living on its soil
for generations. Buddhist nationalist groups are especially strong in their vitriol, portraying them as
illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya has sparked criticism from Muslim-majority Malaysia, in a
rare spat between Southeast Asian neighbours.

The Nautical Aliya set off from Malaysia last week carrying 2,200 tonnes of rice, medical aid and
clothing along with hundreds of health workers and activists.
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More than 100 die as avalanches bury villages in Afghanistan, Pakistan

At least 132 people have died along the Afghan-Pakistani border after three days of heavy snowfall
caused a series of deadly avalanches Sunday.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach isolated regions where it's feared more people
are trapped beneath the snow.

Most of the casualties occurred in Afghanistan, where at least 119 have been killed and 67 are
reported injured, said Omar Mohammadi, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management
Authority.

Mohamaddi said that most of the victims were women and children, and that deaths were reported
in the provinces of eastern Nuristan, northern Parwan, Sar-e-Pul, Badakhshan and eastern Wardak.

At least 50 were killed in the Barg-e-Matal district of Nuristan province -- to the north of Kabul --
where unrelenting snow has buried villages and closed roads to rescue workers.

Across the border, in Pakistan, an avalanche rocked the district of Chitral late Saturday, when
most were asleep. In the high-altitude Garam Chashma area, 13 have been confirmed dead and 19
have been injured, said Shahab Ahmed, the district coordination officer of Chitral.

The dead in Garam Chashma include four women, four children and one man, Ahmed said. The
devastating wave of pounding snow and ice left 19 houses in the area damaged.

The Pakistani government extended sympathies to the families of victims.
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Donald Trump administration tightens Iran sanctions, Tehran hits back

The Trump administration on Friday imposed sanctions on 25 individuals and entities, ratcheting up
pressure on Iran in what it said were just “initial steps” and said it would no longer turn a “blind
eye” to Iran’s hostile actions.

“The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests,”
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said. “The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and
belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over,” Flynn said in a
White House statement. A senior administration official said the latest sanctions were the initial
steps in response to Iran’s “provocative behavior”, suggesting more could follow if Tehran does not
curb its ballistic missile program and continues support in regional proxy conflicts. The
administration was “undertaking a larger strategic review” of how it responds to Iran.

Those affected cannot access the US financial system or deal with US companies and are subject
to secondary sanctions, meaning foreign companies and individuals are prohibited from dealing with
them or risk being blacklisted by the United States.

The White House said that while the sanctions, the first actions against Iran by the US government
since President Donald Trump took office, were a reaction to recent events, they had been under
consideration before.

They added that a landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program was not in the best interest
of the United States.

Iran denounced the sanctions as illegal and said it would impose legal restrictions on American
individuals and entities helping “regional terrorist groups”, state TV quoted a Foreign Ministry
statement as saying.

Ahead of the announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “We will
never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense”.

The new designations stuck to areas that remain under sanctions even with the 2015 nuclear deal
sealed between Iran and world powers in place, such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,
an elite military body that is powerful in Iranian politics and the economy, and Iran’s ballistic missile
program. Zarif led Iran’s delegation at the nuclear negotiations in 2015.

Among those affected by the sanctions were what it said was a Lebanon-based network run by the
Revolutionary Guards.

The sanctions’ impact will be more symbolic than practical, especially as they do not affect the
lifting of broader US and international sanctions that took place under the nuclear deal.

Also, few of the Iranian entities being targeted are likely to have US assets that can be frozen, and
US companies, with few exceptions, are barred from doing business with Iran.
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Hafiz Saeed's Detention Sparks Protests in Pakistan

Islamabad: JuD chief Hafiz Saeed's detention may help ease Indo-Pak tension, media in Islamabad
said on Tuesday even as supporters of the Mumbai attack mastermind launched protests across
major cities against the government's decision which they say was taken under pressure from the
US and India.

Saeed, who was detained on Monday at his Lahore headquarters, has been shifted to his residence
which has been declared as a sub-jail by authorities in Punjab province. The provincial authorities
have also started to remove the banners of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) from the roads of Lahore.

National flags have been hoisted at the JuD offices in Lahore, instead of party flags, on the
directives of the provincial home department.

As he was placed under house arrest, his supporters launched protests in cities like Islamabad,
Lahore and Karachi.

"The detention of Hafiz Saeed could help ease tensions between nuclear-armed foes Pakistan and
India, although New Delhi has not yet responded," Express Tribune commented.

It said that the 2008 Mumbai attack brought Pakistan and India to the brink of war after 10
gunmen killed 166 people in a rampage that included attacks on two luxury hotels, a Jewish center
and a train station.


Saeed has denied any role in the attack and has distanced himself from LeT, while leading his JuD.
Supporters accused Nawaz Sharif government of succumbing to the wishes of the US, which has
offered a USD 10 million reward for information leading to Saeed's arrest. "This government has
buckled under the pressure," JuD spokesperson Nadeem Awan said who also accused India of
pressurising the government.

Another spokesperson, Farooq Azam, announced protests in Karachi by "different religious and
Kashmiri leaders".

The paper said a senior Pakistani defence ministry official said Islamabad had not been contacted
by the new administration of US President Donald Trump but had been feeling US pressure on the
issue.

"Trump is taking hard decisions against Muslim countries, there is open talk of actions against
Pakistan also. So yes, this was a consideration," said the official.

Other government officials have said recently that a broader diplomatic campaign pushed by India
to isolate Pakistan has taken a toll, even involving pressure from longtime ally China.

Four days back, Punjab's Ministry of Interior had included names of Saeed and four others --
Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz -- in the Watch List as
per UNSC 1267 Sanctions and ordered their preventive detention.

Ubaid, Iqbal, Abid and Niaz were also also taken into preventive custody, Pakistani media
reported.

Punjab government's action comes amidst pressure on Pakistan from the Trump administration that
it must take action against JuD and Saeed to avoid sanctions.

JuD is the front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit which is responsible for
numerous terror attacks in India, including the Mumbai terror strike of November 26,2008, which
was masterminded by Saeed.

JuD has already been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014.
Earlier too Saeed was put under house arrest after the Mumbai attack, but was released about six
months later in June 2009 after a court order.
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Mexico condemns Trump's border wall tax proposal

Mexico has condemned a US suggestion that it may impose a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay
for President Donald Trump's planned border wall.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said such tax would make Mexican imports more expensive for
US consumers and they would end up paying for the wall.

The Mexican president earlier cancelled a visit to the US amid the row of who would pay for the
barrier.

The planned wall was one of Mr Trump's key election campaign pledges.

Earlier this week, the president signed an executive order to create a wall along the 2,000-mile
(3,200km) US-Mexico border.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Videgaray said: "A tax on Mexican imports to the United States is not a
way to make Mexico pay for the wall, but to a way make the North American consumer pay for it
through more expensive avocados, washing machines, televisions.''

He also stressed that paying for Mr Trump's wall "is not negotiable" for Mexico.

Earlier on Thursday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said a 20% tax could generate
approximately $10bn (£8bn) in tax revenue per year.

"Right now our country's policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous",
he said, adding that the tax will "easily pay for the wall".

But Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, later said that the border tax is only one of
several options being considered.
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White House opens door to cooperation with Russia in Syria

“I think if there’s a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it’s Russia or anyone
else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we’ll take it,” Sean Spicer said.

The Trump administration has opened the door to cooperating with Russia “or anyone else” to
combat the Islamic State group in Syria, suggesting it could reverse a previous refusal to coordinate
military action with Moscow as long as it backs the Syrian government.

“I think if there’s a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it’s Russia or anyone
else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we’ll take it,” White House press
secretary Sean Spicer said.

Asked if the openness extended to working with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been
condemned internationally for killing civilians, Mr. Spicer said, “We’re not going to get together
with people under the guise of defeating ISIS if that’s not truly their guise.” He added, “So let’s not
take that too far.”

Mr. Spicer also suggested that Mr. Trump already has told Defense Secretary James Mattis to
review how he might change the US approach to fighting the Islamic State.

“I think he has ordered it,” Mr. Spicer said, adding that Mr. Trump would discuss the matter with
Mr. Mattis during a visit to the Pentagon on Friday.

“At that time, he will continue to have conversations about what he wants from them and the joint
chiefs,” he added, referring to the military service chiefs.

During the more than two years that President Barack Obama directed US military action against
IS in Syria, he resisted Russian overtures to coordinate military action.

Mr. Obama believed Moscow was acting counter to US interests by propping up Assad, whose
government Mr. Obama called illegitimate. The Pentagon has maintained a hotline with the Russian
military to deal with the narrower issue of avoiding air accidents in Syria.

With Mr. Trump in the White House, Moscow seems eager to draw the new administration into
closer military cooperation, perhaps reflecting Mr. Trump’s frequent statements during the
presidential campaign that he welcomed opportunities to improve relations with Moscow.
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Israel approves settlement homes following Trump inauguration

Israel has approved hundreds of new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem, after the
staunch pro-Israel US President Donald Trump took office.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman told AFP: "Now we can finally build."

Israel's PM reportedly delayed approval given the opposition of Barack Obama, who infuriated
Israel by allowing a UN resolution against settlements to pass.

Settlements in East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes
this.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Mr Trump had invited him to a
meeting in Washington in February, on a date yet to be decided.

A statement said the two leaders held a "very warm" telephone conversation in which they
discussed issues including the Iran nuclear deal and the peace process with the Palestinians.

The White House said Mr Trump had emphasised during the call that peace between Israel and the
Palestinians "could only be negotiated directly between the two parties".

It said the two leaders had agreed to continue to consult closely on regional issues including "threats
posed by Iran".

What has Israel approved and why now?

Jerusalem's City Hall approved construction permits for 566 new homes in the East Jerusalem
settlements of Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlomo and Ramot.

Mr Turgeman said: "I was told to wait until Trump takes office because he has no problem with
building in Jerusalem.

"The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump's arrival as president. We no longer have
our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama."

He said the delay was at the request of Mr Netanyahu in the wake of the 23 December UN
Security Council resolution opposing Israeli settlement construction.

The US refusal to veto the resolution marked the lowest ebb of deteriorating relations between the
Obama administration and the Israeli government.

Mr Obama regarded opposing new settlement homes as a key plank in pursuing a possible "two-
state solution" to ending the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
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‘Trump Administration could offer bilateral deal to India’

Arguing that the President-elect does not believe in multilateral trade deals and is against them, the
sources said his administration is interested in a bilateral trade deal with India that could be a “win-
win situation” for the two countries, the two sources said.

However, the offer of first such trade deal could go to the United Kingdom, a close ally of
America. Once that is finalized, the Trump Administration is expected to engage India on a similar
bilateral trade deal offer, they said.

The development comes hours before Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

“I think the President’s message on trade has been fairly clear. He is going to fight for American
workers and American manufacturing. And that’s going to be the number one thing that guides him
going forward,” incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

“He (Trump) has talked about bilateral deals, but he’s going to make sure that every deal he cuts,
just like he did in business puts American workers and American manufacturing, American
services, America first,” he said in response to a question on China.

India did not figure on his remarks on trade related question.

“So whether it’s China or any other country, that’s going to be the priority. But with respect to
China alone, it’s a huge market place for American workers and small businesses.

You look at the commitment that Ali Baba made the other day when they met with him, talking
about increasing access to small businesses,” Spicer said.

He said it is important that individuals who might have a craft or a product that they’re working at
home or maybe it’s just a small business, have the opportunity to access those market places that at
one point might be too far for them to reach, but might get avaulable through the.

Trump is going to continue to fight whether it’s the Chinese market or other places around the
globe for market access, he added.
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Barack Obama Granted Clemency To 273 Prisoners In A Single Day

After spending over six years behind bars for releasing confidential information to WikiLeaks,
Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence was commuted yesterday by President Barack Obama. The
young transgender woman, doomed to spend the next 29 years in a men’s prison, will thankfully be
freed six months from now.

But Chelsea Manning was not the only one to benefit from a reduced sentence. Along with her,
nearly 209 other prisoners were granted commutation yesterday by the President.

In addition, 64 people who had already served their sentences received presidential pardon, which
means that some of the liberties that had been taken away from them will now be restored. In total,
273 individuals benefited from the President’s clemency, just a few days before the end of his term.

Among the individuals who were pardoned was James Cartwright, retired Marine Corps general
and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was accused of lying to the FBI
regarding a computer virus that paralyzed Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.

A history of clemency

It’s official. Barack Obama has granted more commutations than any President in United States
history, as we can see in the graphic below, which was updated by the White House last night. A
total of 1,385 people have received commuted sentences, 504 of which were condemned to prison
for life.

The commutations are a few final beacons of hope before Donald Trump’s presidency begins. The
businessman and reality TV star is already considered to be the most hated President ever to enter
the White House.
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