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International News (6766)

02
November

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) claims the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Institute of Microbiology is safe for humans, according to the results of clinical trials by the institute.

The results of phase I and phase II trials have resulted in safety and health for people who received the vaccine injection and found no serious side effects, the Institute of Microbiology, an institution under CAS, was quoted by local media on Monday.

The Institute of Microbiology in collaboration with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co Ltd has obtained permission to develop the COVID-19 vaccine from the Chinese National Medical Products Agency (NMPA) on June 19.

Researchers began conducting clinical trials on June 23 to make sure the vaccine is safe to administer to humans. The volunteers who are willing to receive the vaccine are aged 18-59 years from Beijing, Chongqing, and Hunan.

They received injections at hospitals in Beijing and Chongqing.

Then a second clinical trial was conducted on July 10 to evaluate the immunity power and safety of the vaccine. According to the development agency, clinical trials are conducted randomly to determine the effectiveness of vaccines before they are mass-produced.

The vaccine is patented and the developer is preparing a phase III clinical trial to confirm its efficacy. To date, in China, there have been 13 COVID-19 vaccines developed by several research institutes and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology said that there have been four COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have conducted fae III clinical trials.

Chinese people are looking forward to the vaccine. Sinovac and Sinopharm, China's largest vaccine company, recently started offering a limited amount via online platforms. (Antaranews)

02
November

Two more men were arrested in connection with a knife attack that left three dead at a church in Nice, bringing the number of people in custody to six as investigators look at the suspected assailant’s last known contacts, a French police source said.

The latest arrests took place on Saturday, the source said.

An assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice on Thursday, in France’s second deadly knife attack in two weeks with a suspected Islamist motive.

The suspected attacker, a 21-year-old from Tunisia, was shot by police and is now in critical condition in a hospital.

The latest arrests in the case involved two men from the town of Grasse, near the southern French coast close to Nice, BFM TV reported.

France’s chief anti-terrorism prosecutor has said the man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack had arrived in Europe on Sept. 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia.

Investigators in Italy are also stepping up inquiries about the suspected assailant’s movements and contacts on the island of Sicily. They believe he may have spent time there after going from Lampedusa to Bari in early October on a ship used to quarantine migrants, judicial sources said.

In Bari, he is believed to have been handed an expulsion order obliging him to leave Italy within a week, the judicial sources said. Investigators are looking into the possibility the suspected attacker stayed in the Sicilian town of Alcamo for a 10 day period, the sources added. (Reuters)

30
October

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Angel Moratinos calls on the world to respect each other of religions and faiths, to foster a culture of brotherhood and peace.

In a statement, Moratinos said he was following with deep concern the growing tensions and instances of intolerance fueled by the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo which published satirical caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

"The seditious caricature has also provoked acts of violence against innocent civilians, who were attacked because of their religion, belief or ethnicity," Moratinos said.

He underlined that contempt for religion and sacred religious symbols provokes hatred and violent extremism, leading to polarization and fragmentation of society.

Freedom of expression must be exercised in a way that fully respects the religious beliefs and principles of all religions, he said.

"Acts of violence cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group," said Moratinos.

Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron described Islam as a "religion in crisis" and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle "Islamic separatism" in France.

Tensions have escalated after the case of the beheading of a high school teacher, Samuel Paty, on October 16 in a Paris suburb after he showed him a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in one of his classes about freedom of expression.

The attacker, Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old man from Chechnya, was then shot dead by police. Macron paid tribute to Paty, and the cartoon released by Charlie Hebdo was also projected on buildings in several cities.

The French president defended the caricature, saying France "will not stop our cartoons". The remarks sparked outrage across the Muslim world.

In addition to condemnation from several countries including Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, there have been calls to boycott products, protests and French attacks on French websites. (Antaranews)

30
October

A knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday.

A defiant President Emmanuel Macron, declaring that France had been subject to an Islamist terrorist attack, said he would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important French sites, such as places of worship and schools.

Speaking from the scene, he said France had been attacked “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief”.

“And I say it with lots of clarity again today: we will not give any ground.”

A police source told Reuters the assailant was believed by law enforcement to be a 21-year-old Tunisian national who had recently entered France from Italy. A Tunisian security source and a French police source later named the suspect as Brahim Aouissaoui.

Tunisia’s anti-terrorism court prosecutor began a forensic investigation into “the suspicion that a Tunisian committed a terrorist operation abroad”, Mohsen Dali, spokesman for the specialised counter-militancy court, said in Tunis.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, state television reported that a Saudi man had been arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and injuring a guard at the French consulate. The French Embassy said he was in the hospital after a knife assault though his life was not in danger.

Within hours of the Nice attack, French police killed a man who had threatened passersby with a handgun in Montfavet, near the southern city of Avignon.

France’s Le Figaro newspaper quoted a prosecution source as saying the man was undergoing psychiatric treatment, and that they did not believe there was a terrorism motive.

Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said the attack in his city had happened at Notre Dame church and was similar to the beheading earlier this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class.

Thursday’s attacks, on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, came at a time of growing Muslim anger at France’s defence of the right to publish the cartoons, and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries. (Reuters)

29
October

President Joko Widodo wants to increase economic cooperation between Indonesia and the United States (US), one way is by obtaining an extension of the general preferential tariff facility (Generalized System of Preferences / GSP) from the US, which is beneficial for the economies of both countries.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said this after accompanying President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Thursday.

According to Retno, President Jokowi at the meeting conveyed the need for mutual understanding to maintain the partnership between Indonesia and the US. Apart from understanding each other, concrete cooperation efforts are also needed, including in the economic field.

"The President emphasized that Indonesia wants to see economic cooperation between the two countries increase, including of course the hope of extending the GSP to Indonesia," said the Foreign Minister.

The GSP facility is a US unilateral program that provides import duty tariff relief for exporting countries to the US market. Indonesia gets GSP facilities at 3,572 tariff posts.

However, since 2018, in the Federal Register Vol. 83 as of 27 April 2018, the US is still reviewing the eligibility of Indonesia and several other developing countries to get an extension of the facility.

In the review process, the US is known to have revoked facilities for other countries such as India. Indonesia is currently still trying to get the GSP extension facility, in order to increase business cooperation for the two countries. (Antaranews)

29
October

President Joko Widodo stressed the need to maintain the partnership between Indonesia and the United States when he received a visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Thursday.

"In the meeting, the President said that Indonesia is partnering and good friends with America. Indonesia wants America to be Indonesia's true friend, this cannot be taken for granted," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, in a virtual press conference after accompanying the President received the US Foreign Minister in Bogor, Thursday.

The Foreign Minister said that President Jokowi stated that the Indonesia-US partnership must be maintained, and to maintain this partnership, serious efforts, mutual understanding, and efforts to show concrete cooperation, including cooperation in the economy.

"The President emphasized that Indonesia wants to see economic cooperation between the two countries increase, including of course the hope of extending GSP facilities to Indonesia," explained the Foreign Minister.

In addition, the Foreign Minister said, President Jokowi also wants defense cooperation with the United States to increase and the president wants to see America understand the interests of developing countries and the interests of Muslim countries.

The President said that Indonesia appealed to the United States to also understand Southeast Asia and together with Southeast Asia countries to create peace, stability, and cooperation in the region," he said. (Antaranews)

29
October

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Thursday (29/10/2020), paid a visit to Indonesia and immediately met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. During the meeting of the two foreign ministers, the South China Sea (SCS) was one that was raised.

Mike Pompeo praised Indonesia's courage in rejecting China's claim to territory that was claimed to be part of its country's sovereignty or is often known as the nine-dash line (nine-dash line).

"Many countries reject China's claims regarding some parts of the SCS. This is clear and bold, including what Indonesia is doing as a subject within Asia and the United States. That is what we have achieved in a multilateral relationship, and the President Trump administration is very supportive of this," he said.

Pompeo when giving a press statement after a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Thursday (29/10/2020), at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jakarta.

Pompeo also appreciated Indonesia's maritime power, which safeguards the country's sovereignty in the Natuna Islands.

"As an example of the maritime power (TNI AL-red) to safeguard the country's sovereignty in the Natuna Islands," he added.

According to Pompeo, the United States wants to strengthen cooperation in the context of security in the SCS area with Indonesia, to protect one of the world's busiest trade routes.

"I look forward to working together in new ways, to ensure maritime security by protecting one of the world's busy trade routes," Pompeo stressed.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi emphasized that Indonesia is committed to continuing to make the SCS a peaceful and stable area.

"We also discussed the conditions in the SCS and for Indonesia the area must be maintained as a peaceful and stable water area," said Retno.

In front of her counterpart, Retno also emphasized that all parties must respect international laws, especially UNCLOS 1962 which regulates the SCS.

"International law in particular UNCLOS 1962 must be respected and implemented. Therefore, there must be international recognition, including UNCLOS 1962," he added.

He said Indonesia also hopes for investment from US businessmen in the Natuna Islands.

"I encourage American businessmen to invest more in Indonesia, including in the outer islands such as the Natuna Islands," said Retno.

Meanwhile, the bilateral meeting between the Indonesian and US Foreign Ministers also discussed the development of democracy, respect for human rights, Palestine, Afghanistan, and ASEAN.

During his second visit to Indonesia, Mike Pompeo is also scheduled to meet with President Joko Widodo and the Ansor Youth Movement. (RRI)

28
October

To mark the Kashmir Black Day on 27 October 2020, the Embassy of Pakistan held a Webinar titled "ISLAMOPHOBIA – Effects on Humanitarian Aspects of Muslim Minority Communities in South Asia: Kashmir Perspective". This was the third program this month which was held in connection with the Kashmir Black Day.
The Speakers included
1- Prof. Dr. Yusny Saby
2 -Mr. Jamal Nasir, Charge d'Affaires of Pakistan Embassy Jakarta.
3 -Drs. Nur Munir, Head of IMERC, University of Indonesia
4 -Dr. Surwandono S.Sos., M.Si Head of Magister Program of International Relations Department Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta
5 -Khairunnisa Simbolon, MA - Lecturer in International Relations Department Universitas Lampung

Charge d'Affaires Mr. Jamal Nasir delivered a detailed presentation on the rising wave of Islamophobia, reasons behind the rise of Islamophobia, and Implications on the Muslim communities around the world in general, and South Asia in particular.

He specifically highlighted the plight of Muslims in India, especially in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) where the Indian occupation forces have unleashed a reign of terror and brutalities.

Mr. Nasir emphasized that India, under the RSS inspired regime, is systematically suppressing the religious minorities, Muslims in particular.

He quoted recent statements by the Top Leadership of the ruling BJP where they refuse to consider Muslims as equal citizens.

He also highlighted various discriminatory policies introduced by the current Indian Government, including the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the NRC.

He also spoke about the brutal lynching of Muslims by Cow Vigilantes, demolition of Mosques, and the recent killing of 50 Muslims in Feb 2020 when they were protesting against the Government's discriminatory policies.

Other speakers also presented their views on the topic and stressed the need for that the International Community should take notice of the situation in the IIOJK.

The Webinar was attended by more than 160 participants including Deans of Universities, Professors, Lecturers, Researchers, Members of Religious Organizations, and Students. (VOI)

28
October

The Saudi Arabian Cabinet on Tuesday (27/10/2020) renewed its statement of rejection of any attempts to link Islam and terrorism.

The cabinet also condemns cartoons that offend the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, as quoted from Al Arabiya, Wednesday (28/10/2020).

However, the statement does not refer to calls in some Muslim countries to boycott French products over images of the Prophet displayed in France.

The statement added that the cabinet also renewed "its condemnation and rejection of any terrorist act or practice and acts that give rise to hatred, violence, and extremism," while emphasizing that intellectual freedom is a means of respect, tolerance, and peace. (RRI)

28
October

The Malaysian government is deeply concerned about the increasingly open hostility towards Muslims and condemns rhetoric that incites provocative actions that tarnish the good name of Islam.

"We strongly condemn the inciting rhetoric and provocative actions that seek to tarnish the good name of Islam as witnessed by the world recently in the form of populist speeches and the publication of blasphemous caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad," said Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Seri Hishamuddin Hussein in his statement in Putrajaya, Wednesday.

Malaysia is committed to upholding freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental human right as long as these rights are exercised with respect and responsibility so as not to violate or violate the rights of others.

"In this context, to humiliate and tarnish the Holy Prophet of Islam and associate Islam with terrorism is outside those rights," he said, adding that such actions are provocative and disrespectful to Islam and over two billion Muslims worldwide.

"As a democratic and moderate Islamic country with a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, Malaysia continues to promote and maintain harmonious relations and peaceful coexistence, not only among our people of different religions and beliefs but also in a global context that diverse communities," he said.

Malaysia will continue to work with the international community to promote mutual respect between religions and prevent religious extremism at all levels.

Earlier, the opposition leader who is also PKR president Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim said the statement by French President Emmanuel Macron that Islam is facing a world crisis is attacking because it makes little sense.

"This promotes a deadlock. It makes 'problems' only Muslim matters from a destructive perspective embedded in French doctrine. There is no defense for violence and murder, which is a misguided killer monster that misleads Islam," he said.

He also expressed his condolences to Samuel Paty for all the victims.