Author: Arturo Santos

Tajikistan officially banned the hijab, imposing hefty fines in its latest move to curb Islamic influence. The Central Asian nation of Tajikistan officially prohibited the wearing of hijabs and other “alien garments” this week, as the country’s parliament passed a new bill regulating Islamic clothing and Eid celebrations. The bill, approved by the upper house of parliament, Majlisi Milli, on June 19, comes after years of an unofficial clampdown on the hijab in the Muslim-majority country. Under the new law, individuals wearing hijabs or other banned religious clothing could face hefty fines of up to 7,920 somonis (approximately $700). Companies…

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The economy and trade of halal products—what Islam deems as permissible to consume—is as old as Islam itself. In many Muslim majority countries, it was long taken for granted that consumer goods were halal; it was only by the 1970s that Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries with significant Muslim and non-Muslim populations started developing formal halal labeling standards, setting a trend for the global Islamic economy. The latest research estimates the global halal consumption market at nearly $2.3 trillion among a population of 2 billion Muslims. Here, China has emerged as a significant force. In 2021, it was the…

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s itinerary for his unscheduled visit to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, remains undisclosed. In an unannounced visit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lands in Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday, and gets greeted by Saudi officials, including the national security advisor and ambassador to Kiev, according to reports by the official Saudi Press Agency. As of now, no details regarding Zelensky’s itinerary have been made public. In recent weeks, Zelensky has been on a global tour to garner support and encourage attendance for an upcoming summit in Switzerland this weekend. His travels have included visits to traditional European Union allies, as well as countries in…

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Moscow (28/2). Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that non-governmental organizations in Central Asia have stepped up their anti-Russian activities amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army. Shoigu said this at the board of the Russian Ministry of Defense on February 27. According to him, there are more than 100 “large pro-Western non-governmental organisations” operating in Central Asia, which have more than 16,000 representative offices and branches. “Against the backdrop of the special military operation, these NGOs have significantly increased their anti-Russian activities in order to reduce military-technical, economic and cultural cooperation between the Central Asian states and Russia.…

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All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the routine spring conscription campaign, calling up 150,000 citizens for statutory military service, a document posted on the Kremlin’s website showed on Sunday (31 March). All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18. In July Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30…

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Just days after reports of the deaths of Nepalese volunteers fighting in Ukraine appeared, the Kathmandu authorities arrested a gang responsible for recruiting its youth for the Russian army. Kathmandu also believes Nepalese nationals are illegally serving with both Ukrainian and Russian forces in Russia’s war in Ukraine. On Tuesday Kyiv Post reported on the death of six Nepalese mercenaries fighting for Russian forces in Ukraine, with another captured by Kyiv’s forces. The government in Kathmandu urged Moscow to stop recruiting its citizens, to send any serving men home and to repatriate the bodies of those who had died. Nepal prohibits its citizens from joining foreign…

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Much like its ideological counterparts at HispanTV (Iranian-owned) and Actualidad RT (Russian-owned), Telesur wraps its incitement into a sophisticated and slick twenty-four-hour news platform through its website, broadcasts, and social media presence. Though it is difficult to gauge its influence, numbers suggest that Telesur’s message is impactful. Telesur has two million followers on its Spanish X account, 117,500 on its English X account, and more than half a million on Instagram. Its YouTube account has over 1.7 million subscribers, with 100,000 new subscribers and almost 7.4 million video views since October 7 (It also posts its videos on the Daily Motion). The network traditionally pushes out conspiracy theories, fake news, “whataboutism,”…

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Frankfurt (3/12 – 12) The relatively rapid cohesion of disparate nations, historically competitive or even at war with one another, into the European Union came about in part because of the ongoing threat from the Soviet Union. The specter of a tank invasion from Warsaw Pact nations, today forgotten, was such a reality that the German government kept a major portion of its gold bullion across the Atlantic. The USSR, an ally in World War II after being double-crossed by Hitler – remember the “Non-Aggression Pact signed in Moscow by von Ribbentrop and Molotov – was soon appraised as a…

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Amsterdam, Berlin (16/11 – 10) Diwali, a.k.a. Deepavali, is a Hindu religious celebration as well as a traditional festival, celebrated across India. Customarily known as “The Festival of Lights”, as it is festooned with arrays of colored illumination, it is held from October to November every year. Deepavali 2023 was celebrated on November 12, over a five-day period. Deepavali is the annual Hindu celebration of the triumph of light over darkness. Rarely will you visit a Hindu home during Deepavali without passing under a doorway highlighted by a beautiful, vividly-colored picture created out of flour, rice or flower petals. It…

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Nepal’s government decided to ban the popular social media app TikTok on Monday, saying it was disrupting “social harmony” in the country. The announcement was made following a Cabinet meeting. Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said the app would be banned immediately. “The government has decided to ban TikTok as it was necessary to regulate the use of the social media platform that was disrupting social harmony, goodwill and flow of indecent materials,” Saud said. He said that to make social media platforms accountable, the government has asked the companies to register and open a liaison office in Nepal, pay taxes and…

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