FIRST ROZA ON THURSDAY IN SAUDI ARABIA & JERUSALEM OR PALESTINE
JERUSALEM: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Mohammad Hussein, declared that Thursday, March 23, will be the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
RIYADH: The crescent moon was not sighted on Tuesday evening in Saudi Arabia and Thursday, March 23, will be the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the Kingdom’s Supreme Court has said.
The court called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening that corresponds to Shaban 29, 1444.
The Ministry of Justice announced it has launched an electronic system for crescent sighting “with the aim of automating and governing the moon sighting processes, and unifying work procedures between the courts of first instance and the Supreme Court.”
The service aims to unify the data source of the observatory through a robust electronic system that provides speed and integration with the relevant authorities, raising the quality of the observatory operations, and speeding up the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding new moon sightings.
More than 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will mark the holy month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.
Pakistan’s defence budget increased by 16%
The Pakistan government has proposed a roughly 16 per cent increase in the defence budget as the country continues to face internal and external security challenges, the media reported.
Interestingly, all three services — Army, Navy, Air Force — were given an equal increase in the budget, although the military takes the major share given its size and the role, The Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan’s defence spending is now 1.7 per cent of its GDP, showing a decline compared to last year.
The defence spending in 2022-23 was around 2 per cent of the country’s GDP, the size of which has grown due to the rebasing of the economy, The Express Tribune reported.
Defence spending has always been the subject of discussions with some seeking greater transparency and open debate about the military’s budget.
In recent years, the government provides more details about the defence budget.
However, there has never been open debate within the parliament on the subject.
Observers believe that the increase in the defence budget is justified given the impending external and internal security challenges, The Express Tribune reported.
Despite the US troops withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan still deploys thousands of troops along the western border as well as in the erstwhile tribal areas to deal with the threat of terrorism.
The budget document shows that defence outlay for 2023-24 would be 1,804 billion PKR compared to the revised defence spending of 1,591 billion PKR earmarked for the outgoing fiscal year.
PM Narendra Modi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Discuss Defence & Global Issues On Call
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephone conversation with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A number of issues were discussed, said a tweet by PM Modi. “Spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince & PM HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Discussed boosting ties in connectivity, energy, defense, trade & investment, and exchanged views on regional and global issues,” said PM Modi in his tweet.
The Prime Minister also lauded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support in the evacuation of Indians from the conflict torn Sudan. “Appreciated his support in safe evacuation of Indians from Sudan and for Haj,” the tweet by PM Modi read.
Recently, India had launched Operation Kaveri to rescue the Indians stranded in Sudan. Close to 3,000 people were rescued by India from Sudan.
At an MEA press briefing, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra had said in May regarding the rescue efforts, “What we did was that as soon as the fighting broke out in Khartoum, our Embassy in Khartoum immediately alerted. As it turns out, they pretty much reached out to almost all of them by and large.”
The government of India had put to task a high-level diplomatic team. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan were overlooking the rescue efforts carried on by the Indian Air Force and security forces.
Erdogan calls for promoting dialogue over Turkey’s accession to EU
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted the necessity of promoting dialogue for his country’s accession to the European Union (EU) in a phone talk with Charles Michel, the president of the European Council.
“It is necessary to increase contacts at all levels with a concrete and positive agenda in the direction of Turkey’s full membership to the EU, which has great strategic value for Europe,” an official statement quoted Erdogan as saying.
The EU’s “fair treatment and supportive perspective” for Turkey’s full EU membership would open up new horizons in relations between Ankara and the block, the statement said.
During the phone conversation, Erdogan also underlined the importance of updating the customs union agreement between Ankara and Brussels, ensuring visa-free for Turkish citizens within the EU, and strengthening bilateral cooperation on migration management and counterterrorism, it added.
Turkey started accession talks with Brussels in 2005, which have been at a standstill for several years following a prolonged state of emergency declared by Erdogan in the wake of a botched coup aiming to topple his government in 2016.
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