New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 11:09 PM

Islamic World News ( 20 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Hate content uploaded from Pakistan: Facebook, YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

Hate content uploaded from Pakistan: Facebook, YouTube

North- East hate sites blocked

Will give Pak proof of web hate: India

Minority panel report on Assam violence inflammatory: Rights bodies

From Pak more tales of horror: Hindu students taught in separate rooms

The “Imaginary Line” that Divides India and Bangladesh

Pak nets proxy war victory without firing single shot

There was 'nothing serious' and 'we should have stayed back', people from northeast say

Exodus of people from northeast stops in Karnataka, dwindles in Tamil Nadu

Raj: March not an anti-Muslim protest

Over 2,000 Visiting Pak Nationals Overstaying in Nagpur

Hate SMSes: ISI using HuJI, Simi?

Northeast Indians exodus: BJP attacks PM for singling out Karnataka

Muslims celebrate Ramzan Eid with prayers, sweets

Development and decay in Indian PM's Pakistan village

Bangladeshis illegal stay, a threat to national security: RSS

 

Pakistan

One killed, seven injured in Pakistan blast

Multiple efforts underway to recover Shahbaz Taseer: Rehman Malik

Senior journalist Shamim-ur-Rahman passes away

Involvement of banned outfit suspected in Karachi violence

Blast in Quetta kills two

4 killed, 12 wounded on first day of Eid

In Pakistan, underground parties push the boundaries

Pakistan-India thaw: Biggest-ever prisoner swap on the cards

 

South Asia

Afghanistan will not unravel after troop exit: Nato

Afghans ready to counter insider threat: Martin Dempsey

Taliban threaten attacks on army

Afghan militants hit US military chief's plane

Should shoot at sight orders be given on Indo- Bangladesh borders?

 

Southeast Asia

Malaysian family of 700 gather for Eid reunion

 

Mideast Asia

Iran May Manipulate NAM Meet to Its Interest: US

Iran unveils new missile, other weapons

‘Qaeda’ militants blow up Yemen export gas pipeline

Eight killed, several wounded in south-east Turkey blast

Young Iranians Step Up With Their Own Quake Relief

House Member Is Rebuked After Nude Swim in Israel

Young Israelis Held in Attack on Arabs

 

Arab World

Syrian forces capture rebel-held town near capital Damascus, 23 opposition fighters killed

One Dead in Lebanon Clashes Echoing Syria Conflict

Morsy on path-breaking visit to China, Iran

UN envoy angers Syria, opposition as violence rages

Syria: Obama warns Assad US could act

Journalists killed in Syria

 

North America

Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases: NYPD

Quinn signs religious tolerance bill at end-of-Ramadan celebration

Haslam aide: Tennessee not promoting Islamic code

NYPD probing a possible bias crime that could have marred Ramadan celebration on Staten Island

US seizes $150 mn in Hezbollah-linked funds

Obama warns Syria over chemical arms as journalist killed

Human Rights First condemns arrest of 11-year-old blasphemy accused girl

9/11 hearings to resume at Guantanamo Bay

US: Ban, Morsy should not attend Tehran NAM summit

US asks Bangladesh not to reduce the integrity of Grameen Bank

Obama cancelled 3 kill Laden missions until Clinton stepped in

US says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange trying to deflect rape allegations

Past week has been tough, but clarifying, says Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria resigns from Yale governing board

US Army battling racists within its own ranks

 

Europe

France decries blasphemy charge against Pakistani girl

Russia Warns West Over Syria After Obama Threats

Applications rise 10-fold for Islamic Bank of Britain’s ‘Gold medal’ savings account

 

Africa

Nigerian Police Kill Four Kidnappers After Hostage Escapes

Mali forms national unity government

South Africa gold miners face lung disease lawsuit

Ethiopian Prime Minister Dies, State TV Reports

Libya: A Trial for Qaddafi’s Son

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Hate content uploaded from Pakistan: Facebook, YouTube

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/hate-content-uploaded-from-pakistan--facebook,-youtube/d/8353

 

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India

 

Hate content uploaded from Pakistan: Facebook, YouTube

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: Social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube have informed the government that inflammatory contents uploaded on their pages have indicated that they have originated from Pakistan.

"The initial response from international social networking sites indicates that such contents have been hosted from outside the country and to a large extent from a neighbouring country (Pakistan)," Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) said in a statement.

The response of these websites came after the government ordered ban 245 pages charging that morphed images and videos were uploaded displaying alleged atrocities on Muslims. The government also said that these led to the fear psychosis among the people of the North-East and their mass exodus from different parts of the country.

A lot of inflammatory and harmful content/information has been found to be appearing on the social networking sites hosted outside the country, the statement said.

However, one of the intermediary sites has conveyed to the DEIT that uploaders of the inflammatory and hateful contents were outside the jurisdiction of the country,"thereby implying that they are not obliged to take any constructive step to deal with it".

The DEIT said most of the contents were taken from events "unrelated to the incident occurred in Assam. Hosting of such morphed image and video led to a lot of inciting comments from users on the blogs...and circulation of hate SMSes".

"The DEIT has been working with international social networking sites on this issue. However, a lot more and quicker action is expected from them to address such a sensitive issue which concern restoring peace, harmony, public order and national security," the statement said.

It said proxy servers and virtual private network services which hide the user identity appear to have been used for uploading the content. The agencies are continuously monitoring hosting of such inflammatory and harmful content.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hate-content-uploaded-from-Pakistan-Facebook-YouTube/articleshow/15574549.cms

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North- East hate sites blocked

By Aman Sharma

AUG 21, 2012

But it took amonth for govt to muzzle hateful propaganda

THE government has ordered the blocking of nearly 250 web pages with objectionable content as a kneejerk reaction to the violence in Assam and the mass exodus of people from the North- East region.

A 43- page home ministry probe report concedes that most of the objectionable content started to be posted on websites by radical elements in Pakistan from July 13 onwards, and one extremist organisation, the Jamait- e- Islami in Pakistan, was behind it. A dossier to that affect, naming eight Pakistani web pages, is being prepared.

But more than a month after such hateful content started surfacing, it was only on August 17 that the department of electronics and information technology advised social networking sites to remove the content.

The home ministry woke up a full 24 hours later, on August 18, directing Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to block 76 web pages. A total of 245 web pages have been blocked till date, according to the IT department.

The home ministry, however, put the number of blocked web pages at 254 on Monday night.

The ministry’s report adds that though the inflammatory content was uploaded mostly from Pakistan, majority of the writers are Indians and that all the rumour- mongering SMSes have originated from India.

What the government is not explaining is why it took over a month to wake up to the ‘ cyber war’ from Pakistan. Some Intelligence Bureau officials M AIL T ODAY spoke to claimed they were monitoring the hateful content since July and sending regular reports.

Caught on the wrong foot, the government has found the fall guy in social networking websites that delayed action on the government’s directions at most by a day or two. The IT department said on Monday that inflammatory and harmful content continued to appear for a few days on the social networking sites despite its August 17 advisory.

According to the government, the initial response from the social networking websites was that content which was unrelated to events in Assam was hosted mostly from Pakistan. But Pakistan has rejected India’s charges.

The IT department feels proxy servers and Virtual Private Network ( VPN) services which hide the user’s identity operating from a number of countries appear to have been used in uploading the content. Asked about these elements having any links with Pakistani spy agency ISI or other terrorist organisations, home secretary R. K. Singh said it was difficult to say at this stage as to who were behind it.

The home ministry report also states that a “ group of unidentified Muslim extremists” waged an online campaign after the outbreak of violent clashes in Myanmar between Buddhists and Muslims. “ The Assam violence has also been dovetailed as being part of the same narrative in a world where Muslims are being persecuted. These elements used Internet and its social media sites for dissemination of exaggerated accounts of the violence in Assam and for recirculating fabricated evidence to inflame the passions of Muslims in different parts of India during the fasting period of Ramzan,” the report states.

Cyber expert Pawan Duggal said: “ Banning web pages — which can always be accessed through proxy servers — is only a knee- jerk reaction after the event is over.

This cyber terrorism was unprecedented in the history of India.”

FIGHTING THE FIRE

Most of the inflammatory online content started appearing from July 13 Most of the fake profiles were created towards end- July. A large number of writers are Indian nationals.

Most of the posts are in vernacular mediums The department of electronics & information tech- nology issued an advisory on August 17 to social networking sites, advising them to disable inflammatory and hateful content on their websites The government ordered social networking sites to block 76 webpages on August 18, 80 webpages on August 19 and 89 webpages on August 20

Mail Today

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Will give Pak proof of web hate: India

Joshua Patnigere

Aug 21 2012

New Delhi/Mumbai : As it continued to block web pages and social media accounts allegedly used to spread hate messages, the government Monday said it would confront Islamabad with evidence to prove much of this mischievous online content was being uploaded from Pakistan.

Islamabad had rejected as “baseless and unfounded” New Delhi’s allegation that its online community was involved in spreading hatred in India through morphed images and videos. But Home Secretary R K Singh said Monday that India was ready to share all evidence it had to back its belief.

An official source said Google and Facebook had told the government that most web pages and links that it had blocked were outside “Indian jurisdiction”, meaning their content had been uploaded from outside India. According to this source, Facebook has confirmed that every such link, barring two, had originated outside the country.

Twitter was yet to respond to Indian requests to pull out offensive content, the government said.

The government Monday ordered the blocking of 89 more web pages and user accounts, taking the total number of pages blocked to 245. One person in Maharashtra and three in Bangalore have been arrested for spreading rumours that triggered panic among people from the Northeast. Police were looking for four other offenders in Bangalore and one in Maharashtra, home ministry sources said. Some people in Delhi, Agra and Mumbai were also under watch, they said.

A team of senior officials from several ministries will visit relief camps in Assam beginning tomorrow.

‘They surrounded us, said get out or we will throw you out’

Those injured in the scuffle on a special train from Bangalore on Saturday night which left at least four dead talk of a night of horror — of being mobbed, assaulted, looted, prevented from seeking help, and finally being thrown off.

The condition of three of the six injured, all from Assam, was “extremely critical”, a senior health official said. An injured youth from Malda district was released on bond and taken home by his family.

The dead included three youths from Assam and one from Manipur. All the deceased were in their early 20s.

While three of the injured were taken to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri, those seriously injured were moved to a private hospital nearby.

There were reports of two more youths from Assam dying after falling off one of the three special trains that reached Guwahati on Monday morning. However, Assam Home Secretary G D Tripathi said their deaths were accidental, and were not related to any scuffle.

While one of the bodies was recovered from near Burdwan in West Bengal, the other was found near Kishanganj in Bihar. Both the youths used to work as security guards in Bangalore.

Among those injured in Saturday’s scuffle was a 22-year-old from Assam’s Hailakandi district who worked as a security guard at an office in Bangalore. He was allegedly pushed out along with the others near Belakoba, a few kilometres from New Jalpaiguri railway station, and suffered injuries all over his body.

The unreserved compartment was overcrowded right from the start, he said, tears running down his eyes. “After the train left Bhubaneswar, a group of more than hundred surrounded us. They started enquiring about our home and identities. They asked me why we had left Bangalore. They cautioned us against travelling to Assam. With folded hands, I told them that my two sisters and parents were waiting for me, that I was going to join them.”

He said they had found some space near the toilet and were sitting there when some unruly members in the crowd kicked them while entering the toilet. “We were so scared that we kept quiet. They started abusing and teasing us. We didn’t respond. Things changed after the train left Howrah. They threatened us, saying that if we did not get down from the train within two hours, they would start throwing us out.”

After crossing Malda, as it turned dark, the crowd reportedly became more violent. “They started beating us. I had a mobile phone and Rs 5,000 in cash. They looted all my belongings. Some youths, who boarded the train perhaps from Bangalore, tried to get down at Malda, but were not allowed by the miscreants,” he said.

After the train reached New Jalpaiguri, some of those who were attacked tried to contact the Railway Protection Force and police officials. But they were not allowed to get down from the train.

The attacks continued, said the Hailakandi youth. “We thought they would leave us after looting our belongings, but we were wrong. Finally, they started throwing us out of the train one by one. I landed on a bush beside the railway track.”

The youth said he walked a long distance to the New Jalpaiguri station for help, from where he was taken to the hospital.

His friend, also from Hailakandi district, suffered serious injuries to his spinal cord and shoulder. He said there were no signs of any trouble at the beginning and insisted there had been no provocation from their side.

The friend also said that while the coach, with a capacity for 70-75, had at least 200 passengers, there was no security guard for the entire journey. “The miscreants looted Rs 2,500 and a mobile phone from me before throwing me out of the train. The torture on us continued for several hours but no one came to our rescue.”

Undergoing treatment in the special observation ward, another of those injured had a similar story. “Not only was I beaten up, the criminals abused me. We were punished for no reason,” he said. His biggest worry was that his family members would not have got any information of his whereabouts and would be worried.

While a team from Guwahati took away the bodies of the victims, hospital sources said five of the injured were also sent to Assam by train late on Monday evening.

“They were discharged and handed over to a team from Assam which included a doctor. The Bengal government gave permission after requests from the Assam government,’’ said a senior official. (Names of the dead and injured have been withheld.)

In July, Pak blogger warned of ‘fake’ images

MORE than a month before the unrest began, a Pakistan-based cyber security expert and avid blogger, Faraz Ahmed, 31, had warned netizens that the images being circulated on many social networking sites of the alleged atrocities against Muslims were “fake and morphed”.

On July 14, Ahmed had blogged that the images on most of these websites were of victims of natural disasters.

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Ahmed, who is based in Karachi, said he began researching the Myanmar violence after he came across these images on social networking sites. “Some looked similar to those I had seen in news clips. I did some research and found that most of the images were doctored,” he said.

Ahmed cited the example of a photograph of some Buddhist monks standing next to some bodies, which had been put up by some sites as victims of atrocities against Muslims. He pointed out that the photograph was in fact of Tibetan monks helping Chinese authorities bury earthquake victims in 2010.

“While I do not deny that there is a problem and that people are being killed, I have found that 95 per cent of the images are doctored and about 98 per cent are fake and morphed,” he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/will-give-pak-proof-of-web-hate-india/990871/

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Minority panel report on Assam violence inflammatory: Rights bodies

Rahul Karmakar

August 21, 2012

Rights bodies in New Delhi and northeast have panned the report of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on communal violence in Assam as inflammatory. They also accused NCM of conveniently ignoring the fact that the clashes were between two minority groups and not between Muslims and

non-Muslims.

"The NCM effectively reduced the riots to Bodos versus Muslims defined as 'minorities' and thus falling within the commission's mandate while the Bodos have been defined as a majority in clear violation of the National Commission of Minorities Act of 1992," said the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in a statement on Tuesday.

The NCM's mandate as per the act, ACHR pointed out, is protection of religious minorities notified by New Delhi. But the panel ignored the fact that 15% Bodos are Christians while 50% follow their indigenous faith called Bathow and therefore fall under the definition of 'minorities' under the NCM Act.

Questioning NCM's impartiality, the rights body asked why its delegation visited only one Bodo relief camp - Vidyapeeth High School - and six Muslim camps. "Vidyapeeth High School is in Kokrajhar town, headquarters of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District, and its condition is thus much better than other Bodo camps in far-flung areas. The NCM wrongfully drew inferences from this one camp," ACHR director Suhas Chakma told HT.

That NCM was playing with fire was evident from its conclusion that Muslims were at the receiving of looting and destruction of property while the Bodos did it to themselves, Chakma added.

Rights bodies in Assam such as Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti found a design in NCM releasing its report on the conflict as thousands of people from the Northeast assembled at Bangalore railway station on August 15. The NCM report stated that ""the conflict was unequal as Bodos were killing Muslims with AK-47s and there is impending fear of militant jihadis supplying arms to Assam".

NCM's biased and inflammatory report contributed to the vulnerability of the North-eastern people and the feeling among them that NCM is not for their protection even if majority of them heading home are Christians and had nothing to do with the riots in Assam, the rights bodies said.

Meanwhile, the All Assam Tribal Sangha has sought a survey of the riot-affected areas by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, which it hoped would provide a 'more balanced' report.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Guwahati/Minority-panel-report-on-Assam-violence-inflammatory-Rights-bodies/Article1-916939.aspx

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Raj: March not an anti-Muslim protest

 August 21, 2012

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said on Monday that his protest march was not a pro-Hinduism demonstration against Muslims. "This is not a Hindu-Muslim issue at all," said Raj at a press conference at his residence. "The march aims to protest against the failure of

the government bring to book the violent protesters who even had the audacity to batter policemen."

Raj said he would further clarify his stance in his speech at Azad Maidan, which will be the concluding portion of his protest march.

He criticised the state for failing to arrest protesters who made provocative speeches from the dais. "My workers are beaten up even when they fight for legitimate rights, but these people, who were responsible for violence, are going scot-free," he said.

Raj's estranged cousin and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Monday took a strong stance against the Azad Maidan protest, even resurrecting the call of 'Hinduism is Nationalism'. Raj refused to comment when asked about this.

About the DB Marg police station denying him permission to gather at Chowpatty, Raj said he would not hold a gathering, but lead his supporters to Azad Maidan from there. "This is not done. They did not allow me to hold a rally even during the election."

Raj held the state responsible for the situation.  "If the state had handled the violence issue properly, I would not have held the march," he said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Raj-March-not-an-anti-Muslim-protest/Article1-916852.aspx

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Pak nets proxy war victory without firing single shot

Aug 21, 2012

NEW DELHI: Are we in the midst of a new version of low-cost proxy war against India? In the aftermath of a tumultuous few weeks where the communal fabric of the country has been attacked, pitting Muslims against tribal Bodos and other Indians from the northeast, the knowledge that Pakistani fundamentalist groups may be responsible for inciting hatred could provide another piece to the anti-India jihad strategy.

Terrorism analyst B Raman calls this "psy-jihad". Its essential elements are images showing Muslim persecution, even if location-unspecific loaded on radical ideology websites, or even just plain old news portals.

Many of the images were taken from events like the Sichuan earthquake in China and the monks protest in Myanmar, but they were re-transmitted to convey as if they were happening real-time in India. These were sent with rabid hate messages to Muslims, stoking the "Islam in danger" sentiment. Raman says the "psy-jihad" this summer was meant to destabilize Myanmar, which witnessed violence in the Rakhine state, as well as Sheikh Hasina's Bangladesh, which turned back the fleeing Rohingyas from Myanmar.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-nets-proxy-war-victory-without-firing-single-shot/articleshow/15577233.cms

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From Pak more tales of horror: Hindu students taught in separate rooms

Navjeevan Gopal

 Aug 21 2012

Attari : Against the backdrop of reports of mass migration of Pakistani Hindus to India following forced conversions, extortion and kidnappings, it has now come to fore that Hindu students are often segregated and made to attend classes in separate classrooms where there are no Muslims.

The children, among the fresh batch of Hindu families that arrived from Pakistan at Attari on Monday alleged “discrimination” in schools in Pakistan.

“We attend classes in separate classrooms. Muslim students have separate calssrooms. We are discouraged to mingle with the Muslim students in the school,” Sindhu Kumari, a student of Class 6 at a school in Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district of Northern Sindh, said after she arrived in India with her parents and three other siblings from Pakistan.

While two Hindu families reached India from Pakistan via Samjhauta Express today, another family, from India, which was visiting relatives in the neighbouring country too came back.

Sindhu said that Hindu students were not taught anything about their religion and culture.

“To acquaint our children with Hindu culture and lifestyle, we take them to the temples,” her father Shrawan said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/from-pak-more-tales-of-horror-hindu-students-taught-in-separate-rooms/990941/

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The “Imaginary Line” that Divides India and Bangladesh

By SAMRAT

AUG 21, 2012

Borders are significant barriers only in the minds of those who have never walked across one. Anyone who does that learns that in most places there is no crack in the earth where one country ends and another begins.

I walked across the border from India into Bangladesh in 2002. It was for love; I was young and foolish. My then-girlfriend, who is from the northeast, had gone to the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh on a research trip for a doctoral thesis. This involved meeting rebels from the Chakma tribe who had long been battling the Bangladesh government, and so I was concerned about her safety. I decided to go in after her.

It proved not to be easy. My visa application went into some kind of strange limbo. I would call every day, to be told my visa still had not been approved, and that I would have to meet the minister for press and information at the Bangladeshi embassy in New Delhi. I tried to make an appointment with him but never got one. I tried calling the man, whom I knew. He stopped taking my calls when he realized what I was calling about. Once, I called from a landline. He answered his mobile phone and asked who was speaking. When he heard it was me, he said: "Sir is not here."

Full report at:

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/the-imaginary-line-that-divides-india-and-bangladesh/?ref=asia

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India, Pakistan to carry out biggest ever prisoners swap: Report

Aug 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: India and Pakistan are likely to carry out their biggest ever swap of prisoners being held in each other's jails as part of the normalization of their relations, according to a media report on Monday.

A broad understanding on releasing prisoners was reached when President Asif Ali Zardari met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a private visit to India in April, unnamed officials were quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

The swap will apply to all prisoners except those detained on charges of terrorism or espionage, sources in the foreign ministry told the daily.

The Foreign Ministries of the two countries have been gathering data on prisoners on both sides of the border.

While no exact figure is available, officials said the number of Pakistanis held in Indian jails run into hundreds and most of them are either fishermen or persons who unknowingly crossed into India.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pakistan-to-carry-out-biggest-ever-prisoners-swap-Report/articleshow/15574804.cms

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There was 'nothing serious' and 'we should have stayed back', people from northeast say

Aug 20, 2012

GUWAHATI/ITANAGAR: As panic and fear, which prompted thousands of people from northeast to flee various parts of the country following "rumours" of backlash against Assam violence subsides, many of them feel they could have stayed back and and are determined to return to their jobs.

Most of the people, who returned to their native states in the last few days, admit they face an uncertain future as employment opportunities are limited - the reason why they left their native states in the first place.

Ujjal Baruah, Rayi Kurmi, Deepak Barman, Prasanta Bhattachjarya and Rumi Borthakur are among an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people who fled Bangalore alone and returned to their native towns in Assam.

"Once we reached here and looked back at the happenings of the past few days, we realise that there was nothing serious. Maybe we should have stayed back," said Borthakur.

This thought also played on the minds of those who returned to Arunachal Pradesh.

"We don?t know about our future. Perhaps we could have stayed back," lamented Techi Boje, a security guard of a private farm in Hyderabad, who reached Itanagar three days ago.

Most say they chose to flee as they did not want to "take any risk" though they themselves did not come across any kind of violence.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/There-was-nothing-serious-and-we-should-have-

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Exodus of people from northeast stops in Karnataka, dwindles in Tamil Nadu

Aug 20, 2012

BANGALORE/CHENNAI: After four days of panic-driven exodus of northeasterners, the situation eased today with police and railway officials saying it has stopped in Karnataka and reduced to a trickle in Tamil Nadu.

In contrast to earlier scenes of people belonging to the northeast fleeing over rumours of backlash over Assam violence,the situation was normal in Bangalore which was turned into a virtual fortress with tight security in place.

Upto 30,000 people had fled the country's IT capital since late last week which abated yesterday after the government went into overdrive to instill confidence in the people.

Over 18,000 police personnel, bolstered by Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police, kept a hawk-like vigil in the city with Eid also celebrated today. "The situation is absolutely peaceful and normal ...People from the northeast are going about their chores without any disturbance and the exodus has completely stopped", Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Suneel Kumar told PTI.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exodus-of-people-from-northeast-stops-in-Karnataka-dwindles-in-Tamil-Nadu/articleshow/15571094.cms

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Over 2,000 Visiting Pak Nationals Overstaying in Nagpur

AUG 21, 2012

Over 2,000 Pakistani nationals are overstaying in Nagpur despite the expiry of their visitors visa, since 1995, a RTI query has revealed.

As many as 9,705 Pakistani nationals had obtained visa for visiting Nagpur (India) from the authorities for 30, 45, 60 and 90 days. About 2,546 Pakistan citizens came on visa for longer duration and 533 of them were provided with Indian citizenship on their arrival here.

But about 2013 Pakistani nationals did not return to their country and were overstaying here, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch), which deals with such cases.

The National Right to Information Committee, a local NGO had sought information under RTI on number of Pakistani nationals visiting Nagpur between 1980-1994 and 1995 onwards.

Police admitted they have no information on names and contact addresses of Pakistanis staying here till 1994. Also, police have informed this to Committee President Ejaz Khan and General Secretary Uteresh Wasnik. However, details from 1995 onwards were available.

The NGO has also sought information under RTI from Ministry of External Affairs and Home Ministry on number of Pakistanis visiting India since 1960.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a communication to Janardan Singh, First Secretary (Press and Information) High Commission of India, Islamabad (Pakistan) and Vumlunmang, Joint Secretary and Nodal Officer (RTI) in Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi has sought necessary information on Pakistanis visiting India since 1960.

http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=772682

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Hate SMSes: ISI using HuJI, Simi?

August 21, 2012

 By Rajnish Sharma

Indian intelligence agencies have reason to believe that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) used the formidable cadre of terror outfits like the Jamaat-e-Islaami, Simi, Indian Mujahideen and even Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami in launching the “biggest ever cyber attack” on the country.

According to highly placed intelligence sources, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), along with some Central intelligence agencies, had on August 18 tracked the first of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to Pakistan from which inflammatory content was being uploaded on the site. By the evening of August 18, at least 76 such URLs were tracked and all in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/north/hate-smses-isi-using-huji-simi-037

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Northeast Indians exodus: BJP attacks PM for singling out Karnataka

Aug 21, 2012

NEW DELHI: Opposition BJP on Monday attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh questioning why he "singled" out Karnataka over the issue of exodus of people from the northeast even when violent incidents took place in Mumbai and Hyderabad, alleging this could have been politically motivated.

"No incident took place in Bangalore but the Prime Minister chose to speak to Karnataka CM even when no violent incident took place there. Violent incidents took place in Hyderabad and Mumbai but he chose to talk to Karnataka CM only," Gadkari said at a seminar.

"This is like...aag lagi hai Delhi mein, aur fire brigade gayi mumbai mein (there is fire in Delhi and the fire brigade has been sent to Mumbai)...Usmein bhi rajniti ho sakti hai (there could be politics behind this also)," he said.

The BJP chief also mounted an attack on Congress charging it was a "problem" itself and responsible for all ills confronting the nation like corruption, price rise, anarchy, foreign infiltration.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Northeast-Indians-exodus-BJP-attacks-PM-for-singling-out-Karnataka/articleshow/15579137.cms

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Muslims celebrate Ramzan Eid with prayers, sweets

Mugdha Variyar

 August 21, 2012

Sayalee Jadhav, 22, a Santacruz resident, celebrated Eid at her friend Rukhsar Yunus' house in Trombay on Monday. Jadhav, a Buddhist, also observed roza (fast) every day during Ramzan. "I visit Rukhsar's house for Eid every year," said Jadhav, who enjoyed sweet dishes such as sheer khurma

and sevia among other dishes with the Yunus family. "I read a book on Islam three yeras ago and have been interested in the religion since then. I also have a copy of the Quran in English that I read regularly," she said. Rukhsar's family said that it is always a pleasure to have Sayalee over for Eid as she is just like family.

For several Muslim families in the city, Eid celebrations involved enjoying the festival with friends from other communities.

At A Khaliq's house in Mira Road, several non-Muslim friends joined the family on the occasion. "Several of my non-Muslim friends come home every year on Eid, and this time, the festival will serve as an occasion to reinforce the bond in the midst of the communal tension prevailing in the country," said Khaliq, a doctor.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Muslims-celebrate-Ramzan-Eid-with-prayers-sweets/Article1-916868.aspx

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Development and decay in Indian PM's Pakistan village

 Aug 21 2012

Gah (Pakistan) : For years, Ghulam Muhammad Khan thought his brilliant classmate had been killed in the bloodbath that gave birth to India and Pakistan in 1947, the deadliest end to British colonial rule in history.

But when the world's biggest democracy elected the softly-spoken Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2004 and he told an interviewer he had been born in a remote Pakistani village, Khan was over the moon.

"He was our class monitor and we played together. He was a gentle and brilliant child. Our teacher always advised us to get his help if we couldn't understand something," Khan recalled, striding through village maize fields.

Even more incredibly, Singh wanted to help the 2,500 villagers in Gah, on a plateau of muddy rock and bushy forest 100 kilometres southeast of Islamabad near the ultra-modern motorway that runs almost to the Indian border.

"I never imagined Manmohan would one day bring so many blessings to our village. He did what our own government still refuses to do," recalled Khan, who is Singh's last surviving classmate left in the village.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/development-and-decay-in-indian-pms-pakistan-village/991072/

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Bangladeshis illegal stay, a threat to national security: RSS

 Aug 21 2012

Ranchi : RSS leader Krishna Gopal alleged that about three crore Bangladeshi nationals were illegally residing across the country, posing a threat to the national security.

“There are three crore Bangladeshis living illegally in many places of our country...they have become a big threat to national security,” Gopal, the Sar Sarkaryavah (one of the second in the Sangh hierarchy) alleged here.

Claiming that Bangladeshis started entering Assam several decades ago, Gopal said, “After Independence one thought the intrusion would end, but it has continued.”

Accusing the “intruders” of snatching livelihood of genuine citizens, he said the demography in Assam has changed due to the alleged settlements of Bangladeshi nationals there.

The RSS ideologue said he was pleased to see unity in Assam on the issue.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/bangladeshis-illegal-stay-a-threat-to-national-security-rss/991021/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan-India thaw: Biggest-ever prisoner swap on the cards

By Zia Khan

 August 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India are expected to carry out the biggest-ever swap of prisoners languishing in each other jails, indicating a growing thaw in their frosty relations four years after the Mumbai attacks.

Officials told The Express Tribune that a broader understanding to release prisoners was reached when President Asif Ali Zardari visited India this April and met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The swap will apply to all prisoners besides those detained on terrorism or espionage charges, according to sources in the foreign ministry. The foreign ministries of the two countries have been gathering data on prisoners detained in jails on both sides of the border.

While no exact figure is available, officials said the number of Pakistanis jailed in India run into hundreds if not thousands – and most of them are either fishermen or villagers living on the border who cross into India unknowingly.

On the other hand, an equal number of Indians face miserable conditions in Pakistani jails, and are often denied access to a lawyer or contact with their families.

Officials said the release of prisoners would be part of a series of ‘pleasant developments’ taking place between the two countries.

“When so many positive things are happening and there is an ambition on both sides to make these gains irreversible, we don’t think we should be shying from dealing with this humanitarian issue,” said an official at the foreign ministry.

On August 15, as many as 55 Indian prisoners were released on the orders of the president and officials said it was the ‘informal’ beginning of a plan.

There are expectations that the announcement to release prisoners might be made in November this year, when the Indian premier is likely to visit Pakistan.

The two countries have recently resumed a composite dialogue after three years, following multiple assaults in Mumbai in 2008 which were blamed on a group based in Pakistan.

Peace and trade

Meanwhile, an 18-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians and traders will leave for India on a four-day visit on August 22 for the promotion of peace, harmony and expedite the flow of trade among Saarc member countries.

Vice President Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik told APP that it was the need of the hour that Saarc members address their mutual disputes and exploit the economic potential of the region that is unfortunately mired in poverty. Members of the delegation include leader of the House in Senate Jehangir Badar, among others. (With additional input from APP)

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424347/pakistan-india-thaw-biggest-ever-prisoner-swap-on-the-cards/

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In Pakistan, underground parties push the boundaries

AUG 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Women in short skirts and men with gelled hair bump and grind on a dance floor as a disc jockey pumps up the volume.

The air is thick with illicit smoke and shots of hard liquor are being passed around. Couples cuddle in a lounge.

This is not Saturday night at a club in New York, London or Paris.

It is the secret side of Pakistan, a Muslim nation often described in the West as a land of bearded, Islamic hardmen and repressed, veiled women.

Starting in the 1980s, Pakistan has been drifting towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam that has reshaped the political landscape, fuelled militancy and cowed champions of tolerance into silence.

But the country remains home to a large wealthy and Westernised elite that, in private, lives very differently.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/in-pakistan-underground-parties-push-the-boundaries/

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Involvement of banned outfit suspected in Karachi violence

AUG 21, 2012

KARACHI: Police sources on Monday disclosed the suspected involvement of one group in incidents of violence in Karachi’s Central district that had claimed 10 lives on the Friday, DawnNews reported.

A preliminary report of investigation into the killings was submitted to the Inspector General (IG) Sindh police.

The report said that a group comprising of six armed persons on three motorcycles was involved in all the incidents.

Similar weapons and ammunition was used in all three incidents, added the report.

The report further said that the involvement of a banned outfit was suspected in the killings.

Three people associated to a religious party were shot dead in North Karachi’s 5C-4 area.

Moreover,  six people were injured when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at a teahouse in North Karachi’s ‘Disco Morr’ area, five of whom succumbed to their injuries later.

In anothererlated incident two persons were killed when gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at the reception office of a Mosque located at Sharah-e-Pakistan in Karachi’s Federal B. Area.

IG Sindh Fayyaz Leghari had summoned the detail reports of the incidents and told all the Superintendent Police (SP’s) of the city that he would personally monitor the Karachi’s security.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/banned-outfit-suspected-to-be-involved-in-karachi-violence/

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One killed, seven injured in Pakistan blast

Aug 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD: One person was killed and seven others injured when a security forces convoy was targeted with a roadside bomb in Quetta city of southwest Pakistan today, officials said.

The blast occurred as a convoy of the paramilitary Frontier Corps was passing through Saryab Road, a key thoroughfare in Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province.

The security personnel escaped unharmed though the blast hit a taxi and two auto-rickshaws.

A man in the taxi was killed. Some children were among the injured, security officials told the media.

Footage on television showed debris scattered on the road. The taxi and the auto-rickshaws lay by the side of the road.

Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

No group claimed responsibility for the incident though such attacks are usually blamed on Baloch nationalist groups.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/One-killed-seven-injured-in-Pakistan-blast/articleshow/15582816.cms

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Multiple efforts underway to recover Shahbaz Taseer: Rehman Malik

AUG 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday said that he hoped that Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer, would soon reunite with his family.

In a statement on the social networking website Twitter, the minister said that “multiple efforts” on the part of the government were underway which he said would result in a “positive” outcome.

Earlier in July, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had been negotiating with militants over Shahbaz’s release.

That was the first official confirmation that the government was in talks with the men holding Shahbaz.

Sanaullah had said during a Geo News TV program that Shahbaz’s kidnappers were demanding a large ransom and the release of some of their colleagues.

He had moreover said that the ISI had previously secured the release of the son-in-law of a former Pakistani army general through similar negotiations.

Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped from Lahore on Aug 26, 2011 in the morning near his company’s head office.

Shahbaz Taseer’s father Salman Taseer was killed by his bodyguard last year for criticising Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/multiple-efforts-underway-to-recover-shahbaz-taseer-rehman-malik/

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Senior journalist Shamim-ur-Rahman passes away

AUG 21, 2012

KARACHI: Senior Dawn journalist Shamim-ur-Rahman passed away in Karachi early Tuesday, DawnNews reported.

Associated with journalism for the past 40 years, Rahman was suffering from cancer and was undergoing treatment.

Apart from Dawn, Rahman had also worked with the AFP news agency.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf expressed their condolences on Rahman’s passing.

His funeral prayers were held after Zohr prayers outside his residence in Gulistan-i-Jauhar’s Block 17.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/senior-journalist-shamim-ur-rahman-passes-away/

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Blast in Quetta kills two

AUG 21, 2012

QUETTA: A blast ripped through Sariab road near Moosa Colony in Quetta killing two persons on Tuesday, DawnNews reported.

Sources said that the target of the attack was a security forces’ vehicle and that the bomb was planted on car parked on the roadside.

Initial reports suggested that the bomb was detonated when a vehicle of the security forces was passing by.

The vehicle managed to escape the blast unscathed.

Eight people were also injured in the attack including two children and five women.

Security and rescue officials reached the site of attack.

Security officials cordoned off the area as investigations into the incident went underway.

Sources added that intensive blast shattered the windows of nearby building.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/blast-in-quetta-2/

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4 killed, 12 wounded on first day of Eid

AUG 21, 2012

KARACHI: Firing and targeted killings continue in various areas of the city, in-spite of it being the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr. At least four people have been reported killed, and 12 wounded.

Firing was first reported in in Orangi town and Pehelwan Goth, with two people shot dead.

Two dead bodies were also found, one in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and the other from Sohrab Goth.

A shootout also took place amongst two rival groups in Landhi, with four confirmed wounded so far although the figure could be higher.

Additionally, four people were also wounded due to firing by dacoits in Landhi’s Muzaffarabad Colony.

Separate incidents of firing were also reported in Korangi and Memon Goth, wounding four people

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/4-killed-12-wounded-on-first-day-of-eid/

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South Asia

 

Afghan militants hit US military chief's plane

Aug 21, 2012

KABUL: A military official says militants have fired rockets into a US base in Afghanistan, damaging the plane of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff while he was on a visit. The top American military chief was not near the plane at the time of the attack and no one was injured.

NATO spokesman Jamie Graybeal says the attack on Monday night at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul did not affect US Army General Martin Dempsey's mission in Afghanistan. He says Dempsey had left by Tuesday morning, though it was unclear if he left on the same plane.

Graybeal was in Afghanistan to discuss the state of the war after a string of disturbing killings of US military trainers by their Afghan partners.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Afghan-militants-hit-US-military-chiefs-plane/articleshow

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Afghans ready to counter insider threat: Martin Dempsey

AUG 21, 2012

KABUL: Afghan leaders appear ready to take decisive action to curb unprecedented “insider attacks” by Afghan recruits that have killed 40 Western troops this year, the top US military officer said Monday.

“For the first time, I found that my Afghan counterparts are as concerned about the insider attacks as we are,” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said after talks in Kabul.

“In the past, it’s been us pushing on them to make sure that they do more,”he told AFP and Fox News.

The four-star general met commanders of the Nato-led force and Afghan top brass amid a surge in assaults by Afghan security personnel on their international colleagues.

A total of 10 soldiers, mostly Americans, have lost their lives at the hands of their Afghan allies in the past two weeks, and the attacks have caused almost one in every four coalition deaths in the war so far this month.

The 40 deaths so far this year amount to 13 per cent of all international coalition fatalities in 2012.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/afghans-ready-to-counter-insider-threat-us-joint-chiefs-of-staff/

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Afghanistan will not unravel after troop exit: Nato

AUG 21, 2012

KABUL: Afghanistan will not unravel into a civil war after the withdrawal of Nato combat troops in two years or return to Taliban rule, a senior Nato diplomat said Monday.

The planned departure of the bulk of US and Nato troops by the end of 2014 has prompted gloomy forecasts of an internecine war pitting proxy forces backed by Pakistan and India.

But Nato’s senior civilian representative, Simon Gass, rejected those predictions, arguing Afghan security forces were too strong for the Taliban and that regional powers had no interest in a return to the “dark days” of the 1990s.

“I really don’t buy the (civil war) scenario. I think some people find it an attractive scenario because it looks like history rewriting itself,” Gass told AFP and Fox News in an interview in Kabul.

“I really don’t think that will happen. One of the reasons it won’t happen is because Afghanistan’s neighbours realise the huge amount of problems that they would face if Afghanistan were tipped into a position of constant conflict and chaos,” he said.

Full-blown civil war would result in a massive flow of refugees out of Afghanistan, he said.

“I really don’t think any of Afghanistan’s neighbours would welcome the instability in this region that would be triggered by that sort of scenario.”

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/afghanistan-will-not-unravel-after-troop-exit-nato/

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Taliban threaten attacks on army

Aug 21, 2012

The Pakistani Taliban on Monday sent emails warning the country's military it had set up a "suicide bombers squad" to hit troops if an offensive is launched in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Taliban-threaten-attacks-on-army/articleshow/15576879.cms

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Should shoot at sight orders be given on Indo- Bangladesh borders?

Kingshuk Nag

21 August 2012

You don’t have to be a Sangh Parivar adherent to recognize that there is considerable migration of Bangladeshi migrants into India. Whoever does not agree is living in denial. True this migration is due to economic reasons: Bangladeshis come into India to look for economic opportunities. They do not move into India to alter the demographic profile in India. They do not migrate to become the vote banks of politicians and political parties. The migration is not only into Assam that has been in the news due to ethnic clashes in Kokrajhar in the Bodo autonomous area. There is greater migration into West Bengal (which has a 2216 km border with Bangladesh compared to a mere 262 km border with Assam; Tripura has 856 km, Meghalaya 442 km and Mizoram 318 km).

Nobody has statistics of this migration, although it can be safely asserted that the numbers who come are down from what their numbers were in the 1980s and 1990s. Economic growth in Bangladesh has had an impact: discovery of gas, successful dissemination of micro finance and development of the cotton textile industry that has led to boom in exports of textiles have created opportunities in that country. Remittances from Bangladeshis abroad have also significantly increased. Bangladesh is no longer a ‘basket case’ as it was in the first two decades after it became independent in 1971.  The development has been uneven: concentrated more in big cities like Dhaka and Chittagong.  This means that a significant number still live under poverty and look for means of livelihood.  These are the guys looking for opportunities.

Bounded on three sides by India, this is the only country they can escape to seek their fortunes. A long porous border of 4095 km, allows easy migration. The border is porous because of the topography of the region – the border cuts through rivers, villages, agricultural fields and sometimes even houses and ponds. (This only demonstrates the sheer  callousness with how the border was marked by Radcliffe and his team, at the time of partition of India in 1947.) The population pressure ensures that land right till the border is cultivated.  Such a porous border is difficult to guard and more so because the villages on the border on both sides are tied together in economic relations. Smuggling is rampant and an informal cattle trade is flourishing. Corrupt BSF officials posted to man the borders contribute to make the process a tad easier: they are reputed to allow the movement of humans for a price. This makes migration even simpler. The total number of migrants from Bangladesh in the last three decades is unavailable( of course different people quote different figures but I am refraining from quoting them, because we don’t know how authentic they are). We also do not know how many of the migrants remained in the districts through which they entered India. With paucity of data it is impossible to profile them – especially as many of them have become Indian citizens by securing false ration cards and voter IDs. This has, of course, been possible due to help from politicians playing their vote bank politics. So there is no chance of catching them and deporting them, as strident elements from the right wing have been demanding. What is not practical is not possible.

So there is no point in talking about what has happened. Instead of focusing on that the effort should be on stemming this flow of illegal migrants. The easiest way is to give shoot at sight orders to the BSF. Anyone crossing the border will be just shot dead.This will immediately stop migration, no question. Not a single Bangladeshi will venture to cross the borders. But there is a moral question involved here. Pursuing this policy might have international repercussions and international human rights agencies might see red. Within India also it will raise hackles in some quarters.  However some reports say that BSF had been following this policy but last year while in Dhaka for talks, then home minister P Chidambaram said that orders were given to BSF and this had percolated down the line that there would be no shoot at sight.

There is no doubt that the borders have to be strengthened. Efforts at this have been futile even though an Indo- Bangladesh border road and fencing project has been in the works since the mid -1980s. Even a quarter century later the project is yet to be completed.  At first the progress was stymied by problems of land acquisitions. Then there was the usual problem of shoddy work. So much that by early 2001 it was discovered that at least half of the fencing that had been erected had been destroyed. Officially, of course, this was attributed to adverse climate conditions like floods (these factors too must have contributed to the problem). Meanwhile there is another project to be taken up: floodlighting of the borders.

Some analysts argue that if illegal immigration cannot be halted then part of it could be legalized by issuing work permits to a specified number of those coming year. Those with work permits will not be enrolled as voters. This will suit the immigrants too because none of them come into become voters, they merely come to look for opportunities for employment. The guys who enroll them as voters are the self- serving neta class. I do not know whether this policy can be successfully implemented but may be worth a try. But one thing is sure, if there is no illegal immigration from the western borders into India, the same must be ensured in the eastern sector. There is no need to become emotional about this and argue that the folks who live on this side of the border are the same as those on the other side. Yes, culturally they may be, but there are international borders and those on the other side of the border are foreigners.  Foreigners are foreigners, though they may be close to us in many aspects. We owe it to our nation to keep foreigners away.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/masala-noodles/entry/should-shoot-at-sight-orders-be-given-on-indo-bangladesh-borders1

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysian family of 700 gather for Eid reunion

 August 21, 2012

KUALA LAMPUR: Nearly 700 descendants of the founder of a village in northern Malaysia gathered in what is believed to be the largest family reunion for Eidul Fitr celebration in the country.

Family head Syeikh Alauddin Syeikh Abu Bakar told AFP Tuesday the gathering brought together about 683 people from 100 families descended from Kampung Paya Pahlawan’s (Warrior’s Swamp Village) founder Tok Nai Din.

“We only know that he came from Thailand in 1792 and his tomb is in Paya Pahlawan. He may have been involved in the 1821 war with Siam,” he said, referring to the Siamese kingdom’s conquest of the state of Kedah.

The village no longer exists, having been converted into a cattle farm, and the gathering took place 20 kilometres away in Alor Setar, the state capital of Kedah.

Among illustrious members of the family are former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and a member of his successor Najib Razak’s staff, Syeikh Alauddin claimed.

Muslims, who form the majority of the population of around 27 million, make the yearly exodus to their hometowns after the holy fasting month of Ramadan to meet their extended family members.

It was the family’s 39th annual meet and saw members coming from as far as Britain, United States, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and cost 4,000 ringgit ($1300) to cater.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424612/malaysian-family-of-700-gather-for-eid-reunion/

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Mideast Asia

 

Iran May Manipulate NAM Meet to Its Interest: US

LALIT K JHA

AUG 21, 2012

Arguing that Iran does not deserve to host the NAM summit, the US has said Tehran would attempt to manipulate the upcoming meet to advance its own agenda as it is trying to "skirt sanctions" over its nuclear programme.

Being hosted by Iran, the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit would be attended by global leaders like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Tehran next week.

"Iran is going to try to manipulate this (NAM) summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the IAEA and other international bodies," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at her daily news conference last evening.

Last week, the US had expressed its opposition to Ban travelling to Tehran to attend the summit, noting that this is not a good decision.

"We frankly, don't think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there," Nuland said in response to a question.

"That said, these individual countries will make their own decisions at what level they choose to be represented. We would hope and expect that those who choose to go will take the opportunity of any meetings that they have with Iran's leaders to press them to come back into compliance, to use the opportunity of the P-5 plus one talks, to come clean about their nuclear programme and take up all of the other concerns that the international community has about Iran's behavior."

Nuland said Iran is trying to "skirt sanctions" wherever it can.

http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=772680

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Iran unveils new missile, other weapons

Aug 21, 2012

DUBAI: Iran unveiled upgrades to six weapons on Tuesday, including a more accurate short-range missile, a more powerful naval engine and an airborne testing laboratory, Iranian media reported.

The hardware was presented at a ceremony marking Defence Industry Day and attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Israel has said it is considering military strikes on Iran's nuclear sites if the Islamic Republic does not resolve Western fears it is developing atomic weapons technology, something Tehran denies.

Iran says it could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region if it comes under attack.

It has also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass, which would likely invite a military response from the United States.

Among the upgrades was a fourth-generation of the Fateh-110 missile, with a range of about 300 km (180 miles).

Iran said earlier this month it had successfully test-fired the new model, which it said was equipped with a more accurate guidance system.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-unveils-new-missile-other-weapons/articleshow/15584987.cms

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Young Israelis Held in Attack on Arabs

By ISABEL KERSHNER

AUG 21, 2012

JERUSALEM — Seven Israeli teenagers were in custody on Monday, accused of what a police official and several witnesses described as an attempted lynching of several Palestinian youths, laying bare the undercurrent of tension in this ethnically mixed but politically divided city. A 15-year-old suspect standing outside court said, “For my part he can die, he’s an Arab.”

The police said that scores of Jewish youths were involved in the attack late Thursday in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, leaving one 17-year-old unconscious and hospitalized. Hundreds of bystanders watched the mob beating, the police said — and no one intervened.

Two of the suspects were girls, the youngest 13, adding to the soul-searching and acknowledgment that the poisoned political environment around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has affected the moral compass of youths growing up within it.

“If it was up to me, I’d have murdered him,” the 15-year-old suspect told reporters outside court on Monday. “He cursed my mother.” The young man who was beaten unconscious, Jamal Julani, remained in the hospital.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/7-israelis-held-in-attack-on-

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‘Qaeda’ militants blow up Yemen export gas pipeline

AUG 21, 2012

ADEN: Suspected al Qaeda militants early on Tuesday blew up a pipeline pumping liquefied gas to Yemen’s southern Balhaf export terminal, causing a complete halt in operations, security officials said.

The gunmen blew up the gas pipeline “at Station 5, in the village of Zahira, in the Shabwa province,” said provincial security chief brigadier-general Ahmed Omeir.

He said the attack took place around 1:00 am Tuesday (2200 GMT Monday).

Another security official accused al Qaeda militants, who remain active in the region, of being behind the attack.

“The attack is the work of al Qaeda, which continues to be operative in the province,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Witnesses said that dozens of villagers fled their houses due to a raging fire caused by the explosion.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/qaeda-militants-blow-up-yemen-export-gas-pipeline/

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Eight killed, several wounded in south-east Turkey blast

AUG 21, 2012

ANKARA: A car bomb exploded Monday, killing eight people and wounding 50 others in a city in south-east Turkey, the mayor of Gaziantap, Asim Guezelbey, told local television.

The powerful blast went off close to a police station, setting fire to several vehicles including a city bus, the mayor told NTV news channel which broadcast images of firefighters racing to put out the flames.

Gaziantap, a main city in the region, has so far been spared from the violence wrought by rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since they began their battle for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority south-east in 1984.

The conflict with the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, has claimed some 45,000 lives over nearly three decades.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/eight-killed-several-wounded-in-south-east-turkey-blast/

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Young Iranians Step Up With Their Own Quake Relief

By THOMAS ERDBRINK

AUG 21, 2012

VARZAGHAN, Iran — As their caravan of private cars drove north along the Tehran-Tabriz highway, following the five trucks they had filled up with relief goods for the victims of the deadly double earthquake that struck northern Iran this month, a group of young Iranians — a mix of hipsters, off-road motor club members and children of affluent families — felt like rebels with a cause.

None of the people in the cars seemed to know exactly how it had begun, or to remember how they all met during the past sleepless days. They became friends while standing in long lines in the parking lot of a privately owned building, passing along boxes filled with blankets and toys.

Energized by anger over widespread accusations that Iran’s official relief organizations were not adequately helping survivors, they, and hundreds of others, spontaneously organized a 48-hour charity effort using text messages, Facebook and phone calls to gather money and goods.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/young-iranians-bypass-state-with-

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House Member Is Rebuked After Nude Swim in Israel

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

AUG 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — They came to town promising something new and different, a fresh reprieve from the antics and proclivities of a “Washington” they disdained.

But during a trip to Israel last summer, several House Republican freshmen engaged in a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee, complete with one skinny-dipping congressman whose choice threatened to tarnish the reputation of the House newcomers as superserious number-crunchers who sleep on their office couches and go to bed before midnight.

On a trip billed as a foreign policy fact-finding mission last year, a large group of Republican members of Congress, and some of their staff and family members, decided to take a swim in the sea after a long day.

Several members — including Representative Steve Southerland II of Florida, who jumped into the water holding hands with his 21-year-old daughter — said they were moved to dip for religious reasons. (The sea is believed by Christians to be the location where Jesus walked on water.)

While most of the members remained clothed, or largely so, Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas decided to disrobe entirely, as reported first by Politico on Sunday. This sent most of the members fleeing for the shore, said a participant, and prompted a harsh rebuke the next day from  Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who was on the trip but did not swim in the sea.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/politics/after-skinny-dipping-in-israel-rep-kevin-

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Arab World

 

Syria: Obama warns Assad US could act

August 21, 2012

US forces could move against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, President Barack Obama warned, notably if he deploys his chemical weapons against rebels trying to overthrow him.

In some of his strongest language yet on Syria, on a day when UN observers pulled out after a fruitless bid

for peace and Assad's forces mounted new attacks, the US leader said Assad faced "enormous consequences" if he crossed a "red line" of even moving unconventional weapons in a threatening manner.

Seeking re-election in November, Obama noted that he had refrained "at this point" from ordering US military engagement in Syria. But when he was asked at a White House news conference whether he might deploy forces, for example to secure Syrian chemical and biological weapons, he said his view could change.

"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised," Obama said. "That would change my calculus."

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/RestOfAsia/Syria-Obama-warns-Assad-US-could-act/Article1-916878.aspx

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Morsy on path-breaking visit to China, Iran

ATUL ANEJA

AUG 21, 2012

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy is heading for China and Iran — a path-breaking visit that is unlikely to please the United States, which has gone overboard to cultivate relationship with the new leadership in Cairo.

Mr. Morsy will land in Beijing on Monday, before heading for Tehran to attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) there. This will be the first visit by an Egyptian President to Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The importance of the visit has not been lost on the Iranians.

“Since long time ago, Egypt and Iran as two big Muslim countries have had close ties and played key roles in the Islamic civilisation,” observed Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Majlis, Iran’s Parliament.

Iran-Egypt relationship had greatly soured during the regime of the former President, Hosni Mubarak — evident from the absence of embassies in their respective capitals.

Analysts point out that the region’s geopolitical map may fundamentally realign if the Egyptian President’s visit to Tehran leads to a robust re-engagement between the two heavyweights. Prior to Mr. Mubarak’s exit, Iran, Syria and Lebanese Hizbollah had been facing-off with a pro-West alliance of Egypt and the Gulf monarchies led by Saudi Arabia. The sharp antagonistic divisions among the Arab and Muslim countries of the region had also well suited Israel, which, since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, has not been threatened by a united front of regional countries.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3799836.ece

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Syrian forces capture rebel-held town near capital Damascus, 23 opposition fighters killed

By Hamza Hendawi

August 21, 2012

BEIRUT - Government forces stormed a rebel-held town outside Damascus Tuesday after days of fierce fighting, killing at least 23 fighters according to an activist group and a rebel spokesman.

In Aleppo, a Japanese TV reporter was killed Monday while covering the fighting in Syria's largest city. She was the first foreign journalist to die in the city since clashes between rebels and regime forces erupted there almost a month ago.

Damascus and its suburbs have witnessed a dramatic spike in fighting over the past month two months. And regime forces were further stretched when a major battle for control of the northern city of Aleppo erupted around the end of July. Before that, the fighting had been concentrated outside the big cities during the 17-month-old uprising.

It has proved difficult for President Bashar Assad's forces to put down the rebel challenge in the big cities, a sign that the regime's grip on power over the country is loosening.

The Local Coordination Committees activist group and a rebel spokesman said regime troops entered the rebel-held town of Moadamiyeh at dawn from four points. They searched homes looking for rebels. The rebel spokesman asked to be identified by his first name only, Ahmed. He said three men in their late 20s and early 30s were shot dead execution style in the town soon after its fall in the hands of the regime forces.

Full report at:

http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Intense+clashes+mark+major+Muslim+holiday+

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Journalists killed in Syria

Aug 21, 2012

More than 18,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began in March, 2011, according to the United Nations. Here are some of the foreign and Syrian journalists who have died in the conflict:

Foreigners

Jan. 11, 2012 - Gilles Jacquier, of France 2 television station, is killed along with at least seven other people by bombardment during a government-organised visit to Homs. He was the first foreign journalist to be killed in the uprising.

Feb. 22 - Marie Colvin, an American who worked for Britain's Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, are killed by bombardment in Homs.

Feb. 16 - New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid, an American of Lebanese descent, dies of an asthma attack while reporting in eastern Syria. April 9 - Ali Shaaban, a Lebanese cameraman for Lebanon's Al-Jadeed television channel is killed by gunfire near the border between Syria and Lebanon's northern Wadi Khaled area.

Aug. 20 - Mika Yamamoto, a Japanese journalist working for independent news wire Japan Press, is fatally wounded while travelling with the rebel Free Syrian Army in Aleppo.

Syrians

Nov. 20, 2011 - Cameraman Ferzat Jerban is found dead in Homs. Dec. 27 - Basil al-Sayed, a freelance cameraman, dies days after being shot in the Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs.

Jan. 4, 2012 - Shukri Abu Burghul, who worked for state-run Radio Damascus, dies in Damascus days after being shot.

Feb. 4 - Mazhar Tayyara, a photo journalist who contributed to Agence France-Presse and other international outlets, is killed in Homs.

Feb. 24 - Anas al-Tarsha, a videographer who documented unrest in Homs, is killed in a mortar attack. June 27 - Gunmen storm headquarters of pro-government Syrian television channel Ikhbariya, killing three employees.

Aug. 5 - Islamist militant group claims responsibility for the kidnap and killing of Syrian state television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed.

Aug. 11 - Gunmen kill Ali Abbas, head of domestic news at state news agency SANA, at his Damascus home. Bara'a Yusuf al-Bushi, who contributed to international outlets including Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Sky News, is killed the same day.

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_journalists-killed-in-syria_1730912

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One Dead in Lebanon Clashes Echoing Syria Conflict

AUG 21, 2012

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - One person was killed and several dozen wounded in clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli in another spillover from the war in neighboring Syria, security and medical sources said on Tuesday.

Gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their Alawite rivals in Jebel Mohsen exchanged gun and grenade fire in sporadic fighting through the night, despite the presence of Lebanese army troops in the port city, residents said.

The dead man was identified by residents as Ahmed al-Farfour from Jebel Mohsen, a hill inhabited mainly by Alawites and which overlooks the predominantly Sunni area below.

An army statement said soldiers raided buildings used by gunmen and "retaliated swiftly against sources of gunfire". It said five soldiers were wounded on Monday evening and another five, including an officer, were hurt on Tuesday by a hand grenade lobbed at an army base.

Aside from the army casualties, some 40 people were wounded in the two districts, residents and medics said.

Chronic Sunni-Alawite tensions in Tripoli have been heightened by the 17-month-old, mainly Sunni, uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite. Clashes in the city killed 15 people in early June.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/21reuters-lebanon-

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UN envoy angers Syria, opposition as violence rages

AUG 21, 2012

Fighting raged across Syria with activists claiming more than 140 people killed on Monday alone, as Lakhdar Brahimi angered both the Syrian regime and opposition with some of his first comments as the new UN and Arab League peace envoy.

Many of the latest casualties were from the southern province of Daraa, birthplace of the Syrian uprising, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, a London-based opposition group.

The group said that a Japanese female journalist was killed on Monday covering clashes in Syria’s Aleppo, while three other reporters from Turkey, Lebanon and another Arab country went missing.

Activists said the heavy shelling on Daraa took place because government forces believe that some high-profile defectors, including possibly Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, may be hiding there.

Mr Al-Sharaa’s office has officially denied opposition reports that he has defected, and Syria’s state news agency has denied reports that Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem had been named to replace Mr al-Sharaa.

Former premier Riad Hijab, another high-profile defector, is believed to have fled into Jordan from the same area.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3802767.ece

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North America

 

9/11 hearings to resume at Guantanamo Bay

 August 21, 20

CUBA: Five men accused over the September 11 attacks will appear Wednesday at a US military court in Guantanamo Bay, where defense lawyers aim to address the prisoners’ torture.

The preliminary hearing, originally postponed for the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, is expected to run until August 28, and will prepare a trial that is not expected to take place for at least a year.

In written motions filed with the military commission on the 9/11 trials, defense lawyers aim to denounce abuses against the accused.

The details of the abuses have been classified by the US government as “top secret,” prohibiting the defendants or their lawyers to discuss the specifics of their torture at trial.

Before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2006, the five men were held in secret CIA prisons, where they were subjected to interrogation tactics that amounted to torture and were banned by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The self-proclaimed mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed – commonly referred to by his initials “KSM” – was waterboarded 183 times and underwent seven and a half consecutive days of sleep deprivation, according to an intelligence report.

Defense lawyers argue they are unable to address torture due to “presumptive classification” that “attempts to extend traditional classification rules beyond information damaging to national security to all statements made by or information learned from Guantanamo Bay prisoners.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424610/911-hearings-to-resume-at-guantanamo-bay/

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Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases: NYPD

AUG 21, 2012

NEW YORK: In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.

The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed.

Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanised surnames.

Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism.

And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case.

“Related to Demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/nypd-muslim-spying-led-to-no-leads-terror-cases/

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US Army battling racists within its own ranks

 Aug 21 2012

Fayetteville, North Carolina : They call it rahowa - short for racial holy war - and they are preparing for it by joining the ranks of the world's fiercest fighting machine, the US military.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG - the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.

If this scenario seems like fantasy or bluster, civil rights organizations take it as deadly serious, especially given recent events. Former US Army soldier Wade Page opened fire with a 9mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, murdering six people and critically wounding three before killing himself during a shootout with police.

The US Defense Department as well has stepped up efforts to purge violent racists from its ranks, earning praise from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has tracked and exposed hate groups since the 1970s.

Page, who was 40, was well known in the white supremacist music scene. In the early 2000s he told academic researcher Pete Simi that he became a neo-Nazi after joining the military in 1992. Fred Lucas, who served with him, said Page openly espoused his racist views until 1998, when he was demoted from sergeant to specialist, dis ch arged and barred from re-enlistment.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-army-battling-racists-within-its-own-ranks/991030/

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Fareed Zakaria resigns from Yale governing board

August 21, 2012

After a long association with Yale University, noted Indian American writer and journalist Fareed Zakaria has resigned from its governing body to focus on journalistic career.

Zakaria, who received his bachelor's degree from the university, was associated with the Yale Corporation

for past six years.

The decision of Zakaria to shed some of his non-journalistic responsibilities has come close on the heels of accusations of plagiarism against him.

However, the CNN and the Time magazine have completed their probe into the matter and revoked their month-long suspension slapped on the writer.

"With great sadness, I have decided that I will not be able to serve a second term as a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation. I am re-examining my professional life and I have recognised that, in order to focus on the core of my work, I will have to shed some of my other responsibilities," Zakaria informed the Yale University in his resignation letter, according to a university statement on Monday.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/NorthAmerica/Fareed-Zakaria-resigns-from-Yale-governing-board/Article1-916891.aspx

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Quinn signs religious tolerance bill at end-of-Ramadan celebration

 August 19, 2012

Gov. Pat Quinn celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at a ceremony that drew 15,000 people to Toyota Park on Sunday morning in the southwest suburb of Bridgeview.

The governor used the occasion to sign a bill that will allow university students who have religious holiday conflicts with tests or assignments to ask for and receive alternate assignments.

Gov. Quinn also decried recent attacks against local Muslims, citing a shooting at a Morton Grove mosque, an attack on an Islamic school in Lombard and the desecration of a grave in an Evergreen Park cemetery.

Full report at:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/14594698-418/quinn-signs-religious-tolerance-bill-at-end-of-ramadan-celebration.html

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Haslam aide: Tennessee not promoting Islamic code

August 19th, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is responding to what it calls “confusion” about the role of a Muslim staffer and a council that has advised two state departments on Islamic affairs.

The Republican governor was criticized this summer by several GOP groups over what they perceived as the growing influence of a version of the Islamic code called Shariah in state government.

Claude Ramsey, the deputy to the governor, sent a letter distributed to the state GOP’s executive committee last week seeking to quell those concerns.

“I want to start by clearly expressing there is no effort by the Haslam administration, the State of Tennessee, or any agency or department of the State to promote or advance Shariah law or Shariah complaint finance,” he said in the letter.

“The promotion or advancement of religious ideology is an inappropriate role of state government that is unacceptable, and will not happen during this administration.”

Ramsey stressed the credentials of Samar Ali, who joined the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development earlier this year, as “a bright, young Tennessean.” He noted that she is a former student body president at Vanderbilt and a White House fellow, and that her brother has led the software team for NASA’s Mars rovers.

“There is nothing about the Department or the position that involves Islamic financing or Shariah law,” Ramsey said.

Full report at:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/19/haslam-aide-tennessee-not-promoting-islamic-code/?breakingnews

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NYPD probing a possible bias crime that could have marred Ramadan celebration on Staten Island

August 19, 2012

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  -- It's being investigated as a hate crime -- someone scattered pieces of bacon over the New Dorp Beach field where the borough's Muslim community celebrated the end of Ramadan Sunday morning.

But that act of desecration failed to ruin what organizers described as a successful celebration -- about 1,500 worshipers gathered at the John D'Amato Field at New Dorp Lane and Cedar Grove Avenue, unaware of the early morning police investigation that preceded the ceremony.

"Everything went smoothly," said Dr. Mohamed Sadeia, president of the Muslim American Society on Staten Island, which organized the gathering. "The community is really not aware of it.

Dr. Sadiea was one of a handful of organizers who noticed the uncooked bacon on a small section of the field at about 8 a.m.

He said he contacted police, but kept the incident and investigation quiet, because he didn't want to distress the adults and children gathering for morning prayers.

"They didn't want to ruin the happiness of one of the only two holidays of the entire year," said Hesham El-Meligy, the founder of the Islamic Civic Association-Staten Island, who said he didn't attend the outdoor ceremony but had heard about the incident.

An police spokeswoman confirmed on Sunday that the NYPD's Hate Crime Unit is investigating the incident.

Full report at:

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/08/staten_island_muslims_mark_ram.html

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US seizes $150 mn in Hezbollah-linked funds

AUG 21, 2012

NEW YORK: US authorities on Monday announced the seizure of $150 million allegedly linked to a scheme by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to launder proceeds from drug trafficking and other crimes.

The money came from an American bank account used by the Beirut-based Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) to conduct US currency transactions, US Attorney Preet Bharara and Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart said.

Washington considers the Shiite militant group a terrorist organisation and accuses Syria and Iran of providing its weaponry.

Monday’s seizure concerns a December 2011 money laundering and forfeiture complaint filed in US federal court in New York that targeted the bank and two other Lebanese financial institutions with alleged ties to Hezbollah.

“As we alleged last year, the Lebanese Canadian Bank played a key role in facilitating money laundering for Hezbollah controlled organizations across the globe,” Leonhart said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/us-seizes-150-mn-in-hezbollah-linked-funds/

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Obama warns Syria over chemical arms as journalist killed

AUG 21, 2012

ALEPPO: US President Barack Obama warned Syria of “enormous consequences” if it resorts to chemical weapons, as a female Japanese reporter was killed while covering clashes in the northern city of Aleppo.

Obama put President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on notice Monday that, while he had not ordered intervention “at this point”, Washington was “monitoring the situation very carefully” and had put together a range of contingency plans.

The president said the United States would regard any recourse by Damascus to its deadly arsenal as crossing a “red line”.

“There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons… That would change my calculations significantly,” he told reporters at a White House briefing.

Syria’s admission in July that it has chemical weapons and could use them in case of any “external aggression” added a dangerous new dimension to a 17-month conflict which the new UN peace envoy already describes as civil war.

More than 130 people were killed Monday, including two children in shelling in Daraa, the birthplace of the revolution, a watchdog said, as the United Nations brought an end to its troubled observer mission.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/obama-warns-syria-over-chemical-arms-as-journalist-killed/

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Human Rights First condemns arrest of 11-year-old blasphemy accused girl

 August 21, 2012

WASHINGTON:  Human Rights First (HRF), an American organisation for human rights, has condemned the recent arrest of the 11-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan who has been accused of blasphemy for allegedly burning a Noorani Quaida.

“This case is outrageous and should refocus the world’s attention on the abuse of blasphemy laws around the globe,” said Human Rights First’s Joelle Fiss.

“President Asif Ali Zardari has called for an investigation into the case, but his words are not enough. He must call for calm and an end to the mob violence and intimidation this young girl and her family now face. Pakistani authorities must also protect her rights as she awaits her fate in an Islamabad jail. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Pakistan’s blasphemy laws trigger violence and be applied arbitrarily. It’s time for lawmakers to act.”

The girl was sent to juvenile jail on judicial remand and police, according to sources, have not allowed lawyers or civil society representatives to visit the girl.

Though President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for an investigation on this case, the girl has faced mob violence from angry protesters and Pakistani police have confirmed that she will be detained for 14 days while the case is investigated.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424607/human-rights-first-condemns-arrest-of-11-year-old-blasphemy-accused-girl/

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US: Ban, Morsy should not attend Tehran NAM summit

08/21/2012

State Department spokeswoman Nuland says Iran undeserving of high-level delegations from Egypt, UN for Non-Aligned Movement meeting.

The United States is against high-level diplomatic visits to Iran by Egyptian and UN officials, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday. Nuland was responding to a press inquiry that specifically mentioned a yet unconfirmed visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a confirmed visit by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to attend the Non-Aligned Movement meetings towards the end of August.

"Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the IAEA, and other international bodies," Nuland said. "So we, frankly, don’t think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there."

The NAM summit has been at the center of diplomatic controversy in recent weeks, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telling Ban to stay away from the event. “Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” he said in a telephone conversation with the UN chief. Ban’s office has not officially confirmed whether the secretary-general will attend the conference.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=281993

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US asks Bangladesh not to reduce the integrity of Grameen Bank

Aug 21, 2012

WASHINGTON: The US on Monday asked Bangladesh government not to take any step that would reduce the "integrity or efficacy" of the Grameen Bank.

"We remain deeply concerned about recent actions by the government of Bangladesh to give the government- appointed chairman of the (Grameen) bank control over the selection of the new managing director," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.

"We are continuing to urge the government of Bangladesh not to take any actions that would reduce the integrity or efficacy of the bank, and we are calling on the government to ensure transparency in the selection of the new managing director," she said.

"This has been a very vibrant part of Bangladeshi society and has in fact been a model for other parts of the world. So we're watching closely," Nuland said in response to a question on the latest action being taken by the Bangladeshi government against the Grameen Bank.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/US-asks-Bangladesh-not-to-reduce-the-integrity-of-Grameen-Bank/articleshow/15577862.cms

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Obama cancelled 3 kill Laden missions until Clinton stepped in

Aug 21, 2012

LONDON: US President Barack Obama put off three times operations to kill world's most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden before finally going ahead with the mission at the insistence of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a new book has claimed.

Citing unnamed sources within the joint operations command, Rich Miniter, a former 'Wall Street Journal' and 'Washington Times' reporter, claims that three 'kill' missions were called off by Obama in January, February and March 2011.

Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obama-cancelled-3-kill-Laden-missions-until-Clinton-stepped-in/articleshow/15584765.cms

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US says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange trying to deflect rape allegations

Aug 21, 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of making "wild assertions" about an alleged US vendetta against him to deflect attention from rape allegations he faces in Sweden.

State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed Assange's latest broadside, which he delivered on Sunday from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has sought refuge from arrest.

"He is making all kinds of wild assertions about us," Nuland told a news briefing, saying Assange's current legal problems stemmed from allegations of sexual misconduct and were unrelated to the WikiLeaks case.

"He is clearly trying to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is whether he's going to face justice in Sweden, which is the immediate issue. So that case has nothing to do with us. It's a matter between the UK, Sweden, and now Ecuador has inserted itself," Nuland said.

Assange on Sunday demanded that President Barack Obama end what he called a witch hunt against his whistle-blowing website, speaking from the Ecuadorean mission to avoid being detained by British police who want to extradite him to Sweden for questioning about rape allegations by two women.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-says-WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-trying-to-deflect-rape-allegations/articleshow/15579238.cms

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Past week has been tough, but clarifying, says Zakaria

Aug 21, 2012

NEW YORK: Noted Indian-American writer and journalist Fareed Zakaria, who was briefly suspended by Time magazine and CNN after he was accused of plagiarism, described the episode as "tough" and "clarifying" and said he now realizes the focus of what he wants to do ahead.

Zakaria's suspension was revoked by Time and CNN last week, days after he had issued an apology for lifting a passage for an article he wrote on gun control for Time. "This has been a tough week, but it has also been clarifying," Zakaria said in a New York Times article. "You find out what matters to you in life, who your friends are."

Zakaria said he was apologetic for his "a terrible mistake...This week has been very important because it has made me realize what is at the core of what I want to do."

The Harvard and Yale graduate said he wanted to "help people to think about this fast-moving world and do this through my work on TV and writing". He said the mistake occurred when he confused the notes he had taken about Lepore's article with those taken from 'Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America', by Adam Winkler, a copy of which was on his desk at his CNN office.

Zakaria says he now plans to cut back work. He also plans to make fewer speeches. "Other things will have to go away. There's got to be some stripping down," he added. Zakaria has his hands full with his work at Time and CNN.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Past-week-has-been-tough-but-clarifying-says-Zakaria/articleshow/15576782.cms

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Europe

 

France decries blasphemy charge against Pakistani girl

 August 21, 2012

PARIS: France on Tuesday added its voice to mounting international concern over the arrest on blasphemy charges of a young Christian girl in Pakistan.

The girl, Rimsha, is reported to have Down’s syndrome. She faces the death penalty for allegedly burning pages with verses from the Holy Quran.

French foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani said Paris welcomed an announcement by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari that he would look into the case.

“France calls on the Pakistani authorities to free this young girl,” he added.

“We would also recall that the very existence of a crime of blasphemy is in breach of fundamental liberties, the freedom of religion or of conviction as well as the freedom of speech.

“We call on Pakistan to respect its international commitments in this respect.”

Zardari has asked the interior ministry to submit a report on the case, the details of which remain unclear.

Reports in Pakistan have suggested the allegations against her were triggered after she burnt papers collected from a garbage pile for cooking.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424684/france-decries-blasphemy-charge-against-pakistani-girl/

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Russia Warns West Over Syria After Obama Threats

AUG 21, 2012

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia warned the West on Tuesday against unilateral action on Syria, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama threatened "enormous consequences" if his Syrian counterpart used chemical or biological arms or even moved them in a menacing way.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after meeting China's top diplomat, said Moscow and Beijing were committed to "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law...and not to allow their violation".

Russia and China have opposed military intervention in Syria throughout a 17-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. They have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions backed by Western and Arab states that would have put more pressure on Damascus to end violence that has cost 18,000 lives.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/21reuters-syria-

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Applications rise 10-fold for Islamic Bank of Britain’s ‘Gold medal’ savings account

1, August 2012

 Isla MacFarlane

A ‘Gold medal’ savings account from Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), offering the UK’s highest rate of return for a two year fixed term deposit, has received a 10 fold increase in applications compared to the previous month.

This was prompted by the launch of a limited-period Ramadan promotion offering a market-leading four per cent expected profit rate for the IBB Two Year Fixed Term Deposit (FTD) account. The promotion has now come to an end. The bank estimates that 55 per cent of the applications received for the account during this time were from non-Muslim customers. A record number of applications, 67 per cent, were via the bank’s website and its Birmingham-based call centre.

IBB believes that the record number of applications for the account was also prompted by consumer interest in ethical banking alternatives, following a summer of controversy for the UK banking sector. Its approach to Islamic banking has been dubbed by the bank as ‘banking you can believe in’.

Full report at:

http://www.cpifinancial.net/news/post/15354/applications-rise-10-fold-for-islamic-bank-of-britains-gold-medal-savings-account

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Africa

 

Mali forms national unity government

August 21, 2012

West African nation has been in crisis since March

BAMAKO: Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore has formed a national unity government in an attempt to bring stability to a country split in two after Islamists seized northern regions following a coup.

The west African nation has been in crisis since March when democratically elected president Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown by the military, who two weeks later handed over power to a transitional administration.

The ensuing political turmoil allowed Al Qaida-linked Islamist rebels to wrest control of the northern desert regions.

The national unity government announced by presidential decree on Monday has 31 ministers of almost all political shades including four women.

Tieman Coulibaly, a member of the anti-coup Front for Democracy and the Republic (FDR) party, becomes foreign minister under controversial Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.

The new administration also includes a new ministry of religious affairs, headed by Yacouba Traore.

Among those reappointed are three military members seen as close to the former junta: Defence Minister Colonel Yamoussa Camara, Security Minister General Tiefing Konate and Minister for Territorial Administration Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly.

Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly and Health Minister Soumana Makadji were also reappointed.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has proposed sending an intervention force to Mali to help the weak transitional government, ordered Bamako to form a government of national unity by July 31 that would be able to reconquer the north.

The ultimatum was later extended. ECOWAS also warned Bamako it could be expelled from the group.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/mali-forms-national-unity-government-1.1064151

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Dies, State TV Reports

AUG 21, 2012

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, regarded by the West as a bulwark against Islamic militancy, died overnight in a Brussels hospital after a long battle with illness.

Speculation that Meles, 57, an ally of Washington who twice sent troops into neighboring Somalia to help crush rebellions, was seriously ill had grown after he failed to attend an African Union summit in Addis Ababa last month.

State media said Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn would be sworn in as acting prime minister by parliament.

"The prime minister passed away around midnight. It's time for his remains to come back," government spokesman and Meles' right-hand-man, Bereket Simon, told reporters on Tuesday.

Bereket said Meles had been ill for a year and was recuperating before being suddenly rushed to intensive care.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/21/world/africa/21reuters-ethiopia-

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Nigerian Police Kill Four Kidnappers After Hostage Escapes

21 August 2012

BENIN, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian police said on Tuesday they killed four kidnappers in southern Edo state following a car chase where the hostage escaped, in the latest abduction in a region home to Africa's biggest oil industry.

Criminal gangs kidnapping for ransom have blighted Africa's second largest economy for years, with the vast majority of people abducted Nigerians, although foreign oil workers have also been targets.

Violence and crime in the oil-producing Niger Delta pushes up the cost of doing business. Shell spent almost 40 percent of its global security budget in Nigeria between 2007-2009, according to an oil industry watchdog.

Senior civil servant Benson Ojoto was kidnapped earlier this month in Delta, one of the three states that make up the bulk of the Niger Delta. He was freed on Sunday, police said.

"Luckily, the man escaped while the gang headed to Edo with his car. We trailed them to Benin city where we engaged and gunned down four of them. One escaped with gunshot wounds," Delta state police spokesman Charles Muka said.

Muka said they strongly suspected the gang was behind the kidnapping this month of Delta State Judge Marcel Okoh, who has since been released.

Although the majority of kidnappings in Nigeria are for financial gain, this year there have been a handful of abductions of foreigners by Islamists in the largely-Muslim north, far from the oil region.

A Briton and an Italian were killed during a raid in northeast Sokoto in March and a German died during another rescue attempt in Nigeria's second-largest city Kano in May.

(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Jon Boyle)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/21/world/europe/21reuters-nigeria-kidnap.html?hp&gwh=FD06A0F35C0272D0C74F61107D238239

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South Africa gold miners face lung disease lawsuit

AUG 21, 2012

CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s leading gold miners are facing a potential lawsuit on behalf of thousands of workers who claim they contracted silicosis, a lung disease, through the companies’ negligence.

A South African lawyer filed the first papers on Tuesday against AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony, in a preliminary step to determine whether the court recognises the case as a class action.

“If the certification is granted we anticipate that this may be the largest damages suit in the history of this country, in the tens of billions of rand possibly,” lawyer Charles Abrahams, who represents more than 3,000 mostly former miners, said.

The mining companies had declined to comment in detail ahead of the filing.

A spokesman for Gold Fields said on Tuesday he would not comment, while officials at the other two firms were not immediately available.

The suit, which has little precedent in South African law, has its roots in a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court a year ago that for the first time allowed lung-diseased miners to sue their employers for damages.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/21/silicosis-lawsuit-taken-against-south-africa-gold-miners/

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Libya: A Trial for Qaddafi’s Son

AUG 21, 2012

Libya will put Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a son of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, on trial next month, defying a demand by the International Criminal Court, Ahmed al-Jehani, the Libyan representative to the court, said Monday. Mr. Qaddafi, who was captured by a Libyan militia, was considered his father’s political heir. The I.C.C. issued an arrest warrant and demanded to try him on war crimes. Libya says that its new government should try him, but the international court expressed concern that he would not get a fair trial in Libya.

Source: New York Times

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