New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 08:53 PM

Islamic World News ( 31 Jul 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over 'Vulgar' Episode of Renowned Cleric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over 'Vulgar' Episode of Renowned Cleric

Sixteen Filipinos convert to Islam

Indonesian Islamic Village hold ‘communal feast’

Malaysian Opposition Whistle-Blower Charged

Clash Erupts Between Indonesians, East Timorese in ‘Free Zone’

Court acquits key defendant in Kemang murder case

 

India

Serial blasts rock Pune, one injured

Simmering Valley erupts yet again after CRPF men ‘beat boy to death’

India formally allows foreign direct investment from Pakistan

Sohrabuddin Fake encounter case: Gujarat HC grants bail to two accused cops

PM to visit Pak only if some 'deliverable' comes out: India

Mumbai terror attacks: India's evidence not admissible in our court, says Pak

Jundal used nine e-mail addresses to communicate with terror operatives

 

Pakistan

Pak defence establishment wants Indian channels out

Pak Taliban chief asks fighters to step up attacks in Punjab

Seven militants killed in Orakzai clash

Balochistan violence: 868 killed, 2390 missing since 2010, says Interior Ministry

US warns of Lashkar-e-Taiba threat, asks Pakistan to act

Pakistan raises cross-border incursions with ISAF, Afghanistan: FO

 ‘Olympic visa scam’: ‘Sun’ reporter will be brought to Pakistan, says Malik

HC directs ministry to ensure fair distribution of Haj quota

Pakistan allows NATO supplies to Afghanistan, secures $1 billion aid from US

Contempt law case: CJ says new law not without flaws

 

South Asia

Myanmar troops 'opened fire on Rohingya Muslims'

Global Islamic body urges aid to Myanmar Muslims

Canadian government’s statement “misleading”, “one-sided”: Maldives

Human Rights Watch cites 'atrocities' in Myanmar

150-year-old Bangladesh brothel fights closure

Sri Lankans in Jeddah turn out for grand Iftar party

Suspect in murder of Saudi embassy official confesses in Dhaka

Court fines Shafeeg for defaming Gayoom by publishing book on torture during his rule

Top Afghan General: Taliban Defeat Would Take Less Than A Year

Taliban executes four Afghans' for Western links'

In twist, Taliban cheer supply line deal

Bangladeshi man long believed dead returns home

Afghan Official: Insurgents Kill 4 Civilians

 

Mideast Asia

Iran, Al-Qaida, Taliban Told To Pay $6 Billion for 2001 Terrorist Attacks

22 Kurdish militants killed in Turkey clashes

Uncertainty over Morsi Letter Underscores Delicate Ties

Panetta Asks Israel for Patience on Iran

Accomplice in Belgian Child Killings Paroled to Convent

Iran, Syria top US defence secy Panetta's agenda in Israel

Bulgaria Releases Image of Suicide Bomber

Second Israeli dies after self-immolation protest

Palestinian Police Under Scrutiny After Slaying

 

Arab World

Dawn clashes in Christian neighbourhood of Damascus

Bahrain Is Criticized for Its ‘Torrent’ of Tear Gas Use

Iraq car bombings kill 19 in central Baghdad

Assad says Syria’s fate hinges on battle with rebels

Egypt official: Morsi’s letter to Israel is fake

Forum stresses role of youth in nation-building

Syrian aircraft strike Aleppo, rebels claim successes

Egypt’s PM selects new cabinet: state TV

July Bloodiest Month in Iraq in 2 Years

 

North America

Barack Obama tightens sanctions on banks helping Iran sell oil

Obama slaps additional tough sanctions on Iran

 

Africa

Saif Qaddafi says trial in Libya would be murder

Blast Hits Military Intelligence HQ in East Libya

Somali Leaders Pass Constitution as Bombers Attack

Somali Twins Jailed for 3 Years for Terror Funding

Suicide bombers target Somali constitution conference

Seven Iranian Red Crescent workers abducted in Libya

             

Europe

French summer camp workers sacked over Ramazan fast

France brushes off US criticism of burqa ban

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Sixteen Filipinos convert to Islam

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesian-tv-station-cited-over-vulgar-episode-of-renowned-cleric/d/8118

 

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over 'Vulgar' Episode of Renowned Cleric

August 01, 2012

Indonesian television station Global TV was cited by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) after renowned Muslim preacher Sholahudin “Ustad Solmed” Mahmoed hosted a sexually-explicit late night talk show.

Ustad Solmed discussed Islam and marital sexual relations on the July 15 episode of “Akhirnya Aku Tahu” (“I Finally Understand”). The Islamic cleric allegedly discussed intimate details of the audience’s sex lives during what the KPI has called a “vulgar” episode of the show.

“The sex-ridden discussion happened between Ustad Solmed and members of his audience. They discussed contraception, intimate relationships between husbands and wives, the engorgement of genitals, oral sex and other ways to have sex,” the KPI said in a statement published on its website kpi.go.id Monday evening.

The show, which aired at 4 a.m., was rated “teen,” a fact that has drawn ire from the KPI, who alleged that this program violated Indonesia’s child protection laws.

“We classify this as a violation of child protection laws, norms of politeness, restrictions on sexual themes and the broadcast program’s rating,” the statement read.

The KPI urged Global TV to clean the show up and get its broadcasting in line with the commission’s standards in a letter signed by KPI chairman Mochamad Riyanto on July 30.

The commission sought the opinion of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) before issuing the letter.

“The MUI says the dialog was very vulgar and should never happen again,” the KPI says, adding a letter from the MUI was attached to a warning sent to Global TV.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesian-tv-station-cited-over-vulgar-episode-of-renowned-cleric-ustad-solmeds-show/534206

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Sixteen Filipinos convert to Islam

ABDUL HANNAN TAGO, ARAB NEWS STAFF

 1 August 2012

Sixteen Filipinos converted to Islam at the headquarters of Princess Al-Anood Philanthropic Foundation in Riyadh on Sunday. The new converts pronounced the Shahada testimony before Prince Saud bin Fahd, declaring: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.”

Prince Saud, who is the foundation’s vice president and executive committee president, officiated the ceremony. The 16 Filipinos pronounced the testimony together after him.

The foundation's Secretary-General Youssef bin Othman Al-Huzaim and a number of scholars belonging to the Al-Batha Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance were among those present.

As many as 28,000 expatriates converted to Islam at the Batha center, which gets support from Princess Al-Anood Philanthropic Foundation, with 80 of them in the first 10 days of this blessed month, according to information provided to Arab News.

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Saud said: “It was really a great pleasure to be here at this evening to witness this event. Last year, I witnessed some of your colleagues who became Muslim. I would like to tell you that your decision today to embrace Islam is really the best in your life.”

He observed: “Choosing the right religion is very important. I think our colleagues here have explained to you many things about Islam — its greatness, its simplicity, and also it being the last religion that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. (peace be upon him)

“We, as Muslims, do love and respect all the other prophets of God and the messages that were revealed to them by God throughout the history of mankind. They came in stages, with Islam marking the end of the divine revelation. Hopefully, by learning more about Islam, you will understand the many great things in it. I think the greatest of it is that it can be adopted at all times and places by societies. It is a very flexible religion,” he said.

The prince congratulated everybody present at the ceremony, including non-Muslims. “If they study it more and understand it, I am sure they will also become Muslim in the future.”

Speaking with words of encouragement, he told the converts they had made the right decision. “I think all of us should learn every day more about the teachings of Islam. We should learn how to worship God alone, how to pray and fast, and learn about all the principles of Islam.”

The prince said he was sure his friends in Al-Batha would do their best to explain the new Muslims everything about Islam. He added: “It is very important that once you learned it, you explain it to others, including your families and friends close to you. I wish you the best of luck.”

Speaking on his part, the head of the Batha center, Sheikh Noor Nasser Ibrahim, expressed his gratitude for the continuous support of the Al-Anood Foundation. “At the outset, I would like to thank Prince Saud bin Fahd for receiving the new Muslims, who pronounced before him their embracing Islam.

“We thank also the Princess Al-Anood Philanthropic Foundation for its noble effort in supporting our activities in general. Of course, the Batha Center for Call and Guidance is one of the first centers that was founded in Saudi Arabia based on the Royal Decree issued in 1988, which authorized qualified centers to invite foreign workforce to the religion.

Talking about convincing foreigners to convert to Islam, he said there are many means for reaching out to them, such as pamphlets, books, and various “dawa” (work) programs including organizing sports and educational competitions.

He explained that the starting point of this exercise was good manners in dealing with non-Muslims, especially by sponsors and Muslim colleagues of the foreigners.

Asked why so many of the new entrants were from the Philippines, the Sheikh said that many parts of the country are still upholding the Islamic identity. The capital of the country, Manila, was once known as Amanullah, he said, which explains the origin of the Philippines and its historical link with Muslims. “We don't call those new entrants as new Muslims, but as reverts to Islam.”

One of the reverts from Cavite, Philippines, explained what attracted him about Islam while living in Saudi Arabia, saying that people here are closer and more devoted to their religious duties. They treat people alike regardless of their country of origin and their faith affiliation.

The Batha center seeks to invite people coming from non-Muslim countries to Islam and inform them about it. The head of the center said he wanted to strengthen the connections between born and new Muslims. He stressed the importance of continuous care for converts and directing them to reliable Islamic associations and centers when they return to their country.

To achieve its objectives, the center organizes Qur’an classes and teaches basic principles of Islam and Arabic to newly entrants in Islam. It also gives lectures in different languages, arranges Haj and Umrah trips, and translates Islamic books and tapes.

http://www.arabnews.com/sixteen-filipinos-convert-islam

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Indonesian Islamic Village hold ‘communal feast’

 2012-08-01

The Kepaon Islamic village in Denpasar hosted on Monday night a megibung, the ancient tradition of a communal feast prior to the Idul Fitri holiday, which has been performed for hundreds of years.

Every 10th, 20th and 30th day during the fasting month of Ramadhan, hundreds of Muslim devotees in the village gather at Al Muhajirin Mosque to perform the megibung to congratulate members of the community who have completed the reading of the entire 30 juz (sections) of the Koran, also known as khataman.

Muslims reached the 10th day of fasting on Monday. At 6 p.m. on that day, hundreds of Kepaon residents broke their fast with sweet cakes and refreshments such as kolak (banana stewed in coconut milk) before proceeding to the megibung ritual.

The dishes were placed on large trays, each of which could cater for five to six people. On each large tray, placed on food-grade paper, a variety of dishes are served, including steamed rice, grilled chicken, boiled egg, chili condiment, as well as urap vegetable salad, which consists of boiled long beans, beansprouts and others green vegetables mixed with shredded coconut and spices.

“All of the dishes are contributions from the villagers here so they can eat together,” said Haji Ishak Ibrahim, 67, the takmir, or prayer leader, at Al Muhajirin Mosque.

Ibrahim said the megibung was originally a Hindu Balinese tradition that was being preserved by the Muslims to strengthen brotherhood in the village.

“Through this tradition, we hope that the Muslim brotherhood in our village will be stronger,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2012-08-01/kepaon-s-muslims-hold-megibung-feast.html

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Malaysian Opposition Whistle-Blower Charged

August 01, 2012

Kuala Lumpur. A Malaysian opposition whistleblower was charged Wednesday over his role in exposing a scandal that has rocked the government, a move the opposition said made a mockery of anti-graft efforts.

Rafizi Ramli, a top strategist for the People’s Justice Party led by Anwar Ibrahim, has been the key figure behind exposing a financial scandal involving money allegedly siphoned away from a project aimed at boosting beef output.

He was charged under a provision of the country’s Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) that restricts disclosure of bank account details.

Rafizi told AFP he and a former bank clerk charged with abetting him had pleaded not guilty in court before being released on bail.

“This government is not prepared to protect whistleblowers, but persecute them instead,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/international/malaysian-opposition-whistle-blower-charged/534392

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Clash Erupts Between Indonesians, East Timorese in ‘Free Zone’

August 01, 2012

Indonesian and East Timorese civilians are guarding a neutral buffer zone between both countries a day after a land conflict sparked a clash there, a local official said on Wednesday.

The clash erupted on Tuesday evening after a group of East Timorese residents tried to clear land for an immigration office they wanted to build in the zone, Indonesian news portal Tempo.co reported.

The zone, which belongs to neither country, is an area bordering East Nusa Tenggara that is several meters wide and supposed to be free from buildings.

A group of Indonesian residents from nearby Haumeni Ana village in Northern Central Timor district, East Nusa Tenggara, resisted the land clearing, and both groups started throwing stones at each other, Tempo reported.

No one was injured but an East Timor security post was damaged, the news portal added.

Lodovikus Lake, head of Bikomi Nilulat subdistrict, which includes Haumeni Ana, said the East Timorese had violated the zone by insisting on building the immigration office, even though the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) had earlier told them to stop.

“They keep doing activities in the free zone, upsetting the [Haumeni Ana] residents, who then tried to send them away,” Lodovikus said in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Wednesday.

He added that the situation was returning to normal on Wednesday but residents of both countries were still standing guard around the zone.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/clash-erupts-between-indonesians-east-timorese-in-free-zone/534384

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Court acquits key defendant in Kemang murder case

August 01 2012

The South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday exonerated Sher Mohammad Febriawan, the main suspect in the murder of Pangudi Luhur student Raafi Aga Winasya at a cafe bar in Kemang last year.

“We have found Sher Mohammad Febriawan not guilty of the murder, abuse and assault,” presiding judge M. Razzad said, as quoted by kompas.com. The bench argued that there was no evidence supporting the prosecutor’s charges. Prosecutors previously sought 12 years’ imprisonment for Febriawan. He was charged with murder under Article 338 of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which carries a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment. He was also charged under Articles 170 and 351 of the KUHP for group beating and assault resulting in death. Each article carries a maximum prison term of five years.

Febriawan’s lawyer Endi Martono said his client deserved the acquittal. “There are no witnesses to confirm that Febri was the one who stabbed Raafi. Besides, the knife that was used to kill Raafi was never presented at the trial.” In addition, he said that when the incident happened, Febri was not on the dance floor, but on the balcony. But he did come down to help Raafi, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/08/01/court-acquits-key-defendant-kemang-murder-case.html

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India

 

Serial blasts rock Pune, one injured

August 01, 2012

Pune: Four bomb blasts rocked the city of Pune on Wednesday, reports said. Reports say, the blasts that were of low intensity, targeted a busy area near Bal Gandarv Chowk in Pune.

Police Commissioner of Pune Gulabrao spoke to Zeenews saying that one of the blasts occurred in a plastic bag being carried by a person, who got injured in his own hands.

The plastic bag contained few detonators, batteries and wires.

The bomb disposal squad is present at the site of blast and the police said that Maharashtra ATS has begun the investigation.

According to the reports, first blast took place in a heap of garbage. The second explosion took place near the McDonalds outlet and the third one on a bicycle.

More results are awaited.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/maharashtra/serial-blasts-rock-pune-one-injured_791172.html

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Simmering Valley erupts yet again after CRPF men ‘beat boy to death’

Naseer Ganai/ Srinagar

 Aug 1, 2012

SOUTH Kashmir’s Shopian district erupted in protests on Tuesday over a 17- year- old boy allegedly being thrashed to death by CRPF personnel. As a result, all shops and business establishments remained closed.

A CRPF spokesperson said the paramilitary force had “ nothing to do with the incident”. The police called the protests “ motivated” and claimed that the victim, Aaqib Hussain Bhat, had died in an accident.

The incident comes close on the heels of a 25- yearold’s death last week, allegedly after he was shot by army personnel in north Kashmir’s Bandipora.

Hilal Ahmad Dar’s death had sparked massive protests in the Valley.

Bhat’s family claims that on Monday night, two drivers brought the unconscious boy to the Shopian district hospital. “ They told us that he was beaten up by CRPF personnel after a scuffle,” Muhammad Yousuf, Bhat’s father, said.

The boy died shortly after being admitted.

Bhat and the drivers had been transporting water to army and CRPF camps in the village for the past two years. On Monday, the police claimed, Bhat was climbing down from his water- tanker for some repair work when he met with an accident.

“ In fact, before his death, he gave a statement that he fell from the vehicle,” Shopian SP Mumtaz Ahmad said.

“ The fall left him seriously injured. He was referred to the Srinagar hospital but died on the way,” a police spokesperson said in Srinagar.

The body has been sent for autopsy and the police are probing the incident.

Mail Today

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India formally allows foreign direct investment from Pakistan

Aug 1, 2012

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Wednesday formally allowed foreign direct investment (FDI) from Pakistan, the latest in a series of confidence building measures to build trust between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Pakistani citizens and companies will be allowed to invest in all sectors apart from defence, space and atomic energy, a government statement said. The move to allow FDI from Pakistan had been announced by India's trade minister earlier this year.

Both sides have implemented measures to improve trade and business ties, as they slowly rebuild relations that were shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/India-formally-allows-foreign-direct-investment-from-Pakistan/articleshow/15312558.cms

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Sohrabuddin Fake encounter case: Gujarat HC grants bail to two accused cops

 Aug 1, 2012

AHMEDABAD: Five years after their arrest in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case; two constables have been released on bail by the Gujarat high court.

Constables Santram Sharma and Ajay Parmar got bail after the new probe agency CBI did not oppose their bail plea and told the court that it has even recommended their discharge, for they are important witnesses in this case.

In its supplementary chargesheet filed in July 2010, the CBI said that these two and a police inspector VA Rathod were not part of the conspiracy. These three did not get bail for two years until the Supreme Court released Rathod on bail earlier this year.

Following Rathod's release, Sharma and Parmar filed their bail pleas before a special CBI judge, but the CBI court refused to release them saying that they were not in the CBI court's custody at all. The CBI court refused to entertain their bail applications on the ground that they were never arrested by the CBI, nether did the central agency charge-sheet them.

The CBI court, in fact, refused to release them twice on the ground of jurisdiction. The court maintained that they were arrested and charge-sheeted by the CID (crime), and therefore they were in custody of a city sessions judge looking after the CID (crime) cases. The accused kept on arguing that for last two years, they had been produced before the judicial magistrate of the CBI court.

However, finally when they moved the high court through advocate Punit Juneja, the HC released them on bail.

With the release of these two, there are seven accused persons in this case who are out of jail now, and 12 cops including four IPS officers inside the prison.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Fake-encounter-case-Gujarat-HC-grants-bail-to-two-accused-cops/articleshow/15310425.cms

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PM to visit Pak only if some 'deliverable' comes out: India

Jul 31, 2012

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding a formal invitation from Pakistan for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the visit will only take place if something "concrete" and "deliverable" will come out of such a trip.

President Asif Ali Zardari had last week formally invited Singh to visit Pakistan, saying the trip would provide an opportunity to take stock of bilateral relations.

Zardari suggested that if Singh's visit coincided with celebrations to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, it would be well received by the Pakistani people and reinforce the desire of both countries to promote inter-religious harmony.

The view in New Delhi is that the visit will be more meaningful if something "concrete" and deliverable" comes out of it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/PM-to-visit-Pak-only-if-some-deliverable-comes-out-India/articleshow/15296441.cms

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Mumbai terror attacks: India's evidence not admissible in our court, says Pak

 Aug 01 2012

Islamabad : The Pakistan government has formally informed India that evidence provided by New Delhi in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks case is not admissible in a Pakistani court as defence lawyers were not to cross-examine Indian officials, a media report said today.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry has informed the Indian government that the evidence is not admissible in the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, since defence lawyers were not allowed to cross-examine Indian officials when a Pakistani judicial commission visited Mumbai in March.

In a letter sent to the Indian government yesterday, the Interior Ministry cited the ruling of a Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court and said cross-examination of key Indian officials is needed to make the evidence admissible in Pakistan, The Express Tribune reported.

During a hearing on July 28, the anti-terrorism court did not record the statement of two Pakistani investigators who were scheduled to testify about the evidence provided by India.

The judge ruled that since the evidence gathered by the Pakistani judicial commission in India had not been made part of the case, the testimony regarding the Indian evidence too should not be recorded.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mumbai-terror-attacks-indias-evidence-not-admissible-in-our-court-says-pak/982388/

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Jundal used nine e-mail addresses to communicate with terror operatives

 Aug 01 2012

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police Crime Branch officers interrogating 26/11 suspect Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal revealed on Tuesday that the police have found nine e-mail addresses he allegedly used to stay in touch with other terror operatives. Officers are checking Ansari’s Facebook and Orkut accounts after it was allegedly learnt that he used them to communicate with other operatives and also to identify potential terror recruits.

Ansari told interrogators that he saw a foreign national at a Lashkar-e-Toiba terror camp in Pakistan and later learnt that he was David Coleman Headley, Crime Branch officers claimed. Sources also said that Ansari divulged “a substantial amount’’ of current intelligence on the terror network in Maharashtra, which will be acted upon. Relevant information will also be shared with other states, said officers.

Ansari was produced at the Esplanade Court on Tuesday and remanded in police custody till August 13 after the Crime Branch argued that it wanted to match his DNA with the foreign DNA samples found on MV Kuber — the vessel used by 10 26/11 gunmen to approach the Mumbai shoreline.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ansari-used-nine-email-addresses-to-communicate-with-terror-operatives/982136/

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Pakistan

 

Pak defence establishment wants Indian channels out

August 01, 2012

Islamabad: Pakistan's defence establishment has demanded that the government should immediately close all illegal Indian TV channels to check "India's hostile agenda against Pakistan", according to a media report on Wednesday.

The defence establishment had repeatedly conveyed its "extreme concern" to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and the Information Ministry over the "onslaught of Indian propaganda", specifically programming that targets the young generation, Pakistani culture and nationalism.

The defence set-up is also concerned about India's alleged "hostile agenda against Pakistan and its institutions through the illegal television channels", The News daily quoted its sources in the Information Ministry as saying.

The defence establishment approached PEMRA and the Information Ministry, at least thrice since 2008, with the demand that the private channels showing banned Indian programming must be closed down "without getting into economics as such ventures go against the national interest".

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/pak-defence-establishment-wants-indian-channels-out_791094.html

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Pak Taliban chief asks fighters to step up attacks in Punjab

Aug 01 2012

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has directed his fighters to step up attacks in Punjab province, especially on intelligence organisations and military facilities like the Pakistan Air Force base in Lahore, according to a media report.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief has decided to increase terrorist attacks in Punjab to "inflict maximum damage", especially in the provincial capital of Lahore, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-taliban-chief-asks-fighters-to-step-up-attacks-in-punjab/982360/

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Seven militants killed in Orakzai clash

 Aug 1, 2012

PESHAWAR: Seven militants were killed in a clash with security forces in the northwestern tribal region of Orakzai, DawnNews reported.

Government sources told DawnNews the clash took place in Orakzai’s Dabori area and wounded two security men.

The area is largely cut off to journalists and aid workers and it was not possible to confirm the death toll.

Security sources say the military operation in the tribal region has been able to recover 92 per cent of its area from militant control, however, pockets of resistance still exist in parts of Orakzai.

Schools blown up

Unknown assailants blew up two primary schools for girls in the Mohmand tribal region’s Saafi Tehsil.

Some 99 schools have been destroyed by militants using explosives in different areas of Mohmand.

Mohmand and Orakzai are two of seven districts in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, where Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants are said to have carved out strongholds used to plot attacks on Pakistani, Afghan and western targets.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/seven-militants-killed-in-orakzai-clash/

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Balochistan violence: 868 killed, 2390 missing since 2010, says Interior Ministry

Aug 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry on Wednesday submitted a special report in the Federal Cabinet over the prevailing law and order situation in Balochistan, DawnNews reported.

According to the report, at least 868 people have been killed, 619 kidnapped, and 2390 have gone missing from the province since 2010.

The meeting of the cabinet’s special committee on Balochistan was headed by Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar.

The report claimed that Laskar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-i-Balochistan, Baloch Musalla Difa Tanzeem, and the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were involved in disrupting the law and order situation of the province.

“Afghan refugees in Balochistan are also responsible for the unrest,” the report added.Speaking to media representatives after the meeting, the committee chairman Naveed Qamar said that committee’s meeting would be held on a daily basis so that recommendations could be sent to the cabinet session.

Qamar said that the committee would also visit Balochistan in the coming days to meet with Baloch elders, political leaders and all the stakeholders.

The committee had already received briefing from the Inspector General (IG) Frontier Corps (FC), Secretary Balochistan, intelligence agencies and ministries of Defence, Foreign and Interior.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/balochistan-violence-868-killed-2390-missing-since-2010-says-interior-ministry/

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US warns of Lashkar-e-Taiba threat, asks Pakistan to act

Aug 1, 2012

WASHINGTON: Expressing great concern over continued threat posed by Lashkar-e-Taiba to stability in South Asia, the United States has asked Pakistan to take more action against the terrorist group responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

"We've urged Pakistan to take more action against Lashkar-e-Taiba," Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counterterrorism told reporters on Tuesday in a special briefing on the State Department's annual terrorism report.

"We'd certainly like to see more progress on that trial regarding the atrocities in Mumbai," he said noting that LeT "remains a major concern on the terrorist landscape, without a doubt."

Benjamin said he had not seen any decrease in LeT strength and "the threat to stability in South Asia that it poses."

The State Department report itself also warned that "terrorist opponents of better Indian-Pakistan relations, such as the LeT, have long planned to derail any progress by launching new attacks."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-warns-of-Lashkar-e-Taiba-threat-asks-Pakistan-to-act/articleshow/15306808.cms

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Pakistan raises cross-border incursions with ISAF, Afghanistan: FO

 Aug 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday said it has raised the issue of cross-border incursions with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the government of Afghanistan.

Responding to some media reports regarding cross border incursions into Pakistan, a spokesman of the Foreign Office said the most recent major cross border attacks took place in Dir and Bajaur Agencies on June 24 and July 12 this year, respectively.

“These cross border attacks were successfully repulsed. Special care was exercised to limit fire only to areas from where the terrorists attacked our border posts,” the spokesman said.

He said the cross border attacks into Pakistan were under active discussion with ISAF, through the “Border Coordination Mechanism” and as part of the ongoing coordination and cooperation between Pakistan and ISAF based on mutual respect and mutual interest.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/pakistan-raises-cross-border-incursions-with-isaf-afghanistan-fo/

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 ‘Olympic visa scam’: ‘Sun’ reporter will be brought to Pakistan, says Malik

 Aug 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday that Mohammad Ali Asad, a central character of the so-called Olympic visa scam, would be brought to Pakistan with the assistance of Interpol, DawnNews reported.

The interior minister said that details pertaining to his passport would soon be shared with public.

Malik said that whoever will be found guilty in the scam will be punished.

Moreover, he said that Pakistani authorities were alert and ready for the proceedings of the case. Adding that, information compilation procedure of National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) was fool-proof.

Malik said that Pakistani investigation team would soon be sent to London for further investigation of the matter.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/olympic-visa-scam-sun-reporter-will-be-brought-to-pakistan-says-malik/

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LHC directs ministry to ensure fair distribution of Haj quota

 Aug 1, 2012

LAHORE: Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday directed the Ministry for Religious Affairs to ensure fair distribution of Haj quota to private tour operators, DawnNews reported.

Justice Bandial has been hearing a contempt of court petition against the ministry authorities for ignoring court orders about awarding Haj quota to new tour operators.

During the hearing, Advocate Azhar Siddique, the counsel of the petitioners (new Haj tour operators) told the court that no action had been taken against established tour operators who had violated laws in the past and that only small fines had been imposed upon some tour operators.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/lhc-directs-ministry-to-ensure-fair-distribution-of-haj-quota/

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Pakistan allows Nato supplies to Afghanistan, secures $1 billion aid from US

 Aug 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: After weeks of hard talk, Pakistan inked a new deal with the US on Tuesday to govern arrangements for Nato supplies to Afghanistan, replacing the vague memorandum of understanding that existed between the two countries since 2004.

The deal came a day before three-day visit of Pakistan's intelligence chief, lieutenant general Zaheer ul-Islam, to Washington on August 1 for talks with CIA officials in an early sign of new but shaky reconciliation. The agreement was part of an overall review Pakistan had sought in its ties with the US in the wake of last year's Nato air raid which killed 24 soldiers, causing a seven-month blockade of land routes for Nato-led forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan ended the blockade after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said a symbolic "sorry" for the soldiers' deaths.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-allows-Nato-supplies-to-Afghanistan-secures-1-billion-aid-from-US/articleshow/15303108.cms

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Contempt law case: CJ says new law not without flaws

 Aug 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions against the recently passed contempt of court law, DawnNews reported.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and including Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani, heard 27 identical petitions challenging the Contempt of Court Act, 2012.

During the hearing, the federation’s counsel, Abdul Shakoor Paracha, said the parliament’s authority over law making could not be challenged.

Paracha moreover argued that the new contempt of court law did not in any manner restricts the powers of the judiciary.

He further said that the impression that the new law had been passed in order to curtail the freedom of the judiciary was faulty.

In his remarks, Chief Justice Iftikhar said democracy would continue if dictatorship was not supported by those in power.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/07/31/contempt-of-court-law-sc-resumes-hearing-3/

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South Asia

 

Myanmar troops 'opened fire on Rohingya Muslims'

August 01, 2012

Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of sectarian violence, a rights watchdog said Wednesday.

The authorities failed to protect both Muslims and Buddhists and then "unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya," New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.

The violence which erupted in June in western Rakhine state between ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and Rohingya has left about 80 people dead, based on official figures, and forced tens of thousands to flee as homes were torched.

"What is remarkable is that if the atrocities that we saw in Arakan (Rakhine) had happened before the government reform process had started, the international reaction would have been swift and strong," said HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson.

"But the international community appears to be blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change in Burma (Myanmar), signing new trade deals and lifting sanctions even while the abuses continue," he told a news conference.

The report, based on dozens of witness interviews, said that the events in Rakhine state "demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist" despite the government's pledge to end ethnic unrest.

Police and paramilitary forces "opened fire on Rohingya with live ammunition," it added.

It quoted one Rohingya man in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe as saying that security forces watched as a Buddhist mob started torching houses.

"When the people tried to put out the fires, the paramilitary shot at us. And the group beat people with big sticks."

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless, and they are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in neighbouring Bangladesh, the Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants by the Myanmar government and many Burmese, and many have attempted to flee overseas in rickety boats.

The violence, along with fighting in northern Kachin state, has cast a shadow over widely praised reforms by Myanmar's President Thein Sein over the past year, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/afp/myanmar-troops-opened-fire-on-rohingya-muslims/534406

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Canadian government’s statement “misleading”, “one-sided”: Maldives Foreign Ministry

By JJ Robinson | August 1st, 2012

The Maldivian government has expressed “disappointment” over a “misleading” statement by the Canadian Foreign Ministry, which accused it of threatening to arrest its political opponents with a view to eliminating former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy in an upcoming election.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), issued a statement on July 27, in which he stated “It is clear that the arrests of senior officials of the Nasheed government are politically motivated. Such actions are completely unacceptable and must be reversed.”

“The threats of the present government to arrest its opponents, including former President Nasheed – the only democratically elected president in the last four decades – so as to prevent his candidacy, undermine that government’s credibility and violate its undertakings to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group,” Baird said.

“The Maldives has been given the benefit of the doubt by the Commonwealth so far. Continued intimidation, illegal arrests and other authoritarian tactics by the present government may require the Commonwealth to consider a different approach, in our view.”

Canada’s statement preceded a rally by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), at which senior party figures blasted the government for not being able to “put down” Nasheed “and his 200 hounds”, and called for the ousted President to be “put in solitary confinement”.

On July 24, former Justice Minister under Gayoom and current Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel, described Nasheed, his party and the Raajje TV station as “enemies of the state.”

“We will take action against whoever incites violence against the police, no matter who it is or what kind of position they hold or have held in the past,” Jameel vowed.

Following Nasheed’s resignation under controversial circumstances on February 7, the Criminal Court issued a warrant for Nasheed’s arrest.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/canadian-governments-statement-misleading-one-sided-maldives-foreign-ministry-41418

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Global Islamic body urges aid to Myanmar Muslims

 Aug 1, 2012

(Reuters) - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 member states, urged the Muslim community around the world to give political, humanitarian and financial aid to the victims of violence in northwest Myanmar.

"This is a large humanitarian crisis but unfortunately the international and Muslim communities are mostly unaware of the dimensions," Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told a news conference on Tuesday.

"In this holy month I call upon all the Muslims...to extend aid for this issue."

Longstanding tensions between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas boiled over in Myanmar's Rakhine state early last month, resulting in a series of arson and machete attacks in which the authorities say 77 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.

The violence has affected both Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhines, but rights groups have accused police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the riots.

Full report at:

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/oic-myanmar-idINDEE86U0HS20120731

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Human Rights Watch cites 'atrocities' in Myanmar

 August 01 2012

Government forces stood by and watched as sectarian violence erupted last month in western Myanmar and then opened fire on Muslim Rohingyas as they tried to save their burning homes, Human Rights Watch claimed Wednesday.

In a 56-page report, the New York-based rights group called for strong international reaction to "atrocities" committed during last month's bloody unrest between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya. The fighting that left at least 78 people dead has subsided but many tens of thousands remain homeless — mostly Rohingya in need of food, shelter and medical care.

"The government claims it is committed to ending ethnic strife and abuse, but recent events in (Rakhine) state demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director. He urged the international community not to be "blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change" in the country.

The report was released as a UN human rights envoy visited Rakhine state to investigate the conflict that constituted some of Myanmar's deadliest sectarian bloodshed in years and raised international concerns about the Rohingyas' fate inside Myanmar.

Tomas Ojea Quintana's evaluation is likely to be regarded as a yardstick for measuring the reforms undertaken by elected President Thein Sein after Myanmar ended decades of repressive military rule.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/08/01/human-rights-watch-cites-atrocities-myanmar.html

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150-year-old Bangladesh brothel fights closure

By Shafiq Alam

 Aug 1, 2012

MADARIPUR, Bangladesh — Tara Das says she is the fifth generation of her family to work at the same brothel in Bangladesh, but now she is fighting against Islamic protesters who want her business to close.

The red light district in Madaripur city is thought to have been in operation for at least 150 years, and the sex workers believe the sudden wave of protests are orchestrated by developers trying to take over the valuable land.

Last month, about 10,000 people led by a new Muslim group called Islahe Kaom Parishad (the National Reform Council) rallied outside the rambling complex to call for it to be shut down and the 500 sex workers evicted.

"Ever since they held that huge rally, I could not sleep properly. Tell me where I shall go?" Das told AFP. "This is my home and this is the only job I knew from my childhood. Please save us from these religious leaders."

The brothel, founded for native jute traders during the British colonial era, is a cluster of moss-stained three-storey brick houses and tin sheds in the middle of Madaripur, 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Dhaka.

Full report at: Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Sri Lankans in Jeddah turn out for grand iftar party

 MOHAMMED

1 August 2012

A large number of Sri Lankans turned up with their families at a grand iftar party held at the Sri Lankan consulate premises in Jeddah on Friday.

The annual event was organized by the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society (SLES), headed by H.M. Rafeek, in cooperation with the Sri Lankan mission in Jeddah.

Typical Sri Lankan dishes including the traditional “kanji” (porridge) were served at the party, which was open to all sections of the Sri Lankan community living in the western region.

Following a religious speech on the significance of Ramadan, SLES President Rafeek welcomed the guests that were present at the open air auditorium of the Lankan mission despite the warm weather.

“Ramadan is a holy month bestowed by the Almighty Allah for us to reap a bounty of rewards for the good work done by Muslims,” Rafeek said in his welcome address. He added that iftar is an occasion where families meet and greet each other and share their victuals with one another. “This is a true spirit of Islamic brotherhood, which helps Muslims to develop understanding and goodwill with their brethren,” the president said.

Rafeek explained that it is customary for the society to organize religious functions to cater to the cultural interests of various faiths. “The importance in such celebrations is the active participation of all communities in organizing these events,” he stressed.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/sri-lankans-jeddah-turn-out-grand-iftar-party

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Suspect in murder of Saudi embassy official confesses in Dhaka

MD RASOOLDEEN & GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

1 August 2012

One of four men accused of killing Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al-Ali in Bangladesh confessed to his involvement in the murder at a Dhaka court on Monday.

Al Amin, 25, confessed before Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Shahriar Mahmud.

Those accused of the murder include Al Amin, Saiful Islam Mamun, Rafiqul Islam Khokon and Akbar Ali Lalu. All are in their 20s.

Al Amin reportedly told the court he and the other defendants surrounded the diplomat and demanded money from him.

Al-Ali refused and during the ensuring scuffle Saiful shot him and fled the scene with the other three men, the court heard.

After his testimony was heard, the judge remanded Al Amin in custody.

On Saturday, Bangladesh Ambassador Mohamed Shahidul Islam told Arab News that legal proceedings would be initiated against the four suspects who were arrested in connection with Al-Ali’s murder in Dhaka.

Last week Foreign Minister Prince Saudi Al-Faisal also confirmed the arrests in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency and praised the Bangladesh police’s handling of the case.

Over the past two months police conducted raids in different areas of the city, leading to the four arrests.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/suspect-murder-saudi-embassy-official-confesses-dhaka

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Court fines Shafeeg for defaming Gayoom by publishing book on torture during his rule

By Hawwa Lubna | July 31st, 2012

Local historian Ahmed Shafeeg has been ordered to pay up to MVR 5000 (US$324) in compensation after the Civil Court on Tuesday found him guilty of defaming former President Mamoon Abdul Gayoom.

Gayoom sued Shafeeg for politically-motivated slander over a book he released in 2010,  in which he claimed that 111 Maldivian citizens were held in custody and tortured under Gayoom’s administration.

The judge ruled in favor of Gayoom in the absence of Shafeeg, noting that the defendant had failed to present himself or a representative to the hearings despite the multiple court summons and attempts by the police to bring him to he court.

Shafeeg has to pay up to MVR 5000 withing one month from the date of the ruling, as a compensation for the damages caused to Gayoom’s character, according to the court.

Chronicles of torture

Shafeeg, now 83, was held in solitary confinement for 83 days in 1995 together with three other writers, including Hassan Ahmed Maniku, Ali Moosa Didi and Mohamed Latheef.

Shafeeg contends that 50 of his diaries containing evidence relating to the deaths of the 111 Maldivians were confiscated during a raid by 15 armed men. He was ultimately released by Gayoom with without charge, and was told by the investigating officer to write a letter of appreciation to the then-President for the pardon.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/court-fines-shafeeg-for-defaming-gayoom-by-publishing-book-on-use-of-torture-during-his-rule-41379

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Top Afghan General: Taliban Defeat Would Take Less Than A Year

Jul 31, 2012

A top Afghan general tells Magsie Hamilton Little that the Taliban could be defeated in less than a year.

It is Friday—holy day—in Kabul. Near the checkpoint barrier a woman begs, her burka hiding her shame, but the only thing she receives is a spattering of dirt cast up by the passing trucks. The barrier lifts. Soldiers in dark green uniforms, rifles slung over their shoulders, wave me through. As I climb out of the car a thousand eyes burn into me, but I am careful not to return anyone’s gaze. Such brazen conduct from a foreign woman would be sure to get me into trouble.

Inside the house, in a marble room with a shiny new lift that wouldn’t look out of place in a Manhattan hotel, a man in a long gown greets me like a long-lost daughter. At six feet tall, he towers a good seven inches above me. I feel my limbs wobble—his reputation is nearly as fearsome as his bushy moustache. He is General Abdurashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s most powerful warlord, head of the Uzbek tribe, unofficial ruler of the north, and, as the government’s chief of staff, commander of an army of over 25,000 men.

It is only when I tell myself I have nothing to fear that I remember the rumors that make your stomach turn and heart pound, such as the one about how, at Dostum’s command, women had been raped and their breasts cut off before they were killed during the siege of Kabul in 1991. Or the one that told how Dostum ordered 2,000 Taliban prisoners to be asphyxiated in metal shipping containers and left to rot in the desert a few years earlier. Or how he treated his prisoners—tying them to the muzzles of cannons before firing them into the air. Naturally, the General has always denied such stories.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/31/top-afghan-general-taliban-defeat-would-take-less-than-a-year.html

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Taliban executes four Afghans' for Western links'

 Aug 01 2012

Poli Alam (Afghanistan) : Taliban insurgents near the Afghan capital Kabul executed four civilians working for a Western security company, officials said today, days after a similar execution in the area.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the four men were found in the Jalrez district of Wardak province, some 40 kilometres from Kabul.

There has been a surge in attacks in areas surrounding the capital in recent weeks.

"Their hands were tied behind their backs and their chests riddled with bullets," Afghan army General Abdul Razaq Safi said.

"They were killed by the Taliban because they worked for a foreign security company," Safi, who leads army units in the area, said from his headquarters in the neighbouring province of Logar.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taliban-executes-four-afghans-for-western-links/982435/

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In twist, Taliban cheer supply line deal

 Aug 01 2012

Kandahar : As the US trumpeted its success in persuading Pakistan to end its seven-month blockade of supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, another group privately cheered its good fortune: the Taliban.

One of the Afghan war’s great ironies is that both NATO and the Taliban rely on the convoys to fuel their operations, a recipe for seemingly endless conflict.

The insurgents have earned millions of dollars from Afghan security firms that illegally paid them not to attack trucks making the perilous journey from Pakistan to coalition bases throughout Afghanistan, a practice the US has tried to crack down on but admits likely still occurs.

Militants often target the convoys in Pakistan as well, but there have been far fewer reports of trucking companies paying off the insurgents, possibly because the route there is less vulnerable.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/in-twist-taliban-cheer-supply-line-deal/982097/

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Bangladeshi man long believed dead returns home

 Aug 1, 2012

DHAKA: For 23 years, his family in Bangladesh thought he was dead. But then an anonymous caller informed a local official in May that he was alive and in jail in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, 52-year-old Moslemuddin Sarkar, who had been missing since 1989, returned home.

Pakistani officials freed him from the jail in Karachi on Monday night and immediately deported him.

Sarkar, bearded and sharp-eyed but ravaged by fatigue, walked out of the concourse in Dhaka’s airport and was hugged tightly by his brother, Sekandar Ali.

“I can’t believe you are alive; you are back!” Ali said.

Sarkar remained silent, tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Brother, let’s go home,” Ali said. “Mother is waiting for you.”

Sarkar had left home one morning in 1989 after a brief visit, telling his family he was returning to his job as a dock worker at Bangladesh’s main Chittagong Seaport. His family didn’t hear from him again until the International Committee of the Red Cross found him in the Karachi jail after the anonymous call.

After Sarkar’s disappearance, Ali visited the shipyard to search for him, but was told he hadn’t returned to work.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/bangladeshi-man-long-believed-dead-returns-home/

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Afghan Official: Insurgents Kill 4 Civilians

August 01, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Insurgents pulled four Afghan civilians off a minibus travelling in the east of the country, shot them dead and left their bodies on the side of the road, officials said Wednesday.

Villagers reported Tuesday's attack in Jalrez district to the police who then recovered the bodies, said Wardak provincial government spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. It was the second such shooting in the district in two weeks. Last week, four Afghan security guards were pulled out of a vehicle and killed in the same way, execution-style.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the violence from the long-running Afghan conflict.

According to the United Nations, last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed. The number of civilian deaths dropped 36 percent in the first four months of this year compared with last year, but the U.N. says much of that is probably tied to a particularly severe winter that decreased fighting overall.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/asia/ap-as-

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Mideast Asia

 

Iran, Al-Qaida, Taliban Told To Pay $6 Billion for 2001 Terrorist Attacks

Aug 1, 2012

NEW YORK: Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of September 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended Monday in a largely symbolic decision.

Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Centre, told the Daily News that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas' recommendation.

"It's hard being happy, but I am happy about it,'' said Saracini. "But it opens up old wounds. We were never in it for a lawsuit. I wanted to know what happened to my husband.''

Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of 47 victims. He found al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages. Maas' ruling Monday is a recommendation to Daniels, who can accept it or amend it.

Maas calculated punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their lost family members.

Daniels ruled last year that the plaintiffs had established that the 2001 attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. The findings said Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-

Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file members.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the Sept. 11 attacks or with al-Qaida.

Al-Qaida and Iran are natural enemies but have had a relationship of convenience based on their shared adversary, the United States. Iran allowed several of the 9/11 hijackers to pass through the country, but the 9/11 Commission found no evidence that Iran was aware of the planned attack.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Iran-al-Qaida-Taliban-told-to-pay-6-billion-for-2001-terrorist-attacks/articleshow/15302819.cms

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22 Kurdish militants killed in Turkey clashes

 31 July 2012

ISTANBUL: Twenty-two Kurdish militants were killed during clashes in eastern Turkey over the last three days, CNN Turk television said on its website on Tuesday, adding to Ankara’s concerns over gains by Kurdish groups in neighboring Syria.

Fighting, including bombardment with helicopters and war planes, continued on the outskirts of the town of Semdinli, CNN Turk reported.

Two Turkish soldiers were reported killed and 10 others wounded on Sunday during fighting that broke out in Hakkari province, near Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran, and hundreds of villagers have fled the fighting.

The province is the scene of recurring fighting between Turkish forces and fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a separatist insurgency in the mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984 and which is regarded as a terrorist group by the United States, European Union and Turkey.

Syrian opposition forces say President Bashar Assad’s forces last week quit areas further west on the Turkish-Syrian border, now reportedly controlled by members of a PKK-aligned Syrian Kurdish group.

The collapse of Syria’s state security presence in a region populated largely by Kurds has stirred Turkish anxieties about the potential for rekindled separatist sentiment in its borders.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkey could intervene in Syria in response to any attack or potential threat deemed to emanate from there.

http://www.arabnews.com/22-pkk-militants-killed-turkey-clashes-%E2%80%94-tv

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Uncertainty over Morsi Letter Underscores Delicate Ties

By ISABEL KERSHNER and ELISABETH BUMILLER

 Aug 1, 2012

JERUSALEM — What was thought to be a friendly letter from Mohamed Morsi, the new president of Egypt, to his counterpart in Israel was hailed here on Tuesday as an unexpected sign that Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood intends to maintain cordial ties with Israel.

That sign was fleeting, however.

In a day of diplomatic confusion that involved not only Egypt and Israel but also the visiting American defence secretary, Leon E. Panetta, Egyptian and Israeli officials contradicted each other’s accounts of how or even whether the two presidents had communicated, leaving the state of relations roughly where they began — in uncomfortable uncertainty.

The office of President Shimon Peres of Israel first raised expectations on Tuesday when it released a letter that it said it had received by fax from Mr. Morsi via the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv. The letter thanked Mr. Peres for his earlier letter of congratulations at the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and expressed hopes for more cooperation with Israel on peace and security issues.

Later in the day, however, an official spokesman for Mr. Morsi denied in a statement to an Egyptian newspaper that Mr. Morsi had sent any conciliatory messages, and called reports of such a letter “slander.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/uncertainty-over-letter-underscores-delicate-ties.html?ref=global-home

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Panetta Asks Israel for Patience on Iran

 Aug 1, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that U.S. statements of solidarity with Israel and its assurances that military strikes are still an option aren't working to convince Iran that the West is "serious about stopping them" from developing nuclear weapons.

Standing with a visiting Leon Panetta, Netanyahu dismissed the U.S. defense chief's counsel to give diplomacy more time to halt Iran's nuclear program.

"Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program," Netanyahu said at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. "This must change, and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out."

Earlier Wednesday, at an Israeli defense site south of Tel Aviv, Panetta stood beside Defense Minister Ehud Barak to declare that the Obama administration is serious about the possibility of eventually resorting to military force against Iran. But he said all non-military measures must be exhausted first.

Barak sounded as unconvinced as the prime minister, saying he appreciated U.S. support but added that the probability of international sanctions ever compelling Iran to give up its nuclear program is "extremely low."

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/ap-ml-

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Accomplice in Belgian Child Killings Paroled to Convent

By PAUL GEITNER

 Aug 1, 2012

BRUSSELS — Tearing open old wounds from a case that had horrified Europe, a court in Belgium ruled on Tuesday that the former wife and accomplice of the convicted child killer Marc Dutroux could be released from prison and sent to a convent.

The former wife, Michelle Martin, 52, was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2004 for causing the death of two eight-year-old girls whom Mr. Dutroux, her husband at the time, had kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground cell at the couple’s home.

Both of the girls starved to death while Mr. Dutroux was serving a short sentence for auto theft. Ms. Martin had ignored his instructions to feed them, although she fed the couple’s dog upstairs.

Mr. Dutroux, 55, is serving a life term on charges related to the abuse of six girls in all, only two of whom survived.

The horrors of the Dutroux case sent shock waves well beyond Belgium, not only for the brutality of the crimes but also for the repeated fumbling of the linguistically divided country’s police and judicial systems.

Tuesday’s ruling was met with scorn by the victims’ families.

Under Belgian law, Ms. Martin was eligible for parole after serving a third of her sentence. A court in the southern city of Mons, after rejecting several previous applications, agreed last year that she could be released on condition that a “feasible” plan be presented for where she would go, given the level of public antipathy toward the couple.

On Tuesday, the court approved the plan for her to go to a convent, the Communauté des Clarisses, in the village of Malonne, in the French-speaking region of Wallonia. She was also ordered to “keep her distance” from the victims’ families.

It was seen by some as a highly unusual parole.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/world/europe/accomplice-in-belgian-child-killings-

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Iran, Syria top US defense secy Panetta's agenda in Israel

Aug 1, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israel's threats to attack Iran and the violence convulsing Syria top the agenda of US defense secretary Leon Panetta's meetings on Wednesday with Israeli government leaders.

Panetta arrived in Israel on Tuesday after meeting in Cairo with Egypt's new president and its military chief.

In Cairo, Panetta denied Israeli press reports that he planned to share with the Israelis any US plans for military action against Iran. He said the reports gave a "wrong characterization" of what he and the Israeli leaders were expected to discuss.

Panetta said his talks in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak will be "more about what is the threat we are confronting" in Iran's nuclear program and about sharing intelligence information.

Iran says its nuclear work is for civilian energy uses, but suspicions that the Islamic republic will use enriched uranium for nuclear weapons has resulted in international sanctions and saber-rattling from Israel, which perceives a nuclear Iran as an existential threat. The United States has discouraged Israel from a unilateral, pre-emptive military strike on Iran, but has said it would keep all options available.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-Syria-top-US-defense-secy-

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Bulgaria Releases Image of Suicide Bomber

 Aug 1, 2012

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian police on Wednesday released a computer-generated image of the suicide attacker involved in the bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver two weeks ago.

A police statement said the image of the dark-haired man was produced after reconstructing the badly damaged face of the bomber, who was decapitated in the explosion at a popular vacation resort on July 18.

The photo was sent to partner services for possible identification after fingerprints and DNA samples taken from the bomber did not match anything in international databases, said Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

He told reporters the explosives were attached to the bomber's back. Earlier reports had said the bag of explosive was placed in the luggage compartment of a bus the tourists were traveling in at Burgas airport.

Investigators, who had found only the bomber's head and limbs, also were suggesting the bomb had been attached to his torso.

Tsvetanov said the attacker had spent "at least 20 days in Bulgaria ahead of the bombing."

Last week, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said a sophisticated group of conspirators was involved in the bombing at the Black Sea resort town.

Israel has blamed the attack on Iran and its proxy groups, including the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Iran has denied responsibility, and Bulgarian authorities have not blamed any particular group.

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Second Israeli dies after self-immolation protest

August 01, 2012

A second disabled Israeli war veteran has died of his wounds, 10 days after setting himself on fire near Tel Aviv, hospital officials say.

Wheelchair user Akiva Mafi doused his body in petrol at a bus stop in protest over welfare cuts and living costs.

The 45-year-old is the second victim to have died from self-immolation in recent weeks in Israel.

Moshe Silman set himself alight during a mass demonstration on 14 July against the country's spiralling living costs.

He was the first Israeli to take such an extreme step to protest social injustice and financial hardship.

A spokesperson for Tel HaShomer hospital said Mr Mafi had died of severe injuries sustained after he set himself on fire on 22 July.

Passers-by had managed to put out the flames but Mr Mafi suffered burns to 80% of his body.

'Give to the rich'

The incident comes just a few days after the nation was rocked by the death of Mr Silman, 57.

Mr Silman, who was heavily in debt, had left a note accusing the Israeli establishment of "taking from the poor to give to the rich".

His case has produced an outpouring of emotion in Israel, with more than 1,000 people holding vigils.

Mr Mafi's death is likely to increase already widespread anger over new austerity measures to cut the budget deficit and avoid an economic crisis.

The mass protests started last summer when hundreds of thousands took part in some of the biggest rallies Israel has ever seen.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19076254

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Palestinian Police Under Scrutiny After Slaying

August 01, 2012

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Dozens of Palestinian women have staged a memorial for a mother of three whose estranged husband is accused of slashing her throat in a busy West Bank market after she sought a divorce.

The killing of 27-year-old Nancy Zaboun has reverberated across Palestinian society because of its brutal nature. Activists are calling on police and courts to do more to protect women against abusive husbands.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has promised to end a long-standing practice of treating killings within a family with leniency. However, violence against women continues to be tolerated in Palestinian society, and activists say abusive husbands are rarely punished.

On Wednesday, women gathered on the spot in downtown Bethlehem where Zaboun was killed two days earlier. The governor of Bethlehem says Zaboun's husband is in custody.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/ap-ml-palestinians-public-slaying.html?ref=global-home&gwh=EA2A532217E5CBD1A1E321FF5FA8C02B

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Arab World

 

Dawn clashes in Christian neighbourhood of Damascus

 Aug 1, 2012

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says one person has been killed in clashes that erupted at dawn in a Christian neighbourhood in the old city of Damascus.

The report said the fighting between rebels and security forces took place Wednesday morning in Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood on the eastern side of the medieval city centre.

Residents said shots lasted for about half an hour between 3 and 4 a.m.

Violence has been rare in the city’s Christian areas, which have, for the most part, not joined the 17-month rebellion against the regime of Bashar Assad.

The Hindu

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Bahrain Is Criticized for Its ‘Torrent’ of Tear Gas Use

By RICK GLADSTONE

 Aug 1, 2012

Despite a pledge to stop abuses by its security forces, the ruling Sunni minority in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain is engaged in systematic and disproportionate use of tear gas on its restive Shiite majority, permitting police officers to routinely fire volleys at point-blank range at crowds and into homes and vehicles in Shiite neighborhoods, a leading rights group said in a report released on Wednesday.

The group, the Physicians for Human Rights, which has been highly critical of the Bahraini monarchy’s behavior since the Shiite protests inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings began there 18 months ago, called the policy on tear gas use unprecedented in the world, even among dictatorships where tear gas is a staple tool for crowd control.

Its report, based on dozens of interviews of victims in Bahrain and forensic evidence gathered there by the group’s investigators in April, said the Shiite populace’s abnormally prolonged exposure to the tear gas’s toxic components had already led to an alarming increase in miscarriages, respiratory ailments and other maladies.

It documented examples of grievous wounds suffered by civilians whose skulls and limbs had been struck by metal tear gas canisters blasted from a few feet away. The report also described instances in which people not engaged in protests were attacked with tear gas fired into their cars and through the windows or doors of their homes, including at least two cases in which residents died from complications from exposure to the gas because they were trapped in enclosed spaces.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/bahrain-criticized-for-torrent-of-

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Iraq car bombings kill 19 in central Baghdad

July 31, 2012

At least 19 people have been killed in two car bomb explosions in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

The blasts happened within minutes of each other in the central Shia district of Karrada in the middle of the afternoon rush hour.

The first bomb exploded outside a restaurant and a bakery in al-Andalus Square, and the second outside a court opposite a major police headquarters.

More than 240 people have been killed this month in militant attacks in Iraq.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda appear to have been behind most of the violence, including a wave of bombings and shootings in Baghdad and towns to the north on 23 July which left at least 107 dead.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19066002

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Assad says Syria’s fate hinges on battle with rebels

 Aug 1, 2012

BEIRUT: President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday the Syrian army’s battle with rebel forces would determine the fate of his country, and praised soldiers for confronting what he said were “criminal terrorist gangs”.

“The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and future, depends on this battle,” Assad, who has not spoken in public since four of his top security officials were assassinated two weeks ago, said in a written statement marking armed forces day.

Assad is trying to crush a 17-month uprising against his rule. Rebels took their fight last month to the capital Damascus, seized several border posts and are now fighting Assad’s forces in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo.

Assad said the army had proved “through confronting the terrorist criminal gangs throughout the past period that you have steely resolve and conscience, and that you are the trustees of the people’s values.”

“My trust in you is great, and the trust of our people in you that you are…the defender of its just causes,” Assad said in comments which the state news agency SANA said were published in Syria’s armed forces magazine.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/assad-says-syrias-fate-hinges-on-battle-with-rebels/

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Egypt official: Mursi’s letter to Israel is fake

DANIEL ESTRIN

 1 August 2012

JERUSALEM: A letter to Israel from Egypt’s new president hoping for regional peace kicked up a stir Tuesday when the Egyptian leader’s Islamist movement denied he sent it. Israel insisted the letter was genuine.

The spat underlined the touchy nature of Egyptian-Israeli relations, always frosty but now especially sensitive in the wake of Muslim Brotherhood victories in Egyptian elections.

It also appeared to show some disarray in the fractured Egyptian government.

The letter, ostensibly sent by Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, was a response to a message from Israeli President Shimon Peres, conveying Israel’s good wishes for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The return letter, released by the Israeli president’s office, was on the stationery of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

In it, Mursi appeared to write in English, “I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle east Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including that Israeli people.” The Israeli president’s name was spelled “Perez.”

Then a spokesman for Mursi, Yasser Ali, said in Cairo that Mursi had not written a letter to the Israeli president at all.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/egypt-official-mursi%E2%80%99s-letter-israel-fake

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Forum stresses role of youth in nation-building

SHARIF M. TAHA

 1 August 2012

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has stressed the role of youths in building nations. He said Islam is the religion of love and intimacy between its followers, and the religion that always calls for harmony, unification of ranks and reconciliation.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh was speaking on the 21st forum of the Islamic Call Committee in Africa at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) Saturday in Riyadh. Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Mohammed, advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and head of the Islamic Call Committee in Africa, patronized the forum on the title “The role of youths in nation-building”.

Ibrahim Jami Otoyo from Nigeria, who addressed the forum on behalf of the guests, underscored the role played by King Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom’s founder, and his sons in spreading Islam in Africa, their support to Islamic causes, and in allowing African sons to study in Saudi universities on scholarship basis.

In particular, he appreciated the role of IMSIU in educating and dispatching hundreds of Muslim delegations with different Arabic and Islamic specialties to their respective countries. The delegations are currently working in the area of education and Islamic call and make outstanding contributions to their nation-building.

On his part, IMSIU Rector Sulaiman bin Abdullah Aba Al-Khail expressed thanks to Prince Bandar bin Salman for his support to Islamic call, particularly in Africa, hoping that the forum would realize its desired objectives.

http://www.arabnews.com/forum-stresses-role-youth-nation-building

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Syrian aircraft strike Aleppo, rebels claim successes

Jul 31, 2012

ALEPPO (SYRIA): Syrian combat aircraft and artillery pounded two areas of Aleppo on Tuesday as the army battled for control of the country's biggest city, but rebel fighters said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had been forced to retreat.

Heavy gunfire sounded from the Salaheddine district in the southwest of the city, scene of some of the worst clashes.

Large clouds of black smoke rose into the sky after attack helicopters turned their machineguns on eastern districts for the first time in the latest fighting and a MiG warplane later strafed the same area of the city.

The army said two days ago it had taken Salaheddine, but Syrian state television said on Tuesday troops were still pursuing remaining "terrorists" there, in an indication that the army did not after all have full control of the area.

A rebel commander in Aleppo said his fighters' aim was to push towards the city centre, district by district, a goal he believed they could achieve "within days, not weeks".

The rebels now control an arc that covers eastern and southwestern districts.

"The regime has tried for three days to regain Saleheddine, but its attempts have failed and it has suffered heavy losses in human life, weapons and tanks, and it has been forced to withdraw," said Colonel Abdel-Jabbar al-Oqaidi, head of the Joint Military Council, one of several rebel groups in Aleppo.

It has not been possible to verify independently who controls Salaheddine, a district that lies on a major road that the army could use to bring reinforcements into the city.

Oqaidi told Reuters late on Monday more than 3,000 rebel fighters were in Aleppo, but would not give a precise number.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syrian-aircraft-strike-Aleppo-rebels-claim-successes/articleshow/15295563.cms

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Egypt’s PM selects new cabinet: state TV

 Aug 1, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has selected a new government in which the finance and foreign ministers from the outgoing cabinet will retain their posts, state television reported on Wednesday.

Qandil was meeting with the ministers, including Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said, a day before he was to formally unveil the cabinet on Thursday, the Nile News channel reported.

A military official told AFP that army commander Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who served as Hosni Mubarak’s defence minister and then ruled the country after the dictator’s overthrow, will be defence minister.

The premier selected Ahmed Gamal al-Din, a former deputy interior minister, as his new interior minister, state television reported.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/egypts-pm-selects-new-cabinet-state-tv/

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July Bloodiest Month in Iraq in 2 Years

August 01, 2012

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Militants killed 325 Iraqis in July making it the bloodiest month in two years, Health Ministry figures showed, as the country battles insurgents after the U.S. withdrawal.

The figures showed 241 civilians, 44 soldiers and 40 policemen were killed last month and almost 700 people were injured.

The worst day of violence was on July 23 when more than 100 people were killed in bomb and gun attacks across Iraq. The coordinated violence against mostly Shi'ite Muslim targets was claimed by al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq.

Sunni insurgents often attack Shi'ite targets to try to reignite sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007, pushing Iraq to the brink of civil war.

The insurgents have launched at least one major assault a month since U.S. troops withdrew in December, leaving behind a country riven with political and sectarian feuding.

In June, a Reuters count showed 237 people were killed and more than 600 wounded.

July's death toll was the highest since August 2010 when the government said 426 people were killed.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/01reuters-iraq-violence-toll.html?ref=global-home

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North America

 

Barack Obama tightens sanctions on banks helping Iran sell oil

Aug 1, 2012

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama announced new US sanctions on Tuesday against foreign banks that help Iran sell its oil and said the measure would increase pressure on Tehran for failing to meet its international nuclear obligations.

Obama's decision, in an executive order, came ahead of congressional votes on new sanctions intended to further strip Iran of its oil-related revenues.

It also followed criticism from Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney that the White House is failing to act strongly enough to stop Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The United States remains committed to finding a diplomatic resolution to the standoff with Tehran, but is also determined to step up the pressure, Obama said in a statement.

"If the Iranian government continues its defiance, there should be no doubt that the United States and our partners will continue to impose increasing consequences," he said.

Obama's new sanctions target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranian oil or handle large transactions from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or Naftiran Intertrade Company ( NICO), two key players in Iran's oil trade.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Barack-Obama-tightens-sanctions-on-banks-helping-Iran-sell-oil/articleshow/15301767.cms

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Obama slaps additional tough sanctions on Iran

Aug 1, 2012

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has slapped new tough sanctions agains Iran targetting its energy and petrochemical sectors, which he said are part of efforts to isolate the Iranian government for its failure to meet its international obligations over its nuclear programme.

Obama on Tuesday said he has approved a new executive order that imposes new sanctions against the Iranian energy and petrochemical sectors.

"This action is designed to deter Iran from establishing payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent existing sanctions, and utilises the existing structure of our sanctions law, including exceptions for significant reductions in the purchase of Iranian oil," he said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Obama-slaps-additional-tough-sanctions-on-Iran/articleshow/15309013.cms

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Africa

 

Seif Qaddafi says trial in Libya would be murder

 1 August 2012

AMSTERDAM: The son of killed Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi says that he wants to be tried for alleged war crimes in the Netherlands, and a trial in Libya would be tantamount to murder.

In a filing by defense lawyers at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands late Tuesday, Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi said “There will certainly be no justice in the case if the prosection is based on evidence from torture.”

“I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder.”

The Hague court and Libyan government are negotiating where Seif’s trial will take place for war crimes including murder and torture allegedly comitted during the overthrow of his father’s regime. He is being held in western Libya.

http://www.arabnews.com/seif-qaddafi-says-trial-libya-would-be-murder

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Blast Hits Military Intelligence HQ in East Libya

 Aug 1, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — An explosion believed to have been caused by a bomb ripped through the military intelligence building in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi at dawn Wednesday, causing damage to the structure and nearby homes but no injuries, a security official said.

The blast took place hours after gunmen stormed a jail in Benghazi and freed Islamist militant Salem al-Obeidi, the suspected killer of former rebel chief Abdel-Fattah Younis, according to a second security official.

Younis served as Moammar Gadhafi's interior minister until he joined the anti-regime uprising last year. He was killed in July 2011.

The blast and the raid on the city's jail underline Libya's tenuous security situation nearly a year after Gadhafi's ouster. Former rebels have refused to lay down their arms and operate as the de facto government in many parts of the vast Arab nation.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Benghazi is the birthplace of the Libyan uprising that led to Gadhafi's ouster and served as the rebellion's capital throughout the months of civil war that ended with the dictator's capture and death last October.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/middleeast/ap-ml-libya.html?ref=global-home

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Somali Leaders Pass Constitution as Bombers Attack

 Aug 1, 2012

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali leaders voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to adopt a new constitution that contains new individual rights and sets the country on a course for a more powerful and representative government. The vote came after two thunderous blasts at the gates of the meeting site from a failed suicide attack.

The 825 Somali leaders who debated the constitution for a week approved the document with 621 for, 13 against and 11 abstentions. The constitution, some eight years in the making, makes it clear that Islamic law is the basis for Somalia's legal foundation. No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country and all laws must be compliant with Shariah — Islamic law.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/africa/ap-af-somalia-constitution-

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Somali Twins Jailed for 3 Years for Terror Funding

 Aug 1, 2012

LONDON (AP) — Identical twin brothers from Somalia have been sentenced to three years in prison in Britain for raising money to fund terrorism abroad, officials said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old brothers, Mohammed Shabir Ali and Mohammed Shafiq Ali, were sentenced at London's Central Criminal Court, a day after pleading guilty in a plea bargain.

They were part of a "network of support" for their 29-year-old brother, Mohammed Shamim Ali, who was undergoing terrorist training in Somalia, prosecutor Timothy Cray said. They were recorded speaking by telephone with their brother about posing as charity collectors, Cray said.

The twins were originally charged with assisting others to commit acts of terror abroad. That carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, compared to a maximum of 14 years for the fund-raising charge.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/01/world/europe/ap-eu-britain-terror-

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Suicide bombers target Somali constitution conference

Aug 1, 2012

MOGADISHU: Somali security forces shot dead a would-be suicide bomber who tried to attack the venue of a national conference on a draft constitution, while a second attacker blew himself up, injuring six officers, police said on Wednesday.

"The two bombers wore government uniform. Six policemen were injured," Colonel Mohamed Ali, a police officer told Reuters.

"One jumped over a wall opposite the conference building but he was shot dead outside the gate. Then another bomber jumped from another wall and his bomb exploded where government soldiers stood."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Suicide-bombers-target-Somali-constitution-conference/articleshow/15309376.cms

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Seven Iranian Red Crescent workers abducted in Libya

Aug 1, 2012

BENGHAZI: Seven Iranian aid workers were abducted on Tuesday by an unknown armed group in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, in the biggest operation of its kind against foreigners since the start of a revolt that toppled long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The seven men, from an Iranian Red Crescent relief mission, were snatched from their vehicle in the heart of Benghazi on their way back to their hotel, security sources told Reuters.

The security sources said an investigation was underway to identify the kidnappers.

The Libyan Red Crescent Association confirmed the incident and said the seven had arrived in Benghazi on Monday as official guests to help with relief work in the city. It urged the kidnappers to release them.

“The Libyan Red Crescent Association urges the group … to release (the abductees) in recognition of the Iranian Red Crescent Association’s support and assistance to the February 17 Revolution and in consideration for all (aid) organisations that stood by us,” it said in a statement, referring to the date that marked the start of the popular rebellion against Gaddafi.

The statement said the seven Iranians had been seized from a Libyan Red Crescent vehicle after leaving the Libyan Red Crescent offices en route to their hotel. Their driver, a Libyan volunteer, was not kidnapped.

Earlier this month, the president of Libya’s Olympic Committee was freed a week after he was taken from his car by gunmen in Tripoli.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/01/seven-iranian-red-crescent-workers-abducted-in-libya/

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Europe

 

French summer camp workers sacked over Ramazan fast

August 01, 2012

PARIS (AFP) - Tensions between French authorities and the country’s Islamic community resurfaced on Tuesday after it emerged that four summer camp instructors had been sacked for fasting during Ramazan.

In a row that echoed last year’s controversy over a law banning women from wearing full veils on French territory, Muslim leaders denounced a Communist-run town council’s dismissal of the workers on health and safety grounds.

The four had been employed temporarily by the town of Genevilliers in the Paris suburbs to help run a summer holiday sports camp in southwestern France.

They were dismissed on July 20, the first day of Ramazan, after an inspector visited the camp and told them they were endangering children’s safety by not eating or drinking between dawn and dusk.

Although they were fully paid for the week they had remaining on their short-term contracts, the instructors plan to contest their dismissal through labour courts.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) described the town’s actions as “an attack on religious freedom” and said it was considering pressing charges against Genevilliers council for discrimination.

CFCM President Mohammed Moussaoui added: “Hundreds of millions of people fast for Ramazan every year without it having any impact on their professional activities.”

Genevilliers Mayor Jacques Bourgoin defended the decision to remove the four employees from the camp, a stance which won strong backing from the far-right National Front. “They did not respect the terms of their contract in a way that could have endangered the physical safety of the children they were responsible for,” said a statement issued by the mayor’s office.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/01-

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France brushes off US criticism of burqa ban

July 31, 2012

Paris on Tuesday brushed off a US State Department report that criticised France for banning Muslim women from wearing full veils.

"Our conception of secularism is a common heritage of all French people, which implies rules that encourage social harmony in the public space and in public schools," said a foreign ministry spokesman.

In its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, the State Department complains about a "rising number of European countries, including Belgium and France, whose laws restricting dress adversely affected Muslims and others".

The French spokesman noted that France and its neighbours were seeking to define "more structured European Union policies to defend freedom of religion in the world".

Belgium and France have angered many Muslims with laws against full veils, such as the niqab worn by many women in Saudi Arabia or the Afghan burqa, which went into force last year.

US President Barack Obama fiercely criticised European moves to ban the veil in a major speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in 2009.

But in Europe, where many voters feel large Muslim immigrant populations are not integrating well and that Islam poses a threat to women's rights, many see France and Belgium as leading the way on this issue.

http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/french-news/france-brushes-off-us-criticism-of-burqa-ban_239483.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/indonesian-tv-station-cited-over-vulgar-episode-of-renowned-cleric/d/8118

 

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