New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 11:56 AM

Islamic World News ( 20 Oct 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Gang Of Seven Pak Army men Behind 26/ 11

11 more killed in Karachi violence

No plans to call army in Karachi yet, says Gilani

Indian scholar Zakir Naik hires sex fame PR firm

Australian girl, barred from school bus over hijab row

VHP: No mosque at Ayodhya site

Saudi prince jailed for life for servant's murder

Prof S M Hadi declared one of ten best science authors of the world

‘Germany home to 1,000 terrorists’

Eight children among nine killed in Afghan blast

US to sell $60bn arms to S. Arabia

Turkey fails to resolve dispute over head scarves

West may fuel Yemen, Somali militancy

13 heading for Muscat drown in sea

Minister blasts closure of French school in Yemen

J&K: Fierce gun battle continues in Kashmir

1,514 FIRs against Army personnel in J&K, 97% cases false

Raja of Mehmoodabad to be biggest beneficiary

Plan for 100-story tower in Malaysia under siege

India had only non-specific information on 26/11: Krishna

CIA says Al Qaeda, Haqqanis seriously damaged

Gates apologises to Kayani for soldiers’ death

Haqqani’s two sons mediating in Kurram

LeT didn’t find Headley good enough for Kashmir jihad

Nato brings Taliban to talks table

US, Pakistan start strategic talks

Pak army wish-list tops agenda in dialogue with US

US soldier charged with killing troops in Iraq

Arabs in Israel fearful for future

Ayodhya verdict: Congress welcomes efforts for amicable settlement

Saudi stops doc from bringing husband’s body home

Pakistani singer Aatif Aslam gets ready for Bollywood debut

Karzai hopeful of peace in 2 years

'We had only general info on Headley’

Enigma that is Abu Jandal, Bin Laden’s former driver

12 nabbed in Sharjah for 25 car thefts

Kasab boycotts HC proceedings

Iran optimistic ahead of N-talks

Lebanon – land of phantom oil deals, spies and political murder

Pak, US agree on improving cooperation at Afghan border

Afghan government in talks with Haqqani network

Pak, China to launch satellite next year

UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form government

Haramain Railway project on right track: Al-Seraisry

Iran’s stock of enriched uranium up

Abdullah, Ahmadinejad discuss regional issues

Iraq auctions off three major gas fields

Mom of US hiker jailed in Iran expects Nov. trial

Pak government asked to provide details of Zardari's assets

UAE enters new growth phase

Iran urged freed American to go after contacts

Turkish banks hesitant about Iran dealings: Babacan

Dubai International records 25% passenger growth

Settlers start 600 new homes after ban ends: watchdog

Pakistan asks US to mediate on Kashmir

Pakistan has a role in Afghanistan, says US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gang-of-seven-pak-army-men-behind-26/-11/d/3560

 

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11 more killed in Karachi violence

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: Eleven more people were killed in Karachi on Wednesday, raising the death toll of the recent target killings to 87 after five consecutive days of violence. Meanwhile, the Sindh Home Department has decided to launch a search operation while imposing a curfew in at least 25 sensitive areas.

On Wednesday, security forces patrolled the city with businesses closed and public transportation suspended in most areas. Routine life remained paralysed as the MQM announced one-day mourning on the Shershah Market incident. Petrol pumps in most parts of the city remained shut, as aerial firing in different parts of Karachi forced people to stay indoors.

According to reports, the areas where the search operation would be carried out had not been named but sources said Lyari Town, Orangi, Dalmia, PIB Colony, Malir, Landhi, Gulberg, Gadap Town, North Karachi, Nazimabad, Liaquatabad, Pak Colony, Golimar, Baldia and surrounding areas were under consideration. Administrations would impose a curfew in areas where the operation would be carried out. In this regard, a meeting chaired by Sindh Home Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan was held in which senior official of law enforcement agencies were present.

“The operation would be against criminal elements in which de-weaponisation would be part of the operation,” Sindh Special Home Secretary Collin Kamran Dost explained. “At least 105 suspects with 60 weapons have been arrested since October 16, and they are being interrogated.” He, however, ruled out the idea of calling the army to support the civil administration during the operation.

“Imposition of a curfew under the CrPC is an option. If a decision is taken in this regard, it will be done under the Sindh government rule,” Dost added.

Protest: On the other hand, the people of Lyari staged a demonstration and burnt tyres to resist launching of a search operation in the area. They openly declared that they would not allow any operation in their neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, at least 11 more people were killed on Wednesday. Two men were killed when culprits attacked a flood refugee camp in Malir. The assailants fled the scene after taking relief goods with them. A man, Talha Razzak, was shot dead in Al-Falah, body of an MQM worker, Sheikh Arif, was found from the Al-Falah police precincts, while an MQM supporter was killed when unidentified men opened fire on protestors in Saudabad, who were protesting over Arif’s kidnapping.

In another incident, Nazeer Hashim was killed in Baldia. A man Siddique Baloch was killed in Shah Latif police remits. A Baloch man was shot dead in Garden police precincts. The body of a man Iqbal was found from Azizabad police precincts. A father of five children was gunned down in the Sukkhan police precincts. Zar Khan was shot dead in Kalri police limits.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg1_1

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No plans to call army in Karachi yet, says Gilani

21 Oct, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The government is not considering calling the army to restore law and order in Karachi, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday, and stressed that the political leadership was capable of addressing the issue.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Capital Development Authority headquarters, Gilani dismissed the statement of PPP leader Nabeel Gabol that the army was going to take control of the city, terming it his “personal view”. The PM said the army could be called in to assist the civil government, adding, “The political leadership is able to contain it.”

When asked if he had any information whether the unrest in Karachi was being manipulated by foreign hands, Gilani said he would respond once he received a detailed report from the interior minister. Condemning the killings, he said he had personally talked to the stakeholders in they city and efforts were underway to bring peace in the city.

SC verdict: To a question regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on 18th Amendment, the PM said he hoped for a positive verdict, adding that the PPP regarded the court more than any other party. Commenting on the remarks of Raja Riaz calling some journalists Indian agents, Gilani said it was the minister’s personal view and had nothing to do with the party’s line. He said there would be no compromise on media freedom during his tenure.

To a question on contacts between the PML-N and PML-Q, the PM said in a lighter tone, “It will be good for them and for us, they may think for our betterment.”

Prime Minister Gilani said majority of the articles of the Charter of Democracy had been implemented, while the rest would be done within months.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg1_6

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Indian scholar Zakir Naik hires sex fame PR firm

By Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Dr Zakir Naik has hired the most famous English publicist Max Clifford to help him in his legal battle with the British government to have the exclusion ban lifted from entering Britain.

Indian-based cleric, Naik was banned in June this year just before he was due to address thousands of his fans at three sold out public venues across three British cities with a large Muslim populations, mainly of South Asian descent.

Banned by Britain for allegedly supporting Osama-Bin-Laden, the cleric has hired PR guru and publicist Max Clifford, whose clients vary from businessmen and politicians to top models to rebrand his image in the UK.

The ban on the cleric had dismayed his supporters who wanted to give him a rock star treatment at the three stadiums, but it also delighted many Muslims who went on to petition the Home Secretary Theresa May for making the ‘right decision’ in banning the cleric.

His supporters are pulling out all stops from their way and spending loads of money to ensure the ban is lifted. Naik’s solicitor is being assisted by two QCs from former prime minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Booth’s Matrix Chambers.

Those Muslims, mainly Indian and Pakistanis, who were in favour of the ban gathered about 8,000 signatures, but Lord Nazir Ahmed led a delegation of pro-Zakir Naik camp and presented 10,000 signatures to

10 Downing Street, urging the government to overturn the ban as the full hearing in a court of law is already under way.

Lord Nazir Ahmed told media that Dr Zakir Naik is renowned worldwide and in the United Kingdom for his excellent work in the field of comparative religion, bringing together people from all the major faiths of the world on a common platform of peace and mutual understanding.

He said to associate the cleric with terrorism is completely wrong and such suggestions were ridiculous.

He said the decision by the Home Secretary to exclude Dr Zakir Naik goes against the British social justice and freedom and it does nothing to promote integration and harmony between the diverse communities.

Lord Ahmed said if people like anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders were allowed in Britain to openly preach hatred against

Muslims then why not Zakir Naik who preaches peace and community cohesion.

Dr Jafar Qureshi, one of the delegation members, said: ”This petition signed by members of all faiths clearly shows the level of feeling against the barring of a scholar respected all around the globe.”

But many Muslim organisations came out in favour of the ban and asked the government not to lift the ban.

Tahir Shah, convener Ullema Mashaik Sunni Conference, said: “Zakir Naik follows a cult which doesn’t promote peace and has political motives. He has never spoken ill of Osama-bin-Laden or his followers.”

He alleged that Dr Naik frequently rebukes Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism - peace is not a word that can be associated with him in any shape or form.

Haras Rafiq of counter-terrorism think-tank, CENTRI told The News that support for the exclusion of Zakir Naik is an important step for Muslims in the UK.

“How can we talk about social cohesion and Islam being a religion of peace whilst we lobby for preachers such as Naik, who incite hatred and disunity amongst Muslims,” Haras argued.

A High Court judge has already ruled that Dr Zakir Naik’s case had merit and should be fast tracked despite objections from lawyers acting for Theresa May.

Justice Nicol has ordered a two-day hearing, starting on October 20.

The group that petitioned the prime minister’s office included Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham, Dr Jafer Qureshi, Sheikh Jameel Ahmed, Ms Sarah Joseph OBE, barrister Ahmed Thomson, Mr Farook Sheikh and Mr Hakam Valliani.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/21-10-2010/World/11134.htm

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Australian girl, barred from school bus over hijab row

21 October 2010

A six-year-old Muslim girl in Australia has been suspended from using her school bus for “bullying” after reacting angrily to being teased about her hijab, a report said.

The Northern Territory News said the girl retaliated by pulling down the trousers of her tormentor, aged seven, after he repeatedly told her to take off her traditional headscarf.

The girl, whose father is an Iranian immigrant, has been banned from the bus for 10 days, meaning she will be unable to make the 60-kilometre (40 miles) round-trip to her school in the northern Outback region.

“She is only six years old. It is a bit harsh,” the girl’s mother, Lorraine Gerassimopoulos, told the newspaper.

“We would have preferred a warning so we could have sat down and talked about this incident but they are stopping her from going to school.”

Bus company Buslink defended the ban, for “bullying and harassment of other passengers”, saying it complied with the Northern Territory’s code of conduct for school transport.

The little girl said the teasing “made me sad and angry at the same time”, explaining her actions.

The incident comes after New South Wales lawmakers in Sydney rejected a bar on the all-encompassing burqa, which was recently banned in France.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/October/international_October957.xml&section=international

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VHP: No mosque at Ayodhya site

Manjari Mishra

Oct 21, 2010

AYODHYA: Ruling out division of the disputed land in Ayodhya, the Sant Uchchadhikar Samiti, the apex body of seers and VHP leaders, unanimously resolved to take the fight to the Supreme Court for a permanent settlement of the land's ownership.

With the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the Nirmohi Akhara too announcing their decision to move the Supreme Court last week, chances of negotiated settlement are now remote.

In its first meeting held after Allahabad HC verdict in the title suit, the samiti demanded possession of 70 acres of acquired land for construction of a 'bhavya mandir' (grand temple) at the site and pledged to preserve the unique character of Ayodhya. The samiti rejected any proposal to raise a new mosque within cultural boundary of Ayodhya.

In other words, the samiti is not ready to allow reconstruction of the new mosque anywhere in the pilgrim town.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/VHP-No-mosque-at-Ayodhya-site/articleshow/6783344.cms#ixzz12xzHO0e9

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Saudi prince jailed for life for servant's murder

Oct 21, 2010

LONDON: A Saudi prince, grandson of King Abdullah charged with battering his aide to death was jailed for life by a British court with the judge observing "no one in this country is above the law."

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, 34 was ordered to serve 20 years by the judge at London's Old Bailey for the murder of his aide Bandar Abdulaziz, 32, which had a "sexual element".

"It is very unusual for a prince to be in the dock on a murder charge. No one in this country is above the law," as the judge David Been read out the sentence.

The aide was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone on February 15 this year and the court convicted the prince on charges of beating and strangling Bandar Abdulallah at the culmination of a lengthy period of sexual violence.

Saud, whose mother is the daughter of the Saudi Arabian King had claimed diplomatic immunity at the time of his arrest and was also found to be carrying a diplomatic passport, the BBC reported.

But, the British foreign office ruled he had no diplomatic status when asked by the police.

Prosecutors said, that the prince was high on champagne and cocktails when he murdered his aide after the pair had returned to hotel after a Valentine Day's night out.

The prince had denied murder charges in the court which was shown footage of the CCTV.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Saudi-prince-jailed-for-life-for-servants-murder/articleshow/6781193.cms#ixzz12xywhTSI

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Prof S M Hadi declared one of ten best science authors of the world

21 Oct, 2010

Professor S M Hadi, the professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Aligarh Muslim University has been included in the ten best authors list of 2007-08. The honour was given to him after the publication of his thesis " Oxidative breakage of cellular DNA by plant polyphenols : a putative mechanism for their anticancer properties' which was presented in the seminar held on Cancer Biology. The thesis was later published by the  Elsevier Science Publishers of America.

New Age Islam News Bureau

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 ‘Germany home to 1,000 terrorists’

21 Oct, 2010

BERLIN: Germany is probably home to more than 1,000 potentially violent terrorists and the number of identified militants has risen constantly in the past few years, the Federal Crime Office (BKA) said on Wednesday. The number of investigations into terrorism in Germany, where the 9/11 attacks on the US were planned, had risen continually since 2001 according to the BKA. A total of 352 investigations were now under way, they said. “Security officials in Germany believe there are more than 1,000 terrorists ready to commit violence,” the BKA, a nationwide police agency, said in a statement. Authorities in the European Union’s most populous state had classified 131 radicals in Germany as “instigators” of terrorism and held files on a further 274 individuals deemed relevant, the BKA said. Recent reports suggest a rise in militancy could be occurring in tandem with an increase in xenophobia. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg7_11

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Eight children among nine killed in Afghan blast

21 Oct, 2010

HERAT: At least nine people, including eight children, were killed when a school bus carrying female students was hit by a roadside bomb in southwestern Afghanistan on Wednesday, police and military officials said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) gave this death toll after the police chief of southwestern Nimroz province Abdul Jabar Purdeli, had earlier said that 13 people had been killed, including five women, and at least 10 wounded. ISAF said the bus had been hit by a roadside bomb planted by insurgents in Nimroz’s Khash Rod district.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were overthrown by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001. Casualties on all sides of the conflict have hit record levels but ordinary Afghans have borne the brunt of the fighting. The worsening security picture is likely to weigh heavily as US President Barack Obama and his administration prepare for a review of the war at the end of the year amid sagging public support.

Purdeli said the group had been travelling in a small bus from a wedding party towards Shindand in western Herat province. “It was a powerful bomb that killed most of the innocent civilians immediately,” Purdeli said. According to a mid-year UN report, violent civilian deaths jumped 31 percent in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period last year.

Foreign troop casualties have also spiked. Nearly 600 foreign troops have died this year, at least 50 this month alone. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg7_6

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Turkey fails to resolve dispute over head scarves

October 21, 2010

ANKARA: Turkey's governing party failed to win key opposition support on Wednesday for plans to lift a ban on the wearing of Islamic head scarves at universities, a deeply divisive issue in a country with secular laws and a Muslim population.

The conflict over the head scarf reflects a struggle over Turkey's direction between the Islamic-oriented government, which argues for more religious freedom, and critics who believe the country's secular principles are in peril. In Turkey, women are free to wear Islamic head scarves, but students, teachers and state-employees are not.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a big victory last month when Turks approved a package of constitutional amendments in a referendum, and he now seeks a show of unity on the politically explosive issue of the head scarf. — AP

http://www.hindu.com/2010/10/21/stories/2010102155021100.htm

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West may fuel Yemen, Somali militancy

21 October 2010

LONDON - Western counter-terrorism support for state security forces in Yemen and neighbouring Somalia may actually be fuelling militancy because such backing is often seen locally as a form of aggression, a report said on Thursday.

“Western policies are contributing to a sense among some Yemenis and Somalis of being ‘under attack’ and are drawing them towards radicalisation and militancy,” the report from the Chatham House think tank said.

“Instead of more military training or more missile strikes, there need to be new political configurations that can support networks of resistance to terrorism,” the report by associate fellows Sally Healy and Ginny Hill said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/October/middleeast_October320.xml&section=middleeast

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13 heading for Muscat drown in sea

21 Oct, 2010

SIALKOT, Oct 20: Thirteen men, 11 of them from Sialkot district, drowned in the Arabian Sea late on Tuesday night when they were being smuggled from Gwadar to Muscat in a large boat which capsized due to overloading.

The deputy director of Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) for Gujranwala region, Shahid Hussain, told Dawn on Wednesday that the boat capsized in Pakistani waters but at a considerable distance from Gwadar. The deceased mostly belonged to poor families and wanted to get decent jobs in Muscat.

Mr Hussain said that 31 men, who had each paid Rs40,000, were being smuggled by agents of the Sialkot-based human trafficker Mohammad Arif. Coastguard personnel managed to rescue 18 of the men.

A search was continuing to find the bodies, Mr Hussain said.

Eight of the deceased hailing from Sialkot district have been identified. They are Mohammad Sajjad, Mohammad Manzur, Faryad Hussain, Mohammad Usman, Ghulam Murtaza, Mohammad Nawaz, Saddam Hussain and Intizar Hussain.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/13-heading-for-muscat-drown-in-sea-100

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Minister blasts closure of French school in Yemen

Oct 21, 2010

SANAA: Yemen’s foreign minister has criticized a private French school for temporarily closing down over security concerns.

Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi said Wednesday that “terrorists in the country” seek to shut such institutions. Most of the school’s 90 students are children of French nationals working in Yemen. The school runs kindergarten to high school classes.

It shut its doors last week after Paris asked families of French people working in Yemen to leave the country due to security concerns and mounting attacks by Al-Qaeda. The embassies of the United States, Britain, Australia and South Korea have issued similar warnings.

Yemeni troops are fighting a guerrilla war against Al-Qaeda in southern towns in which they are struggling to come to terms with the hit-and-run tactics of the enemy, a commander said on Tuesday.

“We are engaged in what amounts to a guerrilla war with Al-Qaeda in the streets and neighborhoods,” the deputy head of security in the Abyan province town of Mudia, Col. Mohammed Al-Khodr, said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article165836.ece

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J&K: Fierce gun battle continues in Kashmir

 

Srinagar: An encounter is on for almost 10 hours now between three holed up Jaish-e-Mohammad militants and security forces in Malroo area on the outskirts of Srinagar city, officials said.

Police and troops of 2 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned off Malroo locality, 15 km from here, in the wee hours following a tip off about the presence of at least three militants in one of the houses in the area, they said.

The ultras opened fire on the security forces when they were zeroing in on the target house, belonging to a property dealer Abdul Rashid Bhat.

The troops retaliated following which a gun battle ensued, they said.

As the house is located in a populated area, the security forces announced a halt in hostilities and send a group of locals to persuade the militants to surrender, they said.

However, the ultras refused the offer.

The security forces are evacuating all the civilians from the vicinity before they launch an assault to flush out the militants, they said.

Full report at:

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/jk-fierce-gun-battle-continues-in-bandipora/133447-3.html?from=tn

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1,514 FIRs against Army personnel in J&K, 97% cases false

Oct 20, 2010

JAMMU: Over 100 Armymen including 48 officers have faced punitive action in cases related to human right violations in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two decades, Army said on Wednesday.

"As many as 1,514 FIRs have been registered against Army personnel for alleged human rights violations in the last 20 years of militancy", Brigadier General Staff (BGS), Northern Command, Sanjay Verma said.

He said that out of these 1,508 cases have been investigated while probe is continuing in the remaining six cases.

"As many as 1,473 complaints - nearly 97 per cent of the cases-- were found false and baseless," Verma said.

However, 35 cases (2.3 per cent of total cases) were found true, he said, adding that 104 Armymen including 48 officers have been punished for human rights violations in J&K.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/1514-FIRs-against-Army-personnel-in-JK-97-cases-false/articleshow/6781111.cms#ixzz12xyP1ej5

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Raja of Mehmoodabad to be biggest beneficiary

Vishwa Mohan

Oct 21, 2010

NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram and minority affairs minister Salman Khursheed have differed on the need for carrying out changes to the Enemy Property Act, with Khursheed leading a delegation of Muslim ministers and MPs to reason with the PM that the amendments would negate the orders of court, restoring properties to Muslim citizens whose ancestors left for Pakistan.

The confiscated properties were declared "enemy property" after the 1965 war with Pakistan and have been placed under state-appointed custodians.

The bill stipulates that the custodian's control will cease to exist in case of those "enemy properties" whose titles were settled by courts in favour of a "legal heir", who is an Indian citizen by birth, before July 2 this year. The Raja of Mehmoodabad will be the biggest beneficiary if the proposed legislation gets Parliament's nod, as the courts have recognized his claim over properties worth hundreds of crores, including sprawling real estate in Lucknow and various UP towns.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Chidambaram-Khurshid-in-row-over-Enemy-Property-Bill/articleshow/6782347.cms#ixzz12xzDOpB7

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Plan for 100-story tower in Malaysia under siege

By SEAN YOONG

Oct 20, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government faced mounting opposition Wednesday to a $1.6 billion, 100-story skyscraper plan, with critics slamming the government-backed project as an unnecessary extravagance at a time of belt-tightening and rising prices.

Prime Minister Najib Razak insists the project will boost business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city, but it could hamper his ruling coalition’s efforts to regain support from many who believe that public funds are regularly abused to help the government’s allies grow wealthy.

More than 34,000 people had joined a Facebook group opposing the initiative by mid-Wednesday, with the number growing by the hundreds every hour — only five days after Najib first mentioned it while announcing the government’s latest budget.

“This new tower is nothing more than hubris,” Sophia Chiu, a Kuala Lumpur resident, wrote on the Facebook page.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article165970.ece

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India had only non-specific information on 26/11: Krishna

Oct 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: External affairs minister SM Krishna Wednesday said India had received only "general and non-specific" information prior to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

"Well, we had some general and non-specific information which we had received prior to the heinous Mumbai attack. But it was not so specific. It was by and large general," Krishna told reporters here.

Krishna was answering a query on whether revelations that US officials knew about the conspiracy of the Mumbai attack through the estranged wife of Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley were conveyed to India.

Asked whether Headley's revelations will cast a shadow on the forthcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to India, Krishna said: "India and US are strategic partners. Our ties are multi-faceted and in recent years transformed. We share a common outlook in a number of areas, including the scourge of terrorism. We have excellent cooperation in matters of counter terrorism."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-had-only-non-specific-information-on-26/11-Krishna/articleshow/6782381.cms#ixzz12xxUFyTP

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CIA says Al Qaeda, Haqqanis seriously damaged

21 Oct, 2010

WASHINGTON, Oct 20: Stepped-up CIA operations in Pakistan have seriously damaged Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, says the CIA chief who also praised Pakistani intelligence agencies for supporting the effort. Speaking to a small group of journalists on Tuesday, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said the stepped-up campaign was “taking a serious toll” on the Haqqani network.

“All of that, I think, must be having an impact,” he said. In a separate memo to his staff, the CIA chief also acknowledged “missteps” and “shortcomings” that allowed a would-be informant to enter a US base in Afghanistan and blow himself up on December 30, killing seven CIA officers.

Mr Panetta, however, did not mention drone strikes inside Fata because the US government does not officially acknowledge them. But the US media always identify the drones as the main tool the CIA uses to target militants inside Fata.

“The basis for that increased pace is intelligence, weather and also just the threat streams we’re getting on potential attacks in Europe,” Mr Panetta said.

A Washington think tank – New America Foundation – reported on Wednesday that there have been 90 drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, up from 53 in all of 2009.

The CIA has been able to increase the pace because of “additional capabilities,” Mr Panetta said, meaning “more hardware. The president’s been very supportive, obviously, of this operation”.

He said the Pakistani intelligence service “has been very cooperative”.

But the CIA chief said it was unclear whether operations in Pakistan had thwarted a potential plot against Europe.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/cia-says-al-qaeda,-haqqanis-seriously-damaged-100

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Gates apologises to Kayani for soldiers’ death

21 Oct, 2010

WASHINGTON, Oct 20: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates apologised to the Pakistani army chief on Wednesday for the recent deaths of Pakistani border guards in a US helicopter strike, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met Mr Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and other senior military officials in Washington on Wednesday morning.

The deaths prompted a strong protest from Pakistan and the Torkham supply route for US-led allied troops in Afghanistan was closed. The route has since reopened.

After the Gates-Kayani meeting, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told a briefing that the US defence secretary assured the Pakistani army chief that the deaths were “unintentional”. Mr Morrell said Pakistani and US officials also discussed ways of improving military coordination along the Afghan border, as well as the long-term relations between the two countries.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/gates-apologises-to-kayani-for-soldiers-death-100

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Haqqani’s two sons mediating in Kurram

21 Oct, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The three-year fragile and ineffective efforts for peace between warring sectarian tribes in Kurram Agency have received an unexpected boost in the shape of the controversial Haqqani network which is now trying to play peace broker.

This has been confirmed by more than one source from among the key players involved in the peace process.

The entry of the Haqqanis in the Kurram peace talks, which date back to 2007, has surprised many. After all, the network is usually mentioned in terms of its war theatre in Afghanistan and its base in North Waziristan. The US has been pressurising the government for months to dislodge the Haqqanis from North Waziristan.

Khalil and Ibrahim, sons of the network’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, have reportedly been meeting tribal elders from the Kurram in Peshawar and Islamabad to end the hostilities between the local tribes and bring peace to the area which has witnessed some of the worst clashes in its history over the past three years.

The last round of talks was held in Islamabad on Oct 10. “They first turned up at a meeting held in Peshawar in the first week of September,” a tribal elder told Dawn.

This account is corroborated by another elder who adds that the two brothers were also present at the second meeting in the provincial capital on Sept 16 and then at a subsequent one in Islamabad.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/haqqanis-two-sons-mediating-in-kurram-100

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LeT didn’t find Headley good enough for Kashmir jihad

By Aman Sharma in New Delhi

DAVID COLEMAN Headley had asked the Lashkar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT) to send him to Kashmir to fight. But LeT’s chief commander Zaki- ur- Rehman Lakhvi told him he did not fit the age bill.

Headley then took on the role of surveying the five 26/ 11 targets.

Such details fill Headley’s 109- page interrogation report on how he became a LeT terrorist hell bent on doing ‘ something big’. “ After training in 2003, I was not sent to Kashmir… I became sceptical of my future. Increasingly, I developed the feeling that I am not being used properly.

I mentioned these issues to Lakhvi, Muzzammil ( a LeT commander close to Lakhvi) and Sajid Majid ( another top LeT commander). But I was told to wait. Subsequently, it was decided that I would go to India to carry out LeT activities. Several Indian cities were discussed by the LeT where they proposed to send me — Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Gujarat cities.

Full report at:

Mail Today

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Nato brings Taliban to talks table

Dexter Filkins

Oct 21, 2010

KABUL: Talks to end the war in Afghanistan involve extensive, face-to-face discussions with Taliban commanders from the highest levels of the group's leadership, who are secretly leaving their sanctuaries in Pakistan with the help of Nato troops, officials say.

The discussions, some of which have taken place in Kabul, are unfolding between the inner circle of President Hamid Karzai and members of the Quetta shura, the leadership group that oversees the Taliban war effort inside Afghanistan.

Afghan leaders have also held discussions with leaders of the Haqqani network and members of the Peshawar shura.

The Taliban leaders coming into Afghanistan for talks have left their havens in Pakistan on the explicit assurance that they will not be attacked or arrested by Nato forces, Afghans familiar with the talks say. Many top Taliban leaders reside in Pakistan, where they are believed to enjoy at least some official protection.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Nato-brings-Taliban-to-talks-table/articleshow/6784219.cms#ixzz12xydHKpJ

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US, Pakistan start strategic talks

Oct 21, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US and Pakistan on Wednesday launched a three-day strategic dialogue here, Xinhua reported.

It is co-chaired by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Matters of security, economy and agriculture are high on the agenda. Thirteen working groups are taking part.

The talks are designed to serve as "a venue" to ease tensions in the bilateral relations, said Frank Ruggiero, US deputy special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

US-Pakistan ties are sometimes strained due to US complaints that Pakistan is not doing enough to contain the Taliban insurgency in its territory.

Pakistan on the other hand expressed frustrations on the slow pace of US economic aid to the country. The ties were further strained after the accidental killings of its three soldiers in a NATO air raid recently.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-Pakistan-start-strategic-talks/articleshow/6784728.cms#ixzz12xyVTHKS

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Pak army wish-list tops agenda in dialogue with US

Oct 21, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US and Pakistan meet on Wednesday in a new bid to smooth out an uneasy partnership, with Washington ready to offer fresh military assistance despite worries in India.

The three-day talks are the latest round of a " strategic dialogue," an initiative by President Barack Obama's administration to show a skeptical Pakistani public that it seeks ties beyond just cooperation on Afghanistan.

Officials will discuss a broad range of issues weeks after Pakistan temporarily shut down the main crossing for war supplies heading into Afghanistan, infuriated by a Nato helicopter strike that killed Pakistani soldiers in the border area.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-army-wish-list-tops-agenda-in-dialogue-with-US-/articleshow/6784207.cms#ixzz12xypeS00

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US soldier charged with killing troops in Iraq

Oct 21, 2010

BAGHDAD: An American soldier was charged Wednesday with killing two fellow US troops and wounding a third after an argument last month in a former Iraqi insurgent stronghold turned deadly.

Army Spc. Neftaly Platero was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in a Sept. 23 shooting in Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad.

A statement issued late Wednesday by the U.S. military in Baghdad described the killings as premeditated but offered no other details.

Earlier, a U.S. military spokesman said Platero was accused of shooting the three soldiers after a verbal altercation. The spokesman, Col. Barry Johnson, did not know what the argument was about.

Pfc. Gebrah Noonan, 26, of Watertown, Connecticut, and Spc. John Carillo Jr., 20, of Stockton, California, died the day after the shooting. The name of the wounded soldier has not been released, and the statement Wednesday said the criminal investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-soldier-charged-with-killing-troops-in-Iraq/articleshow/6783901.cms#ixzz12xz0nW00

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Arabs in Israel fearful for future

By Rachel Shabi

21 Oct, 2010

UMM AL-FAHM (Israel): Like other Arab citizens of Israel, Leyla Ahmoud is anxious about her future. A young mother of two girls with another on the way, Ahmoud says recent moves by the Israeli government are making it increasingly obvious that the Arabs are not welcome in their own country.

“I feel like my life is not in my hands,” said 24-year-old Ahmoud, who lives in Umm al-Fahm, a mountain-ridge town of some 43,000 inhabitants in northern Israel. “The government decides how I live and where I live. We exist in fear, from one day to the next.”

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, famously referred to Arab citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population, as a “demographic bomb” in 2003. His cabinet recently passed a new citizens bill that, if approved following a re-draft ordered by the prime minister, will require all migrants to pledge loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/arabs-in-israel-fearful-for-future-100

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Ayodhya verdict: Congress welcomes efforts for amicable settlement, says Sonia

Oct 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: In her first comment on Ayodhya title suit verdict, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said her party would welcome efforts for a negotiated settlement to the dispute and made it clear that Allahabad High Court verdict does not condone the demolition of Babri mosque.

In the latest issue of 'Congress Sandesh', Gandhi said the party respects the judicial process with regard to the Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title suit.

"However, we must now await the final decision of the Supreme Court as and when the appeal is filed," she said, echoing the views of the Congress Working Committee which had met earlier this month.

In her 'letter to Congresspersons', she said the Congress welcomes efforts by the parties concerned to find an amicable and peaceful settlement.

The party chief said that the verdict in no way condones the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 which was a "shameful and criminal act for which the perpetrators must be brought to justice".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ayodhya-verdict-Congress-welcomes-efforts-for-amicable-settlement-says-Sonia-/articleshow/6781471.cms#ixzz12xyKNnAz

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Saudi stops doc from bringing husband’s body home, says she is murder suspect

Deepu Sebastian Edmond

Oct 21 2010

New Delhi : Dr Shalini Chawla’s troubles started when her husband Ashish Chawla (36), a cardiologist at the King Khalid medical centre in Najran, Saudi Arabia, passed away in his sleep on January 31 this year. The woman from Delhi was then into the last fortnight of her pregnancy, and also had a two-year-old girl to take care of.

Shalini delivered a boy on February 10, by which time her mother and husband’s brother had reached Saudi Arabia to take the body back. After an NoC was issued by the Consulate General of India in Jeddah, the family booked flight tickets to transport the body.

But on March 1, Ashish’s brother was informed by Saudi officials that Shalini would not be allowed to travel along with the body as the police were awaiting the result of the autopsy. Though the Medico Legal and Forensic reports said Ashish died of a cardiac arrest, Shalini was stopped from travelling to India. The law enforcement agencies were unwilling to close the case, accusing her of murdering Ashish.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/700454/

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Pakistani singer Aatif Aslam gets ready for Bollywood debut

Oct 21 2010

Mumbai: First it was the Pakistani singer Ali Zafar who made his debut in Bollywood with the film Tere Bin Laden, and now its well know vocalist and singer from Pakistan, Atif Aslam, who will be making his debut in Bollywood in a film being produced by Kumar Taurani of Tips.

Kumar Taurani confirmed the news saying, "Yes, Atif will be making his Bollywood debut with my film. However, though I am saying this it should be clear that nothing is yet finalized, we are still talking to Atif."

Though the producers are not ready to reveal much at this stage, we've learnt that Atif has signed a three film deal with Tips.

"Besides this, Atif has also signed on with Tips to release his music and albums, the first of which will happen next year in January after which we will formally announce the film with him in the lead. One more point that we are happy about and looking forward to is that Atif being the voice for many Bollywood stars will be singing and doing his own music for the film."

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/700562

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Karzai hopeful of peace in 2 years

Oct 21, 2010

President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday he hopes within the next two years to significantly improve security in Afghanistan, which has been mired in conflict with the Taliban for almost a decade. Afghanistan's neighbours support a peace process with the Taliban, and hopes were high for an improvement in the security, he said. "We are in good contact with our neighbours. They support this peace process," Karzai told a development conference in Kabul. "We are hopeful that we will all see improvement in the security situation of our country in one year or two, the security situation will, inshallah (God willing), be far better than what we have had today and yesterday," he said

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Karzai-hopeful-of-peace-in-2-years/articleshow/6784222.cms#ixzz12xyt9TeD

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'We had only general info on Headley’

Oct 21, 2010

NEW DELHI: Foreign minister S M Krishna on Wednesday said India had only non-specific information about terror mastermind David Headley before the Mumbai attacks.

Replying to a query whether revelations that US officials knew about the 26/11 conspiracy through the estranged wife of Headley were conveyed to India, Krishna said the information passed on to India was general.

"Well, we had some general and non-specific information which we had received prior to the heinous Mumbai attack. But it was not so specific. It was by and large general," Krishna said at a press interaction with visiting Omani foreign minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/We-had-only-general-info-on-Headley/articleshow/6783433.cms#ixzz12xxLU9BC

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12 nabbed in Sharjah for 25 car thefts Amira Agarib

21 October 2010

SHARJAH — Twelve Arab and Asian members of a gang were arrested in connection with a series of car thefts, the Sharjah Police said on Wednesday.

The suspects are currently detained and will be referred to the Public Prosecution. The group allegedly stole 25 cars, exported them abroad using forged documents and sold them, the police said.

The Criminal Investigate Department (CID) trailed them after a tipoff about their illegal activities. They targeted mainly cars left parked in sandy areas. They forged the documents of registration to send them abroad from one of the UAE’s ports.

A senior CID officer said the police intensified investigation after several complaints and managed to catch a man red-handed trying to tow a 2010 model four-wheel drive to a truck. During interrogation, the suspect confessed that the car did not belong to him and that he and his accomplices were involved in stealing cars parked in residential and commercial areas of the emirate.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/October/theuae_October504.xml&section=theuae

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Kasab boycotts HC proceedings

Shibu Thomas

Oct 21, 2010

Now, Kasab refuses to appear for hearing via web link

MUMBAI: A day after he spat at the camera and demanded to be sent to America, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab boycotted his death sentence hearing at the Bombay high court.

The jailor informed the court that Kasab, who is lodged in a bomb-proof cell at Arthur Road prison, didn't wish to follow the court proceedings through video conference.

Despite the no-show, a division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjit More continued with the hearing. The judges had, the previous day, rejected his plea to be brought to HC, which had led to Kasab walking off. The court had asked the prison authorities to allow him to watch the proceedings whenever he wanted to.

On Wednesday, the video conference link remained switched on the whole day, but Kasab failed to make an appearance.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kasab-boycotts-HC-proceedings/articleshow/6783339.cms#ixzz12xzLG3Ea

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Iran optimistic ahead of N-talks

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Iran has said dates for fresh talks with six global powers have not yet been set but has cited some of its expectations from the proposed nuclear dialogue, which could take place next month.

Iran's top representative for nuclear negotiations Saeed Jalili said on Tuesday Tehran had accepted in principle, talks with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1). However, he added that specific dates for a fresh round of talks were yet to be fixed. Mr. Jalili and European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have been communicating regarding possible renewal of talks that stalled a year ago. “What we have always announced is that we welcome talks… In the letter I wrote to Ms. Ashton, I explained the atmosphere, the bases, and the topics of the talks,” said Mr. Jalili.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/10/21/stories/2010102154981100.htm

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Lebanon – land of phantom oil deals, spies and political murder

By Robert Fisk

21 Oct, 2010

WHILE THE West reacted with predictable horror to the Lebanese visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran – the US President Barack Obama called it “provocative” while Israel claimed that its northern neighbour was now “a hub of regional terror” – it largely failed to notice that the Iranians were busy signing a set of massive energy, oil exploration and economic agreements with Lebanon. They included a £300m Iranian letter of credit for the Lebanese to begin financing new projects – possibly including two new power stations and a direct electricity link between the two countries via Turkey.

On the surface, it’s easy to see all this as another attempt by Iran to dominate Lebanon through oil and electricity – and the Lebanese government’s acceptance of the agreements as a sign of submission. Lebanon is believed to have considerable reserves of oil off the northern city of Tripoli which Iran suggested it might be able to explore – other fields may lie further south, close to Israel. Certainly, the Lebanese, who in some regions suffer eight-hour power cuts every day, are ready to allocate more than £1bn to the electrical project, with £1.5bn from the private sector and another £600m from largely western donor nations. This will come as something of a shock to the donors.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/lebanon-land-of-phantom-oil-deals,-spies-and-political-murder-100

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Pak, US agree on improving cooperation at Afghan border

21 Oct, 2010

WASHINGTON: At the start of three days of US-Pakistan talks, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani agreed in a 30-minute meeting on the need to improve cooperation on the Afghan-Pakistani border, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said on Wednesday.

“We are both very active along the border and they talked at some length about how we can better coordinate our operations on our respective sides of the border,” Morrell told the media.

US and Pakistani military leaders discussed how to better coordinate combat operations along the Afghan border, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in the aftermath of a cross-border NATO raid that strained relations with Islamabad.

Cooperation between military commanders had already improved on the border, “but this incident clearly indicates that there is more work to be done,” said Morrell, referring to the helicopter raid that left three Pakistani soldiers dead.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg1_7

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Afghan government in talks with Haqqani network

21 Oct, 2010

KABUL: Afghan leaders have held discussions with leaders of the Haqqani network, considered to be one of the most hardline guerrilla factions fighting in Afghanistan and members of the Peshawar shura, whose fighters are based in eastern Afghanistan, The New York Times quoted officials said on Wednesday.

The discussions, some of which have taken place in Kabul, are unfolding between the inner circle of President Hamid Karzai and members of the Quetta Shura, the leadership group that oversees the Taliban war effort inside Afghanistan. The Taliban leaders coming into Afghanistan for talks have left their havens in Pakistan on the explicit assurance that they will not be attacked or arrested by NATO forces, Afghans familiar with the talks say. Many top Taliban leaders reside in Pakistan, where they are believed to enjoy at least some official protection.

In at least one case, Taliban leaders crossed the border and boarded a NATO aircraft bound for Kabul, according to an Afghan with knowledge of the talks. In other cases, NATO troops have secured roads to allow Taliban officials to reach Afghan and NATO controlled areas so they can take part in discussions. Most of the discussions have taken place outside of Kabul, according to the Afghan official.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\21\story_21-10-2010_pg7_12

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Pak, China to launch satellite next year

21 Oct, 2010

BEIJING - Pakistan is closely collaborating with China for launching a joint space communication satellite next year.

“It will be a milestone in Pak-China friendship and bring immense economic benefits to Pakistan,” said Ambassador Masood Khan while addressing the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) on Wednesday. The agreement to set up the joint satellite communication project called Pasksat-1R was signed in 2008 and witnessed was by President Asif Ali Zardari and his Chinese counterpart President Hu Jintao.

Established in 1980, CGWIC is the sole commercial organization authorized by the Chinese government to provide satellites, commercial launch services and to carry out international space cooperation. The CGWIC is actively involved in the international marketing of products and services utilizing space technology and provides high quality products and specialized services in diversified fields.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/1010/21/FrontPage/index.php?id=4

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UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form government

By SERENA CHAUDHRY

Oct 21, 2010

BAGHDAD: The UN special envoy to Iraq called on Wednesday for the country’s leaders to come together urgently and form a government to tackle violence, a day after his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.

Ad Melkert, UN special representative to Iraq, was unhurt on Tuesday when a bomb some Iraqi officials blamed on Shiite militants hit his convoy in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 km south of Baghdad.

“For me, it’s actually quite clear that this country, Iraq, needs a strong government to confront violence from all different sides for all different reasons,” a visibly shaken Melkert told Reuters. “As long as such a strong government with a clear mandate is not in place, there is a gap and the potential for those that don’t like the constitutional, democratic development of this country to try to sabotage it.”

An inconclusive March parliamentary election has left Iraq in a political void with rival factions so far unable to come to an agreement to form a government. There are fears insurgents could try to exploit the impasse and resulting sectarian tensions to re-ignite the bloodshed that peaked in 2006-7.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article165834.ece

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Haramain Railway project on right track: Al-Seraisry

By FAIZ AL-MAZROUI

Oct 21, 2010

DAMMAM: The contract for implementing the final phase of the Haramain Railway project will be awarded by the end of this year, Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry said Wednesday.

“We’ll study the financial and technical offers made by companies vying to win the contract before the end of this year to announce the winner,” the minister told reporters.

The railway linking Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah would bring about a dramatic improvement in the transportation of pilgrims between the two holy cities. It will reduce travel time between Jeddah and Makkah to half an hour and two hours for those traveling between Jeddah and Madinah.

The committee supervising the project opened financial and technical offers on Tuesday in the presence of Al-Seraisry, Abdul Aziz Al-Hoqail, president of Saudi Railway Organization (SRO), and other senior officials.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article166007.ece

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Iran’s stock of enriched uranium up

Oct 21, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran has increased its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, a senior official said on Wednesday, showing it is pursuing the sensitive process even as major powers are trying to coax it back to nuclear talks.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton suggested last week that talks between six powers and Iran, stalled for a year, could resume at a three-day session in Vienna in mid-November. Iran welcomed the overture in principle but said it would want to know the exact nature of talks before they can start.

Iran’s atomic energy chief said it had not been officially informed of any detailed EU Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article165839.ece

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Abdullah, Ahmadinejad discuss regional issues

Oct 21, 2010

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Wednesday received a telephone call from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and discussed major regional and international issues.

"The two leaders also reviewed relations between their countries and the latest developments at Arab, Islamic and international levels," the Saudi Press Agency said.

This is the second telephone call King Abdullah has received from the Iranian president in less than 10 days. Last week the king received a similar call from the Iranian leader before his visit to Lebanon.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article166044.ece

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Iraq auctions off three major gas fields

Oct 21, 2010

BAGHDAD: Iraq auctioned three major natural gas fields to foreign companies on Wednesday as it seeks to shake off a legacy of war, bolster its standing as an energy giant and break into the lucrative global gas market.

Global energy executives braved lingering violence and political uncertainty to attend the auction in Baghdad, the third bidding round since the 2003 US-led invasion, but Western companies either did not compete or failed to win.

In the previous two energy auctions last year, Iraq sold contracts to develop some of its biggest oilfields, setting the stage for its crude output capacity to quadruple to Saudi levels of 12 million barrels per day if everything goes to plan.

Wednesday's gas auction kicked off with South Korea's Kogas and Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas Exploration & Production winning a deal to develop the largest of the three, Akkas gas field in the Sunni heartland of western Iraq.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article166004.ece

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Mom of US hiker jailed in Iran expects Nov. trial

Oct 21, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS: The mother of one of two American hikers still jailed in Iran said Tuesday that she’s been told they will stand trial in November and that she’s relieved they will get to formally deny the espionage charges against them.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remain in Tehran’s Evin Prison more than a month after the release of Bauer’s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, who was freed after complaining of health problems.

Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey of Minnesota said a Tehran-based lawyer representing the hikers’ families told them recently that her son and Fattal would stand trial Nov. 6.

“You don’t know how anxiously we’re awaiting that trial,” Hickey said. “The idea that there’s a trial at all is totally ridiculous, because these guys are not guilty of any crime. But at least it’s a sign that things are moving.” The families say Bauer and Shourd, who had been living in Syria, were hiking with their visiting friend Fattal in July 2009 in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, near the Iranian border, when Iranian forces took them into custody and accused them of intentionally crossing it.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article165771.ece

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Pak government asked to provide details of Zardari's assets

By AZHAR MASOOD

Oct 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament on Tuesday asked the Election Commission and the government to provide complete details of the current assets of President Asif Ali Zardari.

During the committee meeting held in the Parliament on Tuesday Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the government should provide details of President Zardari's current assets, annual income and tax returns.

Holders of public office are bound by election rules to submit details of their assets every year by Sept. 1.

According to data available from different sources including the government of Sindh, President Zardari directly or indirectly owns a number of properties inside Pakistan and abroad. He did not submit details of the assets to the Election Commission while filing his nomination papers during September 2008 presidential election.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article164748.ece

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UAE enters new growth phase

21 October 2010

The UAE is seeking to boost the share of the industry in its Dh1 trillion economy to 25 pc in five years as part of a long-term strategy to reduce dependence on oil, an official said.

The current contribution of the UAE’S fast growing industrial sector to the nation’s gross domestic product, or GDP, is 16.2 per cent. “We are aiming to boost the contribution of industry to the overall economy to 25 per cent in the next five years,” Mohammed Al Shihhi, the UAE Economy Ministry’s Undersecretary, told reporters on the sidelines of an investment forum in London.

The UAE, the world’s third largest oil producer, has embarked on the major diversification drive to reduce dependence on oil which currently accounts for only 29 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. The non-oil sector’s contribution to GDP touched 71 per cent for the first time in 2009 from 66.5 per cent in 2008.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/business/2010/October/business_October383.xml&section=business

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Iran urged freed American to go after contacts

21 October 2010

TEHRAN — An Iranian-American businessman freed after more than two years in an Iranian prison on accusations of passing money to a rebel group claimed Wednesday that officials in Tehran have urged him to prove his innocence by going after the men he says duped him.

Reza Taghavi, 71, was arrested by Iranian authorities and accused of being connected to a 2008 mosque bombing in the southern city of Shiraz, which killed 14 people. He denied any role.

Taghavi — who regularly visits Iran to conduct business and see family — was jailed on allegations he passed $200 to someone suspected of links to the rebel group known as Tondar, which seeks to topple the Islamic system and was implicated in the Shiraz attack.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/October/middleeast_October318.xml&section=middleeast

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Turkish banks hesitant about Iran dealings: Babacan

21 October 2010

WASHINGTON - Turkish banks have become somewhat hesitant about dealing with Iran but Turkey has left decisions on whether to pull back following US and European sanctions up to them, a Turkish official said on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said he doubts sanctions will bring Iran to change its stance on its uranium enrichment program, which Tehran says is to generate electricity but Washington suspects is a cover to develop atomic weapons.

While saying Turkey would comply with UN Security Council resolutions, Babacan said his government had not provided guidelines to its banking sector on how to grapple with fresh financial sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

“We don’t believe in sanctions. We don’t believe that that will ultimately make the Iranians act as they are expected to act. So why would we do things which we don’t believe? That’s the bottom line,” Babacan told reporters.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/October/middleeast_October321.xml&section=middleeast

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Dubai International records 25% passenger growth

Abdul Basit

21 October 2010

DUBAI — Dubai International recorded a 25 per cent year-on-year growth in passenger numbers in September while freight volume also witnessed a double-digit growth, according to its operator.

Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the operations of both the Dubai airports — Dubai International and Al Maktoum International, said year-to-date passenger traffic is up ?15.8 per cent as 34.84 million passengers have passed through Dubai International compared to 30.09 million during the corresponding period last year.

“We are seeing expansion across the board, not only from our usual top flight destinations such as India, the UK, Iran and Germany but we are also seeing significant increases in passenger traffic to and from the US, China and Australia,” Dubai Airports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths said.

For the second consecutive month passenger numbers fell just short of the 4 million mark at 3.98 million up 25 per cent compared to the same period last year when 3.19 million passengers passed through the facility.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/business/2010/October/business_October380.xml&section=business

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Settlers start 600 new homes after ban ends: watchdog

21 October 201

Jewish settlers have started building more than 600 homes in the West Bank since a building freeze expired last month, an Israeli pressure group says.

The pace of building is four times faster than before the ban was put in place, Peace Now says.

Recently re-launched Middle East peace talks could collapse over Jewish settlement building on occupied land.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to leave the talks unless Israel renews its partial construction freeze.

Yariv Oppenehimer, a spokesman for Peace Now, told the BBC that more details on the 600-plus new homes being built by Jewish settlers would be released in a report on Monday.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11596718

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Pakistan asks US to mediate on Kashmir

Oct 21 2010

Washington: Pakistan on Thursday asked the Obama Administration to work for the resolution of disputes in south Asia, particularly the Kashmir issue, which it claimed is key to peace in South Asia.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also spoke about the recent unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and said "any person of conscience cannot ignore the use of brute force against defenceless Kashmiri youth."

"It is in the interest of lasting peace, stability and development of the region that the US works for the resolution of disputes in South Asia. This has to begin with justice for the Kashmiri people," he said.

Qureshi was responding to a question at an event jointly organised by the prestigious Brookings Institute and Asia Society.

His comments came hours after the third round of the Strategic Dialogue between the US and Pakistan began.

Contending that Pakistan is "deeply interested" in a peaceful and stable South Asia, Qureshi claimed that the prospect, however, "is in danger again by the recent events in Kashmir."

"Any person of conscience cannot ignore the use of brute force against defenseless Kashmiri youth. In this unfolding tragedy over 100 Kashmiris have lost their lives in the past three months, many of them teenagers," he said.

"Their mothers are rightly bewildered at the deafening silence of the international community. Wisdom proposes that the aspirations of any people can't be suppressed by the use of force, such would be with the legitimate rights of the Kashmiri people," Qureshi said.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister's comments have come despite US' repeated assertion that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it has to be solved by the two countries.

In response to another question, Qureshi said Pakistan wants good neighbourly ties with India.

"Pakistan wants a very good neighborly relationship with India. What we are saying is we have outstanding issues. Both sides have agreed that dialogue is the only sensible way forward," he said.

He said the Composite Dialogue process has "shown results, incremental progress has been achieved and we need to pursue that and yes why not, I think, it makes a lot of sense that we improve relations, that we have good normal healthy relations."

Both India and Pakistan stands to gain from good normal healthy relationship, Qureshi said, adding that the region stands to gain from improved Indo-Pak ties.

"One thing, we are certain that both realize we do not need to use it," Qureshi said in response to a question.

US-Pakistan partnership has profound consequences not only for our two nations but for international peace and security.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/700556/

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Pakistan has a role in Afghanistan, says US

By Anwar Iqbal

21 Oct, 2010

WASHINGTON: The United States assured Pakistan on Wednesday that it had an appropriate, legitimate and constructive role to play in resolving the situation in Afghanistan.

At a briefing at the State Department, spokesman Philip Crowley also acknowledged that Pakistan had historical interests in Afghanistan.

The State Department official confirmed that Islamabad’s role in settling the Afghan dispute would also be discussed during the three-day US-Pakistan strategic dialogue that began in Washington on Wednesday.

Mr Crowley told journalists: “We have assured Pakistan that it has an appropriate role to play in resolving the situation in Afghanistan.”

But, he added, the Afghan government had “also made clear that solving its challenge within Afghanistan involves effective action on the Pakistan side of the border”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/pakistan-has-a-role-in-afghanistan,-says-us-100

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gang-of-seven-pak-army-men-behind-26/-11/d/3560


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