New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 23 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

U.N. protections for Islam losing ground

Falsely accused of killing spouse, doc jailed in Saudi Arabia

Pakistan: Peshawar gun battles kill 35

Bomb blasts in Swiss, Chilean embassies in Rome

Nuke crook who wreaked havoc thru Chagai tests now eyes robbing Baloch gold

Four Lashkar men sneak into Mumbai to ‘cause dangerous and violent attack'

Terror alert: Maharashtra wants dam info on Google blocked

Sudanese Police Laugh As They Flog Woman

Check misuse of Islam, Bangladesh PM asks Islamic scholars

Yemeni support for women’s political participation grows

Pakistan would not tolerate foreign forces on its soil’

Successful Conference against racism and Islamophobia in London

Council of Islamic Ideology: Islamic body’s fate hangs in balance

ISLAMABAD: Christian community played vital role in capital’s development’

Spanish Teacher Says "Ham", Muslim Child Traumatised

Revolutionary Policy Suggestions For Education Problems In Pakistan

No force can make ISI chief appear in US court: Gilani

Pak lobbies hard to to protect Pasha: PTI

Pak 26/11 probe team can only record, not quiz

India seeks to quiz Lakhvi

'UK Christmas terror attack plotters trained in Pak'

The shameless assault on Christianity in America

Gaza Christians depart for Christmas

ISLAMABAD: Women’s murder, abduction cases on rise in capital

Ahmadinejad joins key Istanbul talks

Rape Rampant in US Military: Dahr Jamail

Pak police officer killed, five injured in Quetta blast

Iran freeing al Qaeda men to fight in Af-Pak: report

Iranian officer captured in Afghanistan: Nato

Taliban know they can’t win Afghan war: UN

Underwear bomber's legacy: body scans, red-faced passengers

Poet made to pay for anti-Modi remark

Well-being of the people: guiding principle of Quaid-e-Azam

Goods train hit as Pakistan sits on visas of Indian drivers

93 arrested in anti-Al Qaeda sweep in Iraq

Iraqi General gunned down in Baghdad

Wanted Taliban commander killed in SWAT

Pakistan: India using terror as a ‘propaganda ploy'

BJP blames Nehru's 'erroneous' vision for problems in Kashmir

J&K interlocutors run into 'stone' wall

Film Federation of India bans Javed Akhtar

RSS to hold weeklong international conclave in Pune

Gaza fighters now using tank-piercing missiles

'Iran recruiting scientists to work on its nuke weapons programme'

US ’79 memo: Let’s sell Pakistan F-16s and prevent n-proliferation

US Congress okays H-1B, L-1 visa fee hike extension till 2016

Bomb in Iraq Kills Militiaman, Wife and 3 Children

Nato helicopter kills two in northern Afghanistan

Bangladesh: 20 BGB soldiers jailed in Jaipurhat mutiny case

Bangladesh to investigate Grameen Bank operations

Iran says January nuclear talks historic opportunity

KARACHI: Namaz-e-Janaza of Shaheed Havaldar Masood Ahmed held

Mughal- era designs that went awry

Anarchists behind Rome mail bombs

Al-Hilal struggles past Alfaisaly

Egypt commutes militant's death sentence to jail term

Man wounds murder suspect in Turkish court

Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/un-protections-for-islam-losing-ground/d/3828

 

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U.N. protections for Islam losing ground

By Bob Unruh

Dec 24, 2010

The Islamic-led Defamation of Religions proposal in the United Nations has been approved one more time, but by the lowest margin yet and opponents say they will keep picking at the plan until it dies.

The idea, introduced on behalf of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, "is nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam – a move to stifle religious speech," according to an analysis by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

WND reported a year ago when support for the plan fell a step. Now, Sekulow noted opposition to the Islamic plan, which has been "approved" in some form in the U.N. every year since 1999, continues to rise.

The most recent vote, this week, had 67 nations voting against the plan, with 79 supporting it, and 40 nations voting "present."

The 67 "no" votes is an all-time high, the ACLJ said, and the 12-vote margin is the closest it's ever been.

"This continued momentum is very good news, and a clear sign that our education efforts are paying off. We continue to meet with more and more delegations at the U.N. and provide them with the facts on why this resolution is a dangerous threat to religious freedom," the ACLJ reported.

"Until it is defeated, this resolution is just one more way that the rights of Christians around the world are violated – especially for Christians living in Islamic countries. For some, the mere proclamation of their belief in the Gospel is enough to warrant the death penalty for blasphemy," Sekulow said.

According to the Human Rights First organization, the plan simply violates fundamental freedom of expression norms.

"[The] vote affirms that support for the defamation concept continues to dwindle. Nevertheless, we deeply regret that this text continues to distract governments from real issues that deserve greater attention , such as fighting the spread of religious violence and hatred, as well as how to counter practices of discrimination that many members of religious and other minorities face in all parts of the globe," said Tad Stahnke, of Human Rights First.

He said the vote is "unfortunate for both individuals at risk whose rights will surely be violated under the guise of prohibiting 'defamation of religions,' as well as for the standards of international norms on freedom of expression."

The organization said a "growing number" of individuals have been targeted under the concept that religions have rights and statements that don't support Islam must be punished. Just last month, Christian farm worker Asia Bibi in Pakistan was sentenced to death by hanging under the nation's blasphemy code. Her case is on appeal but could take years to resolve.

"Bibi's case is not unique," the report said. "There are scores of cases that provide ample warning of the dangers of enacting a global blasphemy law, which is what this U.N. resolution seeks to do."

Stahnke noted that the idea "in country after country … promote[s] an atmosphere of intolerance where governments restrict freedom of expression, thought, and religion."

The organization reported several minor changes were made for the plan this year, including adding "Judeophobia" and "Christianophobia" to "Islamophobia" in the text, as well as changing the reference from "defamation of religions" to "vilification of religions."

The issue over blasphemy was addressed by Carl Moeller, chief of Open Doors USA, in a recent interview with WND, because of the pending threat to the freedoms in America.

"This is a battle for our basic freedoms," he warned.

It has so alarmed Christians around the globe that more than 200,000 have joined in Open Doors' Free to Believe effort to oppose the U.N. plan.

"This [U.N. idea] is Orwellian in its deviousness," he said. "To use language like the anti-defamation of a religion. It sounds like doublespeak worthy of Orwell's 1984 because of what it really does."

He said Muslim nations would use it as an endorsement of their attacks on Christians for statements as simple as their belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ, which Muslims consider an affront.

Worse would be the "chilling" effect on language that the U.N. plan would create worldwide, he said.

"This would be a huge blessing to those who would silence dissidents in their countries, Islamic regimes," he said. "This stands as a monument to the gullibility of the masses in the United States and other places who don't see this for what it is."

The U.S. State Department also has found the proposal unpalatable.

"This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions," said a statement from Leonard Leo. "We believe that such inclusive language would have furthered the objective of promoting religious freedom. We also believe that any resolution on this topic must include mention of the need to change educational systems that promote hatred of other religions, as well as the problem of state-sponsored media that negatively targets any one religion."

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=243073

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Falsely accused of killing spouse, doc jailed in Saudi

Durgesh Nandan Jha

Dec 24, 2010

NEW DELHI: It was an ordeal that will haunt Dr Shalini Chawla for the rest of her life. Her husband died in his sleep of a heart attack in Saudi Arabia, where the couple worked. But she was told that he had converted to Islam and accused, without a shred of evidence, of poisoning him.

That was bad enough. But Shalini was then put behind bars with an infant in a foreign land and later kept confined to a home for months with hostile people around her and the fear of death hanging over her every living moment. It was an ordeal that could have broken the strongest of people. But on Thursday, a day after she landed in the capital with her husband's body, she was a picture of fortitude.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she stood with folded hands at the Uthala ceremony. Dr Ashish Chawla's body had finally been cremated at Nigambodh Ghat on Wednesday, bringing an end to a sordid tale of how human rights of Indians working abroad are violated.

Shalini and Ashish met as interns at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, fell in love and married 10 years back. Four years ago, both accepted job offers from King Khalid Hospital in Nazran in Saudi Arabia. He joined as a cardiologist and she worked in the internal medicine department.

2010 in Dubai as she not only lost her spouse but was also accused of killing him. The hospital stated the cause of Dr Ashish Chawla's death as 'myocardial infraction' or a simple heart attack. In an advanced stage of pregnancy, Shalini had to look after her two-year-old daughter. She had already resigned from her job in anticipation of her second child and now she had to expedite the process of taking her husband's body back to India. On February 10, came her second child, Vedanta. It was a caesarian delivery which kept her confined to bed.

But the worse was yet to come. ''On March 1, Shalini was suddenly summoned to the local police station at Nazran and informed that on the basis of new evidence that her husband had converted to Islam before his death, she was being accused of poisoning him. Bewildered by the turn of events and seized by fear, she denied the allegations but was sent into detention at the police station on March 16 with her 34-day-old baby. She stayed there for 25 days and learnt that some Pakistani colleagues and locals had conspired in the whisper campaign. After being released, she was confined to the hospital campus with her movements severely restricted,'' said her paternal uncle, H Nagpal. Her family was sending her money which kept her going.

The body was preserved at the hospital and last rites disallowed. A second medical report from the Centre for Toxicology and Forensics confirmed the autopsy report that there had been no poisoning but there was no respite for her, and the days dragged on. The Indian consulate did pull some strings, with her uncle even meeting minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor in Delhi, but things didn't move any faster.

Speaking to TOI on Thursday, Shalini said, ''They put me in jail with my newborn child for a crime I never committed.'' Ashish had never mentioned any intention of converting to Islam but the entire incident had assumed a communal colour and she was at her wits end.

''I lived with the two-year-old girl in the hospital complex when Shalini was sent to prison. Later, when she was released, we were so frightened. We could not go out fearing a backlash from the locals. We would go out only once a week,'' recalled Uma Nagpal, Shalini's mother.

Her father had passed away two years ago.

Barred from communicating with anybody, Shalini suffered severe mental trauma and agony. The case was now referred to the headquarters of the bureau of investigation and prosecution in Riyadh, which ordered a third autopsy by an independent panel of doctors.

It was once again confirmed that Ashish had died of a heart attack. Finally, the file was closed, and on December 3, she was given permission to leave the country.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Falsely-accused-of-killing-spouse-doc-jailed-in-

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Pakistan: Peshawar gun battles kill 35

Dec 24, 2010

PESHAWAR: The number of soldiers killed Friday when about 150 militants attacked five paramilitary checkpoints in northwest Pakistan has risen to 11, a top administration official said.

At least 24 militants were also killed in the fighting near the Afghan border, Amjad Ali Khan, the administrator of lawless Mohmand tribal district told reporters at a press conference in the main town, Ghalanai.

"The death toll has risen. At least 11 of our men have been martyred and 12 others wounded," Khan said.

Security officials earlier said at least three soliders had been killed in the attack.

Khan said that at least 24 militants were killed when paramilitary soldiers "befittingly repulsed" the attack at five checkpoints near the Afghan border.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/11-soldiers-24-militants-killed-in-NW-

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Bomb blasts in Swiss, Chilean embassies in Rome

Dec 24, 2010

ROME: Parcel bomb blasts in the Chilean and Swiss embassies in Rome injured two staffers on Thursday, officials said, as Italian prosecutors opened an inquiry for a suspected "attack with terrorist aims."

Checks are currently under way in all the embassies in Rome after the blasts and the city's mayor said emergency services were on alert.

"This is a wave of terrorism against the embassies. It's more worrying than a single attack," Gianni Alemanno told reporters.

"International lines of inquiry are being followed," Alemanno said, without giving further details.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted investigators as saying that one of the main lines of inquiry was on "anarchist circles of the eco-terrorist movement."

Another possibility mentioned by investigators is that the Swiss embassy attack "was organised by insurgent anarchist groups," the newspaper reported.

The Swiss mail worker who opened the first package was seriously wounded, while the Chilean embassy staffer is not reported to be badly injured.

"A device hidden inside a package exploded in the embassy.. at midday (1100 GMT)," the Swiss embassy said in a statement.

"The postal worker's hands were injured and he was immediately taken to hospital," it added.

The embassy said there had been no claim of responsibility.

Reports said the injured man was a 53-year-old Swiss national and he risks the amputation of one or both his hands but his life is not in danger.

Police, firemen and bomb disposal experts could be seen on the Swiss embassy grounds, located north of Rome's city centre.

Emergency services were also at the Chilean embassy near Villa Borghese.

The ANSA news agency reported that a third unexploded bomb was later found at the Ukrainian embassy, but a police spokesman told AFP it was a false alarm.

"We express full solidarity with the Swiss ambassador and all diplomatic staff, targeted by a deplorable act of violence that merits the firmest condemnation," Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said in a statement.

"We hope the injured embassy employee can make a full recovery," he said.

Earlier on Thursday there were two false bomb alerts at local government offices in Rome including one in the heart of the Italian capital.

Mayor Alemanno said there was no link between the alerts and the blasts.

A fake bomb -- with wires, an antenna and metal pipes stuffed with powder -- was also found on an empty train carriage in Rome's metro system on Tuesday in what police said may have been a threat ahead of protests in the city.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Bomb-blasts-in-Swiss-Chilean-embassies-in-Rome/articleshow/7152216.cms#ixzz190BfZNI7

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Nuke crook who wreaked havoc thru Chagai tests now eyes robbing Baloch gold

Dec 24, 2010

The man with heavy Punjabi accent, who was one of the key criminals in destroying the Balochistan ecology just 12 years ago by conducting the Chagai nuclear tests, has been rewarded in a big way.

Upon reitrement, the same man has been posted as the chairman of the multi-billion Reko Diq project,

That man named Dr. Samar Mubarakmand called on Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Mohammad Aslam Khan Raisani on Monday, according to Balochistan media reports.

During their discussions, Mubarakmand who Pakistani newspapers called "leading scientist"  termed the approval of Reko Diq Gold and Cooper Project  from Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) as big achievement.

The Baloch chief minister and Mubarakmand are said to have discussed a number of issues.

In fact more than A.Q. Khan, a bigger but silent role was played by Mubarakmand in the May 28, 1998 nuclear tests in Balochistan.

Out of the blue, General Zulfikar Ali, who was present with Mubarakmand and A.Q. Khan wrote in his blog last year that three promiment Baloch activists Ghulam Mohammed Baloch, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammed were killed because of an alleged ransom dispute.

"This showed Pakistan army generals main interest is the land and its resources," said Dr. Zafar Baloch, president of the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada.

However, the lawyer of the three victims, former Balochistan fisheries minister Kachkol Ali Advocate, clearly identified the killers as agents of Pakistan's secret services. The three were abducted from Ali's office by these state agents on April 3, 2009 and their tortured bodies were recovered on April 8.

A premier pro-independence Baloch organization in the U.S.A. has demanded that Mubarakmand must be tried in the International Criminal Court for the harm he has done to Balochistan, in stead of being allowed to run the gold-cum-copper project.

"This man has already destroyed a significant part of the Baloch homeland by being the main brain behind the nuclear tests, what good can we expect of him," said Malik Baloch, presiding council member of the American Friends of Balochistan.

"On the one hand he wreaked havoc on Balochistan, and has aided slow motion genocide by nuclear pollution, and on the other, he has been rewarded by the Punjabis sitting in Rawalpinidi to get a chance to loot the natural resources," Malik Baloch said. "He has absolutely no experience in gold mining and represents the defense establishment of Pakistan that is responsible for Balochistan woes."

Malik Baloch who is a naturlaized U.S. citizen said, "I urge the U.S. government to directly intervene in Balochistan."

The attached video shows Mubarakmand talking as a defense expert in a recent talk show.

http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-baltimore/punjabi-man-who-wreaked-havoc-thru-chagai-tests-now-eyes-robbing-baloch-gold

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Four Lashkar men sneak into Mumbai to ‘cause dangerous and violent attack'

Vinaya Deshpande

Dec 24, 2010

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy shows a photo of one of the intruders, Walid Jinnah.

Mumbai: The Mumbai police on Thursday issued an advisory stating that four Lashkar-e-Taiba members had entered Mumbai with the intention of causing an “extremely dangerous and violent attack” on the city in view of the coming festivals and New Year celebrations.

“We request the citizens to be alert and call the specially dedicated hotline 022-22633333 in case they come to know about any of the four jihadi members,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said at a hurriedly called press conference here. The names of the operatives are: Abdul Karim Musa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mehfuz Alam. The police have published the photograph of Walid Jinnah for wide circulation among the public.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/24/stories/2010122461140100.htm

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Terror alert: Maharashtra wants dam info on Google blocked

Dec 24, 2010

MUMBAI: Worried about possible terror attacks on Maharashtra's water installations, the state government is going to request the Centre to block information on dams from search engines such as Google.

"We are going to request the Centre about security of dams and also to block information regarding them available on search engines like Google," Home Minister R R Patil told reporters here today.

The state has already stepped up security at major dams after maps of a few water reservoirs were found with Javed Abdul Gafoor Mozawala, a 28-year-old visa agent arrested here on December 9 on suspicion of spying for Pakistan.

Patil had held a meeting of Home Department officials yesterday on the issue and reviewed security arrangements at big dams.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/internet/Terror-alert-Maharashtra-wants-

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Sudanese Police Laugh As They Flog Woman

Laura Smith-Gary

Dec 24, 2010

While it's unclear what the Sudanese woman's supposed offense was -- it could have been adultery, drinking alcohol, theft, or even wearing pants -- but her punishment for breaking some aspect of northern Sudan's sharia law was fifty-three lashes.

In a graphic video that sped across the internet, the woman is ordered to kneel and is lashed as she screams in pain, begs the policemen to stop, and at one point tries to grab the whip of one policeman. At first, the police treat the flogging as an inconvenience to themselves, saying (according to subtitles on the video) that they want to get done so they can go. As they beat the woman she wails in agony, crawling away from them on her knees crying, "Enough, enough!" and moaning for her mother. At one point in the video, a policeman notices the camera and laughingly half-covers his face, before joining in whipping the sobbing woman. (The video is very graphic, and may only be viewed by Youtube users over 18. Please view it with caution -- it's not appropriate for children, and trigger warnings apply.)

Full report at:

http://www.care2.com/causes/human-rights/blog/sudanese-police-laugh-as-they-flog-

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Check misuse of Islam, Bangladesh PM asks Islamic scholars

Dec 24, 2010

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon Islamic scholars of the country to stay alert so that none could engage in destructive activities using the name of Islam.

The premier made the call while addressing the prize and certificate distribution ceremony of National Children and Juvenile Cultural Competition of Bangladesh Islamic Foundation at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).

The present government would show zero tolerance against those who are smearing the name of Islam, the religion of peace, Hasina said.

The government will continue its drive against terrorism and extremism in the country, she added.

Bangladesh is a moderate democratic state and recognised as a model of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of people of all faiths, the premier said.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=166941

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Yemeni support for women’s political participation grows

Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Dec 24, 2010

SANA’A, Dec. 22 — Yemenis increasingly support women’s political rights and participation in general elections, a new poll showed yesterday.

The Yemen Polling Centre in Sana’a released the poll, titled ‘Women’s Political Rights’ on Wednesday. It revealed that 42 percent of male respondents and 55 percent of female respondents said that they supported women’s political participation. But 36 percent of these didn’t know how to effectively support women’s political rights.

Education, for 39.2 percent of those who supported women’s political participation, was the best way to support women. A total of 26.6 percent said that financial support for women’s electoral campaigns was needed and 23 percent said that awareness about the importance of women’s political rights was essential.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=35273

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‘Pakistan would not tolerate foreign forces on its soil’

Dec 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan would not tolerate foreign forces on its soil, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit asserted on Thursday.

Briefing mediamen here, Abdul Basit stated that NATO and ISAF forces have the mandate to operate in Afghanistan, reiterating that Pakistan would not tolerate foreign troops on its soil.

He said that Pakistan is committed to eradicating the menace of terrorism and its network.

Replying to a question, the spokesman said India had not yet informed Pakistan pertaining to Samjhota express investigations. He said Pakistan is ready for resumption of dialogues with India but India is avoiding it.

Referring to Pak-China nuclear cooperation, Abdul Basit made it clear that it is for peace under international law. China has always backed the Pakistani stance and stressed Pakistan and India to resolve their bilateral outstanding issues with dialogues, he added.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/1210/24/FrontPage/index.php?id=2

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Successful Conference against racism and Islamophobia - London UK

Dec 24, 2010

The 'Speak out against racism and Islamophobia' conference – held by One Society Many Cultures in London on 11th December – struck a blow against the rising tide of Islamophobia.

Parliamentarians, trade unionists, students, academics, Muslims, other faith communities and around 200 participants discussed the causes of the growing climate of Islamophobia and racism, and how to respond.

Labour front-bencher, Shabana Mahmood MP and Green MEP Jean Lambertopened the conference arguing that the core responsibility for challenging the rise of racism lay with the mainstream political parties and process. Kay Carberry, on behalf of the TUC, outlined the strategy of the TUC in delivering on its commitment to diversity and multiculturalism, and the impact of racism in the workplace. Anas Altikiriti of the British Muslim Initiative spoke of the urgent need to challenge the rise of Islamophobia.  Bruce Kent, Vice President of Pax Christi put the case for the framework of One Society Many Cultures, that defending the rights of all to freedom of faith, conscience and culture demands a defence of all those under attack.

Full report at:

http://socialcohesionsl.blogspot.com/2010/12/successful-conference-against-racism.html

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Council of Islamic Ideology: Islamic body’s fate hangs in balance

By Qaiser Butt

Dec 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Conflicting interpretations of the constitution by the ministry of law and the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has left the federal government in a state of confusion over the fate of the council, The Express Tribune has learnt.

For the law ministry, CII stands abolished after completing its mandate in 1996.

For the ministry of law, constitutionally the CII stands abolished after completing its mandate in 1996, which was entrusted to it in 1973.

According to the ministry, the CII has already accomplished the task that was mandated to it under Article 230 (4) of the constitution which says, “The Council of Islamic Ideology shall submit its final report within seven years of its appointment and shall submit an annual interim report. The report, whether interim or final, shall be laid for discussion before both houses and each provincial assembly within six months of its receipt, and parliament, after considering the report, shall enact laws in respect thereof within a period of two years of the final report.”

Full report at:

http://ghalibsultan.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/council-of-islamic-ideology-islamic-

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ISLAMABAD: Christian community played vital role in capital’s development’

Dec 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Christian community has played a pivotal role in development of federal capital and deserves appreciation for their services they rendered to keep the city in tidy condition while preserving its green character, said Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi on Thursday during Christmas get together reception at Aabpara Community Centre.

The CDA in collaboration with the United Christian Fellowship (UCF) organised the event.

He said that as the capital was completing 50 years of its establishment in 2010, the efforts of Christian community stand tall and would be acknowledged during the golden jubilee celebrations (1960 – 2010) of Islamabad.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg11_1

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Spanish Teacher Says "Ham", Muslim Child Traumatised

Dec 24, 2010

This might be parody. I really hope so, but I haven't seen any evidence yet to suggest that it is.

"Muslim kid in Spain traumatized by hearing his teacher say 'ham'"

If it's true, would it really be all that surprising in this day and age? The only surprising thing here would be that a member of the academic establishment actually had some balls: the teacher in question, who has been charged with "mistreatment motivated by xenophobia" for mentioning ham while discussing climate conditions in Granada, opined in a press release: "Here [in class] there are 30 students, and one of them must adapt to the 29 others, and not the 29 others to the one."

Bravo, that man.

How are they going to take over the world if they cry whenever someone says "ham"?

http://eye-on-islam.blogspot.com/2010/12/spanish-teacher-says-ham-muslim-child.html

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Revolutionary Policy Suggestions For Education Problems In Pakistan

Dec 24, 2010

Education has great effects over psyches. Whatever sort of education will be the mind will be as such. If we look over the history whenever any nation want to defeat others nation it first occupy the education systems and curriculums of the occupying nations. Education develops the roots of any nation. Through education any nation prepares their generation according to their religious norms and values. We can easily state that rising social unrest in any nation is mainly due to improper education of generations. Within two decades we could prepare one generation for the country. Two decades are a small span to prepare weapon (generation) but impact of this prepared weapon is long and forever. I called generation as a weapon; generation is no doubt is a weapon for development of any country.

Full report at:

http://edu.prinews.net/2010/12/revolutionary-policy-suggestions-for-education-problems-

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No force can make ISI chief appear in US court: Gilani

Dec 24, 2010

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that no force could pressurise the ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to appear in a US court to face a lawsuit filed by relatives of victims of the Mumbai attacks.

“The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence)... is an extremely important (and) sensitive institution of this country. If they do not agree to go to the American court, then no one can send them,” Gilani said.

His remarks came as media reports from New York said the plaintiffs in two US lawsuits accusing Pakistan’s spy chief of nurturing terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks are hoping for a historic outcome recalling the Lockerbie settlement.

The lawyers of the victims said they hope to win a deal like the one struck with Libya over the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The plaintiffs in that case won a $1.5 billion settlement.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-force-can-make-isi-chief-appear-in-us-court-

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Pak lobbies hard to to protect Pasha: PTI

December 24, 2010

Pakistani diplomats are engaged in hectic behind the scenes diplomacy in a bid to stop the Obama administration from supporting a lawsuit filed against ISI chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha in a US court by relatives of two Jewish American victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. The Pakistani

diplomats are busy with efforts to prevent the US administration from backing the private complaint, 'The News', a Pakistani daily reported, quoting unnamed sources.

"So far, the US administration has not given any indication that they would support this private lawsuit but who knows what happens next," an unnamed Pakistani official was quoted as saying by the daily.

The American court in Brooklyn has summoned ISI chief Pasha, his predecessor Nadeem Taj and LeT commanders, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, to appear before it in connection with the suit filed by the kin of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, who were among the 166 people killed during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pak-lobbies-hard-to-to-protect-Pasha/Article1-

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Pak 26/11 probe team can only record, not quiz

Vishwa Mohan

Dec 24, 2010

NEW DELHI: India has written to Pakistan seeking to send a commission to question all the seven jailed 26/11 masterminds — including Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Abu al-Qama — as well as to collect their 'voice samples'.

The testimonies of the Lashkar commanders, whom Pakistan was forced to arrest after global outrage, as well as their voice samples are crucial to the 26/11 investigation. However, New Delhi's move is being seen as a response to Islambad's insistence on sending a Pakistani commission to interview chief metropolitan magistrate R V Sawant Waghule, who recorded Kasab's statement, and Mumbai Police inspector Ramesh Mahale, who is the investigating officer in the case.

India, which had suspected the request to be a dilatory tactic of the accused belonging to ISI's favourite terror gang, came around to heed the plea only to deny Pakistan an alibi not to punish the choreographers of the Mumbai massacre.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-26/11-probe-team-can-only-record-not-

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India seeks to quiz Lakhvi

Aman Sharma

Dec 24, 2010

IN RESPONSE to Pakistan’s demand to allow its judicial commission to speak to those dealing with the 26/ 11 probe, India has sent a request across the border demanding access to the seven suspects lodged in a Rawalpindi jail in connection with the Mumbai terror attack.

India has told Pakistan that it wants to send over its commission to question the seven people, including the Lashkar- e- Tayyeba’s ( LeT) Zaki- ur- Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah and Abu- Al- Qama, and record their voice samples.

“ Pakistan has not acted on any of our demands, such as providing voice samples of those jailed or arrest LeT plotters such as Hafiz Saeed and Sajid Majid or ISI operatives such as Major Iqbal. Though we have agreed in principle that a Pakistan judicial commission can come to India, we have proposed that our commission be allowed to travel to Pakistan, question the seven arrested men lodged in a Rawalpindi jail and get their voice samples,” a government source said.

Full report at:

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=24122010

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'UK Christmas terror attack plotters trained in Pak'

Dec 24, 2010

London : Members of an alleged terrorist cell planning Mumbai type suicide attacks on Christmas shoppers in London received their training in Pakistan, according to sources.

'The Telegraph' reports that the cell is described as “al-Qaeda inspired” because no specific information has emerged about the links they may have made with the terrorist group in Pakistan.

Although it is understood that the arrested men had not been communicating with al-Qaeda commanders while in Britain, security sources said it was unlikely that they did not at least attempt to make contact with al-Qaeda while they were abroad, and may have received advice and training.

Investigators believe that it is significant that although most of the cell is British with Bangladeshi origins, its members chose to travel to Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/uk-christmas-terror-attack-plotters-trained-in-

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The shameless assault on Christianity in America

By Armstrong Williams

Dec 24, 2010

We're losing the Christian foundations of this country, and people of faith are letting it happen. It's time for us to take a page from the Tea Party, but instead of taking our government back, we need to take our culture back.

 Don't misunderstand me: America is a diverse country, and that's one of our strengths. I'm not denying that at all. However, America was founded on Christian principles; it's part of our national identity. If you go to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, you understand that the culture is based on Islamic principles, and you need to respect that as a visitor. Likewise, when you go to Mexico, you know that the national language is Spanish, and you need to speak it if you want to communicate. Those nations aren't expected to undermine their own foundations just to accommodate other people, so why are non-Christians demanding that of America? Why are we always accommodating?

Full report at:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/religion/134617-the-shameless-assault-on-christianity

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Gaza Christians depart for Christmas

December 24, 2010

More than 500 members of the Gaza Strip’s tiny Christian community have left the blockaded territory to participate in Christmas celebrations in Jesus’ traditional birthplace of Bethlehem.

The Israeli military coordinated the rare passage to the West Bank on Thursday ahead of the holiday. About 3,500 Christians live in Gaza among 1.5 million Muslims. Relations have traditionally been good, though there has been sporadic violence against Christians since the Islamic Hamas movement wrestled control of the strip three years ago. In the wake of the takeover, unidentified assailants detonated a bomb outside a Christian school, firebombed a Christian bookshop and killed a Christian. Hamas says it is committed to protecting the Christian minority.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/305801/Gaza-Christians-depart-for-Christmas.html

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ISLAMABAD: Women’s murder, abduction cases on rise in capital

By Ikram Junaidi

Dec 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Despite the capital police claims to provide protection of the lives and properties of the city dwellers, the crime cases, especially murders and kidnappings of females, are on rise and the police show discouraging attitude when an applicant comes to them to file a First Information Report (FIR), said the sources.

According to a report, Golra Police recovered a dead body of a 25-year-old woman from sector G-14, on October 20, 2010. The body was packed in a jute bag.

A 28-year-old woman Shehla Bibi, resident of Mera Jafer, was shot dead in her house on July 26. Her body was shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for autopsy. Her husband, Imran, disappeared after the incident. Her relatives told the police that she got married about eight years back and had two children – a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg11_6

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Ahmadinejad joins key Istanbul talks

Dec 24, 2010

ISTANBUL: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined regional leaders Thursday for a summit on economic cooperation in Istanbul, just a month ahead of nuclear talks with world powers in the Turkish city.

As Turkish President Abdullah Gul welcomed his guests at a seafront Ottoman palace, Ahmadinejad arrived sporting a broad smile, gave Gul a warm hug and waved to the cameras.

He was accompanied by his new Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, also Iran's nuclear chief, who made his first international appearance here Wednesday at a pre-summit gathering of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

The pair met with Turkish leaders to discuss a second round of talks that Iran would hold with the 5+1 group of world powers over its disputed nuclear programme, expected in late January in Istanbul.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article221720.ece

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Rape Rampant in US Military

Dahr Jamail

Dec 24, 2010

Statistics and soldiers' testimonies reveal a harrowing epidemic of sexual assault in the US military.

Sexual assault within the ranks of the military is not a new problem. It is a systemic problem that has necessitated that the military conduct its own annual reporting on the crisis.

Earlier this year a house subcommittee held a hearing focused on sexual assault and violence against women in the military and at the academies. (Al-Jazeera)A 2003 Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal prompted the department of defense to include a provision in the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act that required investigations and reports of sexual harassment and assaults within US military academies to be filed. The personal toll is, nevertheless, devastating.

Full report at:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/12/21-13

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Pak police officer killed, five injured in Quetta blast

December 24, 2010

A police officer was killed and five others were injured when a security vehicle was targeted with a roadside bomb in southwest Pakistan’s Quetta city on Friday, officials said.

The bomb, hidden in a bicycle parked on Qambrani Road in the suburbs of Quetta, was triggered by a remote control when the police van was passing by.

A police inspector was killed instantly, officials said.

Policemen and passers-by were among the five injured.

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

Initial reports on TV news channels had said that two policemen were killed.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article974374.ece

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Iran freeing al Qaeda men to fight in Af-Pak: report

Dec 24, 2010

LONDON: Iran has released a string of top al Qaeda militants from detention so they can rebuild the extremist organisation on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, The Times reported Friday.

Citing Pakistani and Middle Eastern officials speaking anonymously, the Times said Iranian authorities were giving covert support to the Islamist militants as they fight against Nato troops.

“In many cases they are being facilitated by Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” The Times quoted a senior Pakistani intelligence official as saying.

The Times said those released include Saif al-Adel, a high-ranking Egyptian al Qaeda member on the FBI’s most wanted list for alleged involvement in the deadly 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/24/iran-freeing-al-qaeda-men-to-fight-in-af-pak-

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Iranian officer captured in Afghanistan: Nato

Dec 24, 2010

KABUL: A member of the elite al-Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was captured in southern Afghanistan and has been accused of cross-border weapons smuggling, international forces said Friday.

The man, described as a “key Taliban weapons facilitator”, was captured Saturday in Zhari district, Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, a volatile district targeted in recent coalition operations.

He was targeted “for facilitating the movement of weapons between Iran and Kandahar through Nimroz province,” a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said.

It is thought he was connected to smuggling small arms between the countries.

“The now-detained man was considered a Kandahar-based weapons facilitator with direct ties to other Taliban leaders in the province,” the Isaf spokesman added in a statement.

The news again spotlights the complex relationship between Afghanistan, Iran and the United States, whose troops make up roughly two-thirds of the coalition force which has been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for nine years.

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/24/iranian-officer-captured-in-afghanistan-nato.html

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Taliban know they can’t win Afghan war: UN

Dec 24, 2010

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations envoy to Afghanistan has warned that the Taliban may attempt “spectacular attacks” in the coming weeks, as NATO and Afghan forces step up pressure against terrorists.

“In other words, our sentiment is: before it gets better it may get worse,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative Staffan de Mistura told the UN Security Council, noting that the combined activity by the Afghan and international forces was intensifying and showing results.

“At the same time it’s producing the temptation, and the urge probably by the Taliban, to want to have one or two spectacular attacks that may change the perception - which is real - that things are improving,” he said.

Briefing the council on Ban’s latest report, the top UN representative said that conditions for reconciliation in Afghanistan were becoming more favourable and that there might soon be a real opportunity for a political dialogue leading to a settlement.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg7_6

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Underwear bomber's legacy: body scans, red-faced passengers

Dec 24, 2010

LAGOS: The so-called underwear bomber failed in his attempted attack on a US-bound flight a year ago, but he set off a new airport security scramble that has led to full-body scanners and red-faced passengers.

The young Nigerian, 23 at the time, allegedly tried to detonate explosives sewn into his underwear on a Christmas Day 2009 flight to Detroit, but passengers and crew were able to restrain him and put out a small fire.

Since then, airports worldwide have invested in new technology, as they have following previous incidents, leading to longer lines, increased frustration and, security officials hope, a reduced possibility of future attacks.

But some experts have questioned whether the security efforts have been misdirected, leading to passengers forfeiting civil rights and privacy for full-body scans that may not even do enough to protect flights.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Underwear-bombers-legacy-body-scans-red-

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Poet made to pay for anti-Modi remark

Dec 24 2010

Ahmedabad : Allowing an anti-Narendra Modi remark to appear in an opinion piece carried in his poetry collection two years ago has brought the ire of higher-ups in Gujarat Urdu Sahitya Academy on Aqaal Shatir, a poet here. He has been asked to return the financial assistance that the Academy provided him for publishing the anthology.

The Academy had provided Rs 10,000 to bring out his Urdu poetry book Abhi Zinda Hoon Main (I’m Still Alive). The Academy took exception to one sentence in the opinion piece written by Bhiwandi-based Raunaq Afroz and slapped a notice on Shatir asking to explain why he should not be asked to return the financial assistance, for “violating rules of acceptance”.

Full report at: Indian Express

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Well-being of the people: guiding principle of Quaid-e-Azam

By Farzana Raja

Dec 24, 2010

The father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whose birth anniversary we are observing, was a dynamic leader, a great political thinker and strategist, a believer in democratic values and, above all, one of the great nation-builders of modern times. He followed a highly disciplined life, had an immaculate character, was bestowed with the ability to forecast the results and had the analytical mind to approach any problem in an objective and solution oriented manner.

The political acumen of the Quaid could be ascertained by the fact that he not only created a nation out of an amorphous and subjugated minority but also succeeded in establishing a nation-state for them. He never resorted to undemocratic or unconstitutional means, rather he was a democrat to his very core. At a public meeting in Dhaka on March 21, 1948, he made it clear that the government’s aim and objective should be to serve the people and devise ways and means for their welfare. He said, “It is in the hands of people to put the government in power or remove it from power.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg7_27

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Goods train hit as Pakistan sits on visas of Indian drivers

Dec 24, 2010

Amritsar : The thrice-a-week goods train service between India and Pakistan, on the lines of the Samjhauta Express passenger rail link, has come to a halt at Attari following denial of visas to 14 Indian Railways drivers by Pakistan. The visas of 11 drivers expired last month; the other three, who had visas for up to December 22, made the last round trip on Wednesday.

The suspension of the service has hit trade between the two countries. Around 500 wagons laden with dry fruits and cement are learnt to be stranded at both Lahore and Attari.

Northern Railway officials confirmed the trains had stopped, adding that frequent requests to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for renewal of the visas had got no response.

“The drivers had applied for extension of visas well in time. We have no drivers, today onwards, with permission to take a train into Pakistan,” said Mangal Singh Sandhu, Assistant Traffic Manager, Northern Railway.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/728765/

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93 arrested in anti-Al Qaeda sweep in Iraq

December 24, 2010

Iraqi forces have arrested 93 suspects, including 60 wanted men, in a crackdown on Al Qaeda in Anbar province, Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said on Thursday.

“A large military operation targeting Al Qaeda and their sleeper cells was launched overnight” on Tuesday in Anbar, western Iraq, Askari said. “Ninety-three suspects were arrested, including 60 wanted men,” he said, adding that ammunition had been discovered as well. The operation was jointly launched by the army, police, pro-Government tribal forces and members of the Sahwa, or anti-Qaeda militia, Askari said.

The aim of the operation is to “secure Baghdad and not give any opportunity for Al Qaeda to carry out terrorist actions, by arresting its members,” and to “achieve security and stability in all Iraq,” he said.

PM Nuri al-Maliki named security as one of his three top priorities after Parliament approved his nomination for a second term of office and gave its stamp of approval to his national unity Government.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/305784/93-arrested-in-anti-Al-Qaeda-sweep-in-Iraq.html

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Iraqi General gunned down in Baghdad

December 24, 2010

Gunmen with silenced weapons raked an Army Brigadier General’s car with gunfire in a Baghdad street, killing him and wounding his daughter, Defence and Interior Ministry officials said on Thursday.

The attack took place on Wednesday night in the Mansour district of the capital, the officials said. They named the victim as General Imad Hasham of the Army’s Sixth Division.

In another attack on Wednesday evening, gunmen also with silenced weapons shot and wounded police Lieutenant Colonel Majid Hamid as he was driving through the Amiriya area of Baghdad, the officials said.

Also on Thursday, an Iraqi police patrol discovered the body of Barbaros Mohammed Habeeb, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s party — in the disputed northern oil hub of Kirkuk, police Colonel Azad Abdullah said.

Habeeb had been shot 10 times, Abdullah said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/305812/Iraqi-General-gunned-down-in-Baghdad.html

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Wanted Taliban commander killed in SWA

Dec 24, 2010

PESHAWAR: Security officials said on Thursday that a wanted Taliban commander had been killed in fighting with security forces in the Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan. “Asmatullah Bhetani was killed in a gunfight with security forces in South Waziristan on the night between December 7 and 8,” a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Another official confirmed Bhetani’s death, saying there had been a reward of Rs 10 million for his arrest.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg7_9

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Pakistan: India using terror as a ‘propaganda ploy'

Anita Joshua

Dec 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday accused India of using terrorism as a “propaganda ploy” and sought to convey to Britain, France and Germany — which after high-level interactions with New Delhi urged Islamabad to do more to counter terror — that “indulging in blame game just for commercial and political expediencies serves no useful purpose.”

Stating that Pakistan had conveyed its concerns to the three countries on their statements, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit added: “We hope these countries with which we have very good relations will understand the true perspective of issues in this region. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and all countries need to cooperate with each other to address this issue effectively.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/24/stories/2010122464361800.htm

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BJP blames Nehru's 'erroneous' vision for problems in Kashmir

Dec 24, 2010

Jammu : BJP on Thursday said the "erroneous" vision of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the weak policies of successive Congress governments at the Centre were responsible for the problems in Jammu and Kashmir and suggested withdrawal of the special status to the state.

"Jammu and Kashmir is irrevocably an integral part of India and its merger with India is irrevocable," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters after a meeting of BJP office bearers here to do a "detailed analysis" of the situation in the troubled state.

"The first key challenge is that it is part of the unfinished agenda of Pakistan since independence," Jaitley said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/kashmir-imbroglio/728548/

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J&K interlocutors run into 'stone' wall

Randeep Singh Nandal

Dec 24, 2010

SRINAGAR: Three months into their mission and on their third visit to the Valley, the Central government interlocutors for Kashmir, Dilip Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar amd M M Ansari have run into a brickwall. They've been unable to secure demands like the release of stone-pelters or even arrive at a workable definition of what constitutes ''peaceful protest''.

Asked whether stone-pelters, who paralyzed the Valley for several months this year, could come under the panel's recommendation to the state government to allow peaceful protests, Padgaonkar said, ''Any protest that doesn't include violence should be allowed... any stone pelting that doesn't cause any harm is part of a peaceful protest.''

The formulation has surprised the security forces. ''Either Padgaonkar believes that youngsters will throw stones at trees and go home or he is saying the police should first wait to see if a policeman or two gets killed, and retaliate only then,'' said a police officer not wanting to be named.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/JK-interlocutors-run-into-stone-

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Film Federation of India bans Javed Akhtar

Kunal M Shah, MUMBAI MIRROR

Dec 24, 2010

The film industry is known for being one big family. But after the copyright issue, in which famed lyricist Javed Akhtar lobbied in parliament for the rights of writers and singers, a visible crack has appeared in this façade of camaraderie.

The Film Federation of India, the mother body of all film associations, has "advised members of the film federation to not employ the services" of the iconic writer. The decision was taken yesterday morning in Chennai by its newly elected president, T.P. Agrawal.

When contacted Agrawal put it mildly, saying, "Yes, it is true. We have advised members of the film federation to ban Mr Javed Akhtar till the time that this entire copyrights issue is sorted. Our whole point is that the producer is the one who takes the entire risk.

If Javed Akhtar wants a percentage as royalty, then he should also be liable to incur a percentage of the losses, if any. If we agree to one such demand, then tomorrow the singer will come up, then the music composer, and then the actor and so on.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Film-

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RSS to hold weeklong international conclave in Pune

Dec 24, 2010

PUNE: Nearly 1,000 volunteers of the militant organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are to participate in a weeklong conclave beginning on Dec. 29 in Pirangut suburb in Pune district, according to Aniruddh Deshpande, general secretary of the RSS of western Maharashtra.

Participants from US, Europe, Carribean, Southeast Asia, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and some Gulf countries are likely to attend the event that ends on Jan. 3.

Deshpande said that the RSS conclave will continue to woo young blood with the previous conclaves’ efforts in targeting youth having seen an increase in membership form foreign shores. “The RSS is keen to expand its base to more countries and would be inducting Green Card holders with nearly 70 percent being youngsters. Our organization would be more than happy to increase its reach to foreign shores,” Deshpande added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article221748.ece

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Gaza fighters now using tank-piercing missiles

Dec 24, 2010

JERUSALEM: Israel will deploy tanks equipped with a miniature missile-defense system along the Gaza border in the coming weeks now that Palestinians are using a sophisticated, tank-piercing missile, defense officials said.

Violence has been escalating along the Gaza border in recent weeks, and Israel's military chief disclosed Tuesday that fighters from the Palestinian coastal strip had for the first time fired a Kornet missile earlier this month and that it penetrated an Israeli tank.

Gaza's Hamas rulers have not confirmed or denied possessing the missiles.

Israeli officials say the Gaza fighters who once relied on crude, locally made projectiles, have steadily acquired more powerful and accurate missiles produced overseas.

The Israeli defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss such matters publicly, alleged the laser-guided Kornet had come from Iran. They provided no proof and it was not clear how the missiles were delivered. Hamas, which has close ties with Iran, controls a network of smuggling tunnels along Gaza's southern border with Egypt.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article221091.ece

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'Iran recruiting scientists to work on its nuke weapons programme'

Dec 24, 2010

Tehran : Iran is reportedly recruiting scientists from across the world to lure them to work on its nuclear weapons programme.

'The Telegraph' quoted Iranian officials as saying that their country is particularly dependent on North Korean scientists, but people with expertise from African countries are also being recruited to work on developing missiles and nuclear production activities.

Mohamed Reza Heydari, a former Iranian consul in Oslo, said that he had personally helped a number of North Koreans enter the country while working for the foreign ministry's office in Tehran's Imam Khomenei airport.

"Our mission was to coordinate with a team from the Ministry of Intelligence in checking the visas of the foreign diplomatic and trade delegates who visited Iran, with special attention to VIPs," the paper quoted him, as saying.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iran-recruiting-scientists-to-work-on-its-nuke-

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US ’79 memo: Let’s sell Pakistan F-16s and prevent n-proliferation

Dec 24, 2010

18 December 1975

A Special National Intelligence

Estimate, Prospects for Further Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Since 1972, the Pakistanis have been operating a natural uranium power reactor. We estimate that there could be as much as 200 kilograms of plutonium in irradiated fuel elements being stored in the site’s cooling ponds. Pakistan plans to construct a small chemicals reprocessing facility with French assistance, but negotiations have locked over the issue of safeguards and no contract has yet been signed. The French are insisting on stringent conditions which include IAEA safeguards and a prohibition against re-transfer of material and against replication of the technology. Strict adherence to these conditions would severely circumscribe the facilities value for a nuclear weapons program. We believe that the facility could be completed within two or three years after construction begins. Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-79-memo-lets-sell-pakistan-f16s-and-prevent-

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US Congress okays H-1B, L-1 visa fee hike extension till 2016

December 24, 2010

There appears to be a modicum of relief for Indian IT companies in the revised 9/11 health and compensation package approved by US Congress on Wednesday. The compromise legislation passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in quick succession pares down the size and duration of the package to $4.3 billion over a five-year period instead of the original $7.3 billion over a 10-year period.

As the package is to be part-funded by continuing the hefty fee hike on Indian IT companies using H-1B and L-1 visas for their US operations, the reduced scale and duration of the package is expected to offer some respite to these companies.

While details of the legislation finally passed by the two chambers were not immediately available, the expectation is that the hike on H-1B and L-1 visa fees will now go on till September 2016, instead of September 2021. This would effectively mean a two-year net extension of the impost, given that its original validity under the Emergency Border Security Appropriations Act, passed in August, was till September 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/305814/US-Congress-okays-H-1B-L-1-visa-fee-hike-

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Bomb in Iraq Kills Militiaman, Wife and 3 Children

December 24, 2010

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say a Shiite militia leader, his wife and three children have been killed in a bombing targeting their home south of Baghdad.

Babil province police spokesman Maj. Muthana Khalid says the explosion early Friday morning leveled the house in Haswa, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the capital. Four people were also wounded in the blast.

A hospital official confirmed the casualties.

A local policeman, Abdul-Salam al-Maamouri, identified the dead man as a Mahdi Army leader.

The Mahdi militia forces are loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They often terrorized Sunni neighborhoods during the height of Iraq's sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, and the militia's fighters have been targets of retribution.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/12/23/world/middleeast/AP-ML-

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Nato helicopter kills two in northern Afghanistan

Dec 24, 2010

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: A Nato helicopter opened fire on a car in northern Afghanistan Thursday, killing a police officer and a local politician’s brother, the governor of Faryab province told AFP.

Abdul Haq Shafaq said he was driving on the same road in his official convoy when the car came under attack from a Nato helicopter, around five kilometres outside the provincial capital, Maymana.

“We were on the same road. Five cars were coming from the opposite direction. All of a sudden we saw a Nato helicopter firing at one of those cars. A police officer and the brother of a lawmaker were killed,” Shafaq said.

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/23/nato-helicopter-kills-two-in-northern-afghanistan.html

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Bangladesh: 20 BGB soldiers jailed in Jaipurhat mutiny case

Dec 24, 2010

Twenty soldiers of 3 Border Guards Battalion, formerly Bangladesh Rifles, were on Thursday jailed for varying terms on mutiny charges for the February 2009 rebellion at the battalion in Jaipurhat.

A three-member special Border Guards Bangladesh court, headed by the Dinajpur sector commander, Colonel Muhammad Saleh Ahmad, also fined each of the convicts Tk 100 in their presence in court.

Two other members of the court are Lieutenant Colonel Mahafuj Alam and Major Didar Al Latif.

Deputy attorney general Bishwajit Roy assisted the court as attorney general’s representative while the Jaipurhat battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Mehedi Hassan was the prosecutor in the case.

Full report at: Bangladesh news

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Bangladesh to investigate Grameen Bank operations

December 24, 2010

Bangladesh Government will form a high-powered committee to investigate the alleged irregularities in the operations of Grameen Bank pioneered by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

“A high-powered committee will investigate the matter,” chairman of the standing committee on Finance Ministry A NH Mostafa Kamal told reporters on Thursday.

He said the committee would be formed within a few days. Kamal said the parliamentary watchdog has sought explanation from the Government why Grameen Bank is not being operated under the Microcredit Regulatory Act 2006.

“We’ve sought an explanation for Grameen Bank’s operations from the Finance Ministry’s banks and non-bank financial institution division,” Kamal was quoted as saying by bdnews24.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/305806/Bangladesh-to-investigate-Grameen-Bank-

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Iran says January nuclear talks historic opportunity

Dec 24, 2010

ISTANBUL: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday talks with major powers in Istanbul next month would be a historic opportunity to resolve the nuclear dispute if the West dropped what he called its policy of confrontation.

Iran's agreement to hold the Istanbul talks over its nuclear program with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States was the only tangible result of a meeting in Geneva this month. But hopes for a breakthrough are slight.

"We hope the Istanbul meeting becomes a good meeting with lasting results," Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Istanbul at the close of a regional summit ahead of the January talks.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article221773.ece

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KARACHI: Namaz-e-Janaza of Shaheed Havaldar Masood Ahmed held

Dec 24, 2010

KARACHI: The `Namaz-e-Janaza’ of Shaheed Havaldar Masood Ahmed, who embraced Shahadat during training flight mission on Wednesday, was held at the parade ground of an Army Aviation Unit here on Thursday. An ISPR press release said that the Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam, attended the Namaz-e-Janaza and met with the family of the Shaheed, who was the resident of Gulshan-e-Hadeed. He was laid to rest at a local graveyard with the military honours. Havaldar Masood Ahmed had embraced Shahadat on Wednesday in an air crash (Flight Training mission) near Quetta.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\24\story_24-12-2010_pg12_13

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Mughal- era designs that went awry

By Alolika Dubey

Dec 24, 2010

IT’S NOT common for Union minister for non- renewable energy resources, Farooq Abdullah, to make an appearance with his son- in- law, minister of state for communications and IT, Sachin Pilot. The lensmen, therefore, went berserk clicking the two at a fashion show presented by designers Monica and Rajeev Malik at hotel Janpath on Wednesday evening.

While Abdullah seemed to appreciate the lehenga s and saris showcased by the models, Pilot looked a little detached from the glittery proceedings.

With his wife Sara missing from the do, Pilot was mostly seen chatting with his friend from the Netherlands, identified only by his first name, Alex. When we asked Pilot about his favourite designer labels, he replied that he wasn’t a fashion- conscious person at all. “ I wear whatever I can pick up,” he added.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Anarchists behind Rome mail bombs

Dec 24, 2010

ROME: Package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Thursday, wounding the two people who opened them, in attacks that bore similarities to bombings by anarchists in Greece last month.

One of the wounded is at risk of losing an eye, a hospital official said. No group claimed responsibility, but Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said anarchists were thought to be behind the blasts.

"Various elements lead us to believe that this is the correct path," he was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency. "These are very violent groups that are also present in Spain and Greece and are very well connected."

On Nov. 2, suspected Greek radical anarchists sent 14 mail bombs to foreign embassies in Athens, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Two of the devices exploded, causing no injuries.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article221752.ece

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JEDDAH: Al-Hilal struggles past Alfaisaly

Dec 24, 2010

JEDDAH: Al-Hilal strengthened their position on top of the Saudi Professional League table with 34 points with a hard-earned 3-2 win over Alfaisaly in round 16 played in Al-Ahsa on Thursday night. They have ten wins to their credit and have drawn four matches. Alfaisaly are still in the sixth position with 23 points.

In Dammam, Al-Ittifaq surprised Al-Shabab by a solitary goal at the Prince Muhammad bin Fahd Stadium.

The win for Ittifaq was important especially after their 5-1 defeat against Ahli in the pervious round. Ittifaq is now on fourth position with 29 points while Shabab dropped to the fifth position with 25 points.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/sports/article221721.ece

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Egypt commutes militant's death sentence to jail term

Dec 24, 2010

CAIRO: An Egyptian militant leader condemned to death for killing officials and organizing attacks on tourists in the 1990s has had his sentence reduced to a life prison term, a court ruled on Thursday.

Abdel Hamid Musa Abu Aqrab, who headed the military wing of Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiya group, was convicted in June for the premeditated murder of two generals and two policemen who were shot dead in two attacks in 1992 and 1993.

Judge Abdullah Abu Hashem of the state security court commuted Abu Aqrab's sentence to 50 years in prison, or 25 years for each attack, citing the militant's failing health.

"The court has taken into account your health circumstances and has shown you compassion, sentencing you to life in prison," the judge said.

Egyptian authorities put down an Islamist uprising in the 1990s. Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiya, one of the militant groups to which Abu Aqrab belonged, targeted ministers, the police and tourists.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article221789.ece

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Man wounds murder suspect in Turkish court

Dec 24, 2010

ANKARA: The business partner of a murder victim sneaked a tiny gun in the shape of a car remote control into a courtroom in Istanbul on Thursday and shot the accused murderer in the eye, according to news reports.

The attacker fired the improvised gun twice at the defendant, who was standing between paramilitary policemen.

The first bullet hit the suspect, Mehmet Emin Soylu, who lost the sight in his left eye as a result, the Anatolia news agency said. The second bullet injured no one.

The court was expected to issue a verdict in the retrial of Soylu, who faces charges of killing one person and wounding another in 2007 in a shootout at a car dealership.

The agency reported that the attacker's gun did not set off an X-ray machine at the entrance of the court house.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article221781.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/un-protections-for-islam-losing-ground/d/3828


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