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Islamic World News ( 6 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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£10m bounty on Gaddafi - dead or alive

A Libyan Leader at War With Rebels, and Reality

Heavy machine gun fire shakes Gaddafi’s stronghold

Gunman attacks diplomats’ car in Karachi

UK keeps eyes shut as ISI uses turf to hit India

UN chief calls on Libyan foreign minister, appeals for end to violence

Embassy in Cairo works hard to send Indians to safety

‘Al Qaeda’ attack leads to fresh tension in Yemen

J& K govt asks hoteliers to stock up fearing repeat of unrest in Valley

Hounded from Pak Tihar jail is their home now

 Libya battles escalate, heavy Tripoli gunfire

'US planners mull military options in Libya'

Libya forces hold back rebel advance

Car used in Pak minister's killing found

Top Saudi scholars back ban on protests

US Defence Secretary Gates lands in Afghanistan

Cell phone outage affects millions in Pakistan

Gunmen attack MQM MPA’s Hyderabad residence

Saudi Arabia detains 22 Shias

7 terrorists killed in Kurram Agency

Iraq blast kills 6 in oil-rich Basra

Rebels hold British soldiers, diplomat in Libya

Abbas heads to Britain for talks on peace

U.S. Weighs Options, on Air and Sea

Saudi Arabia detains Shi'ites as clerics ban protests

Gaddafi launches counter-offensive on Libyan rebels

British “secret agents” held in Libya

2,300 Indians evacuated from strife-torn Libya so far

Jamiat to launch agitation against rightwing outfits

Egypt revolt gave us back our lives: Hamas chief

Verdict in Yunus case likely today

U.S. warns citizens on Yemen as protests swell

Afghans protest over child deaths in NATO raid

3 dead, 28 hurt in Crete after Libya ship arrival

Jordan Islamists demonstrate demanding freedom for jailed relatives

Rebels repel Misrata attack; Saudis evacuated from Libya

Shoura to pass mortgage law without delay: Al-Asheikh

PM’s office in Bahrain besieged by thousands

Baghdad Neighbourhood Celebrates

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/£10m-bounty-on-gaddafi---dead-or-alive/d/4239

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£10m bounty on Gaddafi - dead or alive

Mar 06, 2011

London: A whopping 10 million pounds bounty has been placed on the head of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi.

The reward is being offered by special agents to the Libyan who can deliver them Gaddafi—dead or alive.

British and US spies are in Libya with bundles of cash to tempt Gaddafi’s closest bodyguards and aides to turn hitman or hand him over.

“There is about 10 million pounds from the Brits and Americans to make it happen. They have infiltrated his closest body- guards. With the right people together it could happen in days,” the Daily Star quoted a well-placed security source as saying.

“The important thing is this has to be done by Libyans. We cannot have British fingerprints on this. It’s up to the Libyans and there is an open cheque book.

“The spooks are spending a fortune out there. It’s serious money for serious people who can make this happen. Money is no object,” said the source.

Handfuls of notes have also being given out to turn Gaddafi’s closest aides – especially his military staff.

The source added, “Gaddafi keeps moving so it is difficult to get close. This plan needs the military on board as they are closest to Gaddafi. They have already signed up people lower down and want more senior people, as many as they can get.”

http://www.asianage.com/international/%C2%A310m-bounty-gaddafi-dead-or-alive-520

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A Libyan Leader at War With Rebels, and Reality

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

TRIPOLI, Libya — Residents here were awakened before dawn on Sunday by the sound of artillery and gunfire in the streets. When they tuned into state television broadcasts, they heard stunning news: the Libyan military had routed the rebels seeking to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The gunfire, they were told, was in celebration.

“Before I turned on the television I was very worried and very scared,” said Noura al-Said, 17, a student who went to celebrate in Green Square in central Tripoli. “But it was the best news I had ever heard. We had taken the whole country back!”

But Sunday was just another day spent through the looking glass of the oil-financed and omnipresent cult of personality that Colonel Qaddafi has spent 41 years building in Libya. Few of the claims by the Libyan state media lined up with the facts — there was no decisive victory by his forces — and the heavy firing in Tripoli on Sunday morning was never persuasively explained.

But accuracy and logic have never been the tenets of Colonel Qaddafi’s governing philosophy, and their absence is especially conspicuous now, as rebels pose the greatest challenge to his four decades of enigmatic rule.

Not a day passes in Tripoli without some improbable claim by Colonel Qaddafi or the top officials around him: there are no rebels or protesters in Libya; the people who are demonstrating have been drugged by Al Qaeda; no shots have been fired to suppress dissent.

Yet a segment of the Libyan population appears to admire his defiant promotion of his world view, and confusion and obfuscation help explain how he keeps his rivals off balance.

Foreign news organizations were reporting, based on firsthand observations, that rebel forces were under fire but remained in control of the eastern half of the country, as well as many pockets in the west. The government’s main victory over the weekend appeared to be driving the rebels from the town of Bin Jawwad, which they had taken Saturday night. And both sides continued to prepare for a decisive battle in the Qaddafi stronghold of Surt.

But many Tripoli residents seemed happy to ignore such reports on Sunday and chose to accept Colonel Qaddafi’s narrative — that his loyalists were at the gates of the rebels’ headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi, or were in control of it already, or had captured the rebels’ top leader.

For more than four hours, Qaddafi supporters fired triumphant bursts of machine gun fire into the air from cars and among crowds in the downtown area. As many as 2,000 of them waved bright green flags and bandannas — and, in many cases, guns — as they rallied in Green Square, and several hundred of the pro-Qaddafi demonstrators were still at it at sunset.

Many of the people in Green Square lashed out at the Arabic news channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, calling them liars that had confused and inflamed Libya’s young people. The crowd’s fist-pumping ardor was a testament to the strength of the mythology of epic heroism that Colonel Qaddafi has instilled since he seized power at the age of 27.

He did it in part by making sure that his was virtually the only voice in public life. News reports try not to refer to other top government officials, or even soccer players, by name, ensuring that Colonel Qaddafi is virtually the only public figure in Libya.

Colonel Qaddafi has also built a persona, in particular as a revolutionary still tilting at distant colonial powers, that in some ways resonates with Libyans who remember their bitter experiences under Italian rule. His personal mythology has helped him stay on top of a fractious, tribal and deeply divided society for longer than any other living leader in North Africa or the Middle East.

“He may have been mad,” said Prof. Diederick Vandewalle, of Dartmouth, a Libya specialist. “But there was certainly a method.”

It is hard to know what combination of fear, opportunism and sincere adoration drives supporters to attend the Qaddafi rallies that have erupted across Tripoli this week — the manic crowds chanting “God and Muammar and Libya, enough.” But the cult of Qaddafi began to take shape in 1975, just six years after the bloodless coup that brought him to power, when he published the Green Book, a grandiose and quasi-coherent work of a Stalin who aspired to become a Marx.

Government institutes were set up for its exegesis. A generation of Libyans grew up studying it as a great work of social and political theory. Tabletlike statues of its three volumes were erected in seemingly every town.

And in keeping with its precepts, Colonel Qaddafi eventually gave up any official title in the Libyan government, giving rise to one of the prime examples of Libyan doublespeak. While everyone in Libya regards Colonel Qaddafi as the all-powerful ruler behind every decision of state, he often answers critics calling on him to surrender power by saying it is too late — he already has.

After he led the revolution, he said in a speech last week, “I went back to my tent.”

Behind his aloof and flamboyant public image, though, Colonel Qaddafi has remained not only in charge but intimately involved in even minor details of the Libyan government. Cables from the United States Embassy in Tripoli that were published by WikiLeaks reported that he personally managed the cases of high-profile political prisoners, and even dictated the response to a specific travel request from the embassy.

He personally vets every Libyan government contract worth more than $200 million and examines many of much less value as well, the cables said. He doles out “plum contracts” to loyalists who can extract various fees for themselves, in part to buy their support, the cables said. He also displayed a mastery of details involved in complicated transactions, like an attempt to revive an aborted 1970s deal to buy C-130 cargo planes from the United States.

“Al-Qadhafi’s mastery of tactical maneuvering has kept him in power for nearly 40 years; however, the unholy alliance of corruption and cult-of-personality politics on which the system has been based is ultimately limiting,” Ambassador Gene Cretz wrote in one cable, adding, “The reality is that no potential successor currently enjoys sufficient credibility in his own right to maintain that delicate equilibrium.”

What’s more, Colonel Qaddafi maintains a strong interest in American books about public affairs. In one cable, the embassy reported that Colonel Qaddafi assigned trusted aides to prepare Arabic summaries of Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World,” Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat 3.0,” George Soros’s “The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror” and President Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.” Another of Zakaria’s books, “The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad,” was said to be a Qaddafi favorite.

At least until his brutal efforts to crush the Libyan uprising drew reprimands from Washington, Colonel Qaddafi seemed to be a big Obama fan. The Libyan leader repeatedly sought to meet with the new American president, the embassy reported, and wrote him a gushing note “on behalf of all Africa” and “in the name of all Arab leaders as I am their dean.”

“The black man is not less competent than the white man,” Colonel Qaddafi told Mr. Obama. “I salute the American people who have chosen you in these historical elections for such a high position, so that you may lead the change that you have promised them.”

Since the uprising began Feb. 16, Colonel Qaddafi has repeated a series of wildly false assertions. In a speech to the Libyan General People’s Congress, for example, he declared there had been no demonstrations against him and that he was beloved by all the Libyan people.

He blamed the protests on drugs distributed by Osama bin Laden, and he has insisted that a radical Islamist emir had taken over a city in the east, imposed Islamic law and begun daily executions of those who violated it.

But in the same speech, he demonstrated the peculiar bond he maintains with his most fervent supporters. At several points during the three-hour address, he paused to ask the audience for help with his memory — the name of a certain newspaper, for example, or a reminder to return to the subject of the drugs. His audience readily obliged.

His canniness is hard to gauge, but certainly some of his predictions have proved to be farsighted. In his first response to the uprising, long before the rebels had armed themselves, he declared the unrest was sure to become a civil war. And he warned that such strife would invite Western interference; he can now point to American warships off the coast, reports of British Special Forces in eastern Libya and a debate about Western airstrikes to enforce a no-flight zone.

At other times he has appeared to put perhaps too much trust in his own propaganda. His government invited some 130 foreign journalists to Tripoli last week and promptly bused them to areas where anti-Qaddafi protesters have burned buildings or taken over towns. Perhaps Libyan officials expected the reporters to corroborate the government’s view that the insurgents were violent Islamic extremists.

But there was no evidence of an Islamist connection, and the rebels described far greater violence from Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. By Friday, the government appeared to be struggling to ride herd on the journalists.

What started the gunfire in Tripoli early Sunday could not be determined. Protesters suggested that there had been a fight between members of his security forces, since they are the only ones with guns in the capital. But the heavy celebratory gunfire that continued for four hours — and occurred again sporadically throughout the day — was an effective show of force to anyone who might have thought to challenge Colonel Qaddafi.

At the hotel housing the visiting journalists, government employees and hotel staff members could be seen hugging and even crying over the state media’s news of the government victories. And near twilight at Green Square, many in the crowd of several hundred were pushing forward to tell journalists how happy they were. “The cities that were in control of the gangs — they were set free!” said Souad Monsour, a 19-year-old student. “People from everywhere are here to celebrate.”

Muhammad Said, 38, interrupted. “All the bloodshed in Libya has been because of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya,” he said, echoing Colonel Qaddafi. “These bad channels are confusing people and turning them into trouble.”

Discerning friends from enemies can be difficult in a police state. One young man at the Qaddafi rally had been seen at an antigovernment protest the day before. His true allegiance was unclear.

Several of those at the rally insisted, as Colonel Qaddafi has, that the rebels were organized by Al Qaeda. One supporter, Adle el-Ageli, wanted to talk about the Libyan leader: “Muammar is a hawk. He is unique. There is no alternative to him.”

And if the state media reports of great victories prove false on Monday? Ms. Said would not answer directly: “I have a big trust in Muammar Qaddafi.”

Moises Saman contributed reporting.

New York Times

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Heavy machine gun fire shakes Gaddafi’s stronghold

March 07, 2011

Heavy machine-gun fire rocked Muammar Gaddafi’s bastion of Tripoli on Sunday as the fighting between his forces and rebels raged in Libya’s east and west, with the strongman seeking a UN or African Union probe into the crisis, promising that investigators would not face any hindrance.

Eighteen days after the uprising against Gaddafi’s 41-year rule began; extremely heavy gunfire could be heard in the capital Tripoli before dawn on Sunday.

The gunfire in Tripoli began at about 0545 local time (0915 IST), BBC reported. The machine-gun and heavy weapons fire could be heard across the city. Some reports quoted Government officials as saying that the firing was celebratory, while some others quoted residents as saying that it appeared to be fighting and not celebration.

Anti-Gaddafi rebels have taken much of the country in the over two-week revolt and have repeatedly denied Government claims they have lost towns.

In an interview to French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Gaddafi said he wanted the UN or the African Union to probe the Libyan crisis.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322533/Heavy-machine-gun-fire-shakes-Gaddafi%E2%80%99s-stronghold.html

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Gunman attacks diplomats’ car in Karachi

By ASHRAF KHAN

Mar 6, 2011

KARACHI: A gunman in Pakistan opened fire on a car carrying Qatar’s consul and two other Gulf diplomats in an apparent robbery attempt, but no injuries were reported, Qatar’s state-run news agency said Sunday.

Pakistani police confirmed an attempted robbery on a Qatari mission vehicle in the southern city of Karachi but gave conflicting accounts on whether any diplomats were directly targeted.

The Qatar News Agency said the assailant tried to open the car door Saturday, then fired shots at the vehicle from a pistol. The Qatari official was accompanied by Oman’s consul and the deputy consul for Kuwait, but no one was injured, the agency said.

Fayyaz Leghri, the top police official in Sindh province, said armed robbers went after an escort vehicle in the Qatari consul’s convoy. But the consul himself was not directly targeted, said Leghri, who did not say if shots were fired or if any other diplomats were in other vehicles in the convoy.

However, another senior Pakistani police official said two armed men on a motorcycle held up a van carrying the consul. A police guard in the vehicle gave them some money and a cell phone.

As the robbers sped away, one fired a bullet at the van, hitting it from behind, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. He said other diplomats were believed to be in the van, but he did not know who. An American CIA security contractor is on trial in Pakistan after shooting dead two men in the eastern city of Lahore whom he alleges were trying to rob him.

The US claims the contractor has diplomatic immunity from prosecution, but Pakistan’s government has said the matter is up to the courts, a stance that has further strained the counterterrorism allies’ rocky relationship.

http://arabnews.com/world/article304155.ece

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UK keeps eyes shut as ISI uses turf to hit India

Ashis Ray

Mar 7, 2011

LONDON: Britain has been turning a blind eye to Pakistan's ISI's activities including a virulent targeting of India for the fear of losing its counter-terrorism cooperation on British soil, a source said.

"Please, could I ask you to re-direct your enquiry to the home office,'' a British foreign office spokesperson said, while the home office did not respond to TOI's queries on ISI's activities in the UK.

ISI's operations in Britain are among the most comprehensive outside Pakistan and draw heavily from the support of a million strong Pakistani community in the UK. There are at least three ISI agents posted at London's Pakistani High Commission as diplomats with the British government's knowledge . There are likely to be more at consulates in Birmingham and other places.

A Whitehall source said MI5 and MI6 — the UK's internal and external intelligence gathering agencies — are even aware of Lashkar-e-Taiba activities in the country. The British government has designated the LeT as a terrorist organisation and banned it. Britain's counter-terrorism officials are aware that the LeT receives assistance and protection from the ISI. Yet, the British authorities continue to soft-pedal on the ISI.

A recent interview of a Pakistani-descent taxi driver, Mohammed Adris, to the Derby Evening Telegraph was a typical example of ISI's tactics. Adris poured out his heart out about the alleged ill-treatment of Kashmiris. He said this was not first hand knowledge, but gathered from Pakistani newspapers and friends. "The Indian army has ruined people's lives in Kashmir. They kill young people,'' Adris told the newspaper. "It's not a Muslim country. There is no freedom for M u s l i m s there. My friends' families don't know whether, when they go to the mosque to pray, they will be killed because the army thinks they are terrorists.''

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/UK-keeps-eyes-shut-as-ISI-uses-turf-to-hit-India/articleshow/7644202.cms

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UN chief calls on Libyan foreign minister, appeals for end to violence

Mar 7, 2011

UNITED NATIONS: The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, has appealed to Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa to protect human rights and comply with a recent Security Council resolution to end the unabated violence raging in the country for over two weeks.

The Security Council recently unanimously adopted a resolution slapping sanctions on the Libyan regime, which includes a complete arms embargo, an asset freeze and a travel ban on the country's leadership and an immediate referral to the International Criminal Court.

"The secretary-general discussed the increasingly troubling humanitarian situation, in particular the plight of migrant workers," a statement from the UN said.

Ban also called on the authorities to "ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and unhindered access for humanitarian organisations to people in need."

Kusa has agreed to the immediate dispatch of a humanitarian assessment team to Tripoli, according to the UN

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UN-chief-calls-on-Libyan-foreign-minister-appeals-for-end-to-violence/articleshow/7645019.cms

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Embassy in Cairo works hard to send Indians to safety

March 07, 2011

Amid escalating violence in Libya, the Indian embassy in the Egyptian capital is continuing its efforts to evacuate Indians stranded there for the second consecutive week.

A chartered ship Scotia Prince carrying 1,188 Indians from Bengazi, second biggest Libyan city, docked at Alexandria port in Egypt on March 2.

They were immediately flown to India through five chartered aircrafts. Scotia Prince has again set sail for Bengazi for a second evacuation of about 1,146 Indian nationals on March 3 and is expected to arrive in Alexandria back on March 7.

As of on Sunday, 467 Indian nationals have also been assisted at the Saloum border post between Egypt and Libya.

The Indian Embassy officials stationed at Saloum facilitated immigration at the border and arranged special buses to bring them to Cairo.

They have been temporarily accommodated in a hotel and would be flown to Mumbai mainly through Gulf Air.

The Regional Passport Office in Mumbai along with various agencies of the Central and State Government will then facilitate their travel to their respective hometowns.

The Indian embassy has set-up a delegation at Egypt’s crossing of Saloum on the border with Libya.

The delegation facilitates issuing new traveling papers for those whose papers were burnt or lost in the attempt of Indians to flee the chaos there.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322531/Embassy-in-Cairo-works-hard-to-send-Indians-to-safety.html

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‘Al Qaeda’ attack leads to fresh tension in Yemen

March 07, 2011

Suspected Al Qaeda gunmen killed four soldiers in Yemen on Sunday, a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to yield to protesters demanding his immediate resignation.

The new violence came as both London and Washington called on their citizens to consider leaving the impoverished Arabian peninsula country and warned against all but essential travel.

The elite Republican Guard soldiers were ambushed as they delivered food near Marib about 170 kilometres (110 miles) east of Sanaa, a local official told AFP.

“The attack was similar to others by Al Qaeda,” the official added. A military attack helicopter and ground troops pursued the assailants into a nearby valley, a security source said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322530/%E2%80%98Al-Qaeda%E2%80%99-attack-leads-to-fresh-tension-in-Yemen.html

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J& K govt asks hoteliers to stock up fearing repeat of unrest in Valley

Naseer Ganai

THE JAMMU and Kashmir government has issued an unusual directive to hoteliers in Srinagar.

It has asked them to keep enough stock of eatables in reserve for the “ Darbar Move” employees. The directive has raised concern as it foreshadows the government anticipating another turmoil in the Valley this summer.

“ Darbar Move” refers to the shifting of the seat of the government every year from Jammu, the winter capital of the state, to Srinagar, the summer capital, and vice- versa.

The tradition, started during the Dogra rule in 1872 by Maharaja Gulab Singh, involves moving offices associated with the civil secretariat. The relocation happens as Srinagar turns extremely cold in winters.

“ Keeping in view the situation in the Valley as witnessed last year, the hoteliers shall have to keep sufficient stock of eatables,” reads the terms and conditions issued by the estates department.

The department is headed by chief minister Omar Abdullah.

The hoteliers, however, have called the new directions “ impractical”. A group of hoteliers met the estates department to discuss the issue.

“ For the past 20 years we have been providing hotels to the government to accommodate the Darbar Move employees.

Full report at:

Mail Today

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Hounded from Pak Tihar jail is their home now

By Anindita Datta Choudhury

WITHOUT A COUNTRY: ( Above) Some of the Pakistani women lodged in Tihar jail, including Anisa ( right), with her daughter Abasa and ( left) Rakshanda with her daughter Farah Naaz.

IT HAS taken two brutal killings in Pakistan — of Punjab province governor Salman Taseer and minority minister Shahbaz Bhatti — to make one thing clear to the world. That raising one’s voice against the country’s blasphemy law leads to death.

Beyond the Indo- Pak border, lodged in Tihar Jail since 2007, are 65 people, among them 19 women, who have fled Pakistan because they fear persecution under these laws.

Five of them have had babies in the jail and two children were sent away because they were over five years of age. But they still hope they won’t be deported back to their country.

“ The blasphemy laws should be amended.

We are afraid to go back to Pakistan because of them,” says 30- year- old Rakshanda, an English graduate from Khanewal.

Rakshanda and the others, all of them educated and well off once, are a part of Messiah Foundation International ( MFI), an inter- faith spiritualist organisation established under the guidance of Ra Gohar Shahi in early 2002 to promote the Goharian Philosophy of Divine Love.

Full report at:

Mail Today

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Libya battles escalate, heavy Tripoli gunfire

Mar 07, 2011

Libyan troops loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi launched counter-offensives on three rebel-held towns on Sunday as the popular uprising escalated into open warfare. The resilience of Col. Gaddafi’s forces in the face of the widespread insurrection and their ability to counter-attack will increase fears that Libya is heading for a protracted civil war rather than the swift revolutions seen in Tunisia and Egypt. The gunfire and fighting witnessed around Tripoli on Sunday was the heaviest since the rebellion began in Libya.

Col. Gaddafi’s troops, backed by tanks, artillery, fighter jets and helicopters, attacked the towns of Zawiyah and Misrata, to the immediate west and east of Tripoli, and the oil port city of Ras Lanuf, 660 km east of the capital.

Government spokesmen said government forces won a series of swift victories, but many of the towns remained in rebel hands, reporters at the scene and witnesses said.

Gaddafi loyalists were nevertheless jubilant over the reports and automatic gunfire reverberated around the capital. “These are celebrations because government forces have taken control of all areas to Benghazi and are in the process of taking control of Benghazi,” spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said, referring to Libya’s

rebel-controlled second largest city situated in the far east.

While Benghazi remained firmly in rebel hands, government troops pushed rebels out of the town of Bin Jawad which they had captured on Saturday, back to Ras Lanuf. One fighter returning wounded to Ras Lanuf from the frontline was asked what he had seen. He replied: “Death”.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/india/libya-battles-escalateheavy-tripoli-gunfire-569

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'US planners mull military options in Libya'

 

US defence planners are preparing a range of land, sea and air military options in Libya in case Washington and its allies decide to intervene there, The New York Times reported late on Sunday. The report came as Muammar Gaddafi's forces held off rebels near the dictator's hometown and rec

aptured a key city.

Untold numbers of "injured and dying" in the western city of Misrata meanwhile prompted a UN demand for urgent access to the civilian population repeatedly shelled by Gaddafi tanks on Sunday.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the newspaper said just simple use of signal-jamming aircraft in international airspace could muddle Libyan government communications with military units.

Administration officials said preparations for such an operation were under way, the report said.

The latest military force to draw within striking distance of Tripoli is the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard two amphibious assault ships, the Kearsarge and the Ponce, the paper noted.

Full report at:

Http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/US-planners-mull-military-options-in-Libya/Article1-670409.aspx

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Libya forces hold back rebel advance

 

RAS LANOUF (Libya): Libyan helicopter gunships fired on a rebel force advancing west toward the capital Tripoli along the country's Mediterranean coastline on Sunday and forces loyal to leader Muammar Qadhafi engaged in intense ground battles with the rival fighters.

The opposition force pushed out of the rebel-held eastern half of Libya late last week for the first time and has been cutting a path west toward Tripoli. On the way, they secured control of two important oil ports at Brega and Ras Lanouf and by Sunday, the rebels were advancing farther west when they were hit by the helicopter fire and confrontations with ground forces.

Fierce ground battles were raging around the front line between two towns about 48 km apart, Ras Lanouf and Bin Jawad to the west. Associated Press reporters at the scene said Qadhafi loyalists retook Bin Jawad, about 160 km east of Mr. Qadhafi's hometown and stronghold of Sirte, which could prove to be a decisive battleground.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/07/stories/2011030753331700.htm

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Car used in Pak minister's killing found

Mar 06, 2011

Islamabad: The vehicle suspected to have been used in the assassination of Pakistani minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been found, a media report said.

Bhatti, a 42-year-old Christian, was shot dead March 2 as he left his mother's house in a posh locality in the heart of Islamabad.

A white vehicle had intercepted his official car, and two - some reports said three - men sprang out of the car and opened fire at the minister, giving him no chance to escape.

Sources said that police found the white car parked along the road near the satellite town in Rawalpindi.

Police were informed by a resident that one of the minister's assassins, whose sketch was made public, was spotted parking the car there.

The vehicle's engine and chassis numbers were found to be tampered with and the registration plate was fake.

The registration number was originally issued to another car from Lahore, and the vehicle used in the crime was registered with the Lahore excise and taxation department.

Investigators, meanwhile, said there were contradictions between the statements of the minister's driver and two witnesses to the killing.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/car-used-pak-ministers-killing-found-510

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Top Saudi scholars back ban on protests

7 March 2011

DUBAI —The kingdom has escaped major protests like those in Egypt and Tunisia. “The Council of Senior Clerics affirms that demonstrations are forbidden in this country. The correct way in Shariah (Islamic law) of realising common interest is by advising, which is what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established,” said the statement by the body headed by Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh.

“Reform and advice should not be via demonstrations and ways that provoke strife and division, this is what the religious scholars of this country in the past and now have forbidden and warned against,” said the statement, carried by state media.

“The Council warns of deviant ideological and party-political connections since this nation is one and will adhere to the ways of the pious ancestors,” the statement said.

“The kingdom has not and will not allow ideas from the West or the East that take away from this Islamic identity and divide the unity of the whole.”

Saudi authorities released a Shia cleric Tawfiq Al Amer, who was arrested last week, a close associate of Al Amer said.

Security forces have detained at least 22 demonstrators who have staged small protests for about two weeks in the kingdom’s oil-rich east, activists said.

The Interior Ministry said on Saturday that protests violate Islamic law and the kingdom’s traditions. —

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/March/middleeast_March119.xml&section=middleeast

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US Defense Secretary Gates lands in Afghanistan

7 March 2011,

 KABUL - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan on Monday on an unannounced visit at a time of increased strain between Kabul and its Western backers and with important security transition milestones looming.

Gates, a frequent visitor to Afghanistan, will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who complained angrily last week after nine Afghan children were mistakenly killed by helicopters from the NATO-led force.

Karzai is due to announce on March 21 a timetable for the beginning of the gradual handover of security responsibility from foreign forces to Afghans. The process is to begin in July and be complete by 2014.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March333.xml&section=international

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Cell phone outage affects millions in Pakistan

Mar 07, 2011

ISLAMABAD: An official with Pakistan’s top provider of cellular phone services says technical problems have left millions without a signal in the country’s north.

The official says Mobilink’s experts and technicians have had success in reviving service in certain pockets on Monday. More than 10 million people are believed to be affected due to dropping or missing signals.

The outages began Sunday evening.

The official requested anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the issue with the media. Cell phone use has exploded in Pakistan in recent years. Many in this country of 180 million don’t bother installing landlines anymore.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/07/cell-phone-outage-affects-millions-in-pakistan.html

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Gunmen attack MQM MPA’s Hyderabad residence; no casualties

Mar 07, 2011

HYDERABAD: Unknown gunmen fired at the Hyderabad residence of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s provincial minister Zubair Ahmed Khan late Sunday, DawnNews reported.

No casualties were reported and Khan remained safe.

The assailants managed to escape from the scene.

MQM officials and police reached Khan’s residence soon after the incident.

MQM’s zonal in charge Mohammad Sharif said Khan was standing outside his residence when two men riding a motorbike started firing.

Moreover, MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the attack on Khan and said those behind the attack should be immediately arrested.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/07/gunmen-attack-mqm-mpa%E2%80%99s-hyderabad-residence-no-casualties.html

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Saudi Arabia detains 22 Shias

Mar 07, 2011

DUBAI: Saudi security forces have detained at least 22 minority Shias who protested last week against discrimination, activists said on Sunday, as the kingdom tried to keep the wave of Arab unrest outside its borders.

Saudi Shias have staged small demonstrations in the eastern province, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world’s top crude exporter.

The province is near Bahrain, also the scene of protests in recent weeks by majority Shias against their Sunni rulers.

“Twenty-two were arrested on Thursday plus four on Friday, so the total is 26. This was all in Qatif,” said rights activist Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, who heads the independent Saudi-based Human Rights First Society.

A Shia activist in the province’s main town of Qatif also said he knew of 22 arrests. Saudi Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

Protests started in the area of Qatif and neighbouring Awwamiya and spread to the town of Hofuf on Friday. The demands were mainly for the release of prisoners demonstrators say are held without trial.

Saudi Shias complain they struggle to get senior government jobs and benefits given to other citizens.

The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies the charges.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\07\story_7-3-2011_pg7_6

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7 terrorists killed in Kurram Agency

Mar 07, 2011

PARACHINAR: Seven terrorists were killed and three others were injured when gunship helicopters shelled their hideouts at Chinark area of the Kurram Agency. Official sources informed on Sunday that security forces, who had been tipped-off about the presence of a group of terrorists in the Chinark area, shelled their hideouts, and killed seven terrorists and injured three others. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\07\story_7-3-2011_pg7_8

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Iraq blast kills 6 in oil-rich Basra

Mar 7, 2011

BASRA, Iraq: Local Iraqi officials say a roadside bomb has killed six people in the southern city of Basra. A police officer said the bomb targeted a bus Sunday around 9 a.m. Twelve people were wounded.

A morgue official confirmed the death toll.

Another police officer said the bomb missed a passing US

army patrol, but hit the bus. He put the death toll at three and the wounded at 11.

There was no way to immediately reconcile the difference in numbers. Conflicting reports on casualties are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

Oil-rich Basra is 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article303569.ece

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Rebels hold British soldiers, diplomat in Libya

Mar 06, 2011

 London: A British special forces unit (SAS) and a junior diplomat were being held by rebels in eastern Libya following a bungled mission to put the envoy in touch with them, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

The broadsheet, citing sources, said the Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers, thought to be up to eight men, were captured along with the diplomat they were escorting through the rebel-held east.

"We can neither confirm nor deny the report," a Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces."

The uninvited appearance of the SAS alongside the diplomat "angered Libyan opposition figures who ordered the soldiers to be locked up in a military base," the weekly said.

Opponents of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi "fear he could use any evidence of Western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime," it said.

The newspaper said that according to Libyan sources, the SAS soldiers were taken by rebels to Libya's second city Benghazi, held by the opposition, and hauled up before a senior figure.

The Sunday Times said a British source, who confirmed the men had been detained, said the diplomat they were protecting had wanted to make contact with the rebels.

It cited a source close to the opposition leadership as saying rebel officials were worried that Libyan people might think from the escort party that "foreign troops have started to interfere by landing in Libya".

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/rebels-hold-british-soldiers-diplomat-libya-508

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Abbas heads to Britain for talks on peace

6 March 2011

“The talks with Cameron and Hague will address the situation in the Middle East, the faltering peace process and Israeli settlement activity as well as the upcoming meeting of the Quartet,” said Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.

The Middle East Quartet of peacemakers — which groups the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — is expected to meet in Paris later this month for talks aimed at jump-starting the peace process.

Abu Rudeina said Abbas’s meetings in London would also address “ways to support and promote the peace process in the face of Israeli intransigence and continued settlement activity, which has stalled the negotiations.”

He said Abbas would also discuss European efforts to support the peace process, which stalled shortly after direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians restarted in September 2009 over the issue of settlement building.

Israel has refused to renew a partial settlement construction moratorium that expired shortly after Washington relaunched direct talks between the two sides.

The Palestinians have refused to hold negotiations while Israel builds on land they want for a future state, leading to an impasse.

Israeli media reports in the past week have suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be drawing up an interim peace deal that would offer the Palestinians a temporary state on a limited part of the West Bank.

But the Palestinians have already said they will not accept any agreement that does not include a permanent resolution of all so-called final-status issues, including borders, the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/March/middleeast_March117.xml&section=middleeast

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U.S. Weighs Options, on Air and Sea

By THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON — American military planners are sifting through a range of options as the United States, like other Western nations, weighs the response to the bloody Libyan military assaults on rebels trying to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Rebel commanders have begged for American strikes on troops and weapons that have turned on civilians and assaulted strongholds of the resistance. And on Sunday, three influential members of the United States Senate, from both parties, renewed the call for a no-flight zone to ground the Libyan Air Force and prevent it from attacking its people. They also pressed the Obama administration for a more aggressive response, including supplying intelligence, arms and training to the rebels.

The defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, and top commanders have warned of political fallout if America again attacks a Muslim nation, even to support a popular revolt. So military planners on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and in its field commands are offering a broad range of approaches, depending on how events play out in Libya and how tough the United States and its allies want to be.

Even without firing a shot, a relatively passive operation using signal-jamming aircraft in international airspace could muddle Libyan government communications with military units. Administration officials said Sunday that preparations for such an operation were under way.

The latest military force to draw within striking distance of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, is the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard two amphibious assault ships, the Kearsarge and the Ponce. The unit provides a complete air, sea and land force that can project its power quickly and across hundreds of miles, either from flat-decked ships in the Mediterranean Sea or onto a small beachhead on land.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/world/middleeast/07qaddafi.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

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Saudi Arabia detains Shi'ites as clerics ban protests

Mar 07 2011

Saudi security forces have detained at least 22 minority Shi'ites who protested last week against discrimination, activists said on Sunday, as the kingdom tried to keep the wave of Arab unrest outside its borders.

Saudi Shi'ites have staged small demonstrations in the Eastern Province, which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter.

The province is near Bahrain, the scene of protests in recent weeks by majority Shi'ites against their Sunni rulers.

Twenty-two were arrested on Thursday plus four on Friday ... This was all in Qatif," said rights activist Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, who heads the independent Saudi-based Human Rights First Society. He later said one had been freed.

Mugaiteeb said the interior ministry had released Shi'ite cleric Tawfiq al-Amer, arrested last week.

 Shi'ite activist in the province's main town of Qatif, who did not want to be named, also said he knew of 22 arrests. Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

Protests started in the area of Qatif and neighbouring Awwamiya and spread to the town of Hofuf on Friday. The demands were mainly for the release of prisoners demonstrators say are held without trial.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/758884/

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Gaddafi launches counter-offensive on Libyan rebels

Mar 07 2011,

Tripoli: Troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched counter-offensives against rebel-held towns on Sunday, increasing fears that Libya is heading for a civil war rather than the swift revolutions seen in Tunisia and Egypt.

The Gaddafi government proclaimed sweeping overnight victories over what it called terrorist bands.

But after what residents said was a day of fierce fighting with artillery, rockets and mortar bombs, rebel forces announced they had fought off Gaddafi's forces in the towns of Zawiyah, to the immediate west of Tripoli, and Misrata to the east.

Today Misrata witnessed the toughest battle since the beginning of the revolution. Horrible attacks, one resident, who did not want to give his name, told Reuters by phone.

They came from three sides and managed to enter the town from the west and south but when they reached the centre of Misrata the rebels pushed them back, he said.

Misrata, with a population of 300,000, is the largest town controlled by rebels outside the rebel-held east of the country.

If rebel soldiers were able to continue their fitful advance westwards, Misrata could be a stepping stone to reaching the capital, Gaddafi's principal stronghold.

Rebel council spokesman Hafiz Ghoga told a Benghazi news conference: We would like to put the people of this great nation at ease... because the regime is spreading rumours.

Both Zawiyah and Misrata are secured, liberated cities.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/758886/

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British “secret agents” held in Libya

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: The British government was on Sunday facing embarrassment after a secret mission sent to liaise with rebel groups in Libya ended in humiliation with at least eight men, including reportedly six members of the elite Special Air Service (SAS), being captured by the very people they had gone to help.

Libyan opposition figures were reported to be angry over British intervention as they feared that it could be used by the Qadhafi regime as evidence of western interference. Last week, a proposal by Prime Minister David Cameron for military intervention in Libya was shot down by other grounds precisely on the same grounds.

According to media reports, the men were intercepted as they reportedly escorted a junior British diplomat through rebel-held areas of Benghazi. The diplomat, it was claimed, was on a mission to assess the needs of groups fighting the Libyan forces and offer them help.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed that a diplomatic team was in Libya and in touch with rebel groups but declined to comment on the arrests.

“Diplomatic team”

“There is a small diplomatic team in the eastern city of Benghazi. We are in touch with them but it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on that for reasons I am sure you will understand,” he told the BBC.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/07/stories/2011030753351700.htm

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2,300 Indians evacuated from strife-torn Libya so far

March 07, 2011

Three special Air India flights from Tripoli and one from Sebha (Libya) besides the Red Star One ferry from Misurata have so far evacuated 2,300 Indian citizens out of the estimated 12,000 from the strife-torn Libya, External Affairs Ministry said here on Sunday.

Stating this, the Ministry update said, “by late evening today (Sunday), more than 2/3rd of our nationals would have been pulled out of Libya, totalling over 12,000.”

The second Boeing 747 sortie brought home another 400 passengers from Sebha to Mumbai. Daily sorties have been scheduled to evacuate all the remaining persons from Sebha over the next few days.

According to the Ministry, Fly Dubai airline will undertake further daily sorties to clear the remaining 360 passengers from Dzerba (Tunisia) adding 580 persons have already returned to India from Tunis in the last couple of days.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322563/2300-Indians-evacuated-from-strife-torn-Libya-so-far.html

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Jamiat to launch agitation against rightwing outfits

March 07, 2011

The Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, the powerful body Muslim clerics, is all set to launch a nationwide agitation against rightwing outfits that “work at cross purposes with the Muslim interests.”

This besides, the Jamiat will pass a resolution against harassment over 42 lakh Muslims of Assam whose citizenship issue is yet to be determined and are allegedly facing harassment from the authorities there. The outfit will also demand compensation for the Muslims “falsely” accused in terror cases.

“A number of innocent Muslim youth are languishing in jail for terror blasts carried out by Hindu extremist groups. They are in jail even after an RSS pracharak has confessed his role in blasts at Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Samjhauta Express, the Jamiat said in a statement.

The three-day meeting of the general body of Jamiat began here on Sunday and strategies will be formulated to address these issues.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322562/Jamiat-to-launch-agitation-against-rightwing-outfits.html

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Egypt revolt gave us back our lives: Hamas chief

Mar 6, 2011

KHARTOUM: Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal hailed the sweeping political changes in Egypt, which he said had given the Palestinian people their lives back, in a speech in Khartoum on Sunday.

"Today we are witnessing Cairo returning to its natural state, after it disappeared from that state for a long time," the Palestinian Islamist leader said in a speech broadcast live on Sudanese state television.

"The people in Egypt and Tunisia have given us back our lives," he added.

Meshaal was speaking at the opening of the eighth Al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Foundation conference, being held in the Sudanese capital this year and funded by Iran.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, in 1979, and president Hosni Mubarak, who came to power two years later after his predecessor was assassinated by Islamists, was overthrown last month after weeks of nationwide protests.

The toppling of Mubarak was celebrated across the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, which neighbour Egypt had blockaded since 2007 when the Islamists seized power and ousted the secular Fatah movement of president Mahmud Abbas whose writ is now limited to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Full report at:

Egypt's newly-ruling military has vowed to abide by the agreement.

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Verdict in Yunus case likely today

Mar 7, 2011

DHAKA: Bangladesh high court is expected to deliver its verdict on Monday on a petition by Nobel laureate and microfinancier Muhammad Yunus challenging the legality of a central bank order removing him as the chief of the Grameen Bank.

"We would make our submission tomorrow when the court would reconvene," Bangladesh attorney general Mahbub-e-Alam said. The twomember bench comprising judges Momtaz Uddin Ahmed and Gobinda Chandra Tagore adjourned the court after more than two hours of hearing.

The court is likely to rule on Monday, Alam said, after counsels for Yunus strongly argued that his removal was illegal and unconstitutional. The government will present its case before the court on Monday.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Verdict-in-Yunus-case-likely-today/articleshow/7644222.cms

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U.S. warns citizens on Yemen as protests swell

March 06, 2011

SANAA: The United States warned citizens in Yemen on Sunday to consider departing as protests seeking the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh gather momentum, saying the security risk in the impoverished state was extremely high.

Tens of thousands of protesters have camped out in many major Yemeni cities, their tone hardening daily, and protests turned to clashes in the town of Ibb on Sunday when government loyalists attacked protesters with sticks and stones.

"The Department (of State) urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should consider departing," the U.S. State Department said in a travel warning.

"The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high due to terrorist activities and civil unrest."

The growing Yemeni protests, and a series of defections from Saleh's allies, have added pressure on Saleh to end his three-decade rule. Neither side appears willing to compromise.

Protesters want Saleh to step down by the end of this year, if not sooner, while the president is sticking to an earlier pledge to leave office only when his current term ends in 2013.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12157

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Afghans protest over child deaths in NATO raid

March 07, 2011

KABUL: About 500 people poured onto the streets ofAfghanistan's capital to protest over the deaths of nine children killed in a NATO air raid on a remote rebel stronghold.

The protesters chanted "Death to America -- death to the invaders" while marching through central Kabul.

The protest follows similar demonstrations in the northeast province of Kunar following the deaths on Tuesday of the nine children who were killed while collecting firewood in the province's Dar-e-Pech district.

President Hamid Karzai angrily condemned the killings and US President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, the commander of the US-led troops in Afghanistan, apologised for the incident.

"We don't want the invading forces," chanted one demonstrator carrying posters of the dead children. Another shouted: "Death to the government of President Hamid Karzai."

The protesters carried banners with anti-US slogans. One banner carried by a veiled woman read: "Occupation = killing + destruction."

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12155

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3 dead, 28 hurt in Crete after Libya ship arrival

Mar 6, 2011

ATHENS, Greece: Greek authorities say three people have died and another 28 have been hospitalized on the southern island of Crete after they were found on a beach near where two ships carrying migrant workers evacuated from Libya recently arrived.

The Merchant Marine Ministry says authorities were checking whether the 31 men, mainly from Bangladesh, had jumped overboard from two ships that docked earlier Sunday in Crete with a total of about 2,000 evacuees evacuated from Libya, in an attempt to avoid being transferred home.

Ships have been ferrying thousands of evacuees from Libya to Crete in recent days.

The ministry said Coast Guard authorities called to a beach near Souda Bay found the 31 men, all drenched. Three were dead, while many of the others were suffering from hypothermia

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article303565.ece

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Jordan Islamists demonstrate demanding freedom for jailed relatives

By ABDUL JALIL MUSTAFA

Mar 6, 2011

AMMAN: Hundreds of Jordanian Islamists demonstrated in front of the prime minister’s office on Sunday to press for the release of their jailed relatives.

The protesters, mostly followers of the Salafi and Jihad groups, chanted slogans and raised placards alleging that their relatives were jailed to "satisfy the United States and Israel."

Scores of Islamists were condemned and sentenced to long jail terms over the past few years after being found guilty by the State Security Court of involvement in plots, including plans to travel to fight against US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article304087.ece

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Rebels repel Misrata attack; Saudis evacuated from Libya

Mar 6, 2011

TRIPOLI: Libyan rebels beat back an attack by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on the town of Misrata on Sunday, residents said.

Government forces used tanks and artillery in what appeared to be their most concerted effort yet to retake the town, 200 km east of the capital Tripoli, but were pushed back by rebels fighting Qaddafi's 41-year-old rule. “The (pro-Qaddafi) brigades tried to reach the center of the town but revolutionaries managed to repel them. They (the brigades) retreated to the airbase,” said one resident, who did not want to give his name, said.

“The revolutionaries captured 20 soldiers and seized a tank. The town is now fully in the control of the youths.” Misrata is the largest population center controlled by Qaddafi opponents outside the rebel-held east of the country. If rebel soldiers are able to continue their fitful advance westwards, Misrata could be a stepping stone to reaching the capital, Qaddafi's principal stronghold.

Saudi Arabian Airlines has evacuated Saudis living in Libya as well as the families of Saudi Embassy staff in the country following instructions from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

Moejib Al-Dossary, Saudia’s manager for Tunisia and Libya, said the evacuation was carried out in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority in Libya.

“We have airlifted more than 90 passengers in record time despite a lack of human and technical capabilities at Tripoli International Airport,” he said.

Witnesses in Misrata, which has been under rebel control for over a week, earlier said the government attack was led by units of a militia led by Khamis, a son of the Libyan leader.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article304421.ece

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Shoura to pass mortgage law without delay: Al-Asheikh

By MD RASOOLDEEN

Mar 6, 2011

RIYADH: Shoura Council Chairman Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh said on Sunday that the Kingdom's draft mortgage law will be soon approved.

“Its approval is prioritized on the council's agenda in light of the recent recommendations made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on boosting real estate development in the Kingdom,” said Al-Asheikh.

He added that the anticipated law would definitely boost the real estate business in the Kingdom and solve the housing problems faced by citizens.

The chairman said the council set up a special committee comprising six members to study in detail the draft law. The committee has completed more than 12 sittings and will soon present its report to enable the house to discuss the law; this would allow them to make amendments, deletions and additions to the draft law.

Following the council’s approval, the Cabinet will have a final look at the draft regulation before it is presented for ratification to the king.

The draft mortgage law is a package of five laws — a mortgage registration law for the use of mortgages in real property financing, including mortgage registration; an execution (enforcement) law that expands a judicial court’s authority to provide injunctive and declaratory relief and enforce such orders; a financial leasing law that regulates the incorporation, activities and governance of financial leasing companies; a real estate finance law that regulates the incorporation, activities and governance of companies engaged in real estate financing; and a control of finance companies law that regulates the incorporation, activities and governance of finance companies.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article304339.ece

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PM’s office in Bahrain besieged by thousands

Mar 07, 2011

Thousands of Shia Opposition supporters descended on the Prime Minister’s office in Bahrain on Sunday as their campaign for reform in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

Bahrain’s Shia majority has long complained of discrimination and political persecution in the island kingdom, the home of US Navy’s 5th Fleet. The protesters demanded that the PM should step down because of corruption and a deadly crackdown on the Opposition in which seven people were killed.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the PM and the king’s uncle, has been in power for 40 years and is a part of the Sunni dynasty that has ruled Bahrain for two centuries.

Sheikh Khalifa was presiding over a weekly meeting of government ministers on Sunday as the protesters blocked the entrance to the premier’s office, chanting slogans against the ruling Al Khalifa family and calling for an elected government.

Bahrain’s Shia Opposition groups are calling for a constitutional monarchy, but some of the protesters are demanding that the monarchy step aside altogether.

Currently, one house of Bahrain’s parliament is the only elected body, but it holds limited authority since all the country’s decisions — including the appointment of ministers - rest with the king.

http://www.asianage.com/international/pm%E2%80%99s-office-bahrain-besieged-thousands-543

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Baghdad Neighborhood Celebrates as a Wall Is Taken Away

By JACK HEALY

BAGHDAD — It is just one wall in a city of thousands — a line of anonymous gray blocks running, like a scar, through one of Baghdad’s most violent neighborhoods.

Built about three years ago to prevent attacks on passing military convoys, the three-mile-long blast wall here in the sprawling Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City gradually took on a life of its own, becoming an emblem of people’s anger and despair at years of killing and military occupation.

The wall may have tightened security, but it also dammed off a pocket of merchants and barbershops, cloistering about 1,500 residents of one corner of Sadr City behind a concrete curtain. Stores closed. Houses were abandoned. Over a mural of marshes, rivers and palm trees painted on the wall by American-financed Iraqi artists, residents spray-painted their own message: “Killing is the answer.”

But recently, a bulldozer and crane rumbled into the neighborhood and, with little fanfare, began a task that astonished the old men and children who gathered to watch from the sidewalk — they took away the wall.

“We called it our Berlin Wall,” said Saad Khalef, 41, as he surveyed the newly uncovered ground where the walls had stood, as crushed and pale as the skin beneath a bandage. “Now we can breathe easy. Yesterday, I felt a breeze coming through, I swear to God.”

Iraq’s government has been removing blast walls little by little since late 2008, trying to restore a semblance of normalcy to this bunker city of six million people.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/world/middleeast/07baghdad.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/£10m-bounty-on-gaddafi---dead-or-alive/d/4239


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