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Islamic World News ( 3 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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15 killed in terror attacks in Pakistan

10 dead in Nowshera blast: police

Wish to resolve all issues with Pakistan

Counterfeit money flooding India from Pak: US report

SC notice to Advani, Thackeray in Babri demolition case

Gaddafi faces war crimes trial

US examining 'full range of options' on Libya: Obama

Suicide bomber targets Iraqi bank killing nine

Suicide bomber kills 9 in Hangu

Gaddafi has lost legitimacy, must leave: Obama

Sadr urges protests against US over Libya

China to overhaul administration in border areas

After Bhatti, Sherry in jihadi line of fire?

China's 'jasmine' gags for foreign scribes

Can Chavez formula bring peace to Libya?

India opposed to ‘no-fly zone,' use of force against Libya

‘I have been unfairly dragged into Qadhafi row'

Security tight for funeral of Pak min

India major target for money launderers, terrorists: Report

UN court begins Gaddafi action

Gilani offers to step down over Bhatti assassination

Slain Pak minister left video warning

Indian-origin doc sentenced to life in US over bomb attack

LHC rejects petition to block Davis ‘transfer’ to Adiyala jail

Bomb blast destroys two Nato oil tankers in Khyber

Breach of security code led to Bhatti’s death

China warns international media not to cover protest calls

Bahrain opposition eyes meaningful dialogue

AMU amicus curiae declined offer of fee

Deputy Speaker of J&K House quits

Madni resigns as Deputy Speaker

PM takes ‘gift package’ to J& K

One absconder from Godhra detained

Pak court rejects Davis’ claim about diplomatic immunity

Egypt’s military rulers name new PM

Gaddafi’s wealth spread across globe: US report

Iran trying to influence uprisings in West Asia: US

TC reviews security along Pak-Afghan border

US Marines in Libya build-up

Afghan president warns Obama about civilian deaths

UAE affirms support for Oman’s stability

Libyan rebels, Gaddafi forces battle for oil sites

Hard time for Iraqi refugees in weak US job market

Sunni-backed Allawi rejects Iraq post

Hamas-backed men 'rob' bank twice in Gaza

Probe into girl’s death in Madinah hospital ordered

Illegal migrant killed, 27 hurt as police bus overturns near Jazan

Pakistan halves proposed fuel price increase

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/15-killed-in-terror-attacks-in-pakistan/d/4230

 

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15 killed in terror attacks in Pak

March 04, 2011

At least 15 persons, were killed and 33 others injured on Thursday when terrorists, one of them a suicide car bomber, targeted security convoys in two separate attacks in Pakistan. In the first attack, a suicide bomber, blew himself up as a police van passed by, officials said. Four policemen and five civilians, were killed. Twelve women and children were among the 30 injured. In the second attack, six security personnel were killed and three injured when pro-Taliban militants ambushed their convoy in Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321893/15-killed-in-terror-attacks-in-Pak.html

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10 dead in Nowshera blast: police

March 04, 2011

NOWSHERA: At least 10 people have been killed and several injured in a blast in a mosque inside shrine of Akhond Panjo Baba shrine soon after Friday prayers, Geo News reported quoting police sources.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12058

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Wish to resolve all issues with Pakistan, including Kashmir: PM

Mar 4, 2011

JAMMU: Maintaining that India will enter into talks with Pakistan with an open mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country wants to resolve all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through dialogue and purposeful negotiations.

He also asked Pakistan to take resolute action against extremist groups operating in the country and leave no stone unturned in bringing to book perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Referring to his recent statement in Parliament that the sub-continent will not realise its full development potential unless relations between India and Pakistan are normalised, he said, "Despite all problems, we have decided to resume the dialogue process".

"We will enter these talks with open mind. We wish to resolve all outstanding issues between two countries through friendly dialogues and purposeful negotiations. And this includes the issue of Jammu and Kashmir", he said in his address to the third Convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST).

Voicing concern over the activities of extremist groups in Pakistan, he said, "We cannot forget what happened in Mumbai. I urge the Government of Pakistan to leave no stone unturned to bring the culprits (of Mumbai attacks) to book",

"But I believe that there is a growing conviction in Pakistan, among the thinking segments of the population that something serious needs to be done to curb the influence of these groups on Pakistani society and polity", he said.

"I urge Pakistan to take strong and resolute action against these groups that is in the interest of Pakistan, the region and the world at large", Singh said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/-Wish-to-resolve-all-issues-with-Pakistan-including-Kashmir-PM-/articleshow/7626698.cms#ixzz1FcpYDQIA

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Counterfeit money flooding India from Pak: US report

Mar 4, 2011

WASHINGTON: Counterfeit currency is flooding into India from Pakistan and terrorist and criminal networks are using this money to finance their activities in the country, an official US report has said.

Warning that burgeoning black money, remittance systems and porous border were triggering money laundering at an alarming pace, the International Narcotics Control Strategy of the State Department in its 2011 report said the Indian government should facilitate development of alternative money transfer services including mobile banking.

The report said because of prevalence of an informal economy, India had become a significant target for money launderers and terrorist groups.

"India faces an increasing inflow of high-quality counterfeit currency, which is produced primarily in Pakistan but smuggled to India through multiple international routes," the report said.

"Criminal networks exchange counterfeit currency for genuine notes, which not only facilitates money laundering, but also represents a threat to the Indian economy," it said.

The US State Department report comes at a time when strident calls are being made in India for action to make public names of persons holding illegal foreign bank accounts, with political parties saying that they fear that the staggering amounts stashed in these accounts are laundered money.

The US State Department report said the tax avoidance and the proceeds of economic crimes (including fraud, cyber crime and identity theft) are still the mainstay of money launderers in India, but laundered funds are also derived from human and narcotics trafficking, transnational organised crime, illegal trade, particularly in endangered wildlife and illegal gems (principally diamonds), and corruption.

Noting that India is a significant target for terrorist groups, both external and domestic, the report said most terrorist activities are conducted by international terrorist groups and entities linked to the global jihad, with the support of both state and non-state external actors.

In addition, several domestic separatist and insurgent groups are active.

Terrorist groups often use counterfeit currency and hawaladars, as well as physical cross-border currency smuggling, to move funds from external sources to finance their activities in India, it said.

The report recommends that the Indian government should press for presidential approval to implement the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976, which would extend foreign contribution reporting requirements to any non-profit organisation that has a political, cultural, economic, educational or social focus and automate notification of suspicious transactions to the FIU.

It also recommended the Indian government to facilitate development of alternative money transfer services, including mobile banking.

"This expansion of legitimate, accessible services would allow broader financial inclusion of legitimate individuals and entities, and reduce AML/CFT vulnerabilities by shrinking the informal network," said the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the State Department.

The Indian government should also extend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to include gem and precious-metals dealers, real estate agents, lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals, accountants, and commodity futures brokers and to clearly add a safe harbour provision for those filing STRs in good faith.

The government should ensure reporting entities fully implement appropriate due diligence procedures, to include both computerised tracking systems and active engagement by trained frontline personnel.

It should also emphasise the importance of human intervention and analysis in terrorist financing cases, as the varied profiles of these cases may not trigger an automated report, the US State Department said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Counterfeit-money-flooding-India-from-Pak-US-report-/articleshow/7626289.cms#ixzz1FcptiALY

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SC notice to Advani, Thackeray in Babri demolition case

Mar 4, 2011

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to senior BJP leader L K Advani, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and 19 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The CBI had challenged the Allahabad High Court's order to drop charges against senior BJP leader L K Advani, Bal Thackeray and others in the case.

The CBI had, on February 18, moved the Supreme Court challenging dropping of conspiracy changes against LK Advani and 20 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

But the agency's special leave petition comes nine months after the Allahabad High Court's Lucknow Bench upheld a trial court verdict dropping conspiracy charges against Advani, Bal Thackeray, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and others.

The appeal should have been filed within 90 days of the High Court judgement. The High Court had delivered the judgement on May 20, 2010. CBI has moved an application requesting the court to condone the delay of six months in the filing the appeal against the High Court order.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/SC-notice-to-Advani-Thackeray-in-Babri-demolition-case/articleshow/7626019.cms#ixzz1FcqnKdG1

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Gaddafi faces war crimes trial

Mar 4, 2011

AL-UQAYLA: Muammar Gaddafi struck at rebel control of a key Libyan coastal road for a second day on Thursday but received a warning he would be held to account at The Hague for suspected crimes by his security forces.

In Paris, French foreign minister Alain Juppe said France and Britain would support the idea of setting up a no-fly zone over Libya if Gaddafi's forces continued to attack civilians.

In Libya's east, the site of a struggle for control of a strategically vital Mediterranean coastal road and oil industry facilities, witnesses said a warplane for a second day bombed the oil terminal town Brega, 800 km east of Tripoli.

Warplanes also launched two raids against the nearby rebel-held town of Ajbadiya, witnesses said.

Gaddafi's son, Saif el-Islam, said the bombing of Brega was intended to scare off militia fighters and gain control of oil installations. "First of all the bombs (were) just to frighten them to go away," he said. "Not to frighten them."

But on the ground, events appeared to turn against Gaddafi, as rebels spearheading the unprecedented popular revolt pushed their frontline against government loyalists west of Brega, where they had repulsed an attack a day earlier. The opposition fighters said troops loyal to Gaddafi had been driven back to Ras Lanuf, home to another major oil terminal 600 km east of Tripoli. They also said they had captured a group of mercenaries.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Gaddafi-faces-war-crimes-trial/articleshow/7624580.cms#ixzz1FcsyRswX

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US examining 'full range of options' on Libya: Obama

Mar 4, 2011

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama said on Thursday he is examining the "full range" of military options, including a no-fly zone, if the revolt in Libya turns into a bloody stalemate and humanitarian disaster.

Accusing Moammar Gaddafi of encouraging violence against his citizens, Obama again called on the Libyan leader to stand down for the good of his country.

"We are looking at every option that's out there, in addition to the non-military actions that we've taken. I want to make sure that those full range of options are available to me," he said.

A no-fly zone, which US military leaders have warned would necessarily be preceded by US air strikes, "is one of the options that we would be looking at."

Obama said he had authorized the use of US military aircraft to help move refugees who have fled the unrest in Libya, and was sending US teams to the Libyan border to help coordinate humanitarian aid efforts.

"I don't want to be hamstrung," Obama said. "I want us to be making our decisions based on what's going to be best for the Libyan people, in consultation with the international community.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-examining-full-range-of-options-on-Libya-Obama/articleshow/7624610.cms#ixzz1Fct5i2SN

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Suicide bomber targets Iraqi bank killing nine

Mar 4, 2011

BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber struck a group of soldiers collecting their paychecks Thursday in a western Iraqi city, killing nine people, police said.

Violence has dropped significantly from the bloody days of the insurgency, but Al-Qaeda-linked militants often target Iraqi security personnel because they are seen as allied with the Shiite-led government. The militants also want to intimidate new recruits to the security services.

A suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his chest walked up to a crowd of soldiers collecting their paychecks at a bank in Haditha, 220 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, said Waid Khalif, the deputy commander of the city’s police force.

The bomber set off his explosives while some of the soldiers were inside the bank and others were outside waiting to go in.

The police commander said six soldiers and two civilians were killed in the attack and 11 people were wounded. He said a curfew has been imposed on the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Iraqi security personnel are often targeted by Al-Qaeda.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article299106.ece

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Suicide bomber kills 9 in Hangu

Mar 04 2011

HANGU: As many as nine people, including three policemen, were killed, while 36 others, including women and children, were wounded in a suicide car bombing near Spin Khawri Chowk on Hangu Bypass Road on Thursday, sources said.

According to Hangu District Police Officer (DPO) Abdur Rashid Khan, a mobile police squad had received information about a suspected vehicle. As the squad reached the site and was about to check the vehicle, a huge explosion took place, he said.

Three policemen, identified as inspector Islam Khan, head constable Saifullah Khan and constable Bahauddin, were among the killed, while the injured included five children, 16 women and 21 others.

The injured were rushed to the Hangu District Headquarters Hospital and later those in serious condition were referred to hospitals in Kohat and Peshawar.

The Bomb Disposal Squad said that 400 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the blast, which left a seven-feet deep crater in the ground.

Fifteen houses were also destroyed in the blast, which occurred in a densely populated area of Hangu. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the responsibility for the car bombing.

President Zardari strongly condemned the blast.

Meanwhile, three security officials were injured when eight rockets were fired on a security checkpost in Tora Warai area of Hangu, sources said.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\04\story_4-3-2011_pg1_6

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Gaddafi has lost legitimacy, must leave: Obama

Mar 04 2011

WASHINGTON: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and must leave office, US President Barack Obama said Thursday, and warned he was studying all options in dealing with the three-week crisis. “The United States and the entire world continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people,” Obama told a press conference at the White House in some of his toughest comments on the deadly unrest in the North African nation. “Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave,” he said, after meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Obama also said he has authorised the use of US military aircraft to move Egyptian refugees who have fled Libya to Tunisia, adding that Washington was examining the “full range of options” when asked whether the United States would impose a no-fly zone in Libya. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\04\story_4-3-2011_pg7_2

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Sadr urges protests against US over Libya

By MUHANAD MOHAMMED

Mar 4, 2011

BAGHDAD: Anti-US Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr urged Iraqis on Thursday to protest against any possible US military intervention in Libya, saying the United States installed Qaddafi’ and now wants to remove him.

Sadr accused Washington and Western nations of planting agents in Arab states and supporting dictatorships, then intervening in the name of democracy and claiming to liberate Arabs, citing the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

“US tricks do not deceive us anymore. We were and still are standing against any intervention from the state of evil, America, in countries’ affairs,” Sadr said in a statement.

“I hope the Arab people, and especially those in Iraq, will show their rejection (for US intervention in Libya) through peaceful protests this coming Friday.” The United States had said it was moving ships and planes closer to Libya. Two US amphibious assault ships entered Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday on their way to the Mediterranean.

The repositioning of US ships and aircraft closer to Libya is widely seen as a symbolic show of force since neither the United States nor its NATO allies have shown any appetite for direct military intervention in the turmoil in the oil-producing North African country.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article299105.ece

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China to overhaul administration in border areas near India and Pakistan

Saibal Dasgupta

Mar 4, 2011

BEIJING: China's parliament has advised the government to overhaul the defense and administrative set up in border areas connected to India and other countries in south and central Asia.

The advice comes from Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, one of the two houses of Chinese parliament. It has a major influence in policy making on issues concerning minority Tibetans along the border with India, and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan and Central Asia.

CPPCC has made "suggestions for developing border defense and overhauling the border defense administration system", it chairman Jia Qinglin said on the first day of its annual session at the Great Hall of the People on Thursday.

The statement is a pointer to major changes that might take place in the border regions. There has been wide-spread resentment against some local officials in the border region among the among minority Tibetan and Uighur Muslim communities. A Communist Party makes a statement of this kind only after the party has made up its mind.

Jia said members of CPPCC have come together to "investigate the working and living conditions of poor people in border areas". It has also suggested rapid urbanization to ensure the development of prefectures (or districts), which enjoy autonomy in the legal sense.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-to-overhaul-administration-in-border-areas-near-India-and-Pakistan/articleshow/7626624.cms#ixzz1FctHiX9S

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After Bhatti, Sherry in jihadi line of fire?

Mar 4, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan MP Sherry Rehman, who had proposed a bill to reform the blasphemy laws, may be next on the extremists' hitlist.

Of the three politicians who stood up for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death last November for allegedly committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad, just one is still alive– Rehman. Following the slayings of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minorities affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, worries are growing that Rehman could be next. "Make no mistake: she is in grave danger," one of her friends said.

"We will continue to target all those who speak against the law which punishes those who insult the prophet. Their fate will be the same," Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's deputy spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, told BBC. ani

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/After-Bhatti-Sherry-in-jihadi-line-of-fire/articleshow/7624590.cms#ixzz1FbfWEVmz

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China's 'jasmine' gag for foreign scribes

Mar 4, 2011

BEIJING: Chinese police are further intensifying pressure on foreign reporters, warning them to stay away from spots designated for Middle East-inspired protests and threatening them with expulsion or a revoking of their credentials.

The warnings show how unnerved the authorities are by the online calls for protests every Sunday. The appeals, which started two weeks ago, have attracted few outright demonstrators but many onlookers, loads of journalists and swarms of police.

Staff from various overseas news organizations were called in for videotaped meetings with Beijing police Wednesday and Thursday and told that reporters trying to film or interview near the proposed demonstration spots in Beijing or Shanghai this weekend would be punished.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/Chinas-jasmine-gag-for-foreign-scribes/articleshow/7624617.cms#ixzz1FbgDS54C

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Can Chavez formula bring peace to Libya?

Mar 4, 2011

CARACAS: The Libyan government has accepted a plan by Venezuela to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict in the North African country, a spokesman for President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday.

Information minister Andres Izarra also confirmed the Arab League had shown interest in the Chavez plan to send an international commission to talk with both sides in Libya.

However, the chairman of the rebel National Libyan Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said he rejected the concept of talks with Gaddafi entirely, an Al Jazeera correspondent reported on Thursday.

Venezuela's president, the leader of Latin America's socialist left, on Monday proposed creating an international peace mission with forces from friendly nations to try to mediate the unrest gripping Libya and avoid civil war. reuters

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Can-Chavez-formula-bring-peace-to-Libya/articleshow/7624586.cms#ixzz1FbgI3bok

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‘I have been unfairly dragged into Qadhafi row'

Hasan Suroor

Meghnad Desai

LONDON: Meghnad Desai, Labour peer and Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics, has protested at his name being “unfairly” dragged into the plagiarism row surrounding the Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi's son, Saif-al Qadhafi.

Mr. Qadhafi, who was a student at LSE from 2003 to 2008, is accused of plagiarising parts of his PhD thesis and the University has launched an investigation. After leaving LSE, he donated £1.5 million to his alma mater.

Lord Desai, who examined the thesis along with Tony McGrew of Southampton University, said, some media reports had wrongly described him as Mr. Qadhafi's “supervisor.” He said he had already retired from LSE by the time Mr. Qadhafi came there and he had nothing to do either with his admission or PhD supervision.

Lord Desai said he had been “hurt” that his “academic integrity” was being questioned by suggesting that he had cleared an allegedly plagiarised thesis or had been “soft” on Mr. Qadhafi because of his connections.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/04/stories/2011030464421100.htm

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Security tight for funeral of Pak min

Mar 04, 2011

Islamabad: Authorities shut down streets and police marksmen stood guard around Islamabad's main church on Friday ahead of the funeral mass of minister Shahbaz Bhatti, shot dead by suspected Islamic extremists.

Police and paramilitary forces prevented vehicles from approaching the Fatima Church ahead of the ceremony for the minority affairs minister, a Roman Catholic who was shot dead in broad daylight on Wednesday.

Armed officers took up positions on the rooftops of nearby buildings ahead of the mass, which was due to start at around 0600 GMT. Bhatti was to be laid to rest in his hometown in Faisalabad later on Friday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who announced three days of mourning in Muslim Pakistan, where Christians and other religious minorities form about three percent of 167 million population, was expected to attend the service.

Father Rehmat Hakim, the custodian of the church, said he had been informed that Gilani would be in attendance.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/security-tight-funeral-pak-min-138

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India major target for money launderers, terrorists: Report

Mar 04, 2011

Washington: India's economic and demographic expansion makes it both a regional financial centre and an increasingly significant target for money launderers and terrorist groups, according to a new US report.

"India also faces an increasing inflow of high-quality counterfeit currency, which is produced primarily in Pakistan but smuggled to India through multiple international routes," said the State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) to US Congress.

"Criminal networks exchange counterfeit currency for genuine notes, which not only facilitates money laundering, but also represents a threat to the Indian economy," the report added.

India's extensive informal economy and remittance systems, porous borders, strategic location, persistent corruption, and historically onerous tax administration contribute to its vulnerability to financial and terrorist-related crimes, it said

India's location between heroin producing countries in the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent, along with its porous borders, also makes it a frequent transit point for drug trafficking, said the report reviewing conditions in the major illicit drug-producing countries and major drug-transit countries.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/india-major-target-money-launderers-terroristsreport-137

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UN court begins Gaddafi action

Mar 04, 2011

Mohammed Abbas

Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s forces struck at rebel control of oil export hubs in Libya’s east for a second day on Thursday as Arab states weighed a plan to end turmoil Washington said could make the nation “a giant Somalia”.

A leader of the uprising against Col. Gaddafi’s 41-year-old rule said he would reject any proposal for talks with the dictator to end the conflict in the world’s 12th largest oil exporting nation.

In The Hague, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Col. Gaddafi, close family members and those belonging to his inner circle could be investigated for alleged crimes committed against civilians by security forces since the uprising broke out in mid-February. There were indications that international arrest warrants against Col. Gaddafi and others could follow soon.

Italy said it was preparing for a potential mass exodus of migrants escaping turmoil in North Africa after a rise in flows of illegal immigrants from Tunisia, the initial destination for tens of thousands who have fled violence in Libya.

Save The Children and Medecins Sans Frontieres said they were struggling to get medicines and care to Libya’s needy, with gunmen blocking roads and civilians too scared to seek help.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/un-court-begins-gaddafi-action-061

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Gilani offers to step down over Bhatti assassination

Mar 04, 2011

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani offered to quit after the assassination of his minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti on Wednesday but has been asked by President Asif Ali Zardari and persuaded by other Cabinet members to continue, official sources said.

“The Prime Minister had offered to quit. He took the responsibility and thinks as Prime Minister he can be blamed for whatever has happened,” a minister, who attended the Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting after Bhatti’s assassination told this newspaper. “The Prime Minister told the Cabinet meeting that he wanted to quit after the incident,” he said. The slain minister was part of an unofficial committee of Parliament that was supposed to amend the blasphemy laws. Prime Minister Gilani had rejected the presence of such a committee and said in categorical terms that the blasphemy laws will not be amended. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that all blasphemers would be dealt in the same way. In January, Punjab governor Salman Taseer was also assassinated in Islamabad for alleged blasphemy. The PM, who was extremely emotional and perturbed after the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti in broad daylight in the federal capital’s populated area outside his mother’s house, offered his resignation in the closed door sitting of the Cabinet, said the minister.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/gilani-offers-step-down-over-bhatti-assassination-051

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Slain Pak minister left video warning

Mar 04, 2011

A Christian government minister shot dead by suspected extremists in Pakistan left a video prophecy of his assassination, but had vowed to fight to the death in defence of persecuted minorities.

Police investigators said on Thursday they were on the trail of the gunmen who killed minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti outside his mother’s house in Islamabad, in a brazen attack that has drawn international outrage.

One police official said on condition of anonymity that investigators were looking into the security team assigned to Bhatti, who became the second high-profile victim among opponents of an Islamic blasphemy law.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/slain-pak-minister-left-video-warning-050

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Indian-origin doc sentenced to life in US over bomb attack

Mar 03 2011

Houston: An Indian-origin doctor has been sentenced to a life in prison by a US court that convicted him of orchestrating a 2009 bomb attack that nearly killed the chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board against whom he held a grudge.

Randeep Mann, former physician at Russellville in Arkansas state, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the bombing that critically injured Trent Pierce and left him with one eye and one ear, the Arkansas News reported.

Pierce had revoked Mann’s license to prescribe medication over concerns of overdosing on some patients. Mann, prosecutors argued, plotted the bombing in retaliation for the board not reinstating his permit to prescribe medication.

Pierce lost an eye and suffered serious injuries in the attack but has recovered. US District Judge Brian Miller imposed a $100,000 fine on Mann, who was convicted of weapons charges in the February 4, 2009 bombing at Trent Pierce’s home.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/757085/

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LHC rejects petition to block Davis ‘transfer’ to Adiyala jail

Mar 04 2011

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday rejected a petition requesting the court to rule out a possible transfer of US national Raymond Davis from Kot Lakhpat prison to Adiyala jail in Rawalpindi, DawnNews reported.

The petition, filed by Rana Ilmuddin Ghazi, stated that the government was planning to shift Davis from Kot Lakhpat prison to Adiyala jail which would make Davis’ handover to the United States easier.

The petition requested the court to issue a directive to block the transfer.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Ijaz Chaudhry said that the government had not issued any notification regarding transferring Davis to Adiyala jail. He rejected the petition and said such applications waste the time of the court.

Earlier on Thursday, a sessions court rejected Davis’ claim that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and decided to go ahead with his trial.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Youssuf Aujla, who is hearing the double murder case against Mr Davis in Kot Lakhpat jail, rejected his plea to postpone the trial till a decision on the immunity issue.

“As the accused has not appended required documents with his earlier application, his plea for immunity is rejected,” Asad Manzoor Butt, counsel for the complainants, quoted the judge as having said.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/04/lhc-rejects-petition-to-rule-out-davis-transfer-to-adiyala.html

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Bomb blast destroys two Nato oil tankers in Khyber

Mar 04 2011

LANDI KOTAL: A bomb blast destroyed two oil tankers near the Torkham border in northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region on Friday, DawnNews reported.

Security forces reached the site of the explosion and cordoned off the area.

No casualties were reported in the blast and a search operation had been started.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast but the Taliban have claimed such attacks in the past. The bulk of supplies and equipment required by foreign troops in Afghanistan are shipped through the Khyber region.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/04/bomb-blast-destroys-two-nato-oil-tankers-in-khyber.html

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Breach of security code led to Bhatti’s death

By Munawer Azeem

Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated on Wednesday during an attack on his vehicle in Islamabad. – Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti would not have been alone at the time of his assassination on Wednesday if police had followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) described in the interior ministry’s ‘Standard instructions for the protection of VIPs’.

The manual is maintained and issued by the interior ministry, which is responsible for the security protocol for VIPs, including parliamentarians, governors, chief ministers, judges, ministers and advisers.

According to sources, it makes it clear that the guards accompanying a person are not answerable to him, but to police officers.

According to the book, the chief of Islamabad police and heads of the police security division (DIG, security, and SSP, security) are

responsible for providing security to the VIPs by deploying policemen and checking the security arrangements and deployment on a weekly basis.

The officers can decide to withdraw guards or provide more, or even tighten security through other means, after the reviews.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/04/breach-of-security-code-led-to-bhattis-death.html

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China warns international media not to cover protest calls

Mar 3, 2011

BEIJING: Chinese police have told foreign reporters to stay away from spots designated for weekly protests, threatening them with loss of their work permits and other punishments if they don’t comply, journalists said Thursday.

Mysterious online calls for Chinese rallies inspired by Middle Eastern demonstrations — with another called for Sunday — have fallen flat, though foreign media have flocked to the proposed rally sites to see if anyone would show up.

Although no large protests have occurred, at least one activist was detained for being present at a suggested demonstration spot.

One journalist was attacked by unidentified men while trying to report on the situation in Beijing last weekend, and many others were harassed by police who confiscated equipment and erased video footage.

A European broadcast journalist said Thursday that he was told by police there would be unspecified consequences if he went again to the specified site on Beijing’s popular Wangfujing shopping street. He asked not to be identified by name for fear it would affect his future Chinese visa applications.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article298090.ece

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Bahrain opposition eyes meaningful dialogue

By SIRAJ WAHAB

Mar 4, 2011

MANAMA: Opposition parties moved closer Thursday toward opening a dialogue with the government after days of protest. However, opposition leaders want the dialogue to be meaningful and substantial.

The move comes after a series of confidence-building measures that the government took since the protests broke out two weeks ago. The government sacked three ministers, released a number of political prisoners and allowed the protesters to continue their marches and sit-ins around the popular Pearl Roundabout.

On Thursday evening, protests continued at the roundabout as helicopters patrolled overhead. Young people waving national flags, honking car horns and flashing victory signs streamed toward the roundabout in preparation for a major protest march Friday. Save for a few traffic policemen there were no men in uniform in the area. One of the key demands of the opposition group for initiating talks with the government was free access to the Pearl Roundabout and no stoppage of protests.

At the roundabout certain groups appeared agitated. The opposition parties then sent two of their representatives — Muneera Fakhro of Al-Waad political party and Mansoor Al-Jamri, editor in chief of Alwasat newspaper — to the roundabout to pacify the crowds.

“We are trying to reason with them to maintain peace and calm,” Fakhro told Arab News. “It is in the interest of everybody to keep the peace. The government is listening to us, and that is the most important thing.”

Senior opposition leader Abdul Jalil Khalil told news agencies that the opposition parties have accepted the crown prince’s invitation for dialogue.

“We will talk to the crown prince, but we are not going to sit together for a casual chat, but for a meaningful dialogue only,” Khalil, a leader of the country’s leading opposition party Al-Wefaq, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article299184.ece

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AMU amicus curiae declined offer of fee

Mar 4, 2011

NEW DELHI: Saif Mahmood, amicus curiae to the Aligarh Muslim University's fact-finding inquiry panel, has clarified that although HRD ministry had fixed a fee of Rs 7500 for him per appearance he did not accept any remuneration and is discharging his duties gratis.

Mahmood said he had written to registrar AMU and HRD ministry that he will not accept any fee. He wrote to HRD and AMU, "I have accepted this appointment entirely for the cause of AMU, an institution that my forefathers have nurtured — and, indeed, for the larger cause of the plight of minority educational institutions in the country. I will continue to discharge my responsibilities as the amicus curiae to the best of my ability."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/AMU-amicus-curiae-declined-offer-of-fee/articleshow/7624036.cms#ixzz1FbfNhLue

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Deputy Speaker of J&K House quits

Shujaat Bukhari

JAMMU: Deputy Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Sartaj Madni of the Opposition People's Democratic Party resigned on Thursday after the Speaker's remarks on his conduct in the House.

As soon as the House re-assembled after the lunch break, he handed over his resignation to Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone. “Since you have advised me to resign, I am doing so, and until a new seat is allotted to me, I will not return to the House,” he said.

The Speaker told him that he would not accept his resignation, but he left the House quickly.

Protest against remarks

Earlier, Mr. Madni protested the Speaker's remarks in an interview to a local newspaper. “You cannot stop me from raising my voice against the violence in which a member of the Opposition PDP was injured by marshals,” Mr. Madni said.

Taking exception to Mr. Madni's intervention on Tuesday when PDP members were staging a protest, Mr. Lone told the newspaper that “it was not the duty of a presiding officer to defend the party he belongs to. On previous occasions too, he made some speeches and passed strictures against the presiding officer and his functioning. I hope that in future Mr. Madni will not cross the limit…by ignoring the fact that he is basically a presiding officer and not a spokesman of the PDP.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/04/stories/2011030464371000.htm

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Madni resigns as Deputy Speaker

Shujaat Bukhari

JAMMU: Deputy Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Sartaj Madni of the Opposition People's Democratic Party resigned on Thursday after the Speaker's remarks on his conduct in the House.

As soon as the House re-assembled after the lunch break, he handed over his resignation to Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone. “Since you have advised me to resign, I am doing so, and until a new seat is allotted to me, I will not return to the House,” he said.

The Speaker told him that he would not accept his resignation, but he left the House quickly.

Earlier, Mr. Madni protested the Speaker's remarks in an interview to a local newspaper. “You cannot stop me from raising my voice against the violence in which a member of the Opposition PDP was injured by marshals,” Mr. Madni said.

Taking exception to Mr. Madni's intervention on Tuesday when PDP members were staging a protest, Mr. Lone told the newspaper that “it was not the duty of a presiding officer to defend the party he belongs to. On previous occasions too, he made some speeches and passed strictures against the presiding officer and his functioning. I hope that in future, Mr. Madni will not cross the limit…by ignoring the fact that he is basically a presiding officer and not a spokesman of the PDP.”

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/04/stories/2011030459921200.htm

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PM takes ‘gift package’ to J& K

By Arjun Sharma in Jammu

THE NATIONAL Conference- Congress coalition government hopes to get a boost as the Prime Minister is expected to announce the creation of one lakh fresh jobs for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.

The job package, recommended by the PM’s panel, is bound to boost the image of J& K chief minister Omar Abdullah, particularly in the restive Kashmir Valley where the unemployed and frustrated youth have resorted to stone pelting security forces.

The committee had held a series of interactions and meetings with several organisations in Jammu and in Srinagar to get an idea about the problems and the opportunities available in the state.

Singh had earlier said the central government would do everything to strengthen the J& K government to provide a fair deal to the youth and generate avenues for gainful employment.

Mail Today

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One absconder from Godhra detained

March 04, 2011

The Panchmahal district police have detained a person who was involved in the 2002 attack on the Sabarmati Express which killed 59 ,i.kar sewaks returning from Ayodhya. Ismail Yusuf Chunga, one of the 16 absconding since the 2002 train inferno incident, was picked up on Thursday morning from Godhra.

He is being interrogated about his role in the train fire for which a Special Court here has already sentenced eleven culprits to death and awarded life imprisonment to 20 others.

Of the total 134 people booked for setting the S-6 coach on fire at Godhra station on Feb 27, 2002, as many as 16, were declared absconders while more than 105 were arrested.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321979/One-absconder-from-Godhra-detained.html

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Pak court rejects Davis’ claim about diplomatic immunity

March 04, 2011

M Zulqernain

In a setback to US efforts to seek early release of its national Raymond Davis arrested for double murder, a Pakistani court on Thursday rejected his claim that he has diplomatic immunity and said it would go ahead with his trial.

During the last hearing of the case, 37-year-old Davis, a suspected CIA contractor, had filed an application in which he insisted that he had immunity.

Lawyers representing the families of the two men shot dead by Davis in Lahore in January and the prosecution counsel on Thursday presented their arguments during proceedings conducted behind closed doors at Kot Lakhpat Jail by Additional District and Sessions Judge Yousuf Aujla.

After hearing the arguments of defence and prosecution lawyers, Judge Aujla said no authentic document had been presented by Davis or the Pakistan Government to show that the American national had diplomatic immunity.

The judge said a note provided by the US embassy was not sufficient to prove Davis’ diplomatic status.

He rejected Davis’ application claiming diplomatic immunity and said the court has the jurisdiction to go ahead with his trial.

When defence lawyers told the judge that they had not been provided all the documents related to the charges levelled against Davis, Aujla directed the prosecution to ensure this was done and adjourned the case till March 8.

Lawyers representing the families of the two men killed by Davis said they expected the court to formally indict Davis at the next hearing.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321905/Pak-court-rejects-Davis%E2%80%99-claim-about-diplomatic-immunity.html

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Egypt’s military rulers name new PM

March 04, 2011

Egypt’s new military rulers on Thursday buckled under continued public pressure and removed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, handpicked by ousted President Hosni Mubarak, replacing him with a new nominee.

Former Transport Minister Essam Sharaf will be the new Prime Minister, a brief military statement said. The sacking of Shafiq was a key demand of the opposition protest movement.

A former Air Force officer, Shafiq was named the Prime Minister shortly after the outbreak of anti-Government protests on January 25. The military statement said the new Prime Minister had been tasked with forming a new caretaker Government, which will oversee bringing in wide ranging changes in the country’s Constitution leading to holding of new elections. The protest leaders have been vehement in demanding a complete change in the Government as they want all leaders linked to the Mubarak era to be changed.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321900/Egypt%E2%80%99s-military-rulers-name-new-PM.html

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Gaddafi’s wealth spread across globe: US report

March 04, 2011

Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi has spread his wealth, estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars across at least 35 nations on four continents, as Western bankers attempt to unravel his financial tentacles.

His bizarre mix of investments range from luxury real estate and publishing companies in Britain to hotels in the west Asia and a prized stake in Italy’s famed Juventus football franchise, the CNN reported.

These, the channel said, were his well known investments, but the Libyan strongman in recent years has turned away from the West and is believed to have poured hundreds of billions of dollars in unstable African nations, with reports that Gaddafi even holds a major stake in a Zimbabwe’s giant commercial bank.

All these come on top of billions of dollars that Libya has stashed away in the United States’ largest and most influential investment banks.

Libya and its maverick leader are sitting on huge stockpiles of cash dollars and according to Western estimates they are using this money to hire mercenaries from North Africa to keep the dictator in power.

The CNN said when UN lifted its economic sanctions on Libya in 2003, Gaddafi and his financial experts created a sovereign wealth fund, which today ranks among the world’s largest and reported to be worth USD 60 billion. Compiling details of Gaddafi’s assets, the CNN said that the Libyan leader had about USD 32 billion in liquidity stored in US banks and in nearby Canada, his investments include taking over a oil-rig company Verenex Energy for USD 320 million.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321898/Gaddafi%E2%80%99s-wealth-spread-across-globe-US-report.html

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Iran trying to influence uprisings in West Asia: US

March 04, 2011

Lalit K Jha

The US on Thursday accused Iran of trying to “influence” a series of uprisings in the West Asia through its “proxies” like Hezbollah and Hamas, as it said that Tehran is involved with the opposition movements in Bahrain and Yemen.

“Either directly or through proxies, they are constantly trying to influence events. They have a very active diplomatic foreign policy outreach,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.

“We know that, through their proxy, Hezbollah and Lebanon, they are using Hezbollah — which is a political party with an armed wing to communicate with counterparts in Egypt, in Hamas who then, in turn, communicate with counterparts in Egypt. We know that they are reaching out to the Opposition in Bahrain. We know that the Iranians are very much involved in the opposition movements in Yemen,” she said.

Clinton said the US is delivering on the aid that these countries are seeking without looking as though the Americans are trying to take over their revolution is the challenge.

“But it’s also the challenge for the Iranians. You know, they don’t have a lot of friends, but they’re trying to curry more friends. So it’s a constant effort on our part. I have to have the resources and flexibility to be able to move people and try to figure out the best way for us to be successful,” she said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321897/Iran-trying-to-influence-uprisings-in-West-Asia-US.html

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TC reviews security along Pak-Afghan border

Mar 04 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Tripartite Commission composed of senior military representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan on Thursday reviewed security situation in areas along Pak-Afghan border.

Delegations were headed by General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff, General David H. Petreaus, Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and General Sher Mohammad Karimi, Chief of General Staff of Afghan National Army.

A brief official statement released by the ISPR said the participants showed satisfaction over the existing level of cooperation and the forum also discussed various measures to further improve the coordination.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/03/tc-reviews-security-along-pak-afghan-border.html

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US Marines in Libya buildup

Mar 3, 2011

ATHENS: Some 400 US Marines have arrived at an American naval base on the island of Crete as part of a buildup of US forces around revolt-torn Libya.

A spokesman for the Souda Bay base said Thursday that the marines arrived Wednesday from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Spokesman Paul Farley said the marines had been deployed “as part of contingency planning to provide the president (Barack Obama) flexibility on full range of option regarding Libya,” along with the amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce which have been ordered to Mediterranean.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will investigate Qaddafi and his inner circle, including some of his sons, for possible crimes against humanity in the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, the prosecutor said Thursday.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Qaddafi's security forces are alleged to have attacked “peaceful demonstrators” in several towns and cities across Libya since Feb. 15, and he identified Qaddafi and several commanders and regime officials as having formal or de facto command over the forces that may have committed crimes.

Moreno-Ocampo vowed there would be “no impunity in Libya.” Armed with unusual authority from the UN Security Council, Moreno-Ocampo acted with unprecedented haste to launch an investigation, partly to warn Libyan officials against any continued slaughter of civilians.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article299187.ece

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Afghan president warns Obama about civilian deaths

Mar 4, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s president has warned President Barack Obama that civilian casualties in the war are a serious problem that needs to be better addressed by the US -led coalition.

A statement issued Thursday by the Afghan government says President Hamid Karzai and Obama held a video conference call on Wednesday — the same day that NATO forces admitted accidentally killing nine Afghan boys in northeast Afghanistan.

Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the NATO force and Karzai. The president condemned the deaths, saying the victims were “innocent children who were collecting firewood for their families.” NATO apologized for the deaths of the nine boys, saying its troops miscommunicated the location of militants.

http://arabnews.com/world/article298083.ece

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UAE affirms support for Oman’s stability

4 March 2011

UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, fully supported the Sultanate of Oman in its efforts to maintain security and stability

MUSCAT - His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman received at his palace in Hisn Al Shumookh His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The meeting was the result of assiduous efforts by His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, to clear the atmosphere between the two brotherly countries of the UAE and Oman.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid told Sultan Qaboos that the UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, fully supported the Sultanate of Oman in its efforts to maintain and preserve security and stability, out of its firm belief that the security and stability of the region is uncompromisable. Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid described as unacceptable the recent events in Oman, adding that the UAE was opposed to anything that would endanger the stability and security of the Sultanate.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/March/theuae_March107.xml&section=theuae

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Libyan rebels, Gaddafi forces battle for oil sites (Reuters)

4 March 2011

AL-UQAYLA - Libyan rebels prepared for further attacks by forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday as both sides struggled for control of a strategic coastal road and oil industry facilities.

US President Barack Obama said he was concerned a bloody stalemate could develop between Gaddafi and rebel forces but gave no sign of a willingness to intervene militarily.

“Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave,” Obama said, the first time he has called in public for Gaddafi to leave Libya, although he has urged his exit in written statements by the White House.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez pushed a vague peace plan for Libya, saying he had spoken to his friend Gaddafi who had supported the plan for a negotiating commission, accusing the West of eyeing the North African nation’s oil.

The popular uprising against Gaddafi’s 41-year rule, has knocked out nearly 50 percent of the OPEC-member’s 1.6 million barrels of oil per day output, the bedrock of its economy.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March179.xml&section=international

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Hard time for Iraqi refugees in weak US job market

4 March 2011

EW YORK - Fleeing after years of war in Iraq, many refugees arriving in the United States can’t find the jobs they need to rebuild their lives.

Unemployment among Iraqi refugees is estimated at nearly three times the national average of 9 percent, and up to 2,000 of those who arrived in the past four years may have left for other countries.

Some Iraqis are now even contemplating going home as the United States struggles to recover from its worst economic downturn in decades, experts say.

“I’ve tried for every kind of job, from translating, teaching, consulting, mentoring, down to cat sitter or housekeeper, every kind of work,” said Nour al-Khal, a woman in her 30s who fled Iraq after being shot in an attack that killed US journalist Steven Vincent in 2005.

“If I go back to Iraq 100 percent I could get killed ... (but) living unemployed makes me feel like I’ve lost my identity. I feel like a burden. There are no jobs here,” said Khal, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and lives in New York.

Originally from the Shiite-dominated city of Basra in Iraq’s south, Khal had worked as a translator for Vincent and with the US Agency for International Development.

At least 60,000 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the United States since immigration restrictions were eased in 2007, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental agency established after World War Two.

Many of them had been threatened for having worked with U.S. companies, aid groups and government agencies, IOM said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/March/middleeast_March70.xml&section=middleeast

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Sunni-backed Allawi rejects Iraq post

4 March 2011

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s shaky governing coalition received a setback on Thursday when the leader of a political bloc backed by Iraq’s minority Sunnis rejected a position specially created for him in the new government.

The decision by Ayad Allawi brings to light the deep fissures within the government at a time when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki faces widespread protests across the country. It also highlights a frequent complaint about al-Maliki: his unwillingness to share power.

Allawi had long wavered on whether he would take the position as head of the National Council for Strategic Policies. Although Allawi’s Iraqiya party narrowly won the most seats in last year’s parliamentary election, Allawi was outmaneuvered by al-Maliki, who kept the premier’s post after drawn-out negotiations.

As a compromise to keep Allawi and his Sunni supporters in the political process, the United States pushed for Allawi to head a council that would — in theory — serve as a check on al-Maliki’s powers. But late Wednesday, Allawi told a meeting of his political allies he would not take the job because no headway had been made on negotiations over its powers.

Allawi wanted it to be a powerful body with funding and decision-making capability, while al-Maliki supporters wanted it to be a purely advisory council.

“Ayad Allawi was clear in his speech. He said that there was no partnership with the government,” said Maysoun al-Damlouji, a spokeswoman for Iraqiya, Allawi’s political bloc.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/March/middleeast_March68.xml&section=middleeast

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Hamas-backed men 'rob' bank twice in Gaza

Mar 4, 2011

GAZA CITY: All banks in the Gaza Strip temporarily shut down on Thursday after Hamas-affiliated men forced a local branch to cash some $500,000 in checks.

Gaza bankers said the ruling Hamas militant group sent police to confiscate the money from a branch of the Palestine Investment Bank. They said the police were accompanied by members of a committee Hamas had appointed in 2009 to oversee the Palestine Investment Fund, which is run by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.

The men confiscated checks from the fund, and then ordered bank tellers to cash them, though the account didn't contain enough money. The bankers spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

The Hamas Interior Ministry said the police helped to seize the money because the investment fund had improperly transferred funds out of Gaza to the West Bank. Hamas denied the money was taken at gunpoint.

The investment fund is one of the few institutions affiliated with the rival Fatah movement still operating in Gaza.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry confirmed the incident, but denied it was a robbery. It said police were merely protecting the interests of bank customers who had been unable to withdraw funds. It said Gaza businessmen had approached the police after the bank said it could not cash their checks because it had insufficient cash funds and then, a day later, told them it had been ordered by its Ramallah office to transfer the money to the West Bank.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article299189.ece

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Probe into girl’s death in Madinah hospital ordered

Mar 4, 2011

MADINAH: The Health Affairs Department in Madinah has ordered an investigation into the death of a four-year-old girl after allegedly being misdiagnosed at a private hospital in January.

The father of Huda Al-Luqmani accused doctors at Madinah Maternity Hospital of diagnosing his daughter with dehydration and a minor intestinal swelling when medics at a nearby private hospital said she had a brain tumor. She died 24 hours after being first diagnosed.

In his complaint to the health directorate, the father also accused the maternity hospital of negligence. He said the hospital administration refused to provide a bed for the girl. He claimed the doctor who examined her told him that she was suffering from dehydration and needed fluid drips.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article299084.ece

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Illegal migrant killed, 27 hurt as police bus overturns near Jazan

Mar 3, 2011

JAZAN: A Yemeni was killed and 27 other passengers injured when a bus carrying detained illegal migrants overturned on the Habas mountain road close to the Yemeni border in Jazan province Wednesday morning, said Border Guard spokesman Col. Abdullah Mahfouz.

The injured passengers included Yemenis and Ethiopians in addition to two border guards. A critically injured officer was admitted to Bani Malik Hospital while other injured passengers were taken to different hospitals in the area, Al-Madinah newspaper reported on Thursday.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article299099.ece

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Pakistan halves proposed fuel price increase

4 March 2011

Pakistan’s fragile coalition govt was forced to compromise with a key partner over a fuel price hike, a move likely to ensure political stability at the cost of vital economic reforms.

The decision to reduce to almost 5 per cent a 9.9 per cent increase in fuel prices announced this week is likely to disappoint the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has said Pakistan must raise taxes and end subsidies if it wants to continue receiving an economic bailout package.

But the reduction appears to have mollified the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), the third-biggest party in the ruling coalition which quit the government in protest over the last fuel price increase in January. It rejoined after the government caved in and reversed that rise.

“By reducing the recent fuel price rise by 50 per cent on the demand of the MQM, the government has given a big relief to the people,” MQM chief Altaf Hussain said in a statement.

The party had given the government three days to scrap the increase that was announced on March 1.

Political stability in Pakistan is seen as key to fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban within its borders and in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The government of President Asif Ali Zardari is struggling to cope with a raft of challenges, including a dire economy.

Poverty and dysfunctional state institutions also contribute to making the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition unpopular.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/business/2011/March/business_March94.xml&section=business

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/15-killed-in-terror-attacks-in-pakistan/d/4230


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