New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 06:25 PM

Islamic World News ( 1 Feb 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

1.7 million throng Hindu shrine in Malaysia

Malaysia's Anwar denounces sodomy trial as 'corrupt'

Iran's Mousavi says he will continue fight for reform

Germany Universities Train Islam Teachers

Autopsy: FBI Agents Shot Detroit Imam 21 Times

Over a year after 26/11: Who was Lashkar’s Indian hand?

New Delhi: Former militant is a Padma Shri, 2010

Taliban warn of 'big war'

Pakistan troops 'capture Taliban base in Bajaur'

Pakistan TV says Mehsud is dead

Israeli forces declare West Bank area ‘closed’

Dubai sees Mossad hand in Al-Mabhouh’s assassination

Yemen says no to rebel truce offer

‘No need to worry about Al-Khurma’

Woman files inheritance case against brother

Racing the Imam in prayer

Americans held in Pakistan complain of torture

Al Qaeda biggest killer of innocent Muslims: Obama

Indian supplies to Kabul despite ban anger Pak

30-day marriage registration wait period might go

Bilateral talks with Pak possible during Islamabad visit: Chidambaram

Explosives wash up on Israel beaches

Despite fighting, a chance for peace in Yemen

Protests in Sringar over youth's killing in police station

SRK stands by IPL remarks, says India a welcoming place

War over Mumbai: Shiv Sena behaving like J&K separatists, says BJP chief Gadkari

India, Germany to push anti-terror, economic pacts on Tuesday

US advisory for its citizens on terror attacks routine: Chidambaram

US officials certain Mehsud is dead

US beefing up defense of Gulf allies

Karzai to visit Saudi Arabia

We don’t want “Talibanised” Afghanistan, says Kayani

Israel warns officers after mysterious assassination of Hamas commander

Mystery over Mehsud’s fate

Zardari sidelined in nuke affairs

Pak to save Bhagat Singh alma mater

Terrorists surgically implanting bombs?

Afghanistan’s opium problem ignored

Reimagining Pak

Afghanistan: Much is at stake for India

How the British Empire is striking back

SC upholds Rajasthan Govt decision sacking Muslim cop

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/17-million-throng-hindu-shrine-in-malaysia/d/2445

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1.7 million throng Hindu shrine in Malaysia

2 February 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 1.7 million Hindu devotees on Monday thronged Lord Subramaniam's temple at the Batu Caves near the national capital to celebrate the annual Thaipusam festival.

Crowds of devotees and tourists swelled through the night even as the deity's silver chariot left Batu Caves at 4 p.m. on Sunday for the Sri Maha Mariamman temple here to mark the end of the festival.

About 10,000 devotees followed the chariot back on foot, New Straits Times said.

Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam works committee chief N. Sivakumar said the Thaipusam celebration last year lasted for a week, and this year the temple management was ready to maintain the carnival atmosphere beyond Monday if necessary.

Going by the enthusiasm of the festival crowd this year, it would not be a surprise if the number of visitors to the Batu Caves temple surpassed two million, he added.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia is home to about 1.9 million Indians who settled here during the British era. A bulk of them are Tamil Hindus, while there are settlers from other regions and practitioners of Christianity and Sikhism as well.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak with his wife and leading members of his cabinet were among the visitors this year. He underscored the need for accommodating the festivals and citizens of different faiths, although a majority of Malaysians practice Islam.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/17-million-throng-Hindu-shrine-in-Malaysia/articleshow/5522906.cms

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Malaysia's Anwar denounces sodomy trial as 'corrupt'

The Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has appeared in court to face charges of sodomy for the second time in a decade.

Dozens of supporters greeted Mr Anwar's arrival in court, before the case was adjourned to allow defence lawyers to gain access to prosecution evidence.

Mr Anwar denounced the proceedings as the "machinations of a dirty, corrupt few".

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Mr Anwar - a former deputy prime minister until his sudden sacking in 1998 - served six years after an earlier sodomy conviction, but led the opposition to election gains in 2008.

He represents a major challenge to Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose coalition has held power for more than 50 years.

'Dirty tricks'

Mr Anwar was accompanied by his wife and two daughters as he entered the courtroom. Dozens of his supporters shouted "reform, reform".

The 62-year-old former deputy premier has consistently maintained that the charges against him are a political conspiracy.

In an interview with the BBC before the trial, Mr Anwar said: "I think from the very start we'll state our position and fight it out, and expose their nasty conspiracy.

"We were committed to a reform agenda. We are committed to democratic ideals and some of us may have to pay the price.

"The image of the country is severely damaged by their actions, and I think they should not underestimate the strength and wisdom of the Malaysian people."

Government officials deny there is any plot against him.

The sodomy allegations have been levelled by a 24-year-old male former aide.

On Friday, the Federal Court upheld a lower court's ruling that Mr Anwar could not have access to medical evidence held by prosecutors.

Mr Anwar's lawyer said the refusal had had "an emasculating effect in our preparation of the defence".

Rights groups have criticised the trial. Amnesty International accused the government of using "the same old dirty tricks in an attempt to remove the opposition leader from politics".

There were huge protests after Mr Anwar's first conviction for sodomy a decade ago. He was freed on appeal in 2004.

All homosexual acts are criminal in Malaysia.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8492590.stm

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Iran's Mousavi says he will continue fight for reform

2 February 2010

Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has said he will continue his struggle against the government.

In a statement posted on his website, Mr Mousavi said the 1979 Islamic revolution had failed to achieve most of its goals.

He said politically motivated arrests of protesters were illegal and more should be done to secure people's rights.

His comments constitute one of his strongest challenges to the government.

They also come at a particularly sensitive time. Iran will mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic on 11 February.

As one of the key players in the founding of the Islamic Republic, his comments have extra resonance.

Jon Leyne, the BBC's Tehran correspondent who is reporting from London, says Mr Mousavi's comments will outrage hard-line supporters of the government. He is now pushing to the very limit of what he can say without being arrested.

Call for rallies

The anniversary is one of the most important dates in Iran's political calendar. Mr Mousavi and his reformist ally Mehdi Karroubi have called on their supporters to attend rallies on the day of the anniversary.

But hardliners, including the country's supreme leader, have warned that anti-government protests will not be tolerated.

Tensions in Iran are still high after bloody demonstrations during the Shia ritual of Ashura in December when eight protesters were killed and officials said over 1,000 were arrested.

Mr Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali Mousavi was among those killed.

The December clashes were the worst episode of violence since the aftermath of last June's disputed presidential election and subsequent government crackdown.

On Tuesday the government threatened to execute nine people who were allegedly arrested during the post-election unrest that erupted after the vote that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

"The green movement will not abandon its peaceful fight... until people's rights are preserved," Mr Mousavi wrote on his Kalemeh website. "Peaceful protests are Iranians' right."

Mr Mousavi also said that the Islamic revolution in Iran had failed to eradicate the "roots of tyranny and dictatorship" that, he said, marked the shah's era.

He said he no longer believed, as he once did, "that the revolution had removed all those structures which could lead to totalitarianism and dictatorship".

"Today, one can identify both elements and foundations which produce dictatorship as well as resistance against returning to this dictatorship," he said.

"Stifling the media, filling the prisons and brutally killing people who peacefully demand their rights in the streets indicate the roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain from the monarchist era. I don't believe that the revolution achieved its goals," Mr Mousavi added.

Last month Mr Mousavi said that he was not afraid to die for the cause of reform.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8492941.stm

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Germany Universities Train Islam Teachers

Feb. 2, 2010

BERLIN – A German academic advisory council has suggested that those who teach Islam at schools should hold a university theology degree as a minimum qualification, a proposal welcomed by the government and others.

"More than four million Muslims live in Germany and their children have a right to be taught their religion at school," Peter Strohschneider, head of the German Council of Science and Humanities, told reporters following release of their new report on Monday, February 1.

The report says Germany has 700,000 Muslim pupils who would need 2,000 Islam teachers if all states offer religious education for them.

"The teachers for these classes must receive academic training," Strohschneider said.

For that purpose the council, comprising senior government officials and professors, proposed establishing Islamic theology departments at two to three public universities initially.

It wants advisory groups from the Muslim community formed to decide upon content and hiring professors to avoid concerns that non-believers might be hired to teach courses.

The council supports that the Muslim community should have the right to veto potential professors.

Currently, many German universities teach about Islam in Middle Eastern studies or history courses, but none teaches its theology, law and languages in an academic curriculum similar to that used in their Christian theology faculties.

But a department has been set up at one German university in the western city of Muenster to train schoolteachers to teach Islam to children, offering courses on the Quran and other topics

Welcome

Full report at: www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1264249991183&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout#ixzz0eOAjpDHW

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Autopsy: FBI Agents Shot Detroit Imam 21 Times

2 February 2010

In Michigan, explosive details have emerged from the long-awaited release of the autopsy report for a Detroit-area Muslim imam slain by the FBI in October. The imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah headed a Sunni Muslim group called the Ummah. He was shot dead during an FBI raid shortly after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Local Muslim leaders have questioned if authorities are trying to cover up facts surrounding his death. The autopsy report was finally released Monday after a lengthy delay. It shows Abdullah died from twenty-one gunshot wounds and was found with his wrists handcuffed behind his back. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers is expected to join a coalition of civil-rights and Muslim groups today to call for a Justice Department probe.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/2/headlines/autopsy_fbi_agents_shot_detroit_imam_21_times

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Over a yr after 26/11: Who was Lashkar’s Indian hand?

2 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Who is Abu Jindal, believed to be the lone Indian in the Lashkar’s control room in Karachi which directed the 26/11 attackers to their  targets? The question continues to beg for answer even more than a year after the outrage.

Mohammad Amjad Khwaja, an activist of Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami from Hyderabad who was recently arrested in Chennai, has told his interrogators that Jindal was the alias of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, a Lashkar operative from Beed in Maharashtra. Ansari, along with several other fugitive jihadis, has been sheltered in Pakistan by the ISI-Lashkar combine as part of their Karachi Project to target India by using its own nationals.

Khwaja pointed to Ansari after police played recordings of the conversation between Jindal and the two terrorists who had attacked Chabad House.

But intelligence agencies here are still not sure and suspect that Jindal could well be the alias of fugitive Indian Lashkar jihadi, Hyderabad’s Abdul Aziz Gidda. Like Ansari, Gidda has been housed in Karachi as part of the ISI-Laskhar gameplan against India. Suspicions about his presence in the Lashkar control room are derived from Jindal’s instruction to terrorists that they introduce themselves as Indians belonging to Toulichowki in Hyderabad. Intelligence agencies also feel that Khwaja, who has been close to Gidda, has a vested interest in diverting the attention away from his friend. Both Khwaja and Gidda were in SIMI before joining Lashkar.

The ‘Ansari-or-Gidda’ riddle cannot be solved immediately because investigators don’t have voice samples of either. Matching voice samples with that of Jindal could have helped solve the conundrum.

The investigators were alerted to the possibility of the presence of an Indian among those who choreographed the brutal attack on Mumbai after Jindal used the word “prashasan” — administration in official Hindi — while shouting directions to terrorists. The dogged insistence on the use of sarkari Hindi has seen ‘prashasan’ slip into daily use including in places which don’t form part of the Hindi belt, like Maharashtra.

Their suspicions were confirmed by Ajmal Kasab, the lone 26/11 attacker in Indian custody, who spoke of an Indian being among those who trained his gang.

Jindal was asking the Chabad House terrorists to identify themselves as Muslims from Hyderabad who had staged the attack on Mumbai to avenge the persecution of Muslims in India by ‘prashasan’

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Over-a-yr-after-26/11-Who-was-Lashkars-Indian-hand/articleshow/5525952.cms

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Former militant is a Padma Shri, 2010

Feb 02, 2010

SRINAGAR,

THIS year's list of Padma awardees includes a surrendered Kashmiri militant and counter-insurgent against whom cases of extortion and attempted murder are pending. The man, Ghulam Mohammed Mir, has been honoured with a Padma Shri for public service. He runs a band-saw business in his native Magam in central Kashmir's Budgam district, and is widely known by the nickname Muma Kana.

The Jammu and Kashmir government took several days to trace the awardee.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he did not think that his government had recommended Mir for the Padma.

"I don't remember recommending his name," Omar told The Indian Express. "At times, there are individual recommendations or the Government of India checks the credentials of a prospective awardee directly. I will check tomorrow," the Chief Minister said.

Mir has been a known counter-insurgent who ran an illegal private militia in central Kashmir after surrendering before the security forces. Sources in the police said he was considered a major asset for the security establishment during the peak years of militancy, alongside counter-insurgents like Kuka Parray, Javaid Shah and Naba Azad.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/former-militant-is-a-padma-shri-2010/574391/

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Taliban warn of 'big war'

Feb 02 2010

Taliban militants in the terror hotbed of North Waziristan have threatened the Pakistan government with a "big war" if the country's Army launched any military operation in the region.

In a pamphlet, Taliban Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen asked the residents of North Waziristan to seek haven from Afghan President Hamid Karzai should a war break out, accusing the Pakistan government of violating a peace accord, according to SITE, the US group monitoring extremist websites.

"If army started another operation here, Mujahideen will start a big war in the area so local people are directed to form a committee of elders to meet Karzai and ask him for a safe place... to migrate," the pamphlet said.

It said though Karzai is himself a "kaffir" but he is still better to look after the peace deal than the Pakistanis.

"Brothers are requested to spread this news so that it reach the ears of Pakistani population," it added.

The shura alleged that the government is taking advantage of the situation and has established a spy network in the agency, and killed several militants and civilians.

It said according to the peace accord, government had agreed to withdraw troops from Janikhel and Bakkakhel areas of the tribal agency, but the number of troops had increased there since the agreement.

Pakistan Army launched military operations first in NWFP and then in South Waziristan and is believed to be preparing for an offensive in North Waziristan.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/taliban-warn-big-war-926

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Pakistan troops 'capture Taliban base in Bajaur'

2 February 2010

A major Taliban base in the north-western tribal region of Bajaur has been captured by Pakistani troops after days of fierce fighting, officials say.

Troops are now advancing on the militants' main training area in the Damadola district of Bajaur.

Local residents say hundreds of people are fleeing the area to escape the fighting.

Militants have recently re-established themselves in Bajaur after a military offensive drove them out in 2008.

Security forces overran the Sewai area in the Mamund district of Bajaur on Sunday night, a senior official in Bajaur's main town, Khar, told the BBC's Urdu service.

The official said that troops had captured several important heights in the area during Monday's fighting.

The army has been pounding Taliban positions using fighter jets and helicopter gunships.

At least 15 militants and one soldier were reported killed.

Deteriorating security

In February 2009, the army said Bajaur had been cleared of Taliban militants following a military operation launched in August 2008.

But recently the security situation has been deteriorating.

Correspondents say that numerous attacks over the last six months show the militants still maintain a significant presence in the area.

Close to the Afghan border, Bajaur has long been suspected of being a possible hiding-place of Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other top al-Qaeda leaders.

Pakistan's military has been focusing on a major offensive, launched in October 2008 in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan.

But some analysts say that military operation has simply displaced militants to other parts of the tribal belt.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8492635.stm

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Pakistan TV says Mehsud is dead

Asif Shahzad | AP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government was investigating reports Sunday that Pakistani Taleban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a US drone missile strike launched in mid-January after he helped orchestrate a deadly bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan.

Mehsud’s predecessor was killed in a missile strike less than six months ago, and inflicting another blow to the militant group’s leadership would be an important success for both Pakistan and the US.

Pakistani government officials said they were investigating whether Mehsud was mortally wounded in one of those strikes after state television reported that he died in Orakzai, an area in Pakistan’s tribal region where he was supposedly being treated for his injuries. “We have these reports coming to us,” army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press. “We are investigating whether it is true or wrong.”

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the state TV report relied on “local sources” in Orakzai that the government could not confirm. “But the local tribal elders there and the local population say that he has been buried,” Malik told ARY News TV.

A tribal elder told the AP that he attended Mehsud’s funeral in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai on Thursday, after Mehsud died at his in-laws’ home. The elder spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taleban.

Pakistani intelligence officials had said that Mehsud was targeted in a US drone strike while attending a meeting of militant commanders in South Waziristan on Jan. 14.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132218&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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Israeli forces declare West Bank area ‘closed’

Mohammad Mar’i | Arab News

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces on Sunday declared the West Bank area of Al-Baq’a, east of Hebron, a closed military zone in order to help Jewish occupiers plant trees.

Palestinian sources said Israeli forces barred Palestinian farmers and local and foreign journalists from entering the area. The sources said “about 200 occupiers from nearby settlement of Kharsina arrived in the area and started planting trees they brought with them.”

Hussein Al-Araj, the governor of Hebron, told Arab News that the “occupiers’ move is a translation of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks where he promised to create a park in front of every West Bank settlement.”

Last week, Netanyahu planted trees in three major West Bank settlements and called on occupiers in other settlements to follow suit. Al-Araj said: “Al-Baq’a area is the most fertile land in Hebron governorate and planting of trees there will deprive local farmers of their main source of income.”

Israeli Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin on Sunday laid the foundation stone for construction work in a new neighborhood in Beit Hagai settlement, south of Mount Hebron.

Ahead of a three-day visit to Tel Aviv this week, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied West Bank is a “mistake” which could be an obstacle to any peace settlement. “It will never be possible to convince the Palestinians of Israel’s good intentions while Israel continues to build in territories that are to be returned as part of a piece agreement,” Berlusconi told the Ha’aretz newspaper, in an interview published Sunday.

“I would like to say to the people and government of Israel, as a friend, with my hand on my heart, that persisting with this policy is a mistake,” he said.

He noted, however, that the events which followed Israel’s 2005 withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip “should prompt some thought.”

“It is not possible to evacuate communities to (then) face burned synagogues, acts of destruction, and inter-Palestinian violence and missiles being shot into Israeli territory,” he pointed out.

The Italian leader arrives in Israel on Monday, accompanied by eight of his ministers, who will participate in a joint Cabinet meeting Tuesday with their Israeli counterparts.

Berlusconi said Italy was an “essential stop” in any tour that Middle East leaders make in Europe, saying that “we feel involved in efforts to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question.”

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132205&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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Dubai sees Mossad hand in Al-Mabhouh’s assassination

K.T. Abdurabb | Arab News

DUBAI: Dubai police chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said Sunday that he will not relent until the killers of top Hamas commander Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh are brought to book. He gave this assurance to Palestinian Consul General in Dubai Hussein Abdul Khaliq during a meeting.

The two officials also discussed ways of cooperation between Dubai police and local and international parties with regard to the assassination.

Khalfan said that Israel’s spy agency Mossad could be behind the murder. “It could be Mossad, or another party. Personally, I don’t exclude any possibility. I don’t exclude any party that has an interest in the assassination,” Khalfan said.

“There were seven or more people holding passports from different European countries” in the group suspected of killing Al-Mabhouh, he said.

He refused to name the countries, but added: “We are currently in contact with these European countries to verify the authenticity of the passports.”

Hamas on Friday accused Israel of killing Al-Mabhouh, who was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai on Jan. 20, and vowed revenge. Hamas has acknowledged that Al-Mabhouh was in Dubai to buy weapons for Hamas in its struggle against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Al-Mabhouh, born in Jabaliya in northern Gaza, was behind the capture of two Israeli soldiers, Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sadon, in separate operations in 1989. Both were later murdered.

Khalfan said that “it seems (Al-Mabhouh) opened the door” of his room, letting his killers in. “Al-Mabhouh was suffocated,” he said, adding that “strangulation is possible.”

According to Khalfan, Al-Mabhouh entered the United Arab Emirates a day before his death using a passport that did not bear his family name. “We were not informed by Hamas about the visit,” he said. “It is strange that a person of his importance traveled alone.”

Khalfan met Palestinian Consul General Hussein Abdul Khaliq in Dubai on Sunday to discuss the murder, saying police would “work day and night” to track down the suspects, the official WAM news agency reported.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=24&section=0&article=132221&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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Yemen says no to rebel truce offer

Saeed Al-Batati | Arab News

SANAA: The Yemeni government rejected a truce offer of the rebels on Sunday and said it will cease fire only if the rebels accepted a six-point pledge including not to attack Saudi Arabia and to free kidnapped Yemenis and Saudis.

“If the Houthi (rebels) agree to start implementing the six points ... the government does not see a problem in stopping military operations,” Yemen’s Supreme National Defense Council announced.

“We want a clear and specific mechanism to ensure that the fighting will not be resumed,” Saba news agency quoted a council statement.

Rebel leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi had offered in an audio message released on the Internet on Saturday to accept the government’s five conditions to end the war, but demanded a halt to military attacks as a precondition. “I announce our acceptance of the (government’s) five points, after the aggression stops,” he said. “The ball is now in the other party’s court.”

Initially, the government had set five conditions to end the war. The pledge to end attacks against neighboring Saudi Arabia was added after the rebels started fighting Saudi forces on its territory. The five conditions include a withdrawal from official buildings, reopening roads in the north, returning weapons seized from security services, freeing all military and civilian prisoners, including Saudis, and abandoning military posts in the mountains.

Saudi Arabia was forced to join the war on Nov. 4, a day after the rebels killed a Saudi border guard and occupied two villages inside Saudi territory. The rebels announced Jan. 25 that they had withdrawn from Saudi land. The Kingdom said they had been driven out.

Clashes continued in northern Yemen, with the Defense Ministry on Sunday reporting that 24 rebels were killed in separate clashes. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said fighting had erupted on three fronts near Saada, 240 km north of the capital Sanaa, and that government warplanes were carrying out airstrikes in the area.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=24&section=0&article=132220&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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‘No need to worry about Al-Khurma’

Saeed Al-Khotani | Arab News

RIYADH: Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah assured the public that they should not be overly worried about the spread of Al-Khurma fever. “The spread of the disease is still very limited since its discovery in 1994,” Al-Rabeeah said on Sunday at a workshop held to formulate a nationwide plan to combat the illness. The event was also attended by Minister of Agriculture Dr. Fahd Balghunaim.

The minister of health said the workshop was organized under the instructions of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. He added that the ministry has set up a national committee made up of officials from several government departments to take measures to combat the illness.

Assistant Undersecretary for Preventive Medicine at the Health Ministry Ziyad Maimish said at the workshop that Al-Khurma is an emerging tick-borne hemorrhagic fever that is unique to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“It was for the first time found in 1994 in the Al-Khurma district of Taif and since then a number of cases were found in Makkah, Jeddah and Najran,” he said, adding that from 1994 until 2003 31 people have been found to have the illness in the Kingdom.

On Jan. 12, the Directorate of Health Affairs in Jeddah warned the public, particularly people who deal with cattle or meat, about the fever following the discovery of four confirmed cases of the virus in Jeddah. “The major symptoms of the disease include fever accompanied by body pains and headaches for three to eight days, rashes or nose bleeds and blood in the urine or stool,” said Director of Health Affairs in Jeddah Sami Badawood.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=132193&d=1&m=2&y=2010&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

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Woman files inheritance case against brother

Hayat Al-Ghamdi | Arab News

ABHA: A 50-year-old Saudi woman has filed a lawsuit against her brother for allegedly not giving her money generated from residential apartments that she inherited from her father.

The woman has also lodged a complaint at Nuzla police station, saying her brother — who works at the Transport Ministry’s office in Jeddah — along with his sons beat up her two sons and threatened to kill her.

In her complaint, the woman said the man cut electricity from her home, something that scared her daughters and grandchildren, who include babies.

The brother said he was ready to pay her money if she withdrew the case filed with the police, but the woman refuses, adding that her sons were also injured in the beating.

The woman, called Um Sultan, said her brother is involved in four court cases, which include one on paying his mother’s expenses and another on dividing their father’s inheritance.

The woman also alleges that her brother has occupied 50 percent of parking spaces in front of her house and asked local residents not to park their vehicles there. She also said her brother has in the past beaten up a number of local residents for parking in his space.

The woman also expressed her anguish at the municipality for not taking any action against her brother for occupying public land.

Arab News learned from police that South Jeddah police had taken an undertaking from the man not to attack Um Sultan and her sons again.

Lawyer Khaled Abu Rashed said judges would not look favorably at the man’s behavior. He added the man would be questioned by the police as well as the Commission for Investigation and General Prosecution before the matter reaches the summary court.

Abu Rashed said the woman has two rights — public rights against her brother, who faces lashes and a jail sentence; and private rights in the form of financial compensation for causing injuries. The court will also look into the inheritance issue and issue a verdict that would allow her to have control of her inheritance. The brother would also be forced to pay Um Sultan revenue earned from the property she inherited.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=132184&d=1&m=2&y=2010&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

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Racing the Imam in prayer

Adil Salahi | Arab News

Congregational prayer is one of the most important aspects of Islamic worship. It helps to bring people in the same locality together, so that they would know each other and establish friendly and close relations. Moreover, their frequent meetings at prayer times give them a chance to learn more of one another’s work and what they can provide. Thus, they will seek to get what they need from within their own neighbourhood. Furthermore, congregational prayer instils discipline within the community. When people takes instructions from the imam during worship, which is a bond between each individual and God, they learn the value of discipline in their lives.

Stressing the importance of discipline in prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says, as quoted by Abu Hurayrah: “When a person lifts his head before the imam, does he not fear that God will make his head like that of a donkey, or that He will make him look like a donkey?” (Related by al-Bukhari).

This is the strongest form used by the Prophet to emphasise the importance of following the imam in all actions, and not to go ahead of him. The Prophet said: “I am your imam. Therefore, do not go before me in bowing, prostration or standing up.” He also said: “An imam is appointed so that he is followed.” However, people are often impatient. When the Prophet noticed that his admonition in this respect has not given its desired results, he stated the hadith we are discussing, warning of a stern punishment on the Day of Judgement. Thus, a person who races the imam in prayer runs the risk of having a changed shape marking him out among all people. We should emphasise here that this is merely a warning, and it does not follow that everyone who does not abide by the order to follow the imam will be changed in form. Such a person, however, exposes himself to this risk.

A question arises here about the validity of the prayer when a person moves ahead of the imam in a congregational prayer. Scholars have expressed different views, going into considerable details. They agree that it is forbidden to precede the imam in any action. Everyone in the congregation is required to follow the imam, not to precede him. It is indeed reprehensible to do any movement or say any words of the prayer at the same time as the imam, except for the first takbeer, which signals the beginning of the prayer, and the salam, which signals its end. A person who says these phrases at the same time as the imam makes his whole prayer invalid.

Full report at: www.arabnews.com/?page=5&section=0&article=132018&d=1&m=2&y=2010&pix=islam.jpg&category=Islam

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Americans held in Pakistan complain of torture

Omer Farooq Khan

2 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Five young Americans, who were detained in Pakistan for having alleged links to extremist groups, told a court on Tuesday they were tortured by the FBI and Pakistani police, attempting to frame them.

When they were brought in a police van at the heavily guarded court in the eastern city of Sargodha, one of the suspects threw a piece of tissue paper from the window of the vehicle with writing: "Since our arrest the USA, FBI and Pakistani police have tortured us. They are trying to set us up. We are innocent. They are trying to keep us from the public, media, our families and our lawyers. Help us," it read.

The scrap of paper was signed by all five detainees---Waqar, Ahmed, Ramy, Umar, Aman. They were shouting from the van: "We have been tortured." Police official Amir Abbas Shirazi said the court had ordered medical checkups after the men, who appeared in court handcuffed and wearing track suits, complained of stomach pain.

The suspects were remanded in custody until February 16, the date set for the next hearing.

Defence lawyer Tariq Asad said he was seeking access to the men.

Khalid Khawaja, of the Defence of Human Rights Pakistan group, which is assisting the five men, said the accused told the judge they had been subjected to electric shocks and threats in jail.

The media and public were not allowed to witness the trial, but two officials from the US embassy in Islamabad were present in court.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Americans-held-in-Pakistan-complain-of-torture/articleshow/5528312.cms

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Al Qaeda biggest killer of innocent Muslims: Obama

Tuesday , Feb 02, 2010

Washington : Al Qaeda is the biggest killer of innocent Muslims in the world, US President Barack Obama has said.

"I think it's important to understand that we are at war against a very specific group - al Qaeda and its extremist allies that have metastasised around the globe, that would attack us, attack our allies, attack bases and embassies around the world, and most sadly, attack innocent people regardless of their backgrounds, regardless of their religions," Obama said on Monday in an interview to YouTube.

"Al Qaeda is probably the biggest killer of innocent Muslims of any entity out there," said Obama in his first ever interview to the YouTube as the US President.

"So that is our target and that is our focus. Now, they employ terrorist tactics, but we need to be clear about who our target is," he argued.

The US President said United States is having to fight terrorism on all fronts.

"We have to fight them in very concrete ways in Afghanistan and along the border regions of Pakistan where they are still holed up.

They have spread to places like Yemen and Somalia, and we are working internationally with partners to try to limit their scope of operations and dismantle them in those regions," he said.

"But we also have to battle them with ideas. We have to help work with the overwhelming majority of Muslims who reject senseless violence of this sort, and to work to provide different pathways and different alternatives for people expressing whatever policy differences that they may have," he said.

Obama felt his administration has not done as good of a job on that front.

"We have to project economically, working in country like a Yemen, that is extraordinarily poor, to make sure that young people there have opportunity. The same is true in a place like Pakistan," Obama said.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/al-qaeda-biggest-killer-of-innocent-muslims-obama/574433/

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Indian supplies to Kabul despite ban anger Pak

Omer Farooq Khan

2 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is miffed that Indian goods, including heavy machinery, trucks and buses, are finding their way into Afghanistan through Pakistani soil despite Islamabad’s no transit rule for any India-Afghan trade barring that in dry fruits.

Opposition lawmakers are protesting that in a bid to please Washington and allow free access to goods marked for Nato and ISAF forces in Afghanistan, government is quietly allowing the India-Afghan trade to bloom along the Pakistan route.

Islamabad has refused transit rights to Indian products under the bilateral Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA). But Dawn reported that a information sheet of NATO cargoes transported to Afghanistan through Pakistan included a 66-seater Tata bus and scores of other Indian products as “provisions for ISAF and Nato’. The report said Indian goods have been regularly transported to Afghanistan via Pakistan under Nato and ISAF tags since the fall of Kabul to the US forces in 2001.

Islamabad offered its ports and duty free transit to Nato and ISAF as part of its arrangement with the US following the 2001 Afghan war. Under the arrangement, Pakistani customs officials can’t seek details of the imported items and have to accept the information provided by the Nato countries.

Despite the US pressure, Pakistan has made clear that it won’t allow transit facilities for Indian goods to Afghanistan amid fears that New Delhi’s vast aid programme, close ties with Kabul and expanded diplomatic presence was part of a policy of strategic encirclement.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indian-supplies-to-Kabul-despite-ban-anger-Pak/articleshow/5523622.cms

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30-day marriage registration wait period might go

NITIN MAHAJAN

2 February 2010

Move to prevent coercion by families, caste groups and communities against couples planning to marry

In a bid to prevent any kind of coercion by families, caste groups or communities against couples planning to tie the knot, the law and justice ministry has written to the Union home ministry seeking an amendment of the Registration of Marriages Act by doing away with the mandatory 30-day notice period before a marriage can be registered.

Law and justice minister M. Veerappa Moily, speaking exclusively to this newspaper, said the "required 30-day notice period for registration of marriages was working against freedom of individuals and democratic norms." He added: "I have written to home minister P.

Chidambaram... that the mandatory 30-day period for notice to register marriages be either repealed, or the period drastically reduced."

It is believed the move was prompted by concerns in several quarters that the mandatory 30-day period for notice to register marriages was acting as an impediment rather than a facilitator for couples. "It was found that when notices were issued, the individuals planning get married often faced harassment," Mr Moily said. The law minister has also proposed that the mandatory requirement of a permanent address be also done away with under this law.

"We found that couples had to inadvertently supply the addresses of their parents, which is defeating the purpose of making this freedom available. This clause also needs to be looked into and changed," Mr Moily said.

Full report at: http://epaper.asianage.com/Asian/AAge/2010/02/02/index.shtml

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Bilateral talks with Pak possible during Islamabad visit: Chidambaram

2 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Union home minister P Chidambaram on Monday indicated that he may hold a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart if he attends the forthcoming SAARC home/interior ministers' conference scheduled to begin in Islamabad on February 20.

Though the final decision on his visit is still to be taken, Chidambaram said: "If I presume that I go to Pakistan, I presume I will hold bilateral talks if there is an opportunity but please remember that SAARC is a multi-lateral forum."

He was replying to a question whether he would hold bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart if he goes to Pakistan to attend the SAARC home/interior ministers' conference.

If the government decides that he travel to Islamabad, it would be the first ministerial visit to Pakistan since May 2008 when then foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had gone for talks as part of the composite dialogue.

The SAARC meeting is supposed to be attended by ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These countries are expected to discuss regional cooperation for dealing with the menace of terrorism, narcotics and organised crime.

The first such meeting was held in Dhaka in May 2006 and then in New Delhi in October 2007.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Bilateral-talks-with-Pak-possible-during-Islamabad-visit-Chidambaram-/articleshow/5524967.cms

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Explosives wash up on Israel beaches

2 February 2010

Israeli sources said the devices were part of a foiled operation by Gaza militants against Israeli ships.

Palestinian militants have claimed responsibility for the failed attacks.

They said they had planned the attacks as revenge for the killings of a senior Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai and other Palestinian activists.

'New means'

Police sappers detonated one of the explosive devices on the beach in the southern city of Ashkelon late on Monday.

They have closed the beaches at Ashkelon and further north in Ashdod - where the second barrel washed up - as they continue their search for more explosives, Israeli media report.

A spokesman in the Gaza Strip for Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades said the explosive devices were part of a joint operation with two other militant groups - the Popular Resistance Committee's Salahudeen Brigades, and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of the Fatah movement.

"The resistance factions are telling the enemy that they are continuing to think up new means to hurt them in defence of the Palestinian people," the unnamed Palestinian source told Reuters news agency.

Last week, Mr Mabhouh, a Hamas military commander, was found murdered in Dubai.

Hamas claims Israel was behind the assassination of Mr Mabhouh, a founder of its military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. The group has vowed to avenge his killing.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8493004.stm

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Despite fighting, a chance for peace in Yemen

01 February 2010

The statement on Saturday by Abdul Malik al Houthi, the leader of the Houthi insurgency, that he would accept the government’s offer of a conditional truce injected a small dose of optimism in the otherwise dismal outlook in Yemen. That optimism seemed short-lived, however, as the government rejected the truce and launched a fresh offensive. Ceasefires lasting mere hours have become a hallmark of this civil war, but recent events still point to a possible road out of the impasse.

The fighting in northern Yemen has been raging since the collapse of the previous truce last summer, after which the government committed vast resources to defeat what it considers an Iranian-engineered attempt to establish a position on the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia joined the fight in November after a series of skirmishes on the border and sent troops deep into Yemen’s northern region.

The movement has denied any connection to Iran and claims its demands for better governance have been ignored for so long that it has stirred the resentment of the local population. There is truth to that: the government of the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has performed poorly and steadily lost legitimacy in recent years. This, however, is no excuse for the Houthis’ resort to violence.

Squeezed from the north by the Saudi troops and from the south and east by government forces, with few secure supply lines and a sizable civilian population facing humanitarian hardship, the insurrection could hardly sustain a long war. Thus the overture by Mr al Houthi.

Full report at: © Copyright of Abu Dhabi Media Company PJSC

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Protests in Sringar over youth's killing in police station

2 February 2010

SRINAGAR: Angry mobs pelted stones at policemen at many places here Monday, protesting the death of a 17-year-old youth in clashes with security forces a day earlier, while mourners took out a funeral procession for the victim, police said.

A huge procession led by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik offered funeral prayers for the youth in Jamia mosque in old city and later carried the body in a procession for burial at the Martyrs' graveyard in Eidgah area.

After the burial, protests erupted in Safakadal, Kawdara, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari localities of old city and Maisuma locality in uptown city.

Agitated youth indulged in heavy stone pelting at Safakadal and Nowhatta police stations where police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) used batons and tear smoke shells to restore order.

The youth was hit by a tear smoke shell fired by police to disperse stone-pelting mobs near Rajouri Kadal in the old city Sunday when mobs took to the streets, clashed with police and Central Reserve Police Force troopers, and shouted anti-India and pro-independence slogans, an official said.

The youth succumbed to his injuries at the Soura medical institute. The victim's relatives, however, maintain that he was not part of the clashes but was just walking in a by-lane when he was hit by a tear smoke shell.

"The assistant sub-inspector of police who fired the tear smoke shell in a callous and irresponsible manner has been placed under suspension and further action against him will follow," a senior police officer said.

Additional reinforcements of police and CRPF were deployed in the old city areas Monday following the youth's death in the clashes Sunday. A complete shutdown against the youth's killing has marred normal life in the area.

A senior police officer said that strict orders have been given to the police and the CRPF to exercise maximum restraint while handling the law and order situation in the city.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Protests-in-Sringar-over-youths-killing-in-police-station/articleshow/5524056.cms

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SRK stands by IPL remarks, says India a welcoming place

2 February 2010

NEW YORK: Under attack from Shiv Sena for his remarks on the IPL fiasco, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, on Tuesday, said he was not apologetic for favouring the inclusion of Pakistani players and termed the activities of the party as "undemocratic".

Standing by his comments, Shah Rukh asserted he believed that every Indian would agree that India is a "good country" and that "everyone is welcome as a guest", but at the same time said too much importance was being attached to the words of "just an actor".

"It makes me feel that activities like this are unhealthy, undemocratic, its insensitive but this is the world is and you can only say what you believe in and stand by it and hopefully I will have the strength to do so," Khan told reporters when asked about the Shiv Sena protests back home.

"As an Indian I'm not ashamed, guilty or unhappy about what I said neither am I sorry," he said.

Following the IPL snub, Khan who is also the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, had spoken against ignoring the Pakistani players and said he would take in cricketers from across the border if his team had an empty slot.

Shiv Sena activists reacted angrily terming it an issue of patriotism, burnt the posters of his upcoming film 'My Name is Khan,' and took their protest to his bungalow in Mumbai.

The party has threatened to not allow the screening of the film, unless the actor apologises.

"Shah Rukh should go to Pakistan if he wants to speak in favour of Pakistani players," said Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab as protesters displayed a 'ticket' from Mumbai to Pakistan.

Senior party leader Manohar Joshi said: "This is the issue of patriotism and Shah Rukh should not interfere in politics".

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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War over Mumbai: Shiv Sena behaving like J&K separatists, says BJP chief Gadkari

2 February 2010

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The war over Mumbai in the saffron camp deepened with BJP on Monday toeing the RSS line that the city could not be an exclusive

Marathi preserve, arguing that the Shiv Sena-MNS position was akin to Article 370 granting special status to J&K - a provision Sena, like BJP, staunchly opposes. ( Watch Video )

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari forcefully waded into the `Mumbai for Maharashtrians' row, saying Indians in all parts of the country had the right to live anywhere within Indian borders and BJP rejected Article 370, differentiating J&K from the rest of the country. Gadkari's construct adds a new twist to the spat as it puts the two Senas and the defenders of Article 370 on the same footing.

With RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat criticising the Shiv Sena and MNS' interpretation of the `Marathi manoos' plank and calling on Sangh to protect northerners, BJP's endorsement of the Sangh line was not unexpected. But what came as a surprise was Gadkari's charge that Sena, BJP's oldest alliance partner, was behaving like the J&K separatists. Gadkari asserted that the BJP would ``never accept the philosophy'' which holds that there is conflict between national and regional identity, triggering speculation about the fate of the party's alliance with Sena.

``We respect as a ground reality that at a regional level there is tradition, heritage and language identity... we do not believe in any linguistic, religious or regional identity that discriminates or differentiates... there may be different languages but it is one country,'' Gadkari said.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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India, Germany to push anti-terror, economic pacts on Tuesday

1 February 2010

NEW DELHI: India and Germany are set to push for the proposed agreements on expanding counter-terror cooperation and economic ties during talks between German President Horst Koehler and Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday.

Accompanied by a high-profile business delegation, Koehler, the first German head of state to visit India since 2003, arrives in New Delhi on a week-long trip Monday evening. He is also to go to Mumbai and Pune.

The key objective of the German president's visit "is to open up new avenues for Germany and India to work together in developing a 21st-century world policy based on mutual cooperation", the German embassy said here Monday.

Manmohan Singh will hold talks with Koehler Tuesday on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

The two leaders will discuss a host of global challenges, including international terrorism, global financial crisis, climate change and poverty reduction.

Koehler is slated to meet President Pratibha Patil, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

India and Germany may also discuss the possibilities of civil nuclear cooperation. Germany supported India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and is keen to offer its expertise in nuclear security if New Delhi requests for it.

Koehler, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has a meeting with Reserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao in Mumbai on Friday and will discuss issues relating to the global financial crisis and fiscal regulation.

The German president is to assess the extent to which India can be counted on in the attempt to regulate international financial markets, a statement from his office said in Berlin Monday as he left for New Delhi.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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US advisory for its citizens on terror attacks routine: Chidambaram

1 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Union home minister P Chidambaram on Monday termed as "routine" the latest advisory by the US authorities asking their citizens to be alert while visiting India in the wake of possible terror strikes.

Addressing the monthly press conference here, he said, "These are routine advisories issued by the US from time to time."

"They have issued in the past also. In 2009, they have issued in two-three occasions. I don't think it was based on any new information nor do I think that it was intended to send any alarm signal. I think it was a routine advisory and it should seen as such," the home minister said.

The US had on January 30 advised its nationals to be alert during their travel to India in the coming months.

"The Department of State alerts US citizens on ongoing security concerns in India. The US government continues to receive information that terrorist groups may be planning attacks in India," the US State Department had said in its latest terror alert.

Noting that 26/11 Mumbai attacks provide a vivid reminder that hotels, markets and other public places are especially targeted by terrorist groups, the state department had asked its nationals to always practise good security, maintain a heightened situational awareness and a low profile.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-advisory-for-its-citizens-on-terror-attacks-routine-Chidambaram/articleshow/5523986.cms

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US officials certain Mehsud is dead

2 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and American officials have said that they were increasingly convinced that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah

Mehsud, Pakistan’s chief domestic enemy and the man behind the suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan in December, had died from wounds sustained in a drone strike.

A US official said on Sunday that intelligence reports came close to a definitive conclusion — about 90% certainty — that Mehsud had died from wounds suffered in a drone strike on Jan 14. His death, if true, would probably set off a new power struggle. But the setback could be short-lived, as the two men in line to take over from him — Wali ur-Rehman, the chief military strategist, and Qari Hussain, chief trainer of suicide bombers — are tough operators.

Hakimullah Mehsud was specifically chosen by al-Qaida to succeed Baitullah Mehsud as he was considered most allied to it. His role in facilitating the attack on the American base in Afghanistan showed how much trust al-Qaida had vested in him, US officials said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-officials-certain-Mehsud-is-dead/articleshow/5525681.cms

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US beefing up defense of Gulf allies

Associated Press

WASHINGTON: The United States has begun beefing up its approach to defending its Gulf allies against potential Iranian missile strikes, officials say. The defenses are being stepped up in advance of possible increased sanctions against Iran.

The Obama administration has quietly increased the capability of land-based Patriot defensive missiles in several Gulf Arab nations, and one military official said the navy is increasing the presence of ships capable of knocking out hostile missiles in flight.

The officials discussed aspects of the defensive strategy Saturday on condition of anonymity because some elements are classified.

The moves, part of a broader adjustment in the US approach to missile defense, including in Europe and Asia, have been in the works for months. Details have not been publicly announced.

The White House will send a review of ballistic missile strategy to Congress on Monday that frames the larger shifts. Attention to defense of the Gulf region, a focus on diffuse networks of sensors and weapons and cooperation with Russia are major elements of the study, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

Russia opposed Bush administration plans for a land-based missile defense site in Eastern Europe, and President Barack Obama’s decision to walk away from that plan last year was partly in pursuit of new capabilities that might hold greater promise and partly in deference to Russia.

Full report at:  http://www.arabnews.com/?page=24&section=0&article=132206&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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Karzai to visit Saudi Arabia

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai is set to visit Saudi Arabia to build momentum following talks in London where it was decided that a concerted effort will be made to draw the “moderate” section of the Taliban into the Afghan mainstream.

Mr. Karzai is expected to meet Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday, said presidential spokesman Siamek Herawi.

Saudi Arabia, which had recognised the Taliban government before it was ousted following the 9/11 attacks, may still exercise some influence among members of the Afghan extremist group. Analysts, however, point out that since 2003, when it was attacked by the Al-Qaeda in some of its major cities, Riyadh has cracked down hard on Islamist militancy. Afghanistan will also be in focus when NATO Defence Ministers meet in Turkey on Thursday.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/02/stories/2010020255531500.htm

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We don’t want “Talibanised” Afghanistan, says Kayani

Nirupama Subramainan

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday sought to allay concerns over Pakistan’s role in the newly emerging scenario in Afghanistan, saying his country did not want a “Talibanised” Afghanistan.

“We cannot wish for anything for Afghanistan that we don’t wish for ourselves,” General Kayani told a press conference for Western correspondents, adding Pakistan did not want a “Talibanised’ Afghanistan.

His remarks came days after the international community reached a broad agreement that the conflict in Afghanistan could be ended only by talking to the Taliban.

Pakistan believes it can play a major role in these efforts with its past experience of dealing with the Taliban. It was one of only three countries that recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and is still thought to maintain extensive contacts with the Afghan Taliban.

But the international community is also apprehensive that Pakistan might try to impose its own agenda in Afghanistan through the Taliban to secure its interests in the region over India.

General Kayani, who has rarely held on-record briefings for the media, and who met foreign journalists for the first time — Indian journalists were not invited — said Pakistan was not interested in controlling Afghanistan.

Pakistan only wanted a “peaceful, stable and friendly” Afghanistan, he said, explaining that the concept of “strategic depth,” long touted by Pakistani security strategists as a means to counter India, did not mean control over Afghanistan.

General Kayani revealed that Pakistan had offered to help the United States and NATO train Afghan security forces, something India is also said to be keen on. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, he told the journalists that the Pakistan military operations in 2009 had helped to improve the situation in Afghanistan in terms of “squeezing of spaces, better control of areas and continuous logistics flow.”

Highlighting the Pakistan effort, he said his country had contributed a lot to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/02/stories/2010020259861500.htm

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Israel warns officers after mysterious assassination of Hamas commander

2 February 2010

The Israeli Army said on Monday that it has warned its top officers to be on guard when travelling abroad following the mysterious death of a Hamas commander in Dubai.

Hamas has accused Israel of carrying out the January 20 slaying of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and vowed revenge, hinting it could attack Israeli targets abroad. Hamas has historically limited its attacks to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Although Israel has not acknowledged any role in the killing, military officials said Monday they were taking the threats seriously and had instructed senior officers, military attaches and soldiers on study leaves to exercise caution when traveling abroad.

The officials said the military fears Hamas could try to capture Israeli officers outside the country. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive security matter. Hamas has said al-Mabhouh was electrocuted and poisoned in his Dubai hotel room.

It was one of several mysterious deaths of Arab militants attributed to Israel’s Mossad spy agency over the years. Israeli security officials have claimed al-Mabhouh played a critical role in smuggling.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/233054/Israel-warns-officers-after-mysterious-assassination-of-Hamas-commander.html

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Mystery over Mehsud’s fate

Feb 02 2010

Mystery surrounded the fate of Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud after fresh reports that Pakistani and US officials believe he is dead, despite the militant group’s denials.

US missile attacks have repeatedly targeted Mehsud, the head of Pakistan’s most powerful Taliban faction and involved in a December suicide attack on the CIA in Afghanistan — the deadliest attack on the US spy agency in 26 years.

Speculation about his death surfaced after a January 14 U.S. drone strike in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, but Mehsud purportedly released two audio statements denying his demise.

On January 17, a day after Mehsud’s last statement, a U.S. drone carried out another attack that officials said also targeted the militant leader.

Killing Mehsud would be a coup for the United States, which stepped up its drone war in Pakistan after the warlord claimed the December 30 bombing that killed five CIA officers and two contractors in southeastern Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials said they were seeking confirmation of differing reports about his possible demise — published by The New York Times and briefly on Pakistan’s state television on Sunday.

The Taliban flatly deny he is dead.

“The report is confusing and we are not sure. We are investigating. We are trying to get confirmation,” a senior intelligence official told AFP.

There were reports Mehsud was wounded when a U.S. missile hit his vehicle on January 14 in the Shaktoi area of North Waziristan.

Full report at: /www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan/Mystery-over-Mehsud-s-fate/Article1-504227.aspx

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Zardari sidelined in nuke affairs

SHAFQAT ALI

Feb 02 2010

The ceremonial chief of the Pakistan armed forces — the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) — will have bulk of powers regarding the country’s nuclear button ahead of President Asif Ali Zardari under a new law.

"The chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) has been assigned a significant role in the National Command Authority (NCA)," a government official said.

The official added, "The President of Pakistan, despite being the supreme commander of the armed forces under the Constitution, figures nowhere in the law passed by the National Assembly last week."

The CJCSC is the senior-most official in the armed forces but does not enjoy too many powers like the Army Chief who is considered as the most powerful. The 10-page bill does not contain the words of the President of Pakistan even once whereas the Prime Minister is the focal point of all powers. For various reasons, including the pressure exerted by the PML (Nawaz) on the government in closed-door meetings, President Zardari was pushed away from the seat of NCA’s chairmanship.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to announce the elimination of the 17th Amendment on March 23 to withdraw the presidential powers to sack the elected Assemblies and the government.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/zardari-sidelined-in-nuke-affairs.aspx

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Pak to save Bhagat Singh alma mater

REZAUL H. LASKAR

Feb 02 2010

Feb. 1: A campaign is underway to resurrect Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh’s alma mater in Pakistan and rename it after him.

Bradlaugh Hall, once a premier educational institute in Lahore that Singh attended, is in ruins on Monday but efforts are underway to breathe life into it. At the centre of the campaign is Saeeda Diep, head of the Institute for Secular Studies in Lahore.

Ms Diep aims to restore the Hall to its pre-1947 glory and turn it into a school with a museum dedicated to the independence movement with special focus on Bhagat Singh.

Apart from renaming the institute, Ms Diep wants Shadman Square, the place where Singh was hanged, to be renamed after him. She has petitioned authorities in this regard.

On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh and his comrades were executed for shooting British deputy superintendent of police J.P. Saunders in response to the police beating of veteran independence activist Lala Lajpat Rai.

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, is known to have defended Singh in the Indian Central Assembly in 1929.

Ms Diep has been an admirer of Singh since she was a student, just like others in the generation that grew up in the 1960s and 1970s.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/zardari-sidelined-in-nuke-affairs.aspx

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Terrorists surgically implanting bombs?

2 February 2010

British Intelligence es have warned of teragencies have warned of terrorists who are planning to insert "surgical bombs" inside their bodies to escape the notice of new body scanners, according to a report.

Male bombers would have explosives implanted near their appendix or in their buttocks and women bombers would have them inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants, according to the Daily Mail.

Britain's MI5 uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda was planning to insert "surgical bombs" inside people for the first time after observing increasingly vocal Internet `chatter' on Arab websites in 2010. The explosive PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate), which is the main ingredient of Semtex plastic explosive, would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber's body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision.

The explosive would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (triacetone triperoxide) through his or her skin into the sachet. A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner, the report quoted sources as saying. The body-bombers could pretend to be diabetics injecting themselves on airliners, Tubes or buses in order to prevent anyone stopping their suicide missions.

http://epaper.asianage.com/Asian/AAge/2010/02/02/index.shtml

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Afghanistan’s opium problem ignored

Feb 02 2010

The Taliban can neither be co-opted nor defeated so long as poppy fields flourish, says Andrei Fedyashin

Like every other Afghanistan conference, the Sixth Conference in London on January 28 did not discuss the country’s opium problem.

The more than 70 countries and international organisations that met in London have declared the goals of creating “a more stable and secure Afghanistan”, transferring power to the Afghan Government, and reintegrating “those who renounce violence, cut links to terrorism and agree to work within the democratic process” into Afghan society.

However, refusing to discuss Afghanistan’s opium problem is like discussing reconciliation in Colombia without touching on the cocaine trade which has sustained rebels for a long time.

The United States and Britain do not like to discuss heroin at international conferences, and they do not like it when Russia tries to convince them to launch major anti-opium projects in Afghanistan and adjacent regions. Russia is pursuing this mostly because the Afghan connection has become a strategic threat to Russia, as the Central Asian countries’ borders with Afghanistan are completely unprotected.

The Western stance on the issue could be justified, because the struggle against drugs calls for a delicate touch and perfect organisation, and is better waged silently. Nobody can contest this truth. On the other hand, there is one more reason for the unwillingness to consider Afghanistan’s drug problem.

Not much has been done to cleanse it of drugs in the eight years since the deployment of the coalition troops in the country. In fact, progress in the matter is strange, with one step forward and two steps back or even sideways.

All drug experts, including those focussed on Afghanistan, claim that the goals of settlement and reintegration cannot be achieved even if the country had an ideal Government consisting of perfectly honest people. They say that the situation has gone too far for that, that drugs have become an inalienable part of life in Afghanistan, a disease that cannot be treated by therapeutic methods.

Full report at: www.dailypioneer.com/233082/Afghanistan%E2%80%99s-opium-problem-ignored.html

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Reimagining Pak

By K.C. Singh

Feb 02 2010

India-Pakistan relations have been in suspended animation since the fracas after the Sharm el-Sheikh statement, which was an unsuccessful attempt to restart the dialogue process without having obtained from Pakistan any guarantee that there would be no repeat of the 26/11 outrage. Previously the setting up of the anti-terror mechanism had facilitated re-engagement after the July 2006 train bombings in Mumbai. The reason perhaps why the public reacted so strongly after 26/11 was the manner in which Pakistan went about dealing with the aftermath. First came the crass denials that any of the perpetrators was a Pakistani, despite Ajmal Amir Kasab being held by the security forces. It was in fact intrepid reporting by a Pakistani television channel that nailed the Pakistani lies when an old man was seen confessing that Kasab was indeed his son. This followed a macabre and repetitive narrative of denial followed by reluctant though belated acceptance of a series of facts. In fact, had it not been for US pressure and damning evidence presented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it is doubtful if there would have been even this much progress.

The Government of India was forced to harden its public stance once the Sharm el-Sheikh fiasco generated animated public and political criticism. The formulation used time and again, and most recently by the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao, is that dialogue can only follow if the requisite environment is generated by Pakistan taking credible action to uproot the “terror network”.

It has been clear for some time that the US, despite public denials, has been urging India to restart the dialogue with Pakistan. To address Indian concerns periodically, through public statements and by private intervention, the US has been urging Pakistan to take action against groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), which have proximity to certain government agencies and solely target India.

Full report at: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/dc-comment/reimagining-pak-753

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Afghanistan: Much is at stake for India

Feb 01 2010

Afghanistan has been a theatre of war and foreign involvement in its internal affairs for three decades. A stable equilibrium is far from being reached. Kabul is as yet a long way from generating its own resources to run a modern state system, including its security vector, to fend off threats from historically meddlesome neighbours, the most pernicious of which has been Pakistan, seeking from the time of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. On account of the military conflict imposed on Afghanistan by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which receive Pakistani state support, Kabul continues to be badly in need of international assistance of a non-threatening variety. India was absent from the scene for most of the time Afghanistan was in turmoil in the past three decades, and returned to its historically friendly engagement with Kabul only after the end of Taliban rule in 2001, following which the international community entered the picture in a big way. India enjoys enormous goodwill of the people of all regions of that country. The nature of its involvement is viewed positively across ethnic divides, including very much the Pashtuns among whom the Taliban are mainly to be found. However, India is one among several foreign actors in Afghanistan. Different players approach key issues differently, depending on how their long-term interests are impacted. Vital questions of policy, politics, ideology and the path to be pursued will be debated. Last week’s London conference on Afghanistan, which became the occasion for discussing primarily British and European concerns, marks but an early stage of that debate. It is necessary to view the outcome of London as a part of an ongoing discussion involving Afghans and the internationals, and not some final formula which all concerned must accept or be turned away from the table. The US secretary of state, Ms Hillary Clinton’s non-endorsement of the basic British idea of seeking to win over elements of the Taliban leadership with Pakistan’s help is an indication that discussions on Afghanistan’s long-term stability are at an incipient stage.

Full report at:/www.deccanchronicle.com/dc-comment/afghanistan-much-stake-india-467

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How the British empire is striking back

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

1 February 2010

Like Blair, this inquiry is imperialist. Dusky natives have no voice or representation

I did try to sit through the Blair show. An unfortunate combination of Asiatic high emotion and feminine fragility made me feeble. I had to walk away, knocking over a large goblet of dark red wine, the colour of blood. It stained the beautiful wooden floor. From TB, then, the final words. I Did It My Way and Je ne regrette rien. So long folks. The Tory poster of Blair as the devil man now seems prescient.

Acidic revulsion filled the back of the throat. I wanted to be there, to look into the opaque eyes of our ex-Prime Minister, shake his obscene complacency and moral smugness, meet head on his disdain for international law, evidence, citizens of both Britain and Iraq. I discussed these reactions on Sky News and afterwards was driven back by an Algerian driver, who confessed he too had to stop watching from time to time, to calm down the storm building up inside his head. Neither of us is Iraqi. Imagine now what it must have felt like if you were, and like millions of them, against the war.

Judging from the many, many emails I have had since that appearance, countless Britons were just as repulsed. For the families of dead soldiers, Blair's cold, pitiless delivery must have felt like fresh cuts on open wounds. They at least have had public attention. But what of the Iraqis? How can we have had five inquiries into Iraq without a single Iraqi being called and all Muslim voices expunged?

The Chilcot panel could have included a dispassionate Muslim academic or one of the impressive experts on international affairs at Chatham House. But no. They chose instead Baroness Prashar, an Asian of Hindu background, someone I know and admire, but who, in this case, might be seen as an establishment insider and so lack credibility.

Full report at: © 2009 Reader Supported News

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SC upholds Rajasthan Govt decision sacking Muslim cop

February 02, 2010

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to entertain the petition of a dismissed Muslim employee of Rajasthan Police whose service was terminated 22 years ago for contracting second marriage in contravention of the service rule.

A Bench headed Justice V S Sirpurkar dismissed the appeal filed by Liyakat Ali Khan challenging the Rajasthan High Court's judgement upholding the state government's decision to terminate his service.

Liyakat, while remaining in the service, had contracted second marriage without divorcing his first wife.

The Rajasthan Civil Services (conduct) Rule, 1971 allows a civil servant to contract second marriage either after divorcing his first living wife or on prior permission from the government.

After disciplinary committee had found him guilty of violating the rules, his service was terminated by the government.

Liyakat had challenged his termination order before the Jaipur High Court on the ground that he had obtained the divorce under the Muslim personal law from his first wife.

Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, Liyakat approached the apex court almost 22 years later in 2008.

Liyakat had also sought quashing of the disciplinary proceedings on the ground that he was not given the opportunity to be heard.

http://www.zeenews.com/news600961.html

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/17-million-throng-hindu-shrine-in-malaysia/d/2445


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