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Islamic World News ( 18 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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84 killed in Libya protests, says Human Rights Watch

Grenade kills two Yemen protesters, toll hits 10

Scores injured in fresh Bahrain crackdown

Gaddafi hits the streets in fightback as Libya erupts

Rights group puts Libya crackdown death toll at 24

Lankan maid kept as slave for 17 years

Afghan imams wage sermon battle against US

Blood money to solve US-Pak crisis

Petition to lift ban on women driving

Jalna Census officials come with filled in forms with Marathi and Hindi in language columns

India concerned about its citizens in Bahrain: Nirupama

Four killed as anti-Saleh protests sweep Yemen

Violence marks ‘Friday of Rage’ across Yemen

US asks Bahrain to show restraint against protesters

Umrah visas halted for Egyptians, Tunisians

Egypt allows Iranian ships to pass through Suez

Egyptians gather in Cairo to celebrate Mubarak fall

Swiss freeze tens of millions of Egypt’s francs

Uddhav oozes sarcasm, says Pak players are welcome

Terrorists may stoke India-Pak row, fears US

JEDDAH:Cabbie robs passenger

‘Condition of Muslims in Gujarat disappointing’: Study

Probe finds connection between Davis, drone attacks

UAE pledges dignified living for all nationals

“It is the women who have the guts in Pakistan”

Babri case: CBI appeals in SC against Advani, others

Heed warning signs: Saudi king’s brother

Pakistani seeks arrest of second US employee

Riyadh decked up to welcome king

Grand mufti reiterates doubling fine is wrong

Israel calls for direct peace talks to resume after US veto

Afghans need political solution: Clinton

Troops open fire at Bahrain protesters

US in direct talks with Taliban

Saudi abducted by Syrian gang?

US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements

Hamas, Israel discuss talk prisoners swap deal

Obama condemns violence in Middle East

Turkish journalist charged with links to coup plot

Lebanese sentenced to death for spying for Israel

India police broaden graft probe

Pakistan judge orders arrest of US car’s driver

Johny Foster sings Faiz

Babri demolition case: CBI moves SC against Advani, others

Court notice against ‘Shahi Imam’

Clinton urges Pakistan to implement reforms

Being bilingual a good brain work-out, experts say

Saudi seeks share of $100 bln climate aid fund

Asia’s biggest aquarium opened in India

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing, one way

Obama warns Abbas against going to UN

Bahrain protesters shot as their promises talks

Controversial West Bank field trip for Israeli kids stirs anger

Stop fomenting anti-Americanism, Hillary urges Pakistan

Bahrain heir pledges talks after brutal crackdown

US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements

US officials declined to characterize the call.

Mideast unrest puts US military access in jeopardy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/84-killed-in-libya-protests,-says-human-rights-watch/d/4154

 

 

 

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84 killed in Libya protests, says Human Rights Watch

19 February 2011

New York, Feb 19 (DPA) At least 84 protesters have been killed by Libyan security forces during three days of protests against the regime of Muammer Gaddafi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The casualty estimate was based on phone interviews with hospital staff and witnesses, the New York-based group said on its website late Friday.

'The Libyan authorities should immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and protect them from assault by pro-government armed groups,' it said.

'Gaddafi's security forces are firing on Libyan citizens and killing scores simply because they're demanding change and accountability,' said Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

'Libyan authorities should allow peaceful protesters to have their say.'

http://www.sify.com/news/84-killed-in-libya-protests-says-human-rights-watch-news-international-lctq4ghhdcj.html

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Grenade kills two Yemen protesters, toll hits 10

18 February 2011

Anti-regime protesters in the volatile Yemen city of Taez were blasted in a hand grenade attack Friday leaving two dead, while fierce clashes in the southern city of Aden killed four, witnesses said.

Clashes also broke out in the capital Sanaa in which four anti-regime demonstrators were injured, according to witnesses and journalists, who were also beaten.

The grenade attack came as hundreds of protesters took to central Taez after the weekly Muslim prayers to demand President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster, in protests that have been raging in the city for the past week.

A local official told AFP the grenade was lobbed at protesters from a speeding car with government number plates. Two people were in the car "but we will not identify their political affiliation," he said.

Medics in Aden, meanwhile, said four demonstrators were shot dead as police fired on protests in several areas of the southern port city, which has borne the brunt of the violence that has left 10 people dead since Sunday.

At least 27 were wounded in Friday's clashes, a medical official in the southern city told AFP.

A witness said that police opened fire at demonstrators who set tyres on fire in a street in Omar al-Mukhtar, killing one of the protesters, Mohammed Munir Khan.

Earlier, three people were shot dead when police fired on protesters in Al-Saada, Khor Maksar and Sheikh Othman districts, as hundreds of people took to the streets around the city to demand Saleh step down.

A local official told AFP that the mayor of Aden, Adnan al-Jafri, handed in his resignation Friday in "protest at the deteriorating security in the city."

In the capital Sanaa, the scene of a sixth straight day of demonstrations, at least four anti-regime protesters were wounded in an attack by Saleh partisans, witnesses said.

Several journalists were severely beaten by supporters of the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) who attacked the demonstration using batons and axes, an AFP correspondent reported.

Thousands of demonstrators, mostly students, had gathered following the weekly Muslim prayers in a main street of Sanaa. "People want to overthrow the regime," they chanted.

Saleh's supporters numbered in the hundreds, aided by security agents in plain clothes.

Students have tried for the past week to hold a protest march toward the presidential palace but been intercepted each day by stone-throwing regime supporters armed with batons.

US President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the use of force against protesters in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya after government forces brutally sought to crush the latest wave of Middle East violence.

"I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen," he said in a statement.

"The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur."

"The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests and to respect the rights of their people," Obama said.

In Sanaa, protests have becoming increasingly violent, despite Saleh -- elected to a seven-year-term in September 2006 -- urging dialogue on forming a government of national unity.

Amnesty International on Friday issued a fresh condemnation of the violence.

"Yemeni authorities seem to be stepping up their crackdown on protesters and we are gravely concerned that if that continues, the death toll will inevitably rise," it said in a statement.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February653.xml&section=middleeast

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Scores injured in fresh Bahrain crackdown

Feb 18, 2011

MANAMA: Soldiers opened fire Friday on thousands of protesters defying a ban and streaming toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the government.

Ali Ibrahim, deputy chief of medical staff at Salmaniya hospital, said 66 had been admitted suffering wounds from the clash in Pearl Square in the capital. Four were in a critical condition.

The injuries were worse than those seen on Thursday, he said.

Some doctors and medics on emergency medical teams were in tears as they tended to the wounded. X-rays showed bullets still lodged inside victims.

"This is war," said Dr. Bassem Deif, an orthopaedic surgeon examining people with bullet-shattered bones.

Protesters described a chaotic scene of tear gas clouds, bullets coming from many directions and people slipping in pools of blood as they sought cover. Some claimed the gunfire came from either helicopters or sniper nests, a day after riot police swept through the protest encampment in Pearl Square, killing at least five people and razing the tents and makeshift shelters that were inspired by the demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

An Associated Press cameraman saw army units shooting anti-aircraft weapons, fitted on top of armored personnel carriers, above the protesters, in apparent warning shots and attempts to drive them back from security cordons about 200 meters from the square.

Then the soldiers turned firearms on the crowd, one marcher said. "People started running in all directions and bullets were flying," said Ali Al-Haji, a 27-year-old bank clerk. "I saw people getting shot in the legs, chest, and one man was bleeding from his head."

"My eyes were full of tear gas, there was shooting and there was a lot of panic,» said Mohammed Abdullah, a 37-year-old businessman taking part in the protest.

The clash came hours after funeral mourners and worshippers at Friday prayers called for the toppling of the monarchy in the island nation that is home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet, the centrepiece of the Pentagon's efforts to confront Iranian military influence.

Day by day, the crisis in Bahrain has deepened. The cries against the king and his inner circle — at a mosque and at burials for those killed in Thursday's crushing attack — reflect a sharp escalation of the political uprising, which began with calls for wider democracy.

The mood, however, has turned toward defiance of the entire ruling system after the crackdown on a protest encampment in the capital, Manama, which put the nation under emergency-style footing with military forces in key areas and checkpoints on main roads.

At a mosque in the village of Diraz, an anti-government hotbed, Imam Isa Qassim called the Pearl Square assault a "massacre" and thousands of worshippers chanted: "The regime must go."

In a sign of Bahrain's deep divisions, government loyalists filled Manama's Grand Mosque to hear words of support for the monarchy and take part in a post-sermon march protected by security forces. Many arrived with Bahraini flags draped over the traditional white robes worn by Gulf men. Portraits of King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa were distributed.

"We must protect our country," said Adnan Al-Qattan, the man leading prayers. "We are living in dangerous times."

He denounced attempts to "open the doors to evil and foreign influences" — an apparent reference to suspicions that Iran could take advantages of the unrest.

The pro-government gathering had many non-native Bahrainis, including South Asians and Arabs from around the region.

Outside a village mosque, several thousand mourners gathered to bury three of the men killed in the crackdown. "Our demands were peaceful and simple at first. We wanted the prime minister to step down," Mohamed Ali, a 40-year-old civil servant, said as he choked back tears. "Now the demands are harsher and have reached the pinnacle of the pyramid. We want the whole government to fall."

In another funeral in the village of Karzkan, opposition leaders urged protesters to keep up their fight but not to seek revenge. "We know they have weapons and they are trying to drag us into violence," said Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the largest political party, Al-Wefaq, whose 18 lawmakers have resigned in protest from the 40-seat Parliament.

In Geneva, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the response of some governments in the Middle East and Africa to the demands of their people was "illegal and excessively heavy-handed," and she condemned the use of military-grade shotguns by security forces in Bahrain. The European Union and Human Rights Watch urged Bahrain to order security forces to stop attacks on peaceful protesters.

The violence forced the cancellation of a lower-tier open-wheel race in Bahrain for Friday and Saturday, and leaves in doubt the March 13 season-opening Formula One race at the same track. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said he will decide next week whether to proceed with the race. On Friday, he said he hoped the unrest "all blows away" so the event can be run as scheduled.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article271156.ece

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Gaddafi hits the streets in fightback as Libya erupts

Feb 19, 2011,

CAIRO: Libya's state news agency says long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi has toured the capital Tripoli, trying to rally loyalists amid widening anti-government protests. A pro-Gaddafi online paper says a son of Gaddafi has visited security forces in the east where many of the protests took place to offer financial help, news agency Jana said.

Meanwhile, soldiers sought to put down unrest in Libya's second city on Friday and opposition forces said they were fighting troops for control of a nearby town after crackdowns which Human Rights Watch said had killed 24 people.

Human Rights Watch said that according to its sources inside Libya, security forces had killed 24 people over the past two days.

"Last night was very hard, there were a lot of people in the street, thousands of people. I saw soldiers in the street," a resident who lives on Benghazi's main thoroughfare, Nasser Street, said. "I heard shooting. I saw one person fall down (from a gunshot wound) but I don't have a figure for casualties."

The privately-owned Quryna newspaper, based in Benghazi, said security forces overnight fired live bullets at protesters, killing 14 of them. It published photographs of several people lying on hospital stretchers.

Two Swiss-based exile groups said anti-government forces, joined by defecting police , were battling with security forces for control of the town of Al Bayda, 200 km of Benghazi and scene of deadly clashes this week. The groups initially said protesters had seized Al Bayda but later said government troops were fighting back.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Gaddafi-hits-the-streets-in-fightback-as-Libya-erupts/articleshow/7525787.cms

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Rights group puts Libya crackdown death toll at 24

February 19, 2011

Libyan security forces killed at least 24 people in a violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations during a "Day of Anger" against strongman Moamer Kadhafi, Human Rights Watch said today.

The New York-based rights group, citing witnesses, said 24 protesters were killed and scores injured during yesterday's assaults on protests in two Libyan cities.

"The authorities should cease the use of lethal force unless absolutely necessary to protect lives and open an independent investigation into the lethal shootings," HRW said in a statement.

The worst violence hit the eastern city of Al-Baida where hospital staff put a call out yesterday for additional medical supplies to treat 70 injured protestors, half in critical condition, said the rights group.

One injured protester sitting near the hospital's intensive care unit told Human Rights Watch that security forces had used live ammunition to deter protesters, fatally shooting 16 of them and wounding dozens others.

In Benghazi, hundreds of lawyers, activists, and other protesters gathered on the steps of the court calling for a constitution and respect for the rule of law.

A protester told Human Rights Watch that groups of men in street clothes armed with knives, later joined by internal security forces, charged into the crowd to disperse the demonstration.

He said he believed security forces had shot dead at least 17, HRW said, adding that it was able to confirm eight of those deaths.

"The security forces' vicious attacks on peaceful demonstrators lay bare the reality of Muammar Gaddafi's brutality when faced with any internal dissent," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rights-group-puts-libya-crackdown-death-toll-at-24/751816/

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Lankan maid kept as slave for 17 years

By MD RASOOLDEEN

Feb 18, 2011

RIYADH: The Sri Lankan Embassy rescued on Wednesday an Asian maid who was kept as a virtual slave by her Saudi sponsor for 17 years.

Kusuma Nandini, 56, came to Riyadh in 1994 from Sri Lanka and was kept a virtual prisoner at her sponsor’s home. She was not paid salary even once during 15 years of her imprisonment and forbidden from communicating with her relatives in Sri Lanka. “This is a record breaking case in the history of housemaids in the Kingdom. This woman was kept as a slave at one home for 15 years and then transferred to the home of her sponsor's brother. There she was given a salary for two years,” said Sunil Wijesinghe, labor welfare officer at the Sri Lankan Embassy.

According to diplomats, Nandini had forgotten her native tongue when she was rescued and behaved like a robot. “She couldn’t speak her native language and had forgotten her family members when she was rescued,” said Wijesinghe.

“After meeting other Sri Lankans at the embassy, the maid began remembering things and started picking up her native language,” he added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271125.ece

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Afghan imams wage sermon battle against US

February 19, 2011

For the US government, and for the 100,000 American troops fighting in Afghanistan, the messages delivered last Friday could hardly have been worse. In Kabul’s largest mosque a distinguished preacher, Enayatullah Balegh, pledged support for “any plan that can defeat” foreign military forces in Afgha

nistan, denouncing “the political power of these children of Jews.”

Across town, a firebrand imam named Habibullah was even more blunt. “Let these jackals leave this country,” the preacher declared of foreign troops. “Let these brothers of monkeys, gorillas and pigs leave this country. The people of Afghanistan should determine their own fate.”

Every Friday, Afghan clerics wade into the politics of their war-torn country, delivering half-hour sermons that blend Islamic teaching with often-harsh criticism of the US presence. In a country where many lack newspapers, television or Internet access, the mosque lectures represent a powerful forum for influencing opinion.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Afghan-imams-wage-sermon-battle-against-US/H1-Article1-664119.aspx

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Blood money to solve US-Pak crisis

Imtiaz Ahmad

February 19, 2011

Blood money’ may be paid by the US government to the families of the two victims of the Raymond Davis shooting, officials hinted in Islamabad on Friday. Under Pakistan’s Qisas and Diyat laws, monetary compensation can be offered to the family of the victims if this is acceptable to them. Ea

rlier this week, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani hinted that the families of the victims may be compensated as part of larger deal that is being worked out. “This may be acceptable to all sides,” said one official. The Prime Minister did not give details.

The move comes on the day that the Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab Police to arrest the driver of the US vehicle that ran over a man in Lahore while trying to aid Raymond Davis on January 27. The court ordered police to impound the vehicle that ran over Ibadur Rehman and to record his brother’s statement.

Earlier, Ijaz-ur-Rehman, whose brother Ibad was killed, filed a petition in the Lahore High Court demanding the car’s driver be arrested, lawyer Noman Atiq said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Blood-money-to-solve-US-Pak-crisis/H1-Article1-664117.aspx

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Petition to lift ban on women driving

   By SARAH ABDULLAH

     Feb 19, 2011

While helping with her family’s farm outside Taif, 15 year-old Nora Muslaah usually drives the truck that carries vegetables from the field to her family’s home.

Although she has four younger brothers, as the oldest she feels it her duty to help out her family as much as possible, adding that she does not feel she is breaking the law. She feels she is only doing what so many Saudi women living outside major cities do everyday to assist their families.

“Because most families have a lot of work to do in rural areas and are usually living spaced apart, unlike large cities, most police authorities here don’t strictly enforce the driving ban as long as women drive safely and don’t cause trouble. Everything is fine with most officials found to look the other way,” Muslaah said.

In fact, according to some people, such as Saudi businessman and economist Abdullah Alami, the boundary lines on who can and cannot drive in the Kingdom is not exactly clear to prohibit women from driving.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article270985.ece

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Jalna Census officials come with filled in forms with Marathi and Hindi in language columns

New Age Islam News Bureau

Jalna: Since the beginning of the Census, Muslims have been complaining against anomalies in the form and the highhandedness and biased approach of the census officials. The form had ‘Muslim’ in place of ‘Islam’ and the Muslims decided that they will fill Muslim instead of Islam in the religion column. But that was not the only problem. When the actual census started, Muslims complained against officials filling Hindi instead of their insistence on Urdu. It also happened in Jalna in Maharashtra. The officials here came with pre-filled forms in which Marathi and Hindi were filled as mother language. When the residents enquired him he said that  he had come with 17 forms from Form no. 9205279 to 9205295 already filled in at his house. The residents contacted the journalists. Journalists found that the official named Kharat had brought the forms already filled in by him and he was only taking the signatures. After a while, the supervisor named Bhandare also reached the place and he could not give satisfactory explanation. The senior census officials of Jalna Municipality Borde and Tambe arrived and assured the people that the forms will be filled in again and Urdu would be filled in as the mother language. Kharat also gave a written confession that he made the mistake.

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India concerned about its citizens in Bahrain: Nirupama

February 19, 2011

India is concerned about 3.5 lakh Indian population in Bahrain, which is witnessing violent protests against the ruling monarchy.

"Concerned about 3,50,000 Indians in Bahrain. Our Ambassador is very alert to this issue and in touch with community reps (representatives)," wrote Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on the micro-blogging website 'Twitter'.

Earlier in the day, thousands of mourners in Bahrain called for the downfall of ruling monarchy as burials began after a deadly assault on pro-reform protesters that has brought army tanks into the streets of one of the most strategic Western allies in the Gulf.

The brutal attack on Thursday on a protest encampment in Bahrain's capital Manama left at least five dead and more than 230 injured.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-concerned-about-its-citizens-in-bahrain-nirupama/751860/

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Four killed as anti-Saleh protests sweep Yemen

By SAEED AL-BATATI

Feb 18, 2011

SANAA: At least four people were killed and scores were injured in Yemen on Friday as anti-government protesters rallied for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation and pro-government loyalists came out in force.

At least eight people were reported injured, including a journalist and his cameraman, in clashes in Sanaa, but numerous bloodied people were seen stumbling away from the melee.

In the southern port city of Aden two anti-Saleh demonstrators were shot dead and three others were injured, bringing the total there to five dead in two days. On Friday, police had opened fire on demonstrators who were calling for the prosecution of those responsible for Thursday's deaths.

In Taiz, two protesters were killed and more than 20 injured when someone tossed a grenade at a gathering of thousands of demonstrators who had barricaded the streets for more than a week calling for Saleh to step down. The attacker fled but was later arrested by police.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/February/theuae_February489.xml&section=theuae

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Violence marks ‘Friday of Rage’ across Yemen

February 19, 2011

Anti-Government demonstrators clashed with supporters of Yemen’s longtime ruler and riot police, who fired tear gas and shots in the air to disperse the crowd on what organisers called a “Friday of Rage” across the country. In the city of Taiz, what appeared to be a hand grenade was thrown at a group of protesters, seriously wounding at least eight people in the blast and stampede that followed, witnesses said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/318703/Violence-marks-%E2%80%98Friday-of-Rage%E2%80%99-across-Yemen.html

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US asks Bahrain to show restraint against protesters

February 19, 2011

Voicing concern over Bahrain’s violent crackdown on protesters, the United States has asked the Gulf ally to show restraint and take action against those who carried out the attacks.

“We call on restraint from the Government. We urge a return to a process that will result in real, meaningful changes for the people there,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters.

As soon as reports came that five protesters had been killed in the crackdown, Clinton spoke with her Bahraini counterpart not only to express concern but also urge action against security officials responsible for the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney spoke of the administration’s “strong displeasure” over the violence.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/318704/US-asks-Bahrain-to-show-restraint-against-protesters.html

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Umrah visas halted for Egyptians, Tunisians

By ARAB NEWS

Feb 19, 2011

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Haj has issued a temporarily halt on Umrah visas for Egyptian and Tunisian pilgrims while government departments in both countries resume normal operations, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.

The ministry said Umrah visas will be issued to Egyptian and Tunisian pilgrims once government organs in both countries return to normal duties.

The ministry has also informed all Umrah companies concerned that contracts to accommodate and transport pilgrims from Egypt and Tunisia will also be temporarily withheld until the situation becomes clear.

Saad Al-Qurashi, chairman of the National Haj and Umrah Committee (NHUC) at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said matters might get worse for Umrah companies because of ongoing developments in Libya and the Yemen.

“There are indications that pilgrims from these two countries will not be able to come for Umrah this season,” he said, adding that other countries such as Iran, Sudan, Algeria and Jordan might join the list.

Al-Qurashi said contracts were currently being signed with the Ministry of Haj to increase quotas for other countries, particularly Turkey and Syria, to compensate the drop in pilgrims from countries that are presently seeing political unrest.

The NHUC has also asked 51 Umrah companies not to make hotel reservations in Makkah and Madinah because of the current political unrest in several Arab countries.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271138.ece

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Egypt allows Iranian ships to pass through Suez

Feb 18, 2011

CAIRO: State media say Egypt has agreed to let two Iranian naval vessels transit the Suez Canal, a move that comes despite expressions of concern by Israeli officials. State-run news agency MENA said Friday that authorities approved a request from Iranian diplomats who offered assurances that the two ships won't have weapons or nuclear or chemical material.

The move had been widely expected and Iranian officials have insisted the request is in line with international regulations. They say the two vessels are headed to Syria for training.

It is believed to be the first time since Iran's 1979 revolution that Iranian warships will pass through the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Iranian officials have said the two vessels, currently in international waters, are headed to Syria for training.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article270915.ece

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Egyptians gather in Cairo to celebrate Mubarak fall

February 19, 2011

Rivalling the biggest crowds since their pro-democracy revolt began, flag-waving Egyptians packed into Tahrir Square for a day of prayer and celebration on Friday to mark the fall of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak a week ago and to push their new military rulers to steer the country toward reform.

The groups that sparked the 18-day uprising leading to Mubarak’s downfall called the massive gathering the “Friday of Victory and Continuation,” a name reflecting both their pride in forcing a national leadership change and their worries about the future. About a quarter-million people marched in the biggest demonstrations of the revolt that began on January 25. Free from the threat of retaliation, Friday’s rally rivaled the turnout for those events.

Influential Egyptian cleric Sheik Youssef el-Qaradawi led the crowd in prayers, hailing the uprising and saying “the illegitimate can never defeat the truth.”

http://www.dailypioneer.com/318705/Egyptians-gather-in-Cairo-to-celebrate-Mubarak-fall.html

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Swiss freeze tens of millions of Egypt’s francs

Feb 19, 2011

GENEVA: The Swiss government says it has frozen tens of millions of Swiss francs belonging to leading figures in Egypt’s former regime who have assets stashed in Switzerland.

The government last week said only that it froze “any possible assets” in the country belonging to former President Hosni Mubarak, his wife, their two sons and their wives, Mubarak’s brother-in-law and five senior politicians belonging to the ousted leader’s NDP party.

At the time the government insisted there was no confirmation such assets actually existed, even though they have been widely reported.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry on Friday night, however, specified that “several dozens of millions of francs belonging to persons mentioned in last Friday’s government order have been blocked.” It had no further comment.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article271250.ece

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Uddhav oozes sarcasm, says Pak players are welcome

Feb 19, 2011,

A day after Shiv Sena renewed its attack on Pakistani cricket players, party executive president Uddhav Thackeray sarcastically said "we should not oppose but welcome" the Pak players.

The Sena is receiving flak from different quarters over senior leader Manohar Joshi's statement that Sena chief Bal Thackeray would decide whether to allow Pakistani players to play at Wankhede Stadium here, if they reach the final of ICC World Cup.

"There is nothing to worry. Welcome the Pakistani players, shower them with flowers from a helicopter and also felicitate them," Uddhav said mockingly in a statement today.

The party has no objection over the players playing in Mumbai, he said.

"In fact, the people preventing them from playing should be booked for sedition and hanged at the hands of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru," Uddhav said in sarcastic vein.

Referring to Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's detention at Delhi airport for carrying undeclared cash recently, Uddhav said the Pakistani players can any time come to India with 'lakhs of dollars to use for 'hawala' transactions.

"Whatever the World Cup result may be, Pak players should come to Mumbai and a felicitation programme should be arranged at Wankhede Stadium," he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/uddhav-oozes-sarcasm-says-pak-players-are-welcome/751902/

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Terrorists may stoke India-Pak row, fears US

February 19, 2011

Although India and Pakistan have picked up the threads for resumption of bilateral dialogue, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates fears that Pakistan-based terror groups might try and provoke a conflict between the two countries all over again.

“I worry that some of those terrorists might try and provoke a conflict between Pakistan and India,” Gates told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, adding: “I think that there’s a lot to be concerned about with Pakistan.”

“I worry a lot about Pakistan. It has huge economic problems... They have a serious internal terrorism threat that is seeking to destabilise Pakistan itself,” Gates said.

Gates lauded Pakistan for moving forces from its India border and redeploying them in the west to take on the terrorist sanctuaries, but maintained that it is a mixed picture as the sanctuaries still exist.

“If you’d asked me two years ago if the Pakistanis would withdraw six divisions from the Indian border and put them in the west, I would have said impossible,” he told the Senators questioning him on Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/318706/Terrorists-may-stoke-India-Pak-row-fears-US.html

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JEDDAH: Cabbie robs passenger

By SULTAN AL-TAMIMI

Feb 18, 2011

JEDDAH: A 30-year-old taxi driver was arrested in Ruwais district on charges he assaulted his customer and stole SR15,000 from him.

“The incident occurred late Tuesday night when the cabbie picked up his victim from south Jeddah’s auction market. Both had agreed on fare to Al-Ruwais. However, when the car reached its destination the driver noticed a large amount of cash his victim was carrying,” said police spokesman Col. Misfer Al-Juaid.

The spokesman said the taxi driver drove past his victim’s house, chose a dark spot, parked his vehicle and waited for the victim to arrive near his car before assaulting him and fleeing with the cash.

“Eyewitnesses called the police, and gave investigators the vehicle's description along with its license plate number,” said the spokesman.

“An ambulance took the victim to a nearby hospital where he is expected to be released in four days.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271143.ece

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Condition of Muslims in Gujarat disappointing: Study

New Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: Contrary to the propaganda that Hindus and Muslims are marching ahead on the path of development, the former member of Sachar Committee and Economist Abu Saleh Sharif has  compiled a study based on the statistics gathered by various government agencies that shows that Muslims are not only behind the upper caste Hindus but the dalits of Gujarat. According to the study, the level of development in Gujarat is lower than that in Odisa and Bihar. It says that only Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are above Gujarat. According to Dr Abu Saleh Sharif the Urban Muslims in Gujarat are eight fold backward as compared to upper class Hindus and above 50% of Gujarati Muslims are poor. In other words, Gujarati Muslims are more poverty stricken that other communities.

The statistics collected by Dr Abu Saleh Sharif also says that in the field of education, the Muslims of Gujarat are lagging behind other religious communities. 75% of Muslim children enroll in primary schools but only 26% of them reach secondary level. The percentage of the children of other religious communities reaching matriculation level is 76 whereas it is 41 in case of the backward non-Muslim communities. It shows that though Muslim children enroll in the primary level schools but are left behind the dalits in the secondary level. Saleh Sharif’s study also breaks the cleverly created myth that Gujarat is a prosperous state. It shows that poverty is higher in Gujarat as compared to other states. It states that the level of starvation in Gujarat is higher than in Odisa and West Bengal. Only a section of Gujaratis is rich and is getting richer by the day while the poor are getting poorer with time.

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Probe finds connection between Davis, drone attacks

19 February 2011

A GPS chip recovered from the possession of Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in North Waziristan, claimed sources. - Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: Investigation teams were astonished to learn about Raymond Davis’s alleged connections in North Waziristan, sources told DawnNews.

Sources have revealed that a GPS chip recovered from Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in the tribal region.

It was also learnt during the probe that Davis made upto 12 visits to the tribal areas without informing Pakistani officials.

The 36- year-old US official was reluctant in giving out information about his visits to the tribal region, sources added.

The US Embassy officials were exerting pressure on the authorities, asking them not to expose the information received from Davis.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has shared the investigation and the possessions recovered from Davis with the federal government, said sources.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/18/probe-finds-connection-between-davis-drone-attacks.html

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UAE pledges dignified living for all nationals

19 February 2011

The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Friday pledged all-out efforts to provide dignified living conditions for nationals.

Shaikh Khalifa was speaking after being briefed by General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the results of the latter’s tour of the Northern Emirates where he received first-hand reports about the nationals’ needs as well as infrastructure projects being implemented.

Gen Shaikh Mohammed undertook the tour upon the directives of the President which set the needs of the citizens as the highest priority of the government.

The tour was also aimed at inspecting the level of services provided to the citizens by governmental departments.

Shaikh Khalifa stressed the necessity of close and continuous follow-up of the tour in order to live up to the aspirations and hopes of the citizens, already a high priority of the government as part of its strategy to continue the march of comprehensive development the UAE currently witnesses.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/February/theuae_February493.xml&section=theuae

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 “It is the women who have the guts in Pakistan”

Bina Shah

A woman lights a candle next to an image of the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer during a candlelight vigil in commemoration of Taseer. - Photo by Reuters (File Photo)

In Pakistan, Salman Taseer’s assassination in early January has blown the lid off the seething cauldron that has been bubbling in Pakistan for the last several years: the divide between Pakistan’s extremist forces and its minority liberal community is now so wide that it seems nothing can bridge the gap anymore. Worse, the extremists greatly outnumber the liberals, endangering whatever advances have been made in the Pakistani society.

But the women intelligentsia of Pakistan is determined not to let the religious right gain any more ground in the struggle for Pakistan’s soul. They have responded to the onslaught of the right wing with such ferocity that a Pakistani man said on Twitter: “I definitely see more women out on the streets after Salman Taseer’s killing. Does this mean that it is the women that have the guts in this country?”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/17/%E2%80%9Cit-is-the-women-who-have-the-guts-in-pakistan%E2%80%9D.html

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Babri case: CBI appeals in SC against Advani, others

Feb 18, 2011,

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Friday challenged the Allahabad High Court's order to drop charges against senior BJP leader L K Advani in the Babri Masjid demoliton case.

The high court had quashed the criminal conspiracy case against Advani and 20 others.

After the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 two FIRs were filed against those allegedly involved in it.

The first FIR was against unknown persons while the second FIR was filed against Advani and 20 others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Babri-case-CBI-appeals-in-SC-against-Advani-others/articleshow/7521805.cms

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Heed warning signs: Saudi king’s brother

Feb 19, 2011,

LONDON: The protests and unrest in Arab countries may be dangerous for Saudi Arabia if King Abdullah does not step up the pace of reform, a Saudi prince said on Thursday.

Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz , a half brother of the king, said it was not too late for the Saudi government to take steps to avoid protests – and that the king is the only person who can bring about major changes.

"The only person who could really maintain things and do major things and change is King Abdullah,'' the prince said. "Because he is not merely liked, but he is loved by the people. But if he doesn't do it, it would be very dangerous in our country.''

Talal is an outspoken prince who has called for reform before . He holds no government posts and is considered an outsider within the royals.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Heed-warning-signs-Saudi-kings-brother/articleshow/7525815.cms

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Pakistani seeks arrest of second US employee

Feb 18, 2011,

LAHORE: A Pakistani man is demanding the arrest of a second US embassy employee in Pakistan, his lawyer said on Friday, adding fuel to an incident that has severely strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

the move comes as US officials pressure Pakistan to release Raymond Davis, a US consulate employee who is locked in a jail after shooting and killing two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore last month in what he said was an attempted robbery.

Ijaz-ur-Rehman, whose brother Ibad was killed when a US vehicle came to Davis' rescue in the aftermath of the January 27 shooting, filed a petition in the Lahore High Court demanding the car's driver be arrested, lawyer Noman Atiq said.

Atiq said his client had asked for the vehicle, which the US State Department said was driven by an embassy staff member, to be impounded.

"We want a proper investigation to be carried out in the murder of my brother," Rehman said. "What we want is for the culprits to be punished for their crime."

The fate of Davis, a former US Special Forces soldier, is another test for the frayed US-Pakistani alliance, already strained by US allegations that Pakistan has not acted strongly enough against Islamist militants launching attacks on US troops in Afghanistan.

Yet the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, battling its own insurgency and struggling to hold together a

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-seeks-arrest-of-second-US-employee/articleshow/7523621.cms

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Riyadh decked up to welcome king

By MD RASOOLDEEN

Feb 19, 2011

RIYADH: Extensive arrangements are being made in Riyadh to accord a red-carpet welcome to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah who is to arrive soon in the Kingdom following his recovery from surgery in the United States.

The whole of Riyadh is dotted with Saudi national flags and eye-catching banners hailing King Abdullah as a great leader. The flags and banners read: “You are in our hearts,” “We are happy to extend you a warm welcome following your recovery from illness,” and “Welcome to our king and great leader.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271134.ece

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Grand mufti reiterates doubling fine is wrong

By MUHAMMAD AL-SULAMI

Feb 19, 2011

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, has reiterated that doubling traffic fines amounts to taking riba (usury), which is unlawful in Islam and that the traffic department should find other ways to punish violators.

“The system is wrong because demanding double the actual amount if it is not paid in a month is nothing but riba,” the grand mufti said while answering queries on religious topics at an event held at Riyadh’s Imam Turki Mosque on Friday.

On an earlier occasion, Talal Bakri, a Shoura council member, demanded the suspension of the Saher system until a royal decree is issued. Bakri also condemned the system as usury.

Bakri questioned the validity of the system, which he said should be implemented after detailed studies followed by a royal decree, something that was not carried out in the case of Saher.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271139.ece

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Israel calls for direct peace talks to resume after US veto

February 19, 2011

JERUSALEM: Israel on Friday called for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table without preconditions after the United States vetoed a UN Security Council vote condemning Jewish settlements.  

"It's a short way between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and all the Palestinians should do is to return to the negotiating table without preconditions," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement.     

"Only thus, and not through seizing the Security Council, will it be possible to advance the peace process so as to benefit both parties and to serve the cause of peace and security throughout the region."

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11370

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Afghans need political solution: Clinton

February 19, 2011

NEW YORK: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that only a political solution will end the war in Afghanistan as she voiced hope for splitting off rank-and-file Taliban from Al-Qaeda extremists.

In a speech at the Asia Society in New York, Clinton reaffirmed US plans to start reducing troops in July and complete the drawdown by the end of 2014 as Afghans take charge of their war-torn country.

Clinton said the surge in US-led troops over the past year was part of a strategy to "split the weakened Taliban off from Al-Qaeda and reconcile those who will renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution."

"I know there are some on Capitol Hill and elsewhere who question whether we need anything more than guns, bombs and troops to achieve our goals in Afghanistan," Clinton said.

"As our commanders on the ground will be the first to say, that is a short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating view. We will never kill enough insurgents to end this war outright," Clinton said.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11381

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Troops open fire at Bahrain protesters

February 19th, 2011

Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed towards the landmark square that had been the symbolic centre of the uprising against the Gulf nation’s leaders.

Hospital officials said at least 20 people were injured, some seriously. Ambulance sirens were heard throughout central Manama a day after riot police swept through the protest encampment in Pearl Square, killing at least five people.

An AP cameraman saw Army units shooting anti-aircraft weapons above the protesters in apparent warning shots and attempts to drive them back from security cordons about 200 yards from the square. The clash came just hours after funeral mourners and worshippers at Friday prayers called for the toppling of the Western-allied monarchy in the tiny island nation that is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The cries against the king and his inner circle — at a main Shia mosque and at burials for those killed in Thursday’s crushing attack — reflect an important escalation of the political uprising, which began with calls to weaken the Sunni monarchy’s power and address claims of discrimination against the Shia majority in the tiny island nation.

Full report at:

 http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/troops-open-fire-bahrain-protesters-036

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US in direct talks with Taliban

February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON: The administration of President Barack Obama has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban officials, a US magazine reported Friday.

The talks were characterized in the story as an attempt by the Obama administration "to assess which figures in the Taliban's leadership, if any, might be willing to engage in formal Afghan peace negotiations, and under what conditions."     

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll wrote that several sources, which were not identified in the story, briefed him about the talks.

Earlier Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that only a political solution will end the war in Afghanistan. "We will never kill enough insurgents to end this war outright," Clinton said during a speech in New York.    

Clinton voiced hope for splitting off rank-and-file Taliban from Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.       Clinton said the surge in US-led troops over the past year was part of a strategy to "split the weakened Taliban off from Al-Qaeda and reconcile those who will renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution."  

The late Richard Holbrooke, who served as Washington's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was a leading advocate for a political settlement. Holbrooke died December 13.(AFP)

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11379

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Saudi abducted by Syrian gang?

By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN

Feb 19, 2011

JEDDAH: The Saudi Embassy in Damascus denied on its Internet site on Thursday any knowledge of a Saudi citizen who was kidnapped in Syria, and said it would investigate the matter and exert every possible effort to come out with the truth.

The embassy was commenting on press reports regarding the incident.

“The embassy has not received any complaint in this regard or any information from the relatives or any other party that a Saudi was kidnapped and that the kidnappers were demanding a huge ransom,” the embassy said.

Local newspapers reported Thursday that a Saudi family had to pay a ransom of SR400,000 to the 18 kidnappers of their son who was in Syria for medical treatment.

The family, which was not identified, reportedly said their son traveled to Syria last month, rented an apartment and began a treatment program before he was kidnapped by a gang. They said they lost contact with their son but received a call on a mobile phone from the purported kidnappers.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article271127.ece

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US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Feb 19, 2011

UNITED NATIONS: The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

The 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution.

The Obama administration’s veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. An abstention would have angered the Israelis, the closest US ally in the region, as well as Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in the US Congress.

The US opposes new settlements but says taking the issue to the UN will only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article271248.ece

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Hamas, Israel discuss talk prisoners swap deal

By MOHAMMED MAR'I

Feb 18, 2011

 

RAMALLAH: The Hamas movement said that there is a progress in the negotiations with Israel to release kidnapped Israeli soldier in exchange with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The Hamas source told the Palestinian news agency of Ma'an that his movement conducted “serious talks” with Israel to conclude the swap deal. The source added that the German mediator Gerhard Konard has recently visited Gaza Strip “more than once” in bid to advance the deal that would see Shalit freed after more than four years in Palestinian captivity.

The Hamas source refused to elaborate on the issues discussed during the talks.

In another possible indication that the negotiations have been resumed, Hamas warned Gaza's residents not to reply to text messages from Israeli Army for fear this may help the Israeli security forces uncover Shalit's location.

“This path leads to the collapse of security and collaboration with the Zionist enemy,” Hamas' Interior Ministry said. “We urge citizens not to contact the Zionist intelligence service via this phone number in any way.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article270927.ece

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Obama condemns violence in Middle East

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Feb 18, 2011

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: President Barack Obama on Friday condemned reports of violent reprisals against protesters in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen and urged government restraint as unrest swept the volatile region in the aftermath of Egypt’s uprising. The perilous situation threatens US interests and poses a major diplomatic and national security challenge to the Obama administration.

“I am deeply concerned about reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur,” Obama said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article270974.ece

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Turkish journalist charged with links to coup plot

By DAREN BUTLER

Feb 18, 2011

ISTANBUL: A prominent Turkish journalist was charged on Friday with links to a shadowy, ultra-nationalist group accused of seeking to overthrow the government, joining two of his colleagues in jail pending trial.

Soner Yalcin, who runs a news website fiercely critical of the government, was detained earlier this week in a case which triggered a diplomatic spat between Turkish officials and the new U.S. ambassador to Ankara.

Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, who said he did not know details of Yalcin's case, had remarked to reporters that it was hard to understand the detention of reporters in Turkey, given its avowed policy of supporting press freedom.

Turkish officials responded by warning the envoy against interfering in domestic affairs, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was not right for an ambassador to make judgments over an ongoing investigation.

Yalcin and two of his colleagues were charged with being members of a "terrorist group", "obtaining and publishing secret state security documents" and "inciting hatred", media reports said. Court officials were not available to comment.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article270916.ece

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Lebanese sentenced to death for spying for Israel

Feb 18, 2011

BEIRUT: A Lebanese military court has convicted a man of spying for Israel and sentenced him to death. Lebanon and Israel technically remain at war, and more than 100 people in Lebanon have been arrested since 2009 on suspicion of collaborating with the Jewish state.

Amin Al-Baba was found guilty of giving Israeli intelligence agents information in return for money. He was also found guilty of entering an enemy state.

Al-Baba, who was sentenced late Thursday, had been spying for Israel from 1997 until his 2009 arrest.

The rulings can be appealed.

The new sentence brings the number of people sentenced to death for spying for Israel to nine

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article270919.ece

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India police broaden graft probe

By RAJESH KUMAR SINGH

Feb 18, 2011

NEW DELHI: Indian police raided a television station linked to the government on Friday, as a widening investigation into a corruption scandal threatened the coalition and worried investors sent blue-chip stocks lower.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under growing pressure over his role in the illicit sale of mobile phone licenses, although he has said he would not resign, blaming the debacle on his sacked telecommunications minister, who is now under arrest.

The blue-chip Sensex index turned negative after news of the raid, closing 1.6 percent lower . Investors are concerned the deepening probe will raise the possibility of licence revocation, which would damage key telecoms firms.

Mumbai is the world’s worst performing major stock market this year, with losses of 11 percent.

“Raids have been carried out today on the offices of Kalaignar TV in connection with the 2G scam,” said a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official, who declined to be named.

The raids followed allegations that companies linked to Swan Telecom, under investigation in the sale of 2G mobile licenses, had paid $47 million to the channel owned by the family that runs the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party.

The south India-based party is a member of Singh’s Congress party-led coalition, helping it maintain a slim majority in parliament. The DMK has denied any wrongdoing, as has Swan Telecom, now partly owned by the UAE’s Etisalat .

The DMK, from the state of Tamil Nadu, is not expected to leave the coalition but the investigation is testing its links with Congress and could put pressure on it to decide whether to stay in the alliance.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article270456.ece

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Pakistan judge orders arrest of US car’s driver

By BABAR DOGAR

Feb 18, 2011

LAHORE, Pakistan: A judge on Friday ordered the arrest of the driver of a US vehicle that struck and killed a Pakistani while rushing to help an American detained in a pair of fatal shootings, a lawyer for the victim’s family said.

The arrest warrant could add to the tensions surrounding the case of the shooter, Raymond Allen Davis. The US insists he was acting in self-defense against robbers and qualifies for diplomatic immunity because he worked for the embassy.

The odds of Pakistani police detaining the people in the US car are low. Authorities say they do not know who was in the vehicle, and the Americans have said little on the matter, other than admitting the car was driven by US Embassy staff.

The judge’s order could be a means of pressuring the US to produce the driver, who has not been identified. But it’s highly unlikely that any Americans involved in the traffic accident are still in Pakistan. Employees of the US mission who get into trouble are typically on the first plane out of the country.

It’s also possible the driver was a Pakistani. US Embassy spokeswoman Courtney Beale on Friday declined to comment on the order other than saying the vehicular incident “is under investigation.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article270452.ece

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Johny Foster sings Faiz

New Age Islam News Bureau

Aligarh: The teacher of Music at the Aligarh Muslim University and eminent Ghazal Singer Johny Foster sang the ghazals of Faiz Ahmad Faiz in a seminar on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the legendary progressive poet in the Department of Socialogy. He also sang the ghazals of the poets of Aligarh on the request of the audience. Foster is going to present an album of the ghazals of Faiz.

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Babri demolition case: CBI moves SC against Advani, others

Feb 18, 2011

New Delhi: The CBI has moved the Supreme Court challenging an Allahabad High Court order that dropped charges of criminal conspiracy against top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The investigating agency submitted that the trial court and the High Court had erroneously dropped conspiracy charges and proceeded against them for instigating the crowd and not indulging in actual demolition. "It is submitted that bifurcation which has been attempted by the trial court which has found favour with the High Court is completely erroneous in law. The offence of instigation, facilitation, actual demolition of the disputed structure, continuous assault on mediapersons, all form a single transaction," the CBI said in its petition.

Full report at: The Times of India

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Court notice against ‘Shahi Imam’

New Age Islam News Bureau

Muzaffar Nagar: The Chief Judicial Magistrate of The Muzaffar Nagar Court has issued a fresh notice to the Shahi Imam in a case of alleged violation of code of conduct in the UP elections in 2007.

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Clinton urges Pakistan to implement reforms

19 February 2011

Amid an escalating diplomatic dispute, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that Pakistan risks major instability at home and a hampered war effort in next-door Afghanistan if it doesn’t implement reforms and stop fomenting anti-American sentiment.

In a speech Friday to The Asia Society, Clinton said Pakistani cooperation is critical to the success of the fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists in neighbouring Afghanistan.

She spoke amid increasing tensions with Pakistan over the killing of two Pakistanis by an American Embassy worker. Without mentioning the case, Clinton acknowledged the US-Pakistan relationship is troubled.

“Distrust lingers on both sides,” Clinton said. “We need to work together carefully to prevent misunderstandings and disagreements from derailing the progress we have made in the past two years.”

Relations with Pakistan have plummeted to their lowest point in recent years since the arrest of an American embassy employee in Lahore. The employee, Raymond Allen Davis, shot and killed two Pakistani men he says were trying to rob him on Jan. 27.

The U.S. insists that Davis was acting in self-defense and qualifies for diplomatic immunity because he worked for the embassy. US officials are demanding Davis be released immediately.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February623.xml&section=international

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Being bilingual a good brain work-out, experts say

19 February 2011

WASHINGTON — Speaking more than one language protects the brain against cognitive decline and makes a person better at multi-tasking, researchers said Friday at a major US science conference.

Being bilingual, or even learning a second language late in life, has been shown to slow the decline of some key brain functions, said Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

A study co-authored by Bialystok found that people who spoke more than one language were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 4.3 years later and reported the onset of symptoms 5.1 years later than monolingual patients.

Another study, the results of which have not yet been published, used computed tomography, or CT, scans to show that bilinguals had the same level of cognitive decline as monolinguals even when the people who spoke multiple languages were at a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s, Bialystok said.

“One of the reasons bilingualism has these powerful mechanisms including protecting against early symptoms of dementia is because it’s one way to keep your brain active,” Bialystok told reporters at the meeting.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February620.xml&section=international

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Saudi seeks share of $100 bln climate aid fund

18 February 2011

 “Impacts are expected to be massive and deep,” it said of countries dependent on fossil fuels, noting that oil makes up half Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product and 90 percent of its export earnings.

Irritation

Many other developing countries — including the poorest in Africa and Pacific island states at risk of rising sea levels — have expressed irritation that OPEC nations harp on about their vulnerability.

Saudi Arabia’s gross national income per capita was about $25,000 in 2008, similar to that of New Zealand, according to the UN Development Programme.

Countries have squabbled for many years on sharing the cost of carbon emissions cuts and the benefit of funds, making a comprehensive deal increasingly unlikely from 2013 after the present round of the Kyoto Protocol expires.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/environment/2011/February/environment_February25.xml&section=environment

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Asia’s biggest aquarium opened in India

18 February 2011

The 5000 sq feet complex, located in a green-rich environ on the outskirts of the city, has a rarer collection of 40 ornamental fish breeds and sea fish, collected from various fresh- water bodies and private aquariums in and across the country.

Albino giant grey, Black giant, Redtail catfish, Miss Kerala, Albino Tiger Shark, Blue Fungasia catfish, Parrot fish and Arona are some of the attractions of the fish-house. A host of Oscar varieties, angel and gold fish species are also displayed here, aquarium sources said.

To exhibit the species, a 3000 sq feet specially designed pond is set up at the ground floor of the main building.

A number of sea fish breeds like Lion fish, Selfin tank and Eales will also woo fish enthusiasts here, the state Fisheries Department officials said.

The Kochi-based Marina Aquarium Products is assigned for the collection of species and arrangement of the aquarium, they said.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/environment/2011/February/environment_February24.xml&section=environment

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Egypt opens Gaza border crossing, one way

19 February 2011

Egypt on Friday reopened its Rafah border crossing to Gaza, shut since anti-regime protests erupted on January 25, but only to allow Palestinians to enter the enclave.

One of the first to cross was Ramdan Abu Ghazal, 42, who had been visiting relatives in the Sinai town of El-Arish and became stranded by the closure.

“We were scared during the unrest in Egypt,” Ghazal told AFP. “I ran to the border as soon as I heard it would be open again.”

An Egyptian security official said the crossing would be open only until 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) on Friday and again on Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

“Palestinians who have been stranded in Egypt will be able to return to Gaza, but those in Gaza will not be allowed to enter Egypt,” the official said.

“It will start to open up gradually,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February656.xml&section=middleeast

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Obama warns Abbas against going to UN

18 February 2011

US President Barack Obama warned the Palestinians of “repercussions” if they pushed for a UN Security Council vote against Jewish settlements, an official said on Friday.

“President Obama threatened on Thursday night to take measures against the Palestinian Authority if it insists on going to the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity, and demand that it be stopped,” a senior Palestinian official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Obama’s remarks came during an hour-long telephone conversation between the two late on Thursday, in which the US leader tried to dissuade Abbas from supporting a UN Security Council vote due to take place later on Friday.

During the call, Obama told Abbas: “There will be repercussions for Palestinian-American relations if you continue your attempts to go to the Security Council and ignore our requests in this matter, especially as we suggested other alternatives.”

He was referring to a package of incentives laid out earlier this week aimed at enticing the Palestinians to withdraw their support for the draft resolution on settlements which is being put before the Security Council.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February649.xml&section=middleeast

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Bahrain protesters shot as heir promises talks

19 February 2011

Bahraini anti-government protesters chant anti-government slogans as they gather inside a building in Manama. Soldiers confronted some thousands of protest marchers who defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark Pearl Square which has become the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. -AP Photo

MANAMA: Bahraini security forces opened fire Friday on anti-regime protesters in the capital, with reports of up to 55 wounded, after the army vowed “strict measures” to restore order after a deadly police raid.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa promised to open a national dialogue once calm returns, and soon after King Hamad formally announced that he had assigned him to start those discussions.

US President Barack Obama condemned the violence in Bahrain, which is of vital strategic importance to Washington because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based there and some 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the Gulf.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/bahrain-protesters-shot-as-heir-promises-talks.html

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Controversial West Bank field trip for Israeli kids stirs anger

19 February 2011

Palestinian women pray inside the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron - AP PHOTO

 JERUSALEM: At a time when peace talks with the Palestinians are stalled over Jewish settlements, the Israeli government plans to send schoolchildren on field trips to a disputed holy site in one of the West Bank’s most volatile flash points.

Education Minister Gideon Saar says the visits to Hebron, burial site of the biblical patriarch Abraham and home to some of Israel’s most radical settlers, are part of a plan to acquaint Israeli youngsters with their heritage.

”It is a place of emotional, religious and historical power,” Saar, a leading member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, told Israel Radio on Wednesday. ”It is the place where our ancestors are buried and it is part of our history. Whoever objects to this, in my view, is trying to disconnect us from our roots.”

Palestinian and Israeli critics both call it an exercise in indoctrination that will ignore the thousands of dispossessed Palestinians living nearby.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/17/controversial-west-bank-field-trip-for-israeli-kids-stirs-anger.html

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Stop fomenting anti-Americanism, Hillary urges Pakistan

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK: As a diplomatic standoff between Pakistan and the United States festers, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned on Friday that Pakistan risked major instability at home and a hampered war effort in next-door Afghanistan if it didn’t implement reforms and stop fomenting anti-American sentiment.

In a speech at the Asia Society, Ms Clinton said Pakistani cooperation was critical to the success of the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists in neighbouring Afghanistan. She also said it was “no secret that we have not always seen eye to eye with Pakistan”.

“Pressure from the Pakistani side will help push the Taliban towards the negotiating table and away from Al Qaeda,” she said.

In an intense hour long speech, Ms Clinton urged India and Pakistan to continue their talks which began in Thimphu (Bhutan) which she said augured well for peace in the region.

“Distrust lingers on both sides,” she said. “We need to work together carefully to prevent misunderstandings and disagreements from derailing the progress we have made in the past two years.”

Relations with Pakistan have plummeted to their lowest point in recent years since the arrest of an American citizen in Lahore. The employee, Raymond Davis, shot and killed two Pakistani men he says were trying to rob him on Jan 27.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/stop-fomenting-anti-americanism-hillary-urges-pakistan.html

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Bahrain heir pledges talks after brutal crackdown

19 February 2011

MANAMA: Bahrain’s crown prince has vowed to hold a national dialogue, after security forces opened fire on anti-regime protesters in the capital amid reports that up to 55 people had been wounded.

The brutal crackdown, which followed an army pledge to restore order through “strict measures” after a deadly police raid, led the United States and Britain to ask nationals to avoid all but essential travel to the Gulf kingdom.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa promised to open a sweeping national dialogue once calm returns, and soon afterwards King Hamad formally announced that he had assigned his heir to start those discussions.

US President Barack Obama condemned the violence in a phone conversation with the king, a key regional ally of Washington.

Obama said “the stability of Bahrain depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain, and a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the aspirations of all Bahrainis,” according to a White House statement.

Bahrain is of vital strategic importance to Washington because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based there and some 40 percent of the world’s oil passes through the Gulf.

The prospect of a prolonged crisis raises fears of a potential flashpoint between Iran and its Gulf Arab rivals, if the Islamic republic attempts to capitalise on the protest led by the disaffected Shiite majority.

Iran “condemned the violent confrontation” and asked the Bahraini government to show self-restraint.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/bahrain-heir-pledges-talks-after-brutal-crackdown.html

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US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements

19 February 2011

UNITED NATIONS: The United States vetoed an Arab-sponsored UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, putting Washington at risk of heightening tensions with the Arab world.

Despite a flurry of diplomacy from US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Palestinians rejected a compromise move and forced a UN vote on the resolution declaring settlements illegal.

Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, with the US imposing its veto power — the first time the Obama administration has wielded its resolution-killing clout at the UN.

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said Washington was “regrettably” slapping down the draft resolution and warned it should not be seen by Israel as US backing for continued settlement building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

But she said the United States — one of five permanent Security Council members with the power of a veto — did not believe the United Nations was the best place to seek to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Full report at: Arab News

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US officials declined to characterize the call.

19 February 2011

Rice had proposed a three-fold package of incentives for Palestinians: a non-binding Security Council statement condemning settlement activity, a visit by a UN Security Council delegation to the region and a Mideast Quartet statement referring to 1967 borders in reference to a Palestinian state.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/us-vetoes-un-resolution-on-israeli-settlements.html

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Mideast unrest puts US military access in jeopardy

19 February 2011

WASHINGTON: Popular unrest sweeping the Middle East highlights the US military’s reliance on Arab regimes that offer privileged access to airfields and ports from Cairo to Qatar.

The military’s dominant role in the region hinges on a web of agreements with friendly Arab states that allow American forces to patrol oil shipping routes in the Gulf, target Islamist militants and keep a watchful eye on arch-foe Iran.

Roughly 27,000 US forces are deployed at an array of bases and sites throughout the Gulf, along with a 50,000-strong contingent in Iraq and thousands more aboard naval ships, a US military official told AFP.

Major air fields in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, a large base in Kuwait and the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain serve as key points in an arc around Iran, ensuring American forces can move swiftly with heavy firepower.

In Bahrain, where security forces have cracked down on street protests after popular revolts ousted leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, about 4,000 Americans are stationed as part of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters.

With a flotilla of aircraft carriers, destroyers and amphibious ships at its disposal, the

Fifth Fleet oversees an area spanning the Red Sea, the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

The Pentagon on Friday played down the impact of the unrest in Bahrain and elsewhere, saying the violence had not disrupted the naval headquarters or other bases.

Former officials say losing the headquarters in Bahrain would be a setback but not a catastrophe, as the Navy could move the command post elsewhere.

No single base or agreement represents an Achilles heel, but taken as a whole, the network is a crucial linchpin for American military power, said David Aaron, a former diplomat and a senior fellow at the Rand Corporation think tank.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/mideast-unrest-puts-us-military-access-in-jeopardy.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/84-killed-in-libya-protests,-says-human-rights-watch/d/4154


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