New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 15 Jul 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Another Sufi Shrine Charred In J&K, Triggers Protest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

Another Sufi Shrine Charred In J&K, Triggers Protest

Hard-Line Hurriyat Leader Geelani on Payroll of Pak's ISI: NC Leader

Farooq agrees to Obama's views on Kashmir

26/11 planned across five nations

Azam Khan Seeks Revocation of Cases against Muallim-E-Urdu Degree Holders

Allegations of Pak role in 26/11 incredible: Salman Bashir

On campaign trail in J-K, Pranab gets memorandum for Afzal Guru's clemency

India appeals for peace in Maldives

J&K stadium hosts football match after 25-year gap

Dawood Ibrahim uses ship business to smuggle drugs, arms

Jihadis cheat bosses, pocket terror funds

3 months on, Ajmer dargah awaits Zardari's promised donation

Sarabjit makes his innocence his weapon for seeking presidential pardon

Azam seeks revocation of cases against Muallim-e-Urdu degree holders

Urdu critic Ashrafi passes away

Godhra train carnage convict dies in jail

 

Pakistan

Dad buries deformed infant alive in Pakistan

Gunmen attack office of Pakistan police intelligence wing take hostages

Polio campaign postponed in Waziristan, Bara

Terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed 'makes move into Pak politics'

BHC grants interim bail to former CM in Bugti-murder case

Pakistan People’s Party, opposition zero in on Asma as caretaker PM?

Democracy in trouble if letter not written to Swiss authorities: Fazl

Pakistan-origin German artist wins laurels, applauds

Three shot dead in various parts of Balochistan

NA passed contempt bill in only 68 minutes: Fafen

Pakistan offers US alternative to drone strikes

No shortage of Indian film following in Pak

Has Pak envoy to UN put in his papers?

Pakistan cricket team to tour India in December

 

South Asia

Efforts afoot to convince Taliban for talks with Kabul

Islamic Foundation of Maldives launches country’s first religious TV station

Suu Kyi Dilemma Over Myanmar's Rohingya

Why Is the World Ignoring the Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar?

Resist misdeeds in the name of Islam: PM Sheikh Hasina

250 B’desh patients, nurses jailed over mutiny

UNHRC expresses concern over threats to civil society organisations: MDP

Violence escalates in Malé as police clash with MDP protesters

Maldives Tourism Authority’s Twitter Campaign Labelled “Travel-Related Farce”

NGOs cite lack of regulation as a key barrier to Maldivian disability rights

Maldives’ defence of human rights position before UNHRC to be webcast live

Afghan education minister survives assassination bid

China-Pakistan trade link hit by strike

Prosecutors formally charge Maldives ex-president

Two service members killed in Afghanistan: Nato

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesia Shia Cleric Illegally Jailed for Blasphemy

Constitutional Court chief reaffirms support for atheists, communists

As Ramadan Approaches, Islamic Radicals Demand Nightlife Close

Mass marriage for 349 couples in Central Jakarta

Indonesian Children at Severe Risk from Preventable Diseases: UNICEF

Divide between west and Muslim world due to failure to communicate

 

Mideast Asia

Arafat’s widow to lodge legal complaint over poison claim

Hamas eases strict enforcement of Sharia law

Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israel

Failed Graft Prosecution of Former Israeli Premier Spurs Political Questions

Terror suspect held in Cyprus, Israel says Iran behind plot

Kidnapped French Red Cross worker released in Yemen

US Jewish Leaders Criticize West Bank Report

President Ahmadinejad says Iran ready to enhance barter trade with Pakistan

 

Arab World

Saudi Arabia considers law against insulting Islam

Egyptians pelt Hillary Clinton's motorcade with tomatoes

At least 25 killed as Syrian troops pound rebel strongholds

Bashar al-Assad could face prosecution as Red Cross rules

Iraq warns Turkey over separate Kurdish oil deal

Morocco Says Expels Syrian Ambassador

New Fighting in Damascus after Syria Denies Attack on Civilians

 

Africa

Ethiopian security forces killed four Muslims in a Mosque

As Refugees Flee Islamists in Mali, Solutions Are Elusive

Libya's Olympic chief taken by gunmen in Tripoli

'Libya gagged Lockerbie bomber with 15 million pound'

Sudan and South Sudan presidents hold first talks since April clashes

Eritrea Reduces Support for Al Shabaab-U.N. Report

Red Cross Starts Aid Effort in Northern Mali

Somali Lawmaker Killed, Al Shabaab Claim Attack

 

North America

Muslim cleric wants to protect Canadian women from sex assault by “cover up”

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Says Life Was Threatened

Boston Mosque Saves Somali Youth

Islamic centre tries to foster awareness

US role in post-Mubarak Egypt still unclear

Barack Obama: No solution from outside on J&K

Clinton in Israel on last leg of 8-nation tour

 

Europe

Russia accuses West of blackmail on Syria plans

UK to interview Pakistan students seeking visa

Russia Accuses West of Blackmail, Stands Firm on Syria

Terror suspects 'waived through' UK airport ahead of Olympics

 

Australia

Many Islamist don't understand imperative of consent in a sexual relationship

 

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Indonesia Shia Cleric Illegally Jailed for Blasphemy

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/another-sufi-shrine-charred-in-j-k-triggers-protest/d/7937

 

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India

 

Another Sufi Shrine Charred In J&K, Triggers Protest

Jul 16, 2012

SRINAGAR: A shrine of a revered Sufi saint was on Sunday gutted in a mysterious fire at Ratsuna village of central Kashmir's Budgam district, triggering protests in the area.

Fire broke out at Baba Haneefuddin's shrine, made of mostly wood, in the wee hours of Sunday, official sources said. A complete shutdown was observed in Beerwah, but peace was maintained.

Mutteheda Ulema Ahl-e-Sunnat chairman Ghulam Rasool Hami accused the government of failing to protect the religious places in Kashmir. "This is a conspiracy to destroy the ancient religious assets of Muslims in Kashmir. We will not sit silent and come on roads to unveil the conspiracy," Hami said.

This is the second shrine to be destroyed in a fire within 20 days. On June 25, the shrine of Dastageer Sahib in Khanyar was destroyed in another fire. A complete shutdown was observed in the Beerwah area after the Baba Haneefuddin shrine was gutted, but peace was maintained.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Another-shrine-charred-in-JK-triggers-protest/articleshow/14974479.cms

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Hard-Line Hurriyat Leader Geelani on Payroll of Pak's ISI: NC Leader

Jul 16 2012

Srinagar: Ruling National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal accused hard-line Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani of being “a double agent” on “the payroll of Pakistan's ISI”.

“(Geelani is) a double agent  ... a four time MLA who has been drawing pension and has been even on the payroll of ISI, should we consider him fit enough to talk about morality,” National Conference Additional General Secretary Mustafa Kamal alleged, referring to Geelani who was an MLA from Sopore constituency before militancy erupted in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kamal, uncle of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and younger brother of Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, claimed that Geelani was taking “dictation” from Pakistan.

“Whenever even a Pakistani clerk comes to India and summons this ex-lawmaker, he rushes to Delhi to take dictation about how to ensure that uncertainty prevails in the state,” he said.

Kamal said Geelani has tried to “ignite and incite” people by “hollow slogans and destructive emotionalism”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/geelani-on-payroll-of-paks-isi-nc-leader/975023/

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Farooq agrees to Obama's views on Kashmir

Jul 16, 2012

SRINAGAR: Union minister Farooq Abdullah agrees with US President Barack Obama that only India and Pakistan should resolve the long-standing issue of Kashmir.

"What Obama has said, we knew it right from the beginning... if Kashmir issue is to be resolved, it has to be done by India and Pakistan," Abdullah said here on Monday.

He said the Centre has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad and hence needs to be addressed by the two countries.

The National Conference president, however, expressed disappointment over the delay in resolving the issue.

Ruling out any solution from "outside" to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, Obama had on Sunday underlined that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved by the two countries themselves.

On remarks by the US president about the investment climate in India, Abdullah said Washington wanted New Delhi to open up its insurance and banking sectors for FDI.

"We have some compulsions as India has a coalition government. Some coalition partners do not want these sectors to be opened up for FDI as it will affect their vote bank," he said, lamenting that the parties do not understand that investments were key to India's progress.

"The Prime Minister will have to take harsh steps that will be beneficial for India's progress in the long run," he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Farooq-agrees-to-Obamas-views-on-Kashmir/articleshow/14991593.cms

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26/11 planned across five nations?

Jul 15, 2012

NEW DELHI: The arrest of terrorist, Abu Hamza, deported from Saudi Arabia to Delhi earlier last month, has revealed that the attacks unleashed upon Mumbai in 2008 were most probably planned spanning across five countries. The investigators are busying sewing the attack across five countries, so far disjointed and with gaping holes.

While the original plan was redrafted in Pakistan - after the Aurangabad bust up - a ``high level meeting'' in Colombo attended by the top operatives of LeT in Sri Lanka led to the plan getting a roll on. While the role of Sajid Mir - convicted in absentia by a French court - is yet to get a definite shape, David Coleman Headley as the man who conducted recess brought in the US angle. Investigators are also looking into the possible transfer of some money and SIM card from Italy.

The recent questioning of one Willie Brigitte, believed to be a French LeT operative, has claimed that he had identified Mir as an ISI agent.

While a French court had even convicted Mir, the investigators believe he was part of the core control room team. Believed to be the man behind Headley's transformation to the LeT, Mir is also accused of travelling to India as a cricket fan and laying the foundation for Headley to go about his recess. He is also believed to have ordered the Chabad House shootings himself on that fateful day.

Earlier a Pakistani father-son duo was arrested in Italy. It was alleged that the duo who ran a money transfer agency had transferred money to sponsor the 26/11 attacks. The Italian police had claimed that a day before the attacks, they transferred money to activate an Internet phone account that was used by the attackers.

Hamza claims it was in 2007 that the plan for Mumbai was redrafted in Pakistan. Lashkar commanders decided to use local recruits, among them, Ajmal Kasab. A group of 30 people were trained for the mission in India. In September 2007, Hamza has reportedly told interrogators, ten men were shortlisted. In September 2008, the men tried to sail from Karachi to Mumbai but they failed due to rough weather. They finally succeeded in their attempt in November.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/26/11-planned-across-five-nations/articleshow/14954724.cms

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Azam Khan Seeks Revocation of Cases against Muallim-E-Urdu Degree Holders

Jul 16 2012

Lucknow: In a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan has sought revocation of the cases lodged against Muallim-e-Urdu degree holders. The cases were lodged by the previous BSP government during their protest — demanding government job — on February 21, 2011.

As per the press release, Khan has termed the cases as “fake” and has stated that “they were lodged during a regime which was inhuman”. He said that it will be just if these cases are revoked and steps are taken in this direction. Khan also mentioned that these degree holders were greeted with lathis by the police during their protest. A total of 15 persons are named in these cases. Khan also requested in his letter that the Muallim-e-Urdu degree holders should be treated at par with BTC Urdu and they should be appointed in government schools. They should also be exempted from Teacher’s Eligibility Test, he said. “These degree holders have high hopes from the present government and the government should reciprocate in the same manner,” he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/azam-seeks-revocation-of-cases-against-moallimeurdu-degree-holders/974989/

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Allegations of Pak role in 26/11 incredible: Salman Bashir

Jul 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Pakistani high commissioner Salman Bashir on Sunday described as "incredible" and "unbelievable" allegations that any Pakistani state agency was involved in the Mumbai attacks. Talking about recent disclosures made by 26/11 handler Abu Jundal, Bashir, who took charge as high commissioner on Friday, insisted that the situation arising from Jundal's arrest be dealt with more objectivity.

"If our own army headquarters are attacked, if ISI offices are attacked, then I think it is really unbelievable, incredible to allege that Pakistani state, institutes have been involved in this," Bashir said in a TV interview.

"Our GHQ has been attacked, our public places have been attacked, close to 40,000 people have been killed. So terror is enemy number one in Pakistan," he added, without giving any direct reply to whether or not Pakistan will probe any evidence produced by India about the role of state actors.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Allegations-of-Pak-role-in-26/11-incredible-Salman-Bashir/articleshow/14969127.cms

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On campaign trail in J-K, Pranab gets memorandum for Afzal Guru's clemency

July 15, 2012

Later talking to reporters, Mukherjee said he has no personal opinion about the capital punishment.

An independent MLA of Jammu and Kashmir, Engineer Rashid, on Sunday handed a memorandum to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee seeking clemency for Parliament attack accused Muhammad Afzal Guru.  

"I told Mr. Mukherjee that we welcome you in Kashmir. There is perception in Kashmir that Congress is liberal and secular as compared to the BJP. We see you as moderate voice. We hope that clemency petition of Muhammad Afzal Guru pending before the President would be accepted during your term. It is a burning issue in Kashmir," Rashid told reporters after meeting Mukherjee.

He said, he handed over the memorandum to Mukherjee during his meeting with him. "Mukherjee read out a few lines from the memorandum and stated let the election be over," Rashid claimed.

Full report at:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/on-campaign-trail-in-j-k-pranab-gets-memorandum-for-afzal-gurus-clemency/1/208351.html

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India appeals for peace in Maldives

Jul 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: With violence escalating in Maldives, India on Sunday appealed to all political parties to maintain peace and calm in the country and maintain law and order. Describing the recent violence as a matter of concern, the Indian high commission issued a statement reiterating the need for all parties to work together in the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation to resolve all outstanding issues.

"In this context, it is important that setting aside their differences, the parties should hold talks to ameliorate the current situation so that day-to-day life of Maldivian people is not affected adversely,'' it said.

As supporters of deposed president Mohamed Nasheed continued protests demanding early election, the Maldives government blamed him for inciting violence. A statement from President Mohamed Waheed's office said supporters of the former president were disrupting law and order, blocking traffic, and harassing road users.

The statement comes at a time when the All Party Roadmap Talks, the India-facilitated talks to try and break the political deadlock following the controversial ousting of Nasheed on February 7, have remained in deadlock for over a month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/India-appeals-for-peace-in-Maldives/articleshow/14970270.cms

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J&K stadium hosts football match after 25-year gap

 Jul 16, 2012

SRINAGAR: With a sense of peace prevailing in Kashmir, around thirty thousand people gathered in Bakshi Stadium on Sunday to watch a football match between Mohammedan Sporting Club, Kolkata and JK-XI after twenty five years.

The government on July 4 had decided to organize a couple of goodwill matches between the two teams at Srinagar first and then in Leh on July 18.

The spectators were thrilled to see the hosts win 3-1 against one of the best football clubs of the country. "Today's victory has really encouraged the young and upcoming football players in Kashmir," said Mehraj Wadoo, the captain of the JK-XI team.

Abdul Gaffar Dar, 67, travelled all the way from Nawa Kadal in downtown to watch the football match. "It reminded me of my old days when I used to see every football match either in polo ground at Maulana Azad Road or at Bakshi Stadium. I was thrilled to see our young boys on the ground chasing the ball like tigers," Gaffar Dar said.

J&K State Sports Council in collaboration with J&K Football Association in 2007 had organized the Santosh Trophy but the police had a tough time in controlling the crowd at Polo ground. The Sunday goodwill match went off peacefully. CM Omar Abdullah also watched the match.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/JK-stadium-hosts-football-match-after-25-year-gap/articleshow/14972629.cms

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Dawood Ibrahim uses ship business to smuggle drugs, arms

Jul 16, 2012

CHENNAI: Dawood Ibrahim and his aides have a major stake in the multimillion-dollar ship-breaking industry in India, according to an intelligence report by the ministry of defence.

The report says certain Pakistani nationals involved with the D-Company based in London and the UAE have a major stake in the country's ship-breaking industry, investing crores of rupees in the environmentally hazardous industry based in Alang, Gujarat. Intelligence sources said the Pakistani nationals fix deals by paying in hard cash with the collusion of corrupt local officials.

Intelligence agencies briefed an inter-ministerial committee in Delhi in February 2012 about the entry of Dawood's aides into the industry and the potential security threat implications, said sources in the directorate of naval intelligence.

D-Company men smuggle contraband, arms and explosives with the participation of foreign agents during their ship dismantling operations, the report says. Dawood's men use money laundering to fund the deals and many end-of-life vessels that arrive at the ship breaking yards in Gujarat simply disappear from anchorage after a short while.

Officials said the current system, which permits a free run to vessels carrying dismantling permits, has allowed entry to criminals.

"The system has to be regulated and every vessel should be thoroughly checked by the navy," said a senior naval officer. "MoD clearances have to be made mandatory for the entry of vessels for dismantling in India."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dawood-Ibrahim-uses-ship-business-to-smuggle-drugs-arms/articleshow/14972091.cms

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Jihadis cheat bosses, pocket terror funds

Mateen Hafeez

Jul 16, 2012

MUMBAI: Can dedicated jihadis involved in acts of terrorism also be selfish cheats out to line their own pocket? The answer seems to be a resounding yes going by the investigations into several bomb blast cases in the country. Not only foot-soldiers but even the top brass of the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) have duped their foreign-based handlers of lakhs of rupees. Money meant to fund terror activities or recruit new operatives was on many occasion siphoned off and used for 'personal benefit'.

"The latest example was slain terror suspect Qateel Siddiqui who was murdered in Pune's Yerwada jail on June 8. He was paid Rs one lakh to enlist new faces into IM. However, when we questioned him about the use of money, he was reluctant to reply. On sustained interrogation, he admitted that he had spent the money on two girls, and that the IM top functionaries were unaware about it," said an officer in the state's anti-terrorism squad (ATS) who personally questioned him. Siddiqui was accused in the 2011 Delhi Jama Masjid firing case and the 2010 Chinnaswamy stadium blast case. "Siddiqui told us that he was not interested in following IM's ideology but was more interested in getting funds for his personal use. He had even opposed several programmes of IM," the officer added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Jihadis-cheat-bosses-pocket-terror-funds/articleshow/14967902.cms

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3 months on, Ajmer dargah awaits Zardari's promised donation

Jul 15, 2012

JAIPUR: Three months after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari announced $1 million donation for Ajmer dargah during his visit to the country, the shrine authorities are still waiting for the release of the money.

Zardari visited the holy shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer on April 8 and a member of his delegation had on his behalf announced the donation for the welfare of the dargah.

"The donation has not been delivered so far," Syed Wahid Hussain Chisti, secretary of Anjuman committee, a representative body of Khadims (priests), told this news agency.

"Officials from the High Commission of Pakistan came to us after Zardari's visit and discussed with us our developmental plans.

"On their invitation, I went to the Pakistan High Commission last month where they again discussed the development plans," he said.

"I apprised them that we use the donation for welfare activities but did not submit specific plan for Zardari's donation because we did not go to Zardari to seek the donation," he said.

"We are not asking for the donation but when Zardari has made a promise, he should keep it," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-months-on-Ajmer-dargah-awaits-Zardaris-promised-donation/articleshow/14959595.cms

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Sarabjit makes his innocence his weapon for seeking presidential pardon

Jul 15, 2012

AMRITSAR: Sarabjit Singh has made faith of his fellow countrymen in his innocence , absence of his name in FIR and his misquoted statement given before special judge as shields in his appeal made to Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari while seeking his pardon on Pakistan's Independence Day on August 14.

In a one page handwritten letter sent to president Zardari in Urdu and signed by Sarabjit Singh in Punjabi, a copy of which is with TOI, Sarabjit Singh pleaded that people of India believed that he was innocent and he was mistakenly involved in the bomb blast case, in which he had no role to play and was yet tried in court of law and sentenced to death. He has also mentioned about the movement generated in his support in India and abroad.

He has informed the president that his statement given before special judge was misquoted and misrepresented and clarified that he had never made any confessional statement of being a spy. " I am neither agent of Research and Analysis Wing nor I carried out bomb blasts, " he said in his appeal. Sarabjit has also stated that even his name was not included in the FIR .

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sarabjit-makes-his-innocence-his-weapon-for-seeking-presidential-pardon/articleshow/14925591.cms

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Urdu critic Ashrafi passes away

Jul 16 2012

Ahmedabad : A renowned Urdu critic and former chairman of Bihar Universities (Constituent Colleges) Commission, Dr Wahab Ashrafi, died on Sunday in Patna after a prolonged illness. Winner of several awards, including the Sahitya Academy award, he left behind his widow and four sons.

The 76-year-old, Ashrafi, was also dean of the department of Urdu in Ranchi University and author of more than three dozen books. Waris Alvi, noted Urdu critic and contemporary of Ashrafi, here expressed profound grief over the fellow writer. “His major contribution was to further the post modernism theory in Urdu, we would envy him for the wonderful collection of his books which he used to distribute among friends,” he said.

Alvi said he had some literary differences of opinion long ago, but “I have nothing to complaint against him and he will remain my dear friend”. Meanwhile, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, secretary general Ramkripal Yadav and JD(U) leader Aslam Azad have also condoled his death.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/974975/

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Godhra train carnage convict dies in jail

Jul 16 2012

Vadodara: One of the 31 convicts in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case died of a suspected cardiac arrest in Vadodara Central Jail on Sunday afternoon.

The convict has been identified as Saukat alias Bhano Farook Abdul Sattar Pataliya (33).

Pataliya was one of the 20 convicts in the case who were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special trial court in March last year. Eleven other accused in the case were awarded death sentence by the special court then.

Pataliya reportedly complained of uneasiness at around 2.30 pm inside jail following which he was rushed to the nearby SSG Hospital by jail authorities. But, doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead.

The doctors said the cause of Pataliya’s death would be known only after his post mortem on Monday.

Raopura police has registered the incident and an inquiry has been ordered. The inquiry would be carried out by in-charge Assistant Commissioner of Police M M Malek.

Vadodara Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said, “He suddenly became ill. He was taken to hospital where he died. The cause of his death will be known after post mortem.” Sharma added that a report would be filed with National Human Rights Commission in this regard.

After learning about the incident, Pataliya’s relatives including his maternal uncle Ramjani Yusuf Mohan reached the hospital to claim the body.

“A relative in Vadodara called me to inform that Saukat was not well. By the time I reached here from Godhra, he was dead,” Mohan said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/974972/

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Pakistan

 

Dad buries deformed infant alive in Pakistan

Jul 15, 2012

LAHORE: In a horrific incident, a father in Pakistan's Punjab province allegedly buried alive his two-day-old daughter because her face was deformed. Chand Khan, a resident of Kacha Khu in Khanewal, allegedly buried the girl on Friday and has now been arrested.

His brother and son were there at the burial, conducted after a cleric offered funeral prayers.

The cleric got suspicious after he heard the infant crying during the rituals and informed locals. Khan, his brother and son were handed over to cops by the local residents . Omar Farooq, the doctor who delivered the baby, said the girl was healthy but had an unusually large face and her features were "not normal".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Dad-buries-deformed-infant-alive-in-Pakistan/articleshow/14923436.cms

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Gunmen attack office of Pakistan police intelligence wing take hostages

 Jul 16, 2012

BANNU, PAKISTAN: Police say gunmen armed with hand grenades have attacked an office of the security force's intelligence wing in northwest Pakistan, taking several hostages and reportedly killing at least one officer.

Police official Zeenatullah Khan says the gunmen stormed into the office in Bannu city on Monday morning.

Khan says police have cordoned off the building and exchanged fire with the attackers. Reports coming to police from inside the building indicate one of the officers has been killed.

It's unclear whether the gunmen are Islamist militants.

Pakistani Taliban fighters broke into a prison in the city in April and freed close to 400 prisoners, including 20 who were considered dangerous insurgents.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Gunmen-attack-office-of-police-intelligence-wing-in-Pakistan-take-hostages/articleshow/14987501.cms

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Polio campaign postponed in Waziristan, Bara

 July 16 2012

MIRANSHAH: Pakistan on Monday postponed a polio immunisation campaign in parts of its tribal belt, jeopardising the health of more than 350,000 children after the Taliban banned inoculations.

Local Taliban and Pakistani warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose followers are fighting Western troops in Afghanistan, banned the vaccinations in the northwestern region of Waziristan to protest against US drone attacks.

They have condemned the immunisation campaign, which began nationwide on Monday, as a cover for espionage.

Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi was jailed for 33 years in May after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme as cover.

Fighting between government troops and local warlord Mangal Bagh also made it difficult to inoculate all children in Khyber district, officials said.

“The campaign has been postponed in North and South Waziristan and Bara (district) of Khyber,” Mazhar Nisar, in charge of the polio monitoring cell at the prime minister’s secretariat, told AFP.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/polio-campaign-postponed-in-waziristan-bara/

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Terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed 'makes move into Pak politics'

Jul 16 2012

Islamabad : Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who has a 10 million dollar US bounty on his head, has made his informal entry in the political arena by moving the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the Pakistan's corruption-riddled and profligate ruling elite through his first ever ''political-focused'' petition.

Sources claimed that JuD leadership has made up its mind to get involved in political-oriented issues step-by-step and the DPC forum was one part of the well-devised strategic chain of political agenda, reports the Daily Times.

According to sources, the JuD would either itself participate in the upcoming elections by setting up a new political party, having a separate political tag under the umbrella of JuD or play a decisive role by actively supporting like-minded religious-cum-political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) or Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

JuD central leadership, activists and sympathisers have been vigorously persuading Saeed to announce his formal decision to participate in politics, sources said. Although he has agreed to their suggestions, he is of the view that people across the world will not easily accept his immediate stepping into politics, they added.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/975054/

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BHC grants interim bail to former CM in Bugti-murder case

Jul 16th, 2012 

QUETTA: Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Monday granted an interim bail to the former Chief Minister of the province Jam Muhmmad Yousaf in the Bugti-murder case, DawnNews reported.

The two-member bench of the BHC comprised of Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel and Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mengal heard the case.

Hearing the pre-arrest bail petition filed by the former chief minister of Balochistan, Justice Mandokhel questioned Yousaf ‘how this is possible that you being chief executive of Balochistan were unaware about the operation in your province…If you were not taken into confidence then why did not you resigned in protest?”

“People should now understand the repercussions of supporting a ‘dictator’ (Pervez Musharraf) ,” he added.

Justice Mandokhel said that the FIR of the case was registered in December 2010 and Yousaf was consulting with the court after 2 years. It shows that the former CM neglected the court’s orders on purpose.

The bench approved three week interim bail of Jam Muhmmad Yousaf against the bond of 1 million rupees.

Notices were also issued for the home ministry and other pertinent departments regarding the case.

The hearing was subsequently adjourned until August 6.

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/bhc-grants-interim-bail-to-former-cm-in-bugti-murder-case/

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Pakistan Peoples Party, opposition zero in on Asma as caretaker PM?

Jul 16, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ruling PPP and main opposition PML-N are close to striking a deal on naming a consensus caretaker premier, with top lawyer Asma Jahangir's candidature "under serious consideration", and finalising a date for polls to be held before year-end, a media report said on Sunday.

Amidst intense speculation regarding the outcome of the confrontation between the government and the judiciary, which may see a second premier losing his post, Pakistan's two largest political parties "are quietly but rapidly finalising an agreement", The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-Peoples-Party-opposition-zero-in-on-Asma-as-caretaker-PM/articleshow/14971311.cms

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Democracy in trouble if letter not written to Swiss authorities: Fazl

 July 16 2012

PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, on Sunday, hinted a possible threat to democracy if Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf declined the Supreme Court directive of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities for the reopening of graft cases against Asif Ali Zardari.

“Democracy will come under threat if the letter is not written,” he warned while addressing a tribal jirga organised in Peshawar’s Nishtar Hall, where tribal elders were invited from different tribal regions.

He said if the technocrats-led government took over then they would be difficult to stop.

This was the second time this week that he had forecasted danger to the present democratic set-up.

Fazl said that tribal areas’ merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be subject to the approval of the tribal people and that his party would support what the tribal people chose for themselves.

“Instead of imposing the so-called reforms on these people, the tribals should be allowed to make independent decisions,” Fazl argued, criticising the Awami National Party for helping forces inflicting agonies on the tribal people.

Fazl said that Asfandyar Wali Khan, chief of the Awami National Party, had helped the forces responsible for inflicting these agonies. “It is not good that the tribal people are being blackmailed in the name of reforms,” he said.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg7_12

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Pakistan-origin German artist wins laurels, applauds

  July 16 2012

ISLAMABAD: The solo exhibition of abstract paintings by Pakistan-origin German artist Hanif Abdul concluded on Sunday at College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Hunerkada Art Gallery. The show brought exquisite collection of around 20 works in medium of oil painting for art-lovers of federal capital to get a taste of a fusion of ideas by the artist of diverse backgrounds.

Hanif expressed his self-taught skill and ideas with the theme ‘Present Existent and Inevitable’ that gave a reflection of flamboyant style blended with shapes, lines, colours, marks and special organisation. His compositions were marked by spontaneity and rigorous movement, which binds him with abstract expressionists.

The viewers termed the show as a display of a commendable level of skill, spontaneity and playfulness that the artist achieved after a serious pursuit of clarity and hard work. The self-taught artist of Pakistani origin, living and working in Frankfurt, Germany, originally hails from Rawalpindi where he, as a young boy, initially learned from local signboard artists but later became inclined towards self-expression and moved to Germany as a full-time artist.

He exhibits his work in mainstream galleries throughout Germany and other European countries with a considerable facility in oil, acrylics and mix media work.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg11_7

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Three shot dead in various parts of Balochistan

 July 16 2012

QUETTA: Three people, including a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, were killed in Khuzdar, Gwadar and Mastung districts on Sunday. According to police, unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate fire on Ameenullah Zehri in Zehri area of Khuzdar district. As a result, he sustained critical wounds and was being shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Police said that the deceased was a PML-N leader and the murder appeared to be a case of target killing. However, investigation was underway and police are looking at other aspects also, a source said. In another incident, armed assailants shot dead a settler in Gwadar, the winter capital of Balochistan. Quoting the eyewitnesses, police said that unidentified armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire on Jamil Ahmed in main Gwadar bazaar near Airport Road. He died instantly. Police said that the victim was a resident of Rahim Yar Khan and was running a tyre shop, adding it seems to be a case of target killing, as previously, settlers had been attacked in Gwadar and armed groups claimed responsibility. Separately, a truck was heading towards Karachi from Chaghai when it came under attack near Killi Kadawa of Mastung. As a result, the truck driver died on the spot. The vehicle was also damaged due to intense firing. Levies Force personnel rushed to the site and moved the deceased to a hospital where he was identified as Muhammad Ashraf, a resident of Kirdgap of the Mastung district. Levies sources said that armed groups could be behind the attack.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg7_6

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NA passed contempt bill in only 68 minutes: Fafen

 July 16 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 15: According to a report by the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) group, the Contempt of Court Bill 2012 was rushed through the 44th session of the National Assembly in only one hour and eight minutes, to be sent to the upper house of parliament for approval.

The 13-article bill, which has provided some relief to holders of public offices vis-à-vis contempt of court, was passed with a simple majority in the house.

A total of 150 MNAs were present during the passage of the bill. The main opposition party, PML-N, along with some other opposition parties, protested against the bill.

The National Assembly has achieved several landmarks in the form of 18th, 19th and 20th Constitution amendments with political consensus, but on this occasion the bill was passed amid strong protests by opposition.

The session lasted 13 hours and five minutes for six sittings from July 6 to 13, on an average meeting for two hours and 29 minutes per sitting. Each sitting started with an average delay of an hour. Other than the passage of the contempt bill, the house also adopted another treasury-backed bill, the Special Economic Zones Bill 2012. The Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Bill 2012 — a private member bill — was also passed.

Three ordinances — the Transfer of Railways (Amendment) Ordinance 2012, the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan Ordinance 2012, and the Validation Ordinance 2012 — were laid before the house in the session.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/na-passed-contempt-bill-in-only-68-minutes-fafen/

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Pakistan offers US alternative to drone strikes

Jul 16 2012

Islamabad : Pakistan has offered the US a new mechanism encompassing ''surveillance'' of targeted operations against wanted militants as an alternative to drone strikes in the country's tribal regions.

The plan, as crafted by Islamabad, involves both the identification of targets by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the tribal areas and swapping of information with the Pakistani security agencies, reports The Express Tribune.

The Pakistani security agencies will then deal with the situation accordingly, officials said.

"To ensure that Pakistan acts on the information provided by the CIA, the US can use any mechanism to monitor our operation on the ground," revealed a senior figure of the country's security establishment.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/975128/

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No shortage of Indian film following in Pak

Sonya Fatah | Jul 15, 2012

It's been a week of giant cultural losses for India and Pakistan. We said goodbye to Dara Singh, the Tarzan-Samson of Hindi cinema and the ultimate icon of the traditional macho being, the desi Superman.

A relatively lesser known icon, especially in India, was Rakshanda Khattak, the Jane Bond 008 of Urdu cinema, a Burmese-Pathan beauty whose Jiu-jitsu moves hurt a few male egos in 'Operation Karachi', the 'first Pakistani film made for the international market — full of actions, thrills, suspense and dazzling dances.' Circa 1971.

The male lead of 'Operation Karachi/Jane 008' was an Iranian actor, Raza Fazli and the film had a popular song — 'Ek urran khatola aayega', by Ahmed Rushdi. The film was apparently a big flop though Jane 008 earned a great many admirers.

Cultural changes in Pakistan over the decades since mean that our generations, unlike those in India, don't really know Rakshanda Khattak. But in India ask anyone about Dara Singh and you'll hear plenty. Perhaps the comparison is inadequate but I think you'll get my point.

A journo-blogger in Pakistan has taken up understanding Pakistan then and Pakistan now. In his blog, Nadeem Paracha tries to unravel why the culture of the 70s died such a quiet and unnatural death. His 'Stories of Faith and Devotion' talks about how members of his own hitherto un-fundamentalist family gradually followed the yellow-brick path piedpiepered by the Tableeghi Jamaat, a missionary organization obsessed with religious rule-making for the junta.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/No-shortage-of-Indian-film-following-in-Pak/articleshow/14922590.cms

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Has Pak envoy to UN put in his papers?

Jul 15, 2012

NEW YORK: Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon will leave for home next week to meet the country's top political leadership amid reports that he has resigned from his post.

According to reports in Pakistani media, Haroon, 61 resigned as Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations due to differences with Islamabad on certain policy matters and interference in the affairs of his office.

A spokesperson at Pakistan's mission to the UN in New York said the mission is "neither denying nor confirming" the reports of Haroon's resignation.

"The ambassador is leaving for Pakistan on Monday for consultations," the spokesperson said. He said during the visit, Haroon will "certainly (meet) the highest political leadership".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Has-Pak-envoy-to-UN-put-in-his-papers/articleshow/14923407.cms

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Pakistan cricket team to tour India in December

Jul 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: India-Pakistan bilateral cricket ties are set to resume with Pakistan reported to tour India for a three-match one-day series in December 2012.

According to Times Now, the BCCI has agreed in principle to invite the Pakistan cricket team.

The bilateral series will be resumed after five years.

The report comes after the Pakistan Board put forward three proposals to their Indian counterparts in a bid to resume bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan.

The Pakistan Cricket Board proposed that either India can tour Pakistan or play them in a neutral venue. The third proposal is PCB hosting their home series in India.

Resumption of Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties, which was severed after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, received a shot in the arm after the foreign secretaries of both the countries expressed their willingness to have more sporting contacts between the two nations.

Things started looking bright after BCCI invited Pakistan's domestic champion outfit Sialkot Stallions to participate in the Qualifying Tournament of Champions League Twenty20 to be held in South Africa later this year.

Also during the recent visit of Ashraf to India and at the sidelines of last month's ICC and ACC meetings in Malaysia, the PCB chief had several meetings with BCCI president N Srinivasan.

Although both agreed to resume bilateral cricket ties, according to sources, the BCCI is not in favour of either India playing in Pakistan or at neutral venues.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/top-stories/Pakistan-cricket-team-to-tour-India-in-December/articleshow/14993375.cms

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South Asia

 

Efforts afoot to convince Taliban for talks with Kabul

By Imdad Hussain

 July 16 2012

ISLAMABAD: After Tokyo conference on Afghanistan, efforts to convince Taliban for talks with the Kabul government have been expedited and Pakistan is playing an important role in this regard, Afghan and Pakistani official sources said on Sunday.

Taliban are willing to resume talks with the US under certain conditions but reluctant to kick off dialogue with Karzai administration, Taliban Shura’s sources said.

When asked, the Foreign Office Spokesman declined to specifically explain as to what type of efforts were carried out by Pakistan to convince Taliban for talks with the Afghan government. However, he said that Pakistan had already urged all the groups in Afghanistan to take part in the reconciliation process. “Pakistan is a facilitator of peace in the country and would support Afghan-led reconciliation process,” he said. Behind the scene efforts are afoot to convince Taliban and other groups to hold talks with the Afghan government, sources in the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg1_5

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Islamic Foundation of Maldives launches country’s first religious TV station

July 15th, 2012

The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives (IFM) today launched a new television channel said to be exclusively geared towards religious programming, local media has reported.

The channel, known as MVTV, is planned to be broadcast on a daily basis between 2:00pm and midnight across the country on both the Maldives’ digital terrestrial network and satellite services.

Speaking to Sun Online, Ibrahim Mohamed, who heads the station’s production and broadcasting, claimed that the channel would make use of sheikhs “not active in politics” to provide religious information to viewers.

MVTV is available presently on channel 155 of the Medianet service, according to the report.

Correction: The headline to this story incorrectly stated that the Islamic Ministry was launching the religious television station. The station is being started by the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives, which is unaffiliated with the government. Minivan News regrets the error and apologises for any confusion.

http://minivannews.com/category/news-in-brief

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Suu Kyi Dilemma over Myanmar's Rohingya

Jamil Maidan Flores | July 16, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi is in a fix — because of the Rohingya, the world’s most persecuted people.

Centuries ago, they crossed from Bangladesh to next-door Arakan (now Rakhine) in Myanmar. Labeled pejoratively as “Bengali,” they have never been accepted by the other ethnic groups of that country — because they are Muslims in an overwhelmingly Buddhist land, and because of their dark Indian looks. In 1980 the then-strongman Ne Win stripped them of their citizenship. Military rule, harsh on all Myanmar, is particularly crushing to the Rohingya: they had been shorn not only of their citizenship but also of their worth as human beings.

Hundreds of them have sought refuge in Bangladesh but they’re not wanted there: they’ve also been turned back by the hundreds. As many as 24,000 have found their way to Malaysia. Hundreds more to India, Indonesia and Thailand.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/the-ladys-dilemma-over-myanmars-rohingya/530671

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Why Is the World Ignoring the Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar?

Moshahida Sultana Ritu | July 14, 2012

Last spring, a flowering of democracy in Myanmar mesmerized the world. But now, three months after the democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi won a parliamentary seat and a month after she traveled to Oslo to belatedly receive the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, an alarm bell is ringing in Myanmar. In the villages of Arakan state, near the Bangladeshi border, a pogrom against a population of Muslims called the Rohingyas began in June. It is the ugly side of Myanmar’s democratic transition — a rotting of the flower, even as it seems to bloom.

Cruelty toward the Rohingyas is not new. They have faced torture, neglect and repression in the Buddhist-majority land since independence in 1948. Myanmar’s Constitution closes all options for Rohingyas to be citizens, on grounds that their ancestors didn’t live there when the land, once called Burma, came under British rule in the 19th century (a contention the Rohingyas dispute). Even now, as military rulers have begun to loosen their grip, there is no sign of change for the Rohingyas. Instead, the Burmese are trying to cast them out.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/why-is-the-world-ignoring-the-ethnic-cleansing-in-myanmar/530382

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250 B’desh patients, nurses jailed over mutiny

 July 16 2012

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court has jailed more than 250 people including paramilitary guards and male nurses for joining a 2009 mutiny, prosecutors said Sunday.

Scores of senior army officers were killed during the uprising that began when soldiers at the Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital Dhaka went on a killing spree, dumping the bodies in sewers and shallow graves.

More than 4,000 BDR soldiers have now been convicted in cases related to the mutiny, and another 2,000 are facing trial, prosecutor Manjur Alam told AFP.

The special court on Saturday sentenced 253 people who worked or were being treated at the headquarters’ hospital to up to seven years in jail for their part in the two-day mutiny, Alam said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg14_3

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Resist misdeeds in the name of Islam: PM Sheikh Hasina

Jul 14th, 2012 

Dhaka, Jul 14 (bdnews24.com) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the Muslim countries to intensify links between them and work together for world peace and justice.

"I make this call from one of the unique places of Islamic cultures, Dhaka, let's come forward against any kind of wrongdoings in the name of Islam. We need to intensify the communications between the Muslim countries," she said on Saturday at the capital's Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

"We believe that there is no place of terrorism and destructive activities in Islam," she said while speaking at the inauguration of year-long celebration of the announcement of Dhaka as Capital of Islamic Culture in Asia for 2012 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) of OIC.

The ISESCO has embarked upon the programme of celebrating the Capitals of Islamic Culture since 2005 as part of it efforts to spread the Islamic culture, reinvigorate principles and ideals and entrench values and perpetuate the historical civilization and cultural glories of members of the OIC states.

Full report at:

http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=228184&cid=2

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UNHRC expresses concern over threats to civil society organisations: MDP

By JJ Robinson | July 15th, 2012

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has highlighted concerns raised by the UN Committee on Human Rights (UNHRC) that civil society organisations in the Maldives have allegedly received threats after submitting evidence to the inter-governmental body.

According to the MDP, the warning came during the closing stages of the Committee’s consideration of the Maldives’ report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel and State Minister for Foreign Affairs have spent the last few days defending the country’s human rights record before the committee, which received a series of reports critical of that record from numerous local and international organisations.

An emergency point of order was raised by the Vice Chair of the Committee during the closely stages of the committee hearing.

The committee had, the Vice Chair said, “received extremely worrying reports that civil society groups in the Maldives which gave information for this meeting have been the subject of threats as a result. This includes the worst kind of threat – the threat to life,” the MDP cited in a statement.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/unhrc-expresses-concern-over-threats-to-civil-society-organisations-mdp-40701

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Violence escalates in Malé as police clash with MDP protesters

By Zaheena Rasheed | July 14th, 2012

The Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) protests in Malé escalated into violence over the weekend, with police and protesters sustaining injuries, arrests of demonstrators, intimidation of reporters, attacks on police, torching of police vehicles and vandalism of several businesses.

The MDP has vowed to continue street protests from July 8 until President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration is brought to an end. The party alleges President Mohamed Nasheed was deposed in a coup d’état on February 7 and has called for early elections.

Police arrested more than 65 protesters over the weekend, including the MDP Youth Wing President Aminath Shauna on Friday evening, and President Nasheed’s former legal advisor Hisaan Hussein on Saturday evening.

Shauna was released by the Supreme Court on Saturday at 9:00pm, after Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed ruled that she not take part in protests for 21 days.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/violence-escalates-in-male-during-mdp-protests-over-the-weekend-40671

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Maldives Tourism Authority’s Twitter Campaign Labelled “Travel-Related Farce”

By Neil Merrett | July 14th, 2012

A social network strategy launched this week to promote the Maldives has been labelled a “travel-related farce” by media sources including Conde-Nast Traveller, while publications such as the Daily Telegraph newspaper report that the focus has been “hijacked” by anti-government protesters.

The scheme, launched on Thursday, was devised to have the country’s recently reintroduced “Sunny Side of Life” slogan become an online trend among Twitter users by playing up the destination as an unparalleled tourism paradise and honeymoon getaway.

However, global news reports soon emerged that “pro-democracy campaigners” were sabotaging the focus by using the “#SunnySideOfLife” hashtag to draw attention to alleged human rights abuses reportedly committed during the last few months by the government of President Mohamed Waheed.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/travelandarts/tourism-authoritys-twitter-

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NGOs cite lack of regulation as a key barrier to Maldivian disability rights

By Neil Merrett | July 11th, 2012

Despite having ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) back in April 2010, the Maldives must provide regulatory reforms ensuring against disability-based discrimination and abuse in local society, according to the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

The IDA, which represents a number of NGOs and charities working with people living with disabilities or mental health issues, has made the claims in a report outlining recommendations for how the Maldives can ensure against discriminating the disabled.

The recommendations note particular concerns such as “the lack of adequate and appropriate services, financial resources as well as specialised, trained personnel” available to children with disabilities to ensure their human rights are not being infringed.

The IDA findings will be among several documents submitted to a hearing of the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday (July 12).

The report’s views have also been backed by local NGO, the Association for Disability and Development (ADD), which told Minivan News that it continued to hold reservations over a lack of policies outlining education, healthcare and employment rights for local people with disabilities.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/society/ngos-cite-lack-of-regulation-as-a-key-barrier-to-maldivian-disability-rights-40596

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Maldives’ defence of human rights position before UNHRC to be webcast live

By Neil Merrett | July 12th, 2012

A Maldivian government delegation will stand before the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) at 6:00pm (local time) on Thursday to discuss the current state of national efforts to address human rights and equality issues.

The committee hearing comes as certain local and international NGOs raised criticism over an alleged deterioration in commitments to address national human rights concerns since March 2011.

Representatives of the Waheed administration including Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel , State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dunya Maumoon and the Maldives’ Permanent Representative in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam, will be present during today’s session to discuss human rights in the country.

A number of NGOs, including Redress, the Helios Life Association, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and social services veteran and former State Health Minister Mariya Ali have submitted reports and evidence to the panel, which is to be webcast live.

The broadcast can be viewed live here.

The government of the Maldives responded to the list of issues to be raised during the session today earlier this month.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/maldives-defence-of-human-rights-position-before-unhrc-to-be-webcast-live-40616

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Afghan education minister survives assassination bid

Jul 15, 2012

KABUL: A day after an Afghan lawmaker was killed in a suicide blast, Higher Education Minister Obaidullah Obaid survived an assassination attempt Sunday after a bomb targeted his motorcade in the country's northern region.

The minister was travelling from Baghlan to Kunduz province when one of the cars in his convoy hit a roadside bomb, the Afghan police said.

The attack injured two of the bodyguards, the police added. "The minister is safe, while two policemen were wounded in the bomb attack."

On Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a wedding reception in Samangan province, also in the north, killing a top Afghan lawmaker and 22 others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Afghan-education-minister-survives-assassination-bid/articleshow/14961946.cms

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China-Pakistan trade link hit by strike

Saibal Dasgupta

 Jul 16, 2012

BEIJING: The Khunjerab Pass, the world's highest-paved international border crossing connecting Pakistan to China, is blocked due to a strike by local traders. The traders have blocked the movement of vehicles at the Sust Dry Port located at the high-altitude of 10,000 ft on the crucial Karakoram Highway.

This is the second time local traders have blocked the land travel and trade route between the two countries protesting against the shoddy repairs in the flood-hit Attabad Spillway. The strikers led by Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber of Commerce are protesting against what they regard as sloppy performance of the government-run Front Works Organization involved in the repairs of the flood-hit Attabad Spillway.

The organization recently blasted a portion of the Spillway to drain an artificial lake that threatened to cause serious floods.

The blasting of the %Spillway threw up several issues about the future flooding risks for the local population and the regular flow of men and material on the Khunjerab Pass.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-Pakistan-trade-link-hit-by-strike/articleshow/14971112.cms

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Prosecutors formally charge Maldives ex-president

 July 16 2012

COLOMBO: The former president of the Maldives has been formally charged with illegally ordering the arrest of a senior judge, a move which sparked weeks of public protests and led to his ouster earlier this year, prosecutors said.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said charges were filed against former President Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday. They carry a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment or banishment to a remote island.

Nasheed ordered the military in January to arrest the chief judge of the country’s criminal court, accusing him of political bias and corruption. The judge’s secret detention triggered weeks of unrest.

Nasheed resigned as president in February after losing the support of the military and police. He now insists he was ousted in a coup.

Nasheed’s supporters demonstrated for a sixth day Sunday demanding that new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan resign and call early elections.

Hassan said he will hold elections in July 2013, the earliest time permitted by the constitution.

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/prosecutors-formally-charge-maldives-ex-president/

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Two service members killed in Afghanistan: Nato

 July 16 2012

KABUL: Two troops with the US-led international military coalition and three Afghan men died Monday in violence in southern Afghanistan, local and Nato officials said.

The Afghan men died when their car hit a roadside bomb in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, said provincial police chief Gen Abdul Razaq.

The coalition said the two service members were killed in an insurgent attack in the south where Afghan and international troops are trying to retain control of territory they seized during the past two years.

The coalition did not disclose any more details about the deaths.

So far this year, 237 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan, including at least 168 Americans.

On Sunday, three Afghan women died when the tractor they were riding hit a roadside bomb in Khakrez district of Kandahar province, said district police chief Gul Jan.

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/two-service-members-killed-in-afghanistan-nato/

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia Shia Cleric Illegally Jailed for Blasphemy

16 July 2012

An Indonesian court sentenced a Shia cleric Thursday to two years in prison for blasphemy, claiming his teachings deviated from mainstream Islam and had caused “public anxiety”.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Tajul Muluk was arrested in April by police on the island of Madura off eastern Java amid anti-Shia attacks that rights groups say were led by Wahhabis. “Based on  witness accounts and evidence presented, the defendant has been proven legally and convincingly guilty of blasphemy causing public anxiety,” chief judge Purnomo Amin Tjahjo told the Sampang district court.

Prosecutor Sucipto, in his indictment, claimed that Tajul Mulik has said to his disciples that the current Al Quran was not the original version and the the original one is still in the hands of the imam Mahdi,”. But Tajul Muluk strongly rejected these claims and said our holy book of Quran is same as Sunni brothers and there is not any differences.

The judge claimed that Muluk had propagated Shia teachings in his village of Nangkernang, where a nearby branch of the country’s top Islamic clerical council dubbed the denomination “deviant” from mainstream Islam. Muluk said that he would file an appeal against the ruling.

“I feel that my dignity has been crushed. They accused me of being an infidel. I will file an appeal for the sake of my pride,” he told the court.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticised the court ruling and urged the Indonesian government to immediately release Muluk and repeal the country’s blasphemy laws. The international rights watchdog said that Sunni militants had attacked Muluk’s village, burning houses, including Muluk’s home, as well as an Islamic school, and forcing 500 Shia followers to flee their homes.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=329390

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Constitutional Court chief reaffirms support for atheists, communists

 July 16 2012

The Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD said on Sunday that no one could be punished for being an atheist or communist, reaffirming his controversial statement on Indonesia’s freedom of religion which he made last Tuesday.

Atheists and communists, he said, were considered in violation of the law if they formed an organization which acted against the state's Pancasila ideology.

“They can only be punished if they breach laws or threaten [the nation’s ideology]. If they revive the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) or establish an atheist organization, they can be sentenced for opposing Pancasila,” he said in Jakarta on Sunday evening as quoted by kompas.com.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/07/16/mahfud-reaffirms-support-atheists-communists.html

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As Ramadan Approaches, Islamic Radicals Demand Nightlife Close

Tunggadewa Mattangkilang | July 16, 2012

Samarinda, East Kalimantan. As the month of Ramadan approaches, hard-line Islamist groups are demanding that authorities close night spots and brothels.

The extremist Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) continues to threaten to close business by force if they remain open during the holy month.

In Makassar, FPI members paraded around the city on Friday and Saturday to make sure that owners of night clubs, brothels and restaurants get the message.

The group, the self-appointed guardian of Indonesia’s morals that is not above using violence to get its way, has tried to ban food hawkers and restaurants from working during daylight hours.

“Everything must close without exception,” Abdurrahman, the chairman of the FPI’s South Sulawesi branch, on Sunday. “Closing the front doors while still letting people in is unacceptable,”

Abdurrahman warned all nightlife spots to comply with a bylaw which instructs all such locations to halt their business activities from the three days prior to Ramadan until three days after the end of the holy month.

The FPI also warned women to wear modest clothing to prevent people from “having perverse thoughts.”

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/as-ramadan-approaches-islamic-radicals-demand-nightlife-close/530687

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Mass marriage for 349 couples in Central Jakarta

 July 15 2012

The government-sanctioned National Alms Agency (Baznas) held a mass marriage of 349 underprivileged couples at the Silang Monas area in Central Jakarta on Sunday.

Baznas chairman Didin Hafiduddin said that most of the couples had only conducted nikah siri (Islamic religious marriages unregistered with the state) since they were unable to pay for wedding certificates.

The official rate for wedding certificates is Rp 85,000 (US$8.99).

“We gathered as many as 349 couples to perform legal marriages so they were able to get their wedding documents,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

“With marriage certificates, their children can enter schools and eventually increase the family’s economic status. We consider this program a way to eradicate poverty.”

The youngest participant was Liawati, 17, while the oldest was 70 years old.

Liawati actually tied the knot two years ago with Ti’an, 28, a cardboard collector from Bekasi, West Java.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/07/15/baznas-holds-mass-marriage-349-couples.html

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Indonesian Children at Severe Risk From Preventable Diseases: Unicef

July 16, 2012

Makassar, South Sulawesi. Nearly 150,000 Indonesian children under five die of preventable diseases every year, according to Unicef.

 “The preventable diseases are closely related to personal and environmental healthcare,” Edward Carwardine, the Head of Unicef’s Communication and Partnership Cluster for Indonesia said on Saturday.

Carwardine noted that awareness of basic preventable healthcare among economically weak and under-educated people is still low.

Consequently, many children under five are susceptible to diseases caused by poor sanitation, such as diarrhea, dengue fever, and other communicable illnesses, he said.

“In fact, the diseases can be prevented if they have a good knowledge and awareness of healthy lifestyles,” he said.

Unicef also said around 10,000 Indonesian women die due to complications following childbirth each year.

Carwardine, also said that a lack of basic health services and health facilities in a number of areas — especially in more remote parts of the archipelago — contributed to the alarmingly high number of deaths.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesian-children-at-severe-risk-from-preventable-diseases-unicef/530745

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Divide between west and Muslim world due to failure to communicate

16 July 2012

KUALA LUMPUR (July 16, 2012): The divide between the West and Muslim world is largely a consequence of the failure to communicate and engage in dialogues effectively, Raja Nazrin Shah said today.

The Raja Muda of Perak said dialogues that engaged countries and communities of the West and Muslim world were especially useful given the extensive ignorance, misperception, misrepresentation and prejudice that often prevailed between the two sides.

"The misunderstanding is prevalent on both sides, which is odd given the vast treasury of knowledge available to all in this Internet and connected age. The fundamental similarities are overlooked; instead it is the presumed differences and alleged failings of the other that are magnified.

"Among the distortions in the West are the identification of Islam and Muslims with violence and terrorism, the presumption that Islam is incompatible with democracy, and the confusion of the influence of traditions and culture in religion," he said when launching the book by Bank Muamalat chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid titled "9/11 and the attack on Muslims", here, today.

Full report at:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/436143

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Mideast Asia

 

Arafat’s widow to lodge legal complaint over poison claim

 July 16 2012

ZURICH: The widow of Yasser Arafat is to launch legal action in France over claims that the veteran Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning, her lawyer said in remarks published Sunday.

“Mrs Arafat has decided to lodge a legal complaint within the month,” the Geneva-based lawyer Marc Bonnant told Le Matin Dimanche newspaper. He said the legal proceedings would be taken in France where Arafat died at a military hospital in 2004. He said Suha Arafat, who has said she backs exhuming her late husband’s remains, would press charges “against persons unknown for poisoning.”

The Institute for Radiation Physics in Switzerland, which analysed biological samples taken from Arafat’s personal effects, found “an abnormal quantity” of the lethal radioactive substance polonium, the Al-Jazeera news channel reported in a documentary this month. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Arafat’s widow have reportedly already given their consent for samples to be taken from his remains, which are buried in a mausoleum in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg4_3

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Hamas eases strict enforcement of Sharia law

Erin Cunningham

 Jul 11, 2012

GAZA CITY, Gaza — Five years after they seized power in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas movement appears to have entirely backed-off from attempts to impose strict Islamic strictures on life in the coastal territory.

Hamas’ largely bearded police force once aggressively stalked Gaza’s streets and beaches, searching for canoodling, unmarried couples and intimidating shop owners selling risqué lingerie. The government ordered female lawyers to cover their hair in court. Citing Islamic traditions, in 2010 it announced bans on women smoking nargileh — the Middle Eastern water pipe.

But now, locals say, the Gaza Strip is a much more liberal place.

“The government doesn’t bother me at all any more,” said 35-year-old Said Al Helou, the owner of a women’s underwear and lingerie shop in Gaza City.

Indeed, the male hairdressers once ordered by the interior ministry to stop styling women’s hair are also back to work.

In Gaza City, the comparatively liberal, seaside capital of the Gaza Strip, women — many without headscarves — meet more easily with men at upscale cafes, smoking water pipes and wearing t-shirts, skinny jeans and trendy high-wedge heels.

“At first, a few years ago, the [Hamas] police told me to never display a photograph or mannequin that reveals a woman’s body in the window,” Al Helou said. His window display now features a mannequin clad in a white lace negligee. “But now, they’re not concerned.”

Full report at:

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/hamas-eases-strict-enforcement-sharia-law

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Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israel

 Jul 16, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israel on Monday allowed Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip to visit their jailed relatives for the first time in five years, Israeli officials said, under a deal that ended a prisoners' hunger strike.

"Forty people - families of 24 prisoners - arrived a short while ago at the Ramon prison," a Prisons Service spokeswoman said, adding that visits from Gaza relatives would now be held on a weekly basis.

Israel imposed sanctions on family visits from Gaza in 2007 after Palestinian militants abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and held him captive. He was freed last October in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Gaza-families-visit-jailed-relatives-in-Israel/articleshow/14992118.cms

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Failed Graft Prosecution of Former Israeli Premier Spurs Political Questions

By ISABEL KERSHNER

 July 16 2012

JERUSALEM — In the summer of 2008, two weeks after Israeli prosecutors announced an expansion of their corruption investigation of Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister, a New Jersey woman contacted Israel’s attorney general and said that she believed she had some relevant information, according to court documents.

The Israeli public was still reeling from the revelations of Morris Talansky, a Long Island businessman who had testified that May, in an early deposition, about the tens of thousands of dollars he said he had given to Mr. Olmert over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, a claim Mr. Olmert denied.

Under intense public and political pressure, Mr. Olmert, a former right-wing politician who had veered leftward and was involved in intensive negotiations with the Palestinians, announced his resignation that September, more than a year before he was charged.

After Mr. Olmert was acquitted last week of corruption charges in the two major episodes that led to his downfall, most public criticism was directed against the state attorney, Moshe Lador, who had staked his prestige on prosecuting Mr. Olmert. Mr. Lador has defended his actions, saying that “the state attorney’s office fulfilled its obligation” to the public and denying that it had forced Mr. Olmert out of office.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/world/middleeast/failed-graft-trial-of-ex-israeli-

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Terror suspect held in Cyprus, Israel says Iran behind plot

 Jul 16 2012

Jerusalem : Israel accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas and Iran on Sunday of plotting to attack its citizens in Cyprus after police on the Mediterranean island arrested a foreigner on suspicion of terror offences.

The suspect, who was arrested in Limassol port on July 7, was described by Cypriot media as a Swedish passport-holder of Lebanese descent.

Documents and photographs were found in his possession detailing movements of Israelis on the island, reports said Sunday.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident the attempted terrorist attack by Hezbollah against an Israeli target in Cyprus. He accused the Shia guerrilla group’s sponsor, Iran, of overall responsibility.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/974851/

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Kidnapped French Red Cross worker released in Yemen

Jul 14, 2012

SANAA: A French staffer with the Red Cross who was kidnapped in Yemen in April was released two days ago and is now at the organisation's local headquarters in Sanaa, a government official said on Saturday.

"The Frenchman was released two days ago and is now in the Red Cross headquarters in Sanaa from where he will travel" home, the official said.

Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced the release of Benjamin Malbrancke, abducted by gunmen on April 21 while on his way to the airport in the northern port city of Hudaida.

Two drivers captured at the same time were freed shortly afterwards.

"We are relieved and extremely happy that our colleague is back with us and in good health," a statement quoted Yemen director of operations Eric Marclay as saying.

He expressed his "profound gratitude to all those who gave us their support over these long weeks and have helped to enable Benjamin to rejoin his family soon".

An ICRC spokesman told AFP Malbrancke had arrived in Sanaa and would be flown to France as soon as possible.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Kidnapped-French-Red-Cross-worker-released-in-Yemen/articleshow/14911720.cms

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US Jewish Leaders Criticize West Bank Report

Jul 16th, 2012 

JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of American Jewish leaders and scholars have made a rare appeal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to make sure his government rejects a controversial report that denies Israel is occupying the West Bank.

In a letter to Netanyahu, more than 40 prominent Jewish figures predicted the report authored by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy would tarnish Israel's image and jeopardize prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

"We recognize and regret that the Palestinian Authority has abdicated leadership by not returning to the negotiating table," they wrote in the letter, obtained Monday by The Associated Press. "Nonetheless, our great fear is that the Levy Report will not strengthen Israel's position in this conflict, but rather, add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel's right to exist."

Signatories included businessmen and philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Stanley Gold, the former head of the Israel lobby in Washington, Tom Dine, and former Jewish Agency board chairman Richard Pearlstone.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/07/16/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-palestinians.html?ref=global-home

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President Ahmadinejad says Iran ready to enhance barter trade with Pakistan

Jul 16th, 2012 

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says there is no obstacle currently to expand barter trade with other countries, particularly Pakistan, Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA reported.

Ahmadinejad said this in meeting with visiting special envoy of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here.

“Iran and Pakistan are two big neighboring countries with vast potentials for cooperation,” he said.

He said Iran chose to import goods as much as possible from Pakistan in order to benefit Islamabad.

Iran is also ready to export energy and electricity to Pakistan.

Pakistan special envoy said policy of cooperation with Iran is based on enhancing bilateral ties.

http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/president-ahmadinejad-says-iran-ready-to-enhance-barter-trade-with-pakistan/

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia considers law against insulting Islam

 July 15, 2012

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is studying new regulations to criminalize insulting Islam, including in social media, and the law could carry heavy penalties, a Saudi paper said on Sunday.

The potential regulations come five months after a Saudi blogger and columnist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was arrested for tweeting comments deemed as insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Kashgari said there were things he liked and disliked about him.

"Within the next two months the Shura Council will reveal the outcome of study on the regulations to combat the criticism of the basic tenets of Islamic sharia," unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter told al-Watan, adding that there could be "severe punishments" for violators.

Criticism penalized under the law would include that of the Prophet, early Muslim figures and clerics, it said.

"The (regulations) are important at the present time because violations over social networks on the Internet have been observed in the past months," the sources said.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict version of Sunni Islamic law, referred to as Wahhabism. Blasphemy can be punishable by death.

A spokesman from the Shura Council, the governments all-appointed consultative body, did not respond to calls for comment.

Kashgari's case set off a debate in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally for decades and leading world oil exporter, on whether repentance could save convicts from the death penalty.

Kashgari fled the country in February, a few days after his twitter posts, but was later arrested by police in Malaysia en route to New Zealand.

Despite declaring repentance, he was deported back to Saudi Arabia and was taken into police custody to face a trial.

Tension has risen in recent years between religious conservatives and reformers over the pace of gradual political, economic and social reforms in a country with a large young population.

Saudi analyst Jamal Khashoggi said the law required extensive public debate.

"I would rather have this law discussed by the public first. It should not only be debated by the Shura, it should be debated in newspapers first because it can be misused," Khashoggi said.

"I don't want anything to affect my freedom and we don't want Saudi Arabia to be another Iran."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-saudi-islam-lawbre86e0bm-20120715,0,1147440.story

----------

 

Egyptians pelt Hillary Clinton's motorcade with tomatoes

Jul 16, 2012

CAIRO: Protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's motorcade on Sunday during her first visit to Egypt since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

A tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Clinton's delegation in the port city of Alexandria.

A senior state department official said that neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which were around the corner from the incident, were struck by any of the projectiles.

Protesters chanted: "Monica, Monica", a reference to former President Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair. Some chanted: "leave, Clinton", Egyptian security officials said.

It was not clear who the protesters were or what political affiliations they had. Protesters outside Clinton's hotel on Saturday night chanted anti-Islamist slogans, accusing the United States of backing the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power.

The assault on her motorcade came on a day Clinton spoke at the newly re-opened US consulate in Alexandria, addressing accusations the United States, which had long supported former President Hosni Mubarak, of backing one faction or another in Egypt following his ouster last year.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egyptians-pelt-Hillary-Clintons-motorcade-with-tomatoes/articleshow/14969582.cms

----------

 

At least 25 killed as Syrian troops pound rebel strongholds

 July 16 2012

QUSAYR: Troops bombarded rebel areas in several parts of Syria as violence killed at least 25 people on Sunday, a monitoring group said, while civilians turned to bomb shelters for protection.

A girl was among four people killed when the army rained shells on the town of Rastan, a rebel stronghold in the central province of Homs held by insurgents since February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The army pounded several areas of the city of Homs killing two other civilians, the Britain-based watchdog said. Meanwhile, residents of Qusayr, which has come under daily bombardment, have been building makeshift shelters under their homes or shops, an AFP correspondent in the rebel-held town said.

“This took us about a fortnight. We were 10 people working for more than 12 hours a day,” said Abu Abdo outside his tyre shop, pointing to a shelter for 30 people.

“There will be about 15 shelters dotted around the city,” said Hussein, an activist in Qusayr, which lies in Homs province near the border with Lebanon.

“Before, people had to run to the basement of a school but some were killed before they could reach it. So now we we’re digging shelters in houses so people don’t risk their lives,” he said.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/07/15/at-least-25-killed-as-syrian-troops-pound-rebel-strongholds/

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Bashar al-Assad could face prosecution as Red Cross rules Syria is in civil war

 July 16 2012

Declaration signals that Geneva-based organisation regards all civilians and detainees as protected under international law

The International Committee of the Red Cross says Syria is now in a state of civil war, a definition it suggests could change the rules of engagement in the violence-ravaged country and help lay the ground for war crimes prosecutions.

The announcement came hours after a senior Syrian official denied government forces had committed a massacre in the town of Tremseh on Thursday, and rejected a UN claim that the regime had led the attack with heavy weapons and helicopters.

Meanwhile, there was further fierce fighting in Damascus that residents said was the worst yet to hit the capital in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

The UN returned to Tremseh on Sunday for a second day of investigations into what took place there during a series of clashes, on what is being cast by activists as one of the 17-month-long uprising's bloodiest days. Residents claim close to 150 people were killed in about seven hours of shelling followed by a ground assault. They say they have not yet been able to recover some bodies from nearby fields.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/15/syria-civil-war-red-cross

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Iraq warns Turkey over separate Kurdish oil deal

Jul 16, 2012

BAGHDAD: Baghdad warned Turkey on Sunday that its separate oil deal with Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish region could damage trade relations, the latest sign of tension between the two neighbours.

This month, Iraq's Kurds announced that they have started exporting crude oil and gas to Turkey. The goal is to barter it for refined petroleum products to meet domestic demand.

The deal is part of a bigger agreement the Kurdish government negotiated and signed with Turkey in May without going through Baghdad. The agreement envisions the Kurdish region exporting not only oil but natural gas through a web of pipelines through Turkish territory to the international market.

"Exporting oil from the Kurdistan region to Turkey is illegal and illegitimate," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement. "The oil and gas are the property of all Iraqis and those exports and revenues must be managed by the federal government which represents all Iraqis," al-Dabbagh added.

He accused Ankara of "participating in the smuggling of Iraqi oil ... and this issue will affect the relations between the two countries, especially the economic ones."

The Kurds and the Arab-led government in Baghdad have been at loggerheads over the right to develop and export the north's natural resources. Baghdad maintains that the region has no right to sign deals unilaterally and that exports must go through the state-run pipelines, while Kurds argue that the constitution does in fact give them the right to sign agreements without consulting Baghdad.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iraq-warns-Turkey-over-separate-Kurdish-oil-deal/articleshow/14966666.cms

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Morocco Says Expels Syrian Ambassador

 July 16 2012

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco said on Monday it had asked the Syrian ambassador to leave the North African country and declared him persona non grata, calling for a transition to democracy that would meet the Syrian people's aspirations for freedom.

The expulsion followed the defection last week of Syria's ambassador to Iraq and the flight the week before of a prominent general once close to Assad - developments that Western officials said showed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was losing his grip on power as the rebellion against him drags on.

Earlier on Monday, rumors had circulated that the ambassador to Rabat, Nabih Ismail, had also defected to the rebel side. A Syrian embassy official denied this but had no further comment.

Morocco's Foreign Ministry did not immediately explain the timing or the reason for its decision to expel Ismail, but said in a statement the situation in Syria "cannot remain as it is".

It added that Morocco wished for "an efficient and resolute action to ensure a political transition towards a democratic setup that guarantees Syria's unity, stability and regional safety to achieve the brotherly Syrian people's aspirations for dignity, freedom and development."

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/07/16/world/europe/16reuters-syria-crisis-morocco-ambassador.html?ref=global-home

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New Fighting in Damascus After Syria Denies Attack on Civilians

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

 July 16 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — New fighting was reported in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday, a day after the government denied that it had used heavy weapons to attack a small farming community, where United Nations monitors documented substantial destruction in an assault that left scores dead and drew sharp international condemnation.

At the same time, Syria’s international isolation seemed to deepen as Morocco expelled the Syrian ambassador, the official Moroccan news agency said. The move followed a wave of embassy closures and other diplomatic display of displeasure designed to increase pressure by the United States, its Western allies, neighboring Turkey and some Arab countries in recent months.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/world/middleeast/new-fighting-in-damascus-after-

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Africa

 

Ethiopian security forces killed four Muslims in a Mosque

16 July 2012

According to reports Ethiopian federal police stormed the Awolia mosque compound late Friday, July 13, and attacked Muslim volunteers inside.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - At least four Muslims were shot dead when Ethiopian security forces stormed into a mosque in the capital Addis Ababa to disrupt preparations for a city-wide program called Sadaqa (feast).

Sources said security forces fired teargas and beat Muslims gathering inside the building.

At least four people were reportedly killed in the attack, while several others were seriously injured.

The volunteers were preparing for food and drinks for a city-wide program called Sadaqa (feast) on Sunday, July 15.

Witnesses also confirmed the brutal police attack on Muslims inside the mosque.

"They broke the door and entered and started shooting at Muslims,” Ahmedin Jebel, representing a mosque community group, told Bloomberg.

“Many were attacked and they arrested almost all of those there.”

After a call to prayers, Muslims who gathered in response to the incident were involved in further clashes, he said.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=329351

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As Refugees Flee Islamists in Mali, Solutions Are Elusive

By ADAM NOSSITER

 July 16 2012

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — Hundreds of refugees fleeing an Islamist takeover of northern Mali continue to arrive in this desert nation every day, but exiled officials in the nomadic rebel group pushed out by Islamist fighters linked to Al Qaeda said here over the weekend that, for the moment, they were not the ones to take on the Islamists.

Western nations, notably France, the former colonial power in Mali, continue to suggest that any military resolution to Mali’s crisis must come from Africans themselves. But African nations meeting over the weekend in Ethiopia appeared no closer to resolving it, and the Islamists themselves appeared to be tightening their grip of northern Mali, with reports of citizens being whipped and demonstrators repressed in the north.

Some of the leaders of the rebel group — the Tuareg, desert nomads who in April declared independence for northern Mali, which they call Azawad, but were subsequently dislodged by the Islamists — have taken refuge here Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital. In interviews over the weekend several said that despite considerable military assets and deep knowledge of the tricky desert terrain, the Tuareg would not take up arms against the Islamists unless they received assistance, diplomatic recognition and unspecified guarantees from outside powers.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/world/africa/local-militia-bolsters-islamist-militants-

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Libya's Olympic chief taken by gunmen in Tripoli

 July 16 2012

Nabil Elalem sitting in car with colleague when vehicles carrying men in military-style clothing blocked them off

Libya's Olympic committee president was taken from his car by gunmen in Tripoli on Sunday and his whereabouts are unknown, colleagues said.

Nabil Elalem was in his car with a colleague when two vehicles carrying men in military-style clothing blocked them off, another colleague, Arafat Jwan, said.

"They told him he was needed and he had to go with them. He asked if he could take his phone and laptop with him and then the cars sped away with him," Jwan said, adding that Elalem's colleague was left in the car. It was not clear who the men were.

Ezz-Edine Journaz, a spokesman for the committee, told an independent Libyan television channel that the men had claimed to be from the army and had asked him to come with them "politely". He said the group of about eight or nine were armed.

Sports and youth minister Fethi Tarbel said he had been informed about the matter and called for Elalem's immediate release.

"We condemn this kind of action. Whoever did this are criminals," he said. "This goes against the revolution, this brings us back to the Gaddafi culture … I don't know if he had any issues with anyone."

Since the end of last year's uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, the interim government has struggled to control myriad armed groups who refuse to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands and detain people.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/15/libya-olympic-gunmen-tripoli

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'Libya gagged Lockerbie bomber with 15 million pound'

Jul 16, 2012

LONDON: The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was paid up to 15 million pounds by Colonel Gaddafi's regime to 'buy his silence' for not revealing the name of the culprit who blew up a passenger jet over the Scottish town.

According to The Daily Express, outgoing Libyan leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil revealed this Gaddafi regime truth.

He said Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was paid 150,000 euros a month, which comes to 14.6 million pounds from his arrest in 1999 to his release in 2009.

Jalil denied saying that Gaddafi had personally ordered the bombing, adding: "All I said is that the regime was involved."

He said Megrahi, who protested his innocence over the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people died, was ordered to drop his appeal by Gaddafi who feared the truth would be revealed.

Jalil also suggested Gaddafi blew up a Libyan passenger jet in 1992, killing 157 people, including one Briton, to frame the West.

Megrahi died from cancer in May at the age of 60.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Libya-gagged-Lockerbie-bomber-with-15-million-pound/articleshow/14970786.cms

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Sudan and South Sudan presidents hold first talks since April clashes

 Jul 15, 2012

ADDIS ADABA: The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan held a face to face meeting at a hotel in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Adaba on Saturday, their first such meeting since the two countries came close to war in April over a border dispute and oil revenues.

The encounter between Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his southern counterpart Salva Kiir at the Sheraton hotel followed an African Union session in which both leaders committed to negotiating out their countries' differences peacefully.

A member of the South Sudanese delegation said the two presidents had met at the hotel.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Sudan-and-South-Sudan-presidents-hold-first-talks-since-April-clashes/articleshow/14918045.cms

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Eritrea Reduces Support for Al Shabaab-U.N. Report

 July 16 2012

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Eritrea has reduced its support for the al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab militant group in Somalia under international pressure, but still violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and remains a destabilising influence, a U.N. report says.

The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, which investigates violations of an arms embargo on both nations, said in a report to the Council, seen by Reuters, that it had found no evidence of direct Eritrean support for al Shabaab in the last year.

The Council imposed the embargo on the tiny east African state of Eritrea in 2009 over concerns its government was providing finance and weapons to al Shabaab - charges Asmara denied. The Monitoring Group now says that support has evaporated.

This was "a symptom of growing friction between the authorities in Asmara and al Shabaab's leadership" as well as the "result of enhanced international scrutiny, which has made direct support ... a much riskier undertaking than in the past", said the report, which is scheduled to be published this week.

"Although it is possible that the Eritrean authorities have continued to provide financial and other forms of assistance to (Somali) armed opposition groups, without their activities being detected, it is the Monitoring Group's assessment that any such assistance is negligible," the report said.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/07/16/world/africa/16reuters-eritrea-somalia-

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Somali Lawmaker Killed, Al Shabaab Claim Attack

Jul 16th, 2012 

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A car bomb killed a Somali lawmaker allied to the president, an official said on Monday, in an attack claimed by the al Shabaab militant group that is fighting the Western-backed government.

The insurgents, who want to implement their strict interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) across Somalia, have been under increased pressure since African Union troops and Western-backed government soldiers drove them out of the capital Mogadishu last year.

Kenyan and Ethiopian troops have also attacked them in areas they control in the south and center of the lawless Horn of Africa country. The militants have, however, still managed to launch large-scale attacks in Mogadishu.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/07/16/world/africa/16reuters-somalia-

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Red Cross Starts Aid Effort in Northern Mali

Jul 16th, 2012 

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Red Cross says it has started an aid operation to bring emergency food supplies to some 160,000 people in northern Mali affected by drought and fighting between radical Islamists, rebels and the government.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday "people in the north are no longer able to meet their basic food needs" following a poor 2011 crop season and the political conflict.

It says it will hand out rice, semolina and beans to the most vulnerable, and seeds will be distributed to some 40,000 farmers to boost food production.

After a coup ousted Mali's government in March, Tuareg rebels took control of the north but have been driven out by Islamist rebels who want to impose Shariah law. An estimated 300,000 people have fled the region.

The U.S. released $10 million to assist the refugees last week.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/07/16/world/africa/ap-af-mali.html?ref=global-

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North America

 

Muslim cleric wants to protect Canadian women from sex assault by “cover up”

BY TERRY DAVIDSON

JULY 16, 2012

Canadian laws should be changed to require women to "cover themselves" to prevent sexual assaults, says an Islamic street preacher in Toronto.

Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a 33-year-old Islamic convert, called for legal change in response to recent sex attacks at York University.

Atangana is connected with a group called Muslim Support Network and is one of a number of street-corner clerics commonly seen at the Yonge and Dundas Sts.

In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun, Atangana said "the reason ... these sex attacks are continuously happening is because (of) Canadian laws, which give too much freedom to women" when it comes to how they dress.

Full report at:

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/16/muslim-street-cleric-wants-to-protect-canadian-women-from-sex-assault-by-forcing-them-to-cover-up

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Public Face Of 'Ground Zero Mosque,' Says Life Was Threatened

07/11/2012

NEW YORK (AP) – One of the leaders of the effort to build an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center says someone threatened to kill him during the furor over the project.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf made the comment Wednesday at an annual pre-Ramadan conference held by the New York Police Department.

Rauf said he had to change homes, and praised the department's help. He said that despite criticism over NYPD surveillance of Muslims, he believes the department is doing a good job.

Rauf helped come up with the idea for the center. He served as its public face, promoting it amid fierce controversy over its location.

He now has a reduced role in the project. He says it is still moving forward but nothing has yet been built.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/imam-feisal-abdul-rauf-of-ground-zero-mosque-says-life-was-threatened_n_1666262.html

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Boston Mosque Saves Somali Youth

14 July 2012

CAIRO – A Boston mosque has launched a new initiative to encourage young Somali teenagers to avoid problems in the street life and draw them to mosques to spread awareness among American Muslims about the problem for gangs and drugs.

"It really woke people up that some of our kids were getting involved with this kind of stuff," said Suhaib Webb, an Oklahoma-born imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), told The Christian Century.

The ISBCC initiative was introduced six months ago after the mosque hired imam Webb.

It was first suggested by Faduma Farah, who came to the United States from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, in 1993.

As a teenager in Boston, Farah often skipped school to smoke cigarettes and marijuana with friends and knew Somalis who ended up in jail, in gangs, or getting sent back to Somalia by frustrated families.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/457964-boston-mosque-saves-somali-youth.html

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Islamic center tries to foster awareness

By JOHN HAGEMAN

Jul 14, 2012

Open house in Peoria seeks to dispell misconceptions of faith

Dozens of area residents and community leaders gathered at the Islamic Foundation of Peoria on Saturday night in an effort to promote understanding and awareness of the Islamic faith.

More than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Islamophobia remains a significant force in some parts of U.S. society, according to the resident scholar at the foundation.

"It has been tough," said Kalim Mufti. "There is hope, and good things are happening. But it will take work."

That work includes the foundation's first open house Saturday, which had the theme: "Know your neighbor, love your neighbor." Mufti took the stage to explain Islam and its beliefs, including the Five Pillars of Islam - recognizing only one God, praying five times a day, a duty to give charity, fasting during Ramadan and making a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime.

Mufti also dispelled misconceptions of the faith, specifically that it's synonymous with terrorism and oppression of women. Both of those ideas are not rooted in the teachings of Islam, Mufti said.

Full report at:

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1975585416/Islamic-center-tries-to-foster-awareness

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US role in post-Mubarak Egypt still unclear

Jul 15, 2012

CAIRO: US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton will on Sunday meet the head of Egypt's army as the US seeks to have the nation's military and new civilian government work together.

Clinton's demand to the military will be simple: Cooperate with Egypt's new Islamist leaders on a full transition to civilian rule.

Still, it remains unclear what leverage the Obama administration has as it seeks to stabilize Egypt and build a new relationship with America's once ironclad Arab ally.

Egypt's military is locked in a political standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood after curtailing the powers of its victorious President Mohamed Morsi on the eve of his inauguration last month. No one is quite sure who is in control and where Egypt is headed.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-role-in-post-Mubarak-Egypt-still-unclear/articleshow/14944223.cms

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Barack Obama: No solution from outside on J&K

Jul 16, 2012

WASHINGTON: Ruling out any solution from "outside" to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, US President Barack Obama on Sunday underlined that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved by the two countries themselves.

Welcoming the Indo-Pak dialogue process, he said, "it is not the place of any nation, including the United States, to try to impose solutions from the outside.

"That said, nations must meet their responsibilities and all of us have a profound interest in a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic."

The US leader was responding to a question on the current state of Indo-Pak relations and the best way forward for the two countries to resolve their bilateral matters, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Barack-Obama-No-solution-from-outside-on-JK/articleshow/14974865.cms

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Clinton in Israel on last leg of 8-nation tour

 Jul 16, 2012

TEL AVIV: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton arrived in Israel on Monday for top-level talks with Israeli officials expected to focus on Iran's nuclear programme and the stalled peace process.

Clinton arrived on a flight from Egypt shortly after 11.30pm (0200 IST) for her first visit to the Jewish state in nearly two years, according to an AFP correspondent travelling with the delegation.

With her are US Middle East envoy David Hale and under secretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman, who represents Washington at the talks between world powers and Iran.

The whirlwind 24-hour visit comes at the tail end of an eight-nation tour spanning Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It will see Clinton holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and defence minister Ehud Barak.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Clinton-in-Israel-on-last-leg-of-8-nation-tour/articleshow/14992306.cms

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Europe

 

Russia accuses West of blackmail on Syria plans

Jul 16 2012

MOSCOW : Russia is accusing the West of using blackmail to secure a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of force in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday the Western threats to discontinue the 300-strong U.N. unarmed observer mission to Syria if Russia does not agree to allow the West to use force in the country amounts to blackmail.

The U.N. authorized the 90 day mission to oversee the cessation of violence and monitor implementation of the U.N. peace plan.

The team, whose mandate expires on July 20, had to withdraw from key conflict areas because of escalating fighting.

Russia said last week it will oppose any new U.N. resolution on Syria that would include the use of force.

Russia on Monday accused the West of effectively trying to use blackmail to secure a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of force in Syria.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comments came ahead of a meeting with Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League envoy for Syria whose plan for halting the fighting is weakening amid escalating violence.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/975122/

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UK to interview Pakistan students seeking visa

By Asif Mehmood

 July 16 2012

LONDON: Getting a UK visa is going to become an up-hill task for Pakistani students, as they would have to go through assessment interviews in the future, Daily Times has learnt. The decision was taken after a British Home Office study found out that 48 percent of those granted visas in Pakistan were not credible applicants.

Immigration Minister Damian Green, last week, announced that the UK Border Agency would interview 10,000 to 14,000 visa applicants over the coming year to weed out bogus students.

The investigation by the British Home Office found that some of the applicants knew so little English that they could not answer basic interview questions without the help of an interpreter — despite having certificates purporting to show they could speak the language adequately.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg7_7

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Russia Accuses West of Blackmail, Stands Firm on Syria

 July 16 2012

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it would block moves at the U.N. Security Council to extend a U.N. monitoring mission in Syria if Western powers did not stop resorting to "blackmail" by threatening sanctions against Damascus.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov staked out a tough position before talks in Moscow with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, dismissing international pressure on Russia and China to stop propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His comments are likely to dim Western diplomats' hopes that Moscow is trying to find a face-saving way to drop its support for Assad and accept that he should have no role in a transition.

"To our great regret, we are seeing elements of blackmail," Lavrov told a news conference before Annan started a two-day visit that will include talks on Tuesday with President Vladimir Putin. "This is a counter-productive and a dangerous approach."

He said Russia would not back a resolution on the monitoring mission, now being discussed by the U.N. Security Council, because it contained a threat to impose sanctions if Syria does not comply with Annan's peace plan. Russia's draft includes no such threat.

Lavrov said any deal must follow the principles outlined at talks between Annan and veto-holding members of the Security Council in Geneva on June 30, which Russia takes to mean it must not specifically exclude Assad.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/07/16/world/europe/16reuters-syria-crisis-russia.html?ref=middleeast

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Terror suspects 'waived through' UK airport ahead of Olympics

Jul 16 2012

London : Eight terror suspects have entered Britain ahead of the Olympic Games after security lapses by inexperienced immigration staff allowed them into the country.

According to The Sun, all the terror suspects, including five who are said to have arrived on one day, are on the official terror watch list, but were reportedly 'waived through' checks at Heathrow.

''Once they are in, you have no idea where they might be going,'' a UK Borders source warned.

Senior Tory MP Patrick Mercer has demanded that Home Secretary Theresa May launched an urgent inquiry into the security lapses.

''The Home Office must tell us what’s being done to detain these people,'' he added. It has been alleged that some immigration staff at the airport have undergone just a day’s training instead of the usual six weeks, but officials insisted that all the staff are 'fully trained'.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/975175/

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Australia

 

Many Islamist don't understand imperative of consent in a sexual relationship

By Farzana Hassan

16 July 2012 

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Women are "raw meat" waiting to be devoured by men because of their dress, declared an Australian imam in 2006.

Six years later, and in our own backyard, a young convert to Islam, Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana is proposing new laws in Canada that would require women to cover up "like Muslim women," concealing all but their eyes and hands. He contends that the high incidence of rape in North America is because of how women dress in Western countries. The new laws would make it "illegal for women to dress provocatively in the streets," and would thereby take away the freedoms Western women enjoy.

Canadian women would have to be covered up in burqas, abayas and Hijabs. They would presumably also be segregated, and their male relatives would monitor and control their behaviour. So what is it about Islamist men and their preoccupation with sex that awakens such paranoia about women's garb?

Full report at:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/2012/07/16/19990771.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/another-sufi-shrine-charred-in-j-k-triggers-protest/d/7937

 

 

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