New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 11 Apr 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Arab Nudes Defy Taboos in Paris Art Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darul Uloom Deoband Advises against Second Marriage, 'Indian Tradition doesn't allow it'

Amina Forced to marry her Rapist: Fight for women's rights in North Africa

Egypt’s Women Face Rollback on Divorce Rights

Angry Afghans chop off ears of roadside bomb suspect

Elite female night raiders break down barriers in Afghanistan

I want a trial in Libya, even if it means death: Saif Gaddafi

Address religious intolerance to curb sectarian killings: HRCP

WUC Strongly Protests Chinese Pressure on Japan

Saudi: 468 expats revert to Islam in Jubail

Balochistan is burning but police is mere spectator: Chief Justice

Won't retreat an iota from atomic rights, says Iran

Iowa: Hear Muslim concerns, rather than act blindly

Can talk Kashmir but Pak must stop anti-India terror: Indian Foreign Secretary

Indonesia is model for Muslims, British PM David Cameron says

Book, “The Women in Najd: Her Status and Role.” refutes stereotypes about Saudi women

No one could breathe for 30-35 mins while watching Osama raid: Hillary Clinton

How Gaddafi scion went from reformer to reactionary

Mali's New Interim President Sworn in After Coup

Sudan warplanes launch first attack on South Sudan town

Syria UN-backed ceasefire holding amid tensions

QUETTA: Frontier Corps kills four militants in Dera Bugti

Attacks kill 2 NATO troops, local Afghan official

10 laborers abducted from Dera Bugti-Sui road site

Iran and West meet for another go at nuclear talks

No Afghan 'security vacuum' after 2014: NATO chief Rasmussen

In Poppy War, Taliban Aim to Protect a Cash Crop

A UK Based Muslim Woman’s Group Says Scarves are Safe for Football

Court in Riyadh convicted 5 terror suspects for conspiring against the Kingdom

Pakistan reveals soft side to India with trade show

Pak to release 34 Indian prisoners

Indian PM’s lunch date in Pak uncertain

New ISI chief Islam to visit Europe with predecessor Pasha

Lok Mela highlights Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s culture, art

Pakistan: Punjab govt told to reply on blinds’ plea for land rights

Hillary Clinton opens G8 talks stressing Syria, Iran, North Korea crises

Syria says it will stop fighting by UN deadline

Saleh is gone, but Yemeni women’s struggle goes on

Turkey says NATO is option to defend Syrian border

Israel PM to seek direct talks with Abbas at Fayyad meet

Egypt's Salafi presidential candidate claims moral victory

Kashmir report rules out ‘simple return to pre-1953 situation'

2002 Gujarat riots: 18 get life term for Ode village massacre

New Delhi Shahi Imam, Bukhari blows hot and cold on SP

Cockfighting in Iraq: a different kind of battle

Turkey raids in new crackdown on military

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: North African women on the barricades

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Arab nudes defy taboos in Paris art show

Apr 12 2012

PARIS: The naked body in Arab art is the theme of a new Paris exhibit meant to broaden views of Arab culture, spotlighting the many artists willing to break taboos and depict nudity in all its forms.

“The Body Uncovered” at Paris’ Arab World Institute aims to “challenge the stereotypes usually associated with the Arab world that reduce it to the single image of religious fanaticism,” said the institute’s chairman Renaud Muselier.

Until July 15 the institute bordering the River Seine will display 200 works by 70 modern and contemporary Arab artists, many of them women, which address eroticism, the sensuality of dance, violence, the exploitation of women and homosexuality through sculpture, collage, painting, photography and video.

The collection is so dense and varied that it came as a surprise to the exhibit curators.

“We didn’t expect to find an iconography so rich and diverse — we were surprised that so many Arab artists address this question,” the show’s co-curator Philippe Cardinal told AFP.

“When there are social taboos, the role of artists is to unravel them at the seams: they are the first to rebel against censorship.”Many of the artists, though born in Arab countries or of Arab descent, now work out of theUnited Statesor Europe, like Huguette Caland, a Lebanese based inCaliforniawhose oil painting was chosen for the show brochure.

Caland, whose father was the first president of Lebanon, also contributed to the exhibit two 1992 ink drawings entitled “Homage to Pubic Hair I and II”showing multicoloured women with lots of dark pubic hair, as well as a 2010 naked female mannequin with a tattooed body and veiled head.

A canvas by the Egyptian-born New York resident Ghada Amer features colourful string embroidered into what appear to be haphazard shapes, but which were in fact inspired by images out of pornographic magazines — intended as a comment on the subject of female submission.

Homosexuality, forbidden in Arab countries, is also quietly addressed, including through Lebanese-American George Awde’s photographs of young shirtless men in Beirut, expressing tenderness with arms wrapped around one another.

Violence inflicted on the body is another theme of the exhibit, as shown in Iraqi-born Scandinavian exile Adel Abidin’s video of a game of ping pong in which a bruised, naked woman lies across the table serving as the net, her body shuddering each time she is hit by a ball.

The woman is “a metaphor for the Iraqi people caught in the midst of war,” said Hoda Makram-Ebied, the Egyptian co-curator of the exhibit, who is in charge of contemporary collections at the institute.

Another video, the 2009 “Comradeship” by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Khaled, shows a bodybuilder in tight-fitting bathing pants flexing his muscles at the beach, a man rubbing oil onto another bodybuilder’s muscles and another facing a mirror to videotape himself pulling up his shirt to reveal muscle.

The video includes the text — in both Arabic and English: “I have taken courage to challenge myself and you have taken time to allow this to affect you. The pay off is well worth it.”

http://dawn.com/2012/04/12/arab-nudes-defy-taboos-in-paris-art-show/

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Darul Uloom Deoband advises against second marriage, 'Indian tradition doesn't allow it'

 Apr 12 2012

Muzaffarnagar : Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has appealed to Muslims not to marry for the second time since it is hard to provide "equal justice" to two wives in "Indian custom".

"It is hard to provide equal justice to two wives in Indian custom," it said, replying to a query by a person who wanted to marry a second time while his first wife was alive.

"Though Islam permits two wives at the same time, Indian tradition does not allow it," the seminary said.

President of Uttar Pradesh Imam Organisation, Mufti Zulfikar, said though Islam allows for second marriage on the condition that the husband ensures equal maintenance, "it is difficult to provide same treatment to both women".

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/935982/

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Amina Forced to marry her Rapist: Fight for women's rights in North Africa

 Dan Katz

 Apr 12 2012

On 10 March 16-year-old Amina Filali killed herself by swallowing rat poison.

Amina had been badly beaten during a forced marriage to Mustapha Kellak, a man who had raped her. Although there have been some limited legal improvement in the position of women in Morocco, the state still allows a rapist to marry an underage victim as a way of avoiding prosecution. The law — known as Article 475 — says a “kidnapper” of a minor can marry his victim so that dishonour is not brought on her family.

Legislation designed to outlaw all forms of violence against women, planned since 2006, has yet to appear.

Amina’s parents say a local court pressured them to accept the marriage. They are from a backward, conservative rural area.

On 17 March several hundred women’s rights activists demonstrated in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, demanding that the man who raped Amina be jailed and that Article 475 be abolished. Outrage continued after the Al-Massae newspaper invited the rapist to discuss the matter at a conference in Casablanca.

Eric Goldstein from Human Rights Watch says that many other barriers to equality persist in the Moroccan legal code, including a provision that makes it a crime to give refuge to married women who have escaped their husbands.

Another article in the code makes sex outside of marriage a crime. If a woman reports a rape, and she doesn’t prove her case, she is then admitting to sex outside marriage, opening up the possibility of prosecution.

Women’s rights in Morocco are becoming a battleground between liberals and the left, and the Islamists who have been brought to power in the wake of the Arab Spring.

To head off a revolution, the King made concessions and allowed the formation of a government led by the Islamist Justice and Development Party. Bassima Hakkaoui, minister of women and the family — and the only woman among the 29 ministers in the government — acknowledged that there was a “real problem” and called for a debate on changing the law. But Hakkaoui also claimed that Amina Filali had consented to the marriage.

And Justice Minister El Mostafa Ramid denied Amina Filali had been raped.

17-year-old Layla Belmahi, a founder of a women’s rights group denounced the Minister:

“He was talking about it like it was something that was normal, that the only thing that really shocked him was the fact that she killed herself.

“The problem wasn’t the fact that she killed herself. It was that she was forced to marry her rapist.”

Two Tunisian bloggers, Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji, have been given long prison sentences after they posted a cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook.

Ghazi Beji is still being looked for by police, while Jabeur Mejri faces seven years in jail.

On Sunday 25 March 10,000 marched in the capital, Tunis, demanding the country introduce Islamic sharia law. The ultra-conservative Salafists are pressing the leading party in the government, Ennahda, a somewhat milder Islamist party, to make the changes. Some marchers demanded a war on Jews – alarming Tunisia’s Jews, a 1500 minority among a population of ten million.

Also last month, Salafist students at Manouba University on the outskirts of Tunis fought secular students and burnt the Tunisian flag.

Last year, Salafists protested outside Nessma TV when it screened the French-Iranian film Persepolis. They also attacked a cinema that was showing “Ni Dieu, Ni Maitre,” (“No God, No Master”), a film by secularist filmmaker Nadia al-Fani. Some Salafists were jailed.

Ennahda, which won 41% of the seats in the constituent assembly elected last October, declares that the new constitution will not base Tunisia’s law on sharia.

The Islamists have not gone uncontested. A large march took place in Tunis to celebrate International Women’s day.

On Monday 9 April 2000 protesters marching from the nearby headquarters of the main trade union federation, the UGTT, which has been at the forefront of opposition to the Islamist-led government, fought riot police at the interior ministry on Bourguiba Avenue.

On Saturday 7 April the police had attacked and dispersed a march by jobless workers in central Tunis and the unions were demanding their right to protest.

http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2012/04/11/fight-womens-rights-north-africa

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Egypt’s Women Face Rollback on Divorce Rights

 Joseph Mayton

April 12, 2012

CAIRO -- In years past, when conservative members of Egypt’s parliament spoke out to demand reversing the rights of women or Coptic Christians, most of the country laughed it off and moved on.

However, in late March, when Mohamed El-Omda, an independent  lawmaker  who is deputy head of parliament’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would revoke a woman’s right to divorce, women’s activists and observers were not pushing this off to the side.

With Islamists controlling the majority of Egypt’s parliament, conservatism is on the rise, and so are attacks on women’s rights, says the Egyptian Women’s Union (EWU).

“We are taking this and other recent statements made by El-Omda and other MPs very seriously because right now we know they can actually do this if they want,” said Salma Kamal of the EWU. “It is important that pressure is put on these people to make sure they don’t destroy what little rights we women have in the country.”

The El-Omda’s aim is to rescind legislation dating from 2000 that gives women “khula,” the popular term for the right to turn to the courts to order a divorce in the event the husband refuses to grant one. Before that, Egyptian women did not have the right to divorce their spouses on their own terms.

El-Omda framed his argument principally in terms of rolling back the era of former president Hosni Mubarak

In a memorandum accompanying the bill, he said khula had been granted to women at the behest of the National Council for Women (NCW), which was the vehicle for former first lady Suzanne Mubarak to promote her favorite causes. El-Omda said it had been designed not to protect women from their Muslim spouses, but those who married abroad. He said it was an offense to Islamic law (sharia) and an attempt to Westernize Egypt.

“It is corrupt,” El-Omda told The Media Line. “We want to end the connection to the Mubarak era and this is not Islamic for women. We, as Egyptians, want to make sure our laws and our society are part of Islam, which protects women and gives them rights.”

When asked about the criticism by women’s rights advocates, he waved it off.  “These women do not understand Islam and the importance of being a wife and caregiver for the family.”

Egypt has a high rate of divorce. According to the government’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the rate among Egyptians aged 18-29 is now 40%, the highest in the Arab world and that most of the separations occur among the country’s 90% Muslim majority. The Coptic Christian Church generally prohibits divorce. The Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance estimates that 250,000 women go to courts every year seeking a divorce.     

The rise of Islamists to power has heightened concerns about women’s rights, which even under the more secular Mubarak government were severely constricted by Western standards. Much of the public debate that has emerged since the revolution last year has focused on dress codes, particularly the veil. But the prospect of divorce rights being pared back is just as threatening to many women. Revoking khula would force many women to remain in unwanted marriages.

“I’m ready to go to parliament and demand an end to this kind of anti-women statements, but where are the women’s groups?” asked Heba Salem, an Ain Shams University student, who told The Media Line she is disappointed that women’s organizations have not spoken out more.

“What are they good for if they are not defending us women in the face of this injustice?” she asked. She said that if attacks on women continue, she wished that “women will rise up and start a new revolution and not stop until we are equal citizens.”

In fact, the Egyptian Women’s Union has called for “complete rejection of this proposal,” saying that the issue of “divorce law was an issue to try to solve the dilemmas facing legal implications of the [country's] flaws and the inability for women to obtain provisions for their benefit.”

El-Omda said he plans to pursue the matter even further, which has angered many women’s rights activists in the country, who say it could be the beginning of the conservatives’ push to remove women from positions of any power.

According to a source close to Speaker of Parliament Saad El-Katatni,  many of the MPs do, in fact, support El-Omda’s call to revoke the legislation, but El- Katatni is in no rush to push the law through.  “Right now the speaker doesn’t want to have this bill or other similar things put forward at this time because the country is not ready yet,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In fact, time is against those trying to defend khula and other laws protecting women’s rights. Women’s advocates  argue that the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafists, led by the Al-Nour Party, may be holding off for now, but they intend to use their overwhelming strength in parliament to invoke more conservative legislation and push women aside.

El-Omda has allies in his pushback on women’s rights. The Muslim’s Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has launched an attack in recent months on laws regulating personal status and has accused Suzanne Mubarak’s NCW of implementing Western strategies to disrupt the family life.

Nearly two-thirds of parliament is Islamist and they dominate the constitutional assembly, although on Tuesday a court suspended the assembly because it had objections over how it membership was selected.

“We have seen this in the assembly to write the constitution and we are seeing it again in almost everything related to women’s issues,” said Kamal of the EWU. “Instead, we as women’s advocates must go and explain to parliament that these are not Western ideas, they are part of Islam and no man can take it away from us.”

http://themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=34898

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Angry Afghans chop off ears of roadside bomb suspect

Apr 12, 2012

KANDAHAR: Angry residents in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on Thursday chopped off the ears of a man accused of planting a roadside bomb that killed two civilians, an official said.

Two teenagers were killed and six others, including three children, were wounded earlier Thursday when a blast tore through their vehicle in Garmser district, Helmand provincial spokesman said.

"Following the incident the residents of the area arrested the alleged mine planter and wanted to hang him in public," Ahmadi said.

Police and the local district governor were forced to intervene to save the man's life, but the furious residents had already cut off his ears, Ahmadi said.

More than 3,000 civilians were killed in the war in Afghanistan in 2011, according to the United Nations, with Taliban insurgents blamed for the bulk of the deaths.

"This is a warning for those who kill our people every day, we won't tolerate their actions any more," a resident of the area, Mullah Mansoor, said.

Crude and cheaply made improvised bombs are the Taliban's favourite weapon in their decade-long war against Afghan and NATO forces but they often miss their targets and hit civilians using the same roads.

The Taliban were in power between 1996 and 2001 but were toppled in a US-led invasion for sheltering Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Angry-Afghans-chop-off-ears-of-roadside-bomb-suspect/articleshow/12637733.cms

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Elite female night raiders break down barriers in Afghanistan

 Apr 12 2012

KABUL: Crouching behind a wooden barrier, 27-year-old Sergeant Sara Delawar fires her M-4 rifle at a target showing the silhouette of a man, part of a training exercise for Afghan special forces.

Anxious to defuse tensions stoked by foreign male soldiers raiding Afghans’ homes at night in what is a conservative Muslim country, Afghanistan has begun training elite female troops to join Afghan male soldiers on operations.

“Before we joined this unit, our operations were done by foreign troops and they did not know our culture. People were critical so we joined to help out,” Delawar, a former policewoman in Jowzjan province, said.

“I have already fought the Taleban. My comrades were martyred in fights with the Taleban and we have killed them too, but during the night raids I haven’t fought insurgents yet.”

Fluent in four local languages, Delawar is one of only 12 female soldiers who has been trained to fight and conduct searches in what is an attempt to pay greater respect to cultural sensitivities.

Surprise night raids in pursuit of militants have long stoked anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan, with many locals seeing them as assaults on their privacy and on women’s privacy in particular.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article611514.ece

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I want a trial in Libya, even if it means death: Saif Gaddafi

 Apr 12 2012

Saif al-Islam, the imprisoned son of the former Libyan dictator, has declared his wish to face justice in his home country, rather than at an international war crimes trial, even if that means risking the death penalty.

Gaddafi announced his opposition to extradition to face war crimes charges in The Hague, although International Criminal Court investigators believe his decision may have been made under duress.

The investigators met Gaddafi at a mountain-top detention centre south of Tripoli earlier this month.

They said he expressed a preference to be tried in his own country, but a government official was sitting in on the discussion. The ICC confirmed that Gaddafi had suffered torture and abuse since his capture last November.

Deportation for an ICC trial would remove the threat of a death sentence even if he was convicted of all counts.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_i-want-a-trial-in-libya-even-if-it-means-death-saif-gaddafi_1674858

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Address religious intolerance to curb sectarian killings: HRCP

 Apr 12 2012

LAHORE: The continuous spilling of blood in sectarian killings in Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is a result of failure to address religious intolerance in society, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Wednesday.

In a meeting, the commission said, “HRCP is alarmed by the continuing sectarian bloodshed in Pakistan, particularly in Quetta and GB. The killings demonstrate a disturbing pattern and appear to be part of a well-planned sequence. It has been stated that miscreants from Afghanistan have been involved. That may be one problem, but it certainly is not the only one. The mindless bloodshed that we witness day in and day out is rooted in religious intolerance cultivated by the state.”

The meeting also said, “The people are paying the price of indifference with their lives. Rather than wasting time on addressing mere symptoms, the root cause of the problem must be identified and addressed. Instead of living in denial, we must now identify the policies that strengthen extremism and promote faith-based hatred in society. These constitute the single biggest threat to Pakistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\12\story_12-4-2012_pg7_13

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WUC Strongly Protests Chinese Pressure on Japan

Apr 12 2012

As media reported, China urged Japan yesterday to prevent the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) to hold its 4th General Assembly in Tokyo next month, stating “the organization [WUC] seeks to damage Chinese sovereignty.” From 14 – 17 May, the WUC will hold its 4th General Assembly in Tokyo, followed by its annual Leadership training Seminar (18 – 20 May). The WUC expects around 100 Uyghur delegates from around the world to attend both events. The Opening Ceremony will take place on 14 May at the Japanese Parliament and is open to the public. The WUC strongly protests China´s unjustified pressure on the Japanese authorities and calls on the Japanese government to not to bow to Chinese claims.

“While we are used to China´s pressure on peaceful Uyghur activities in exile in general and our organisation in particular, it is alarming to see how the Chinese authorities are trying to export their repressive policies even to democratic countries,” said Uyghur democracy leader and WUC President Rebiya Kadeer today. “The Chinese government systematically violates the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly within the country, especially in East Turkestan, and it is a shame that it also attempts to silence legitimate Uyghur dissident voices in exile, even in democratic countries.”

Full report at:

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Saudi: 468 expats revert to Islam in Jubail

Apr 12, 2012

The number of expatriates converting to Islam is increasing in Jubail. In all, 468 men and women embraced Islam in just one year.

The last five of them recited the Shahada on Tuesday in the presence of a big gathering at the annual ceremony of Jubail Dawah and Guidance Center. Jubail Deputy Gov. Abdullah Al-Mesfer, top government officials and businessmen were among the guests at the ceremony.

Jubail Dawah and Guidance Center Director Yahya Al-Ghamdi told Arab News that the center has achieved many important accomplishments over the past year. “Four-hundred-and-forty expatriate men and 28 women converted to Islam," he said.

"The preachers of the center paid 1,679 field visits to the communities in Jubail; they organized 19 open programs, held 57 courses and organized 27 Haj and Umrah trips,” Al-Ghamdi said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article611601.ece

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Balochistan is burning but police is mere spectator: Chief Justice

 Apr 12 2012

ISLAMABAD: While hearing a case related to the law and order situation in Balochistan, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry showed his displeasure over the absence of senior police official in the Supreme Court.

A three-member bench headed by the chief justice was hearing the case here on Thursday.

Chaudhry had summoned Inspector General (IG) Balochistan and relevant Superintendent Police (SP) in the court earlier today on an immediate notice.

“If the police officials failed to comply with the court’s order, they will be sent to jail,” he had warned.

He censured the law enforcement agencies for their incompetency in maintaining peace in the province and remarked that the courts are being kept uninformed about the factual details.

“Balochistan is on fire but the officials are mere spectators to it,” Chaudhry remarked.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/04/12/cj-displeased-over-absence-of-police-officials-in-sc/

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Won't retreat an iota from atomic rights, says Iran

Apr 12 2012

Tehran : Iran "will not retreat an iota" from its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today, ahead of weekend talks in Istanbul with world powers over Tehran's atomic activities.

"The Iranian nation is standing firm on its fundamental rights and under the harshest pressure will not retreat an iota from its undeniable right," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the southern town of Minab, according to the official IRNA news agency.

"On behalf of the Iranian nation, I advise the enemies and the arrogance (the United States) to change their behaviour towards our nation, and they should know that the Iranians are standing firm in defending their rights," he said.

His language indicated a defiant attitude by Iran as its negotiators go into the Istanbul talks on Saturday across from representatives of the so-called P5+1 group comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/936023/

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Iowa: Hear Muslim concerns, rather than act blindly

 Apr 12 2012

A state representative is sponsoring a bill to amend Iowa’s constitution to prevent the Islamic legal code, Sharia, from deciding cases in Iowa courts.

But Kim Pearson concedes she doesn’t know of any cases of that happening — or how, under the Iowa and U.S. constitutions, it could.

Still, the Pleasant Hill Republican said she thinks the measure is necessary to protect Iowa’s growing population of Muslims from abhorrent culturally-sanctioned practices such as “honor killings.”

“It’s educating people that these things are going on….,” Pearson said. “It’s part of a bigger cultural problem… treating women like they are pigs and dogs.”

Mira Yusef, a Muslim feminist who founded and runs a statewide domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention program for Asian women, doesn’t support Pearson’s effort. The executive director of Monsoon, United Asian Women of Iowa, sees the bill and others like it as “very anti-Islamic.”

Yusef argued that some traditions, such as a Muslim husband’s obligation to grant his bride a dowry for her financial security, make the Islamic approach “better for women.” In any case, religious leaders rather than civil courts are typically the ones who manage disputes under Islamic law, Yusef says.

Pearson’s Muslim, Democratic counterpart from Des Moines, Ako Abdul-Samad, doesn’t like the bill either.

Full report at:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120411/BASU/304110044/-1/becker_trial/Basu-Hear-Muslim-concerns-rather-than-act-blindly

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Can talk Kashmir but Pak must stop anti-India terror: Indian Foreign Secretary

 Apr 12 2012

Washington: India is willing to advance its peace talks with Pakistan and discuss the Kashmir issue, but the main stumbling block is Islamabad's failure to clamp down on militant groups, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said.

Mathai, in an interview to 'The Wall Street Journal' published today, also said that Pakistan's recent moves, including an agreement to open its markets to Indian goods, was a signal that it was serious about improving ties with India.

Asserting that Pakistan needs to take serious action against militants using its soil to attack India, he said it was deeply troubling to India that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was able to address public gatherings and appear on television in Pakistan.

"If the (Pakistani) army didn't want Hafiz on TV issuing threats to one and all, they'd be able to do something," Mathai said.

He said Pakistan's failure to clamp down on militant groups that have attacked India is the major roadblock to peace talks.

Mathai said the US decision to put a USD 10 million bounty on Saeed shows that Washington has come around to India's view about the high level of threat from Pakistan-based militant groups.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/935976/

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Indonesia is model for Muslims, British PM David Cameron says

Apr 12, 2012

JAKARTA: Indonesia's respect for democracy and minority religious groups should serve as an example for other Muslim nations, British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech to be delivered on Thursday.

In Jakarta, capital of the world's most populous Muslim nation, Cameron will call on groups such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which has a conservative vision of Islam, to look to Indonesia's for tips on nation building following the Arab Spring that toppled longtime Middle Eastern autocrats.

"What Indonesia is showing is that it is possible to develop a democracy and a modern economy that neither compromises people's security nor their ability to practise their religion," Cameron will say, according to an advance text of his speech.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Indonesia-is-model-for-Muslims-British-PM-David-Cameron-says/articleshow/12630992.cms

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Book, “The Women in Najd: Her Status and Role.” refutes stereotypes about Saudi women

Apr 12, 2012

Saudi women have been playing an active role in all walks of life in society and compete with men in acts of charity, according the book “The Women in Najd: Her Status and Role.”

They also enjoy freedom in financial matters and the right to personal freedom, thus disproving the stereotyped image of her being a victim of socioeconomic injustice and cultural taboos, said the book written by Dalal bint Mukhalad Al-Harbi and published by Darat Al-Malik Abdulaziz Library.

According to the book, women of Najd actively participated in wars and in the defense of their people. They sometimes struggled for a living in the absence of male guardians and relied on their own efforts to be self-reliant without being opposed by the community.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article611608.ece

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No one could breathe for 30-35 mins while watching Osama bin Laden raid: Hillary Clinton

Apr 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reveled how she and the fellow White House officials were so astonished while watching live footage of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden that they "could not breathe for 30-35 minutes."

In a speech to cadets at the US Naval Academy in Maryland, Clinton gave a first-hand account of the incredible tension in the famous 'Situation Room' as the drama unfolded.

When asked to reflect on bin Laden's death and the process leading up to the mission that killed him in his Abbotabad compound, Clinton recalled her time as a New York senator during 9/11, and how the attack had affected so many of her constituents.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/No-one-could-breathe-for-30-35-mins-while-watching-Osama-bin-Laden-raid-Hillary-Clinton/articleshow/12633916.cms

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How Gaddafi scion went from reformer to reactionary

 Apr 12 2012

TRIPOLI: It was supposed to be an olive branch from the dictator's son, an apology for those who had died at the start of the Libyan uprising, a pledge to reform Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade old regime.

But when Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on television on February 20 last year, he sounded just like his defiant and rambling father.

Wagging a finger at the camera, Saif al-Islam blamed Libyan exiles for fomenting the violence and warned of more bloodshed. There was mention of reform to Libya's constitution, but it was hardly an offer of compromise.

"We will keep fighting until the last man standing, even to the last woman standing," he said.

The speech, the first by a Gaddafi family member after Libya's uprising began on February 17, 2011, was all the more confrontational because of who made it. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had been hailed - at home and abroad - as the Western-educated, business-friendly face of Libya, a reformer who could bring the country back in from the cold. Here he was sounding like a belligerent hardliner.

His televised address three days into the rebellion, said a person who has spoken to its authors, was originally drafted with "conciliatory language". So when he came on TV, the people who helped draft the speech were flabbergasted. They realised, after all these years, he didn't mean anything. He completely reversed what he had portrayed himself to be."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/How-Gaddafi-scion-went-from-reformer-to-reactionary/articleshow/12628250.cms

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Mali's New Interim President Sworn in After Coup

 Apr 12 2012

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali's new interim president took office Thursday, returning the country to constitutional rule three weeks after mutinous soldiers overthrew the nation's democratically elected leader in a coup.

Dioncounda Traore, who heads the country's national assembly, is to serve as Mali's president for 40 days according to the constitution. Regional mediators, though, already acknowledge it will take longer than that for the country to organize new elections.

The deal to move Mali back to constitutional rule was hammered out between the head of the military junta that seized power in March and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS. Longtime Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure emerged from hiding Sunday to render his official resignation.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/12/world/africa/ap-af-mali-coup.html?ref=global-home&gwh=E88737FA6DB9E22450CA3FA42411F20A

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Sudan warplanes launch first attack on South Sudan town

Apr 12, 2012

JUBA: Sudanese warplanes launched their first attack on a major South Sudanese town on Thursday, with five bombs dropped on the capital of the oil-producing Unity border state, Southern officials said.

"They dropped bombs in Bentiu town -- apparently they were aiming for a bridge," South Sudan's deputy information minister Atem Yaak Atem said.

Bombs were dropped at dawn targeting a strategic bridge on the edge of Bentiu, which lies some 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the frontier, on the third straight day of violence.

The latest clashes, the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after one of Africa's longest civil wars, have brought the two former foes the closest to a return to outright war.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Sudan-warplanes-launch-first-attack-on-South-Sudan-town/articleshow/12635729.cms

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Syria UN-backed ceasefire holding amid tensions

Apr 12, 2012

DAMASCUS: A UN-backed ceasefire to end 13 months of bloodshed in Syria appeared to be holding after coming into force at daybreak on Thursday, despite doubts about the regime's compliance with the peace plan.

After breaking a commitment to pull back forces from population centres by Tuesday under the agreement brokered by former UN chief Kofi Annan, there were still no signs of a withdrawal, monitors said.

"An hour after the ultimatum expired, the situation is calm in all regions," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A "few explosions" were heard in the town of Zabadani, just outside the capital, shortly after the ceasefire entered into effect, Abdel Rahman told AFP in Beirut.

"There has not been any movement indicating a withdrawal of tanks," he added.

The report could not be verified due to the Damascus government's curbs on media.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-ceasefire-comes-into-effect/articleshow/12633858.cms

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Frontier Corps kills four militants in Dera Bugti

 Apr 12 2012

QUETTA: Four alleged militants were killed and six others arrested by the Frontier Corps (FC) after an exchange of fire with them in the restive Dera Bugti district on Wednesday. According to official sources, a convoy of FC was passing from Sangsila area of Dera Bugti when a group of armed men opened fire on it. However, no FC man was hurt in the attack. FC personnel returned fire, killing four of the alleged militants. The forces also arrested six militants after an exchange of fire. The sources claimed weapons were also recovered from the possession of the attackers. After the incident, a heavy contingent of FC rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. Security personnel started a search operation in the area. No group had claimed the responsibility for the attack until the filing of this report.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\12\story_12-4-2012_pg7_7

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Attacks kill 2 NATO troops, local Afghan official

 Apr 12 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan: Two bomb explosions and an insurgent attack killed two NATO service members and a local Afghan government official on Wednesday in different parts of Afghanistan, authorities said.

The deaths come one day after Taleban suicide bombers killed at least 19 people across the country as they stepped up their fight against Afghan forces slowly taking the lead from US and international troops.

NATO said both coalition service members were killed in the south — one in a roadside bombing and the other during an insurgent attack.

The coalition did not provide their nationalities nor disclose other details.

So far this year, 103 members of the US-led coalition have been killed in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article611429.ece

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10 labourers abucted from Dera Bugti-Sui road site

By Shehzad Baloch

April 12, 2012

QUETTA: At least 10 labourers working on the Dera Bugti-Sui road were abducted by a group of armed men near Sui during the early hours of Thursday.

The District Police Officer Dera Bugti confirmed the kidnapping, adding that police and security forces have mounted a manhunt in the area for the safe recovery of the labourers.

The labourers were sitting in tents pitched beside the road under construction near Sui when a group of armed men abducted ten of them at gun point.

“A few labourers were left behind as they were sitting inside another tent,” official sources said.

There were eight Sindhi-speaking labourers belonging to Sadiqabad, one from Quetta and one local Bugti tribesman.

The security forces and police initiated a search operation in the area on Thursday morning but were clueless about the whereabouts of the kidnapped people.

Local sources, however, put the figure to 13. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/363557/10-labourers-abucted-from-dera-bugti-sui-road-site/

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Iran and West meet for another go at nuclear talks

Apr 12 2012

Istanbul : Western powers and Iran are meeting again Saturday to hash out Tehran's promised "new initiatives" on its nuclear activities, albeit with little hope in the West for a breakthrough in the deadlock.

"The Iranian delegation will have new initiatives and we hope that the other party will have a constructive approach," said Iran's top negotiator in nuclear talks yesterday, raising hopes that Tehran might have a plan to change dynamics.

What Tehran will bring to the table on Saturday, however, remained unclear after Saeed Jalili's words, but the fact that the talks were starting again after a 15-month break is seen in its own right as a crucial opportunity to lower the tension.

But do not get too many illusions, warns a senior European diplomat, pointing to a lack of "positive signals" from Tehran that compromises will be made to finally lift off Western fears surrounding Iran's nuclear activities.

The so-called P5+1 powers -- permanent UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- suspect that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at concealing its real purpose of producing atomic weapons.

They have imposed increasingly severe economic sanctions on the Islamic republic to pressure it to halt activities, notably uranium enrichment -- moves that instead pushed Iran to accelerate its nuclear pursuit, which it says has no military dimensions.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/935909/

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No Afghan 'security vacuum' after 2014: NATO chief Rasmussen

Apr 12, 2012

KABUL: NATO will not leave a "security vacuum" in Afghanistan after its troops pull out in 2014, secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen pledged on Thursday.

He said it was too early to make a final decision on reducing the number of Afghan security forces after the withdrawal -- a plan being considered by the West to cut costs.

"Our goal is an Afghanistan with its security provided by its own people and this goal has not changed," he told a joint news conference in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"Our commitment and partnership with Afghanistan post-2014 remains unchanged."

The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, acknowledged in Washington last month that the Pentagon was looking at dramatically scaling back the size of the Afghan army and police after 2014.

The security forces are scheduled to reach 352,000 this year but a study just completed suggests an end-strength of only 230,000 by 2017, the general said.

Rasmussen said in response to a question at the news conference that no decision had yet been made on a troop reduction.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/No-Afghan-security-vacuum-after-2014-NATO-chief-Rasmussen/articleshow/12637178.cms

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In Poppy War, Taliban Aim to Protect a Cash Crop

By TAIMOOR SHAH and ALISSA J. RUBIN

 Apr 12 2012

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — So focused are the Taliban on securing this year’s opium poppy crop — and the support of the farmers tending it — that in the early days of their spring offensive in the south, they are targeting not only the officials trying to eradicate the plants, but also the tractors they use.

This year, the poppy fields that are so beautiful right now, carpeted with lithe red blossoms, are also sown with land mines — the product of the increased cooperation between poppy farmers and the militants they see as protectors of their economic interests, government officials say.

“This year there is more poppy cultivation in Helmand, especially in places where people have confiscated the government lands and in places that were desert,” said Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the governor in Helmand Province. “The reason is that the Taliban promised and persuaded farmers to grow poppy and told them they would protect them.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/world/asia/taliban-poppy-war-targets-tractors-and-police.html?ref=global-home

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A UK Based Muslim Woman’s Group Says Scarves are Safe for Football

April 12th, 2012

The head of the UK-based Muslim Women's Sport Foundation (MWSF) was hopeful that the lifting of the ban on female footballers wearing the hijab (headscarf ) on the field of play will be ratified in the July meeting of Fifa's International Football Association Board (IFAB).

Rimla Akhtar, the chief of MWSF, who is here for the Abu Dhabi International Conference for Women's Sports, said the arguments against the hijab or other types of dress in sport were redundant and was confident that opinions in this respect were changing.

Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the conference, Akhtar said: "As far as I am concerned the arguments I have heard in terms of the hijab or other types of dress in sport are redundant. There is no advantage in wearing a hijab.

"The arguments there are like almost forcing one's opinion on the athletes. If you want to give women freedom of choice, freedom of self expression, then the best way to do that is to say to them ‘we are open to your ways of doing things and we welcome you into our world'."

Full report at:

http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/hijab-sports-ban-unfair-420722

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Court in Riyadh convicted 5 terror suspects for conspiring against the Kingdom

 Apr 12, 2012

A special criminal court in Riyadh yesterday convicted five men of conspiring against the Kingdom’s rulers, causing strife, undermining national unity and supporting Al-Qaeda’s terrorist ideology.

The guilty men include three Saudis and two Egyptians.

Verdicts are pending against two more alleged accomplices, both Saudi.

They were sentenced to jail terms ranging between two and five years and prevented from traveling abroad for two to five years.

The five defendants said they would appeal against the verdicts, while the prosecutor said he would also push for stronger sentences.

The court verdicts were announced in the presence of Defendants Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, their lawyers and a number of their family members in addition to representatives from the National Society for Human Rights, Justice Ministry and the media.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article611644.ece

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Pakistan reveals soft side to India with trade show

 April 12, 2012

From gourmet chefs to fashion houses showcasing muslin suits on the catwalk, Pakistan will unveil a trade fair in New Delhi on Thursday to reveal a soft side to traditional foe India as commercial ties between the nuclear-armed rivals begin to bloom.

Despite a combined population

of 1.4 billion people and thousands of years of shared history and culture, cross-border trade between India and Pakistan is paltry - a legacy of three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

The show opens days after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari made the first visit by a Pakistani head of state to India in seven years and it serves as the backdrop to talks between their trade ministers, who will open a border trade post on Friday.

Liberalising heavily restricted trade and investment flows has become a driver of peace efforts between the neighbours whose fragile relations were shattered when Pakistani militants attacked the Indian city of Mumbai 2008.

"Terrorism should not take business hostage," said Tariq Puri, head of the trade development authority of Pakistan which is organising the trade fair. "We are going to give you the soft image of Pakistan," he told Reuters in an interview.

"When you will enter the hall, you will feel good. You'll say 'OK, we had a totally different view about Pakistan, but here you see Pakistan so contemporary, so fashionable, so design-oriented'."

Time for tea

Full report at:

has not detained Saeed, despite handing over evidence against him.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Pakistan-reveals-soft-side-to-India-with-trade-show/Article1-839381.aspx

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Pak to release 34 Indian prisoners

 Apr 12 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will release 34 Indian prisoners, including a fisherman suffering from cancer, this week as part of steps to normalise relations between the two countries.

The prisoners, including 26 fishermen and eight others arrested on charges like illegally crossing the border, are expected to be repatriated via the Wagah border on April 13, Indian and Pakistani officials said today.

However, leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney has offered to immediately airlift fisherman Samant Lakshman Bambhaniya, who is suffering from cancer of the leg.

"I had taken up Bambhaniya's case with the President and Prime Minister and would like to see that he gets home as quickly as possible," Burney told PTI.

Bambhaniya belongs to Dandi village in Gujarat and is currently being held at a jail in Karachi, Burney said.

"Fishermen of both countries are frequently arrested because some times while fishing, they unintentionally enter each other's territory and get caught," he said.

"These fishermen have to suffer for so many years in the jails of Pakistan or India. They are illiterate and innocent," Burney added.

India and Pakistan have released scores of prisoners, a majority of them fishermen, since they resumed their peace process last year after a gap of over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The two sides are working on an arrangement for the speedy repatriation of fishermen detained for inadvertently crossing the maritime boundary.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-to-release-34-Indian-prisoners/articleshow/12626271.cms

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Indian PM’s lunch date in Pak uncertain

 Apr 12 2012

PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh may have readily accepted Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s invitation to visit his country, but the lunch in Islamabad appears unlikely now.

It was learnt that during his recent trip to India, Zardari had delivered a message that the ruling Pakistan People’s Party ( PPP) has a year- and a- half left to complete its tenure and if there has to be a movement forward in improving bilateral ties, it should be done within this timeframe.

But there is no guarantee that this visit may happen in the near future even though the Prime Minister feels there is certain room for manoeuvring with the Pakistan government and is of the view that New Delhi should explore it.

A close aide of the Prime Minister recalled a meeting with him some weeks back when he had expressed his desire to push for better relations with Pakistan.

“ The matter is close to his heart… it was evident in the luncheon meeting on April 8,” the aide pointed out.

Full report at: Mail Today

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New ISI chief Islam to visit Europe with predecessor Pasha

Apr 12 2012

Islamabad : ISI's new chief Lt Gen Zahirul Islam plans to visit some European countries with his predecessor Ahmed Shuja Pasha for exchanging views with intelligence and military officials on Pakistan's ties with the US and reopening of NATO supply routes.

Pasha will accompany Islam to help him with the transition at the ISI, as the new chief familiarises himself with global and regional issues, the Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying.

Islam took over as chief of the powerful spy agency last month.

Though Parliament is to make a final decision on ties with the US and the NATO supply routes, Islam is likely to discuss both issues during his planned visit to Europe, the report said.

Some opposition politicians have alleged the government is keen to reopen the NATO routes because of "considerable American pressure," it said.

Pakistan closed the supply routes in November after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The government subsequently ordered a Parliamentary review of Pakistan-US ties but the exercise has been hampered due to concerns expressed by opposition parties.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/935913/

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Lok Mela highlights Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s culture, art

 Apr 12 2012

ISLAMABAD: The folk festival – ‘Lok Mela’ – organised by Lok Virsa, is now becoming the talk of the town as more people are pouring in to witness the event and all its festivities. Enthusiasts, who seem to have been exhausted from the increasing hot weather and loadshedding, are thronging to the festival ground to get some respite and enjoy the colourful ambience, folk dances, rural music and hoards of art and craft stalls.

All provinces and regions – Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Giglit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir – have set up their pavilions where people can listen to indigenous folk music, songs, watch dances and eat traditional cuisines.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) pavilion has its own particular charm. The entrance of the pavilion has been built in the replica of ‘Bab-e-Khyber’.

The pavilion boasts of thirty diverse master craftsmen and women from different parts of the province. Many stalls have also been allocated to female artisans, who include Farhat Bibi in lacquer art, Ayesha Saleem, Shazia Bibi and Naheed Bibi in embroidery from DI Khan, Khadija Sardar in carpet weaving and Shela Naz in embroidery from Peshawar, Shaista Bibi in Hazara embroidery from Haripur and Nasreen Nisar in needlework from Abbottabad.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\12\story_12-4-2012_pg11_8

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Pakistan: Punjab govt told to reply on blinds’ plea for land rights

 Apr 12 2012

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Wednesday sought a reply from the Punjab government on a petition by around 100 blind persons living in a house in Katchi Abadi near Masti Gate, seeking propriety rights of the land where they have been living since decades. The CJ adjourned the hearing until June 19 and directed the government to ensure submission of its reply by that date. The counsel for the petitioners submitted that almost all provincial governments in the past had been pledging to give them (petitioners) ownership rights of the house, but all promises proved to be just words. He said that the petitioners want ownership rights of the property measuring one kanal and 15 marlas, and the Revenue Department had once offered them to buy the property at the rate of Rs 500,000 per marla, however, later withdrew the offer. He said the petitioners were ready to pay for the land, but now the department – through a notification – had put a ban on the sale/purchase of the property.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\12\story_12-4-2012_pg13_5

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Hillary Clinton opens G8 talks stressing Syria, Iran, North Korea crises

Apr 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Wednesday stressed the urgency of resolving security concerns about Syria, Iran and North Korea as she opened talks with Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers.

Setting the tone for the talks, Clinton said she was "alarmed for the ongoing violence in Syria" and concerned about problems envoy Kofi Annan faces in trying to get Damascus to implement a Thursday ceasefire it had agreed to.

"We are very watchful of this. This will be on our agenda," Clinton told foreign ministers from Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia as the French and British top diplomats were expected to show up later.

Hinting she would again push Moscow to use its clout with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the violence, Clinton has said she will meet with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the margins of the two-day G8 meetings.

"I think there will be a very rough couple of days in trying to determine whether we go to the Security Council seeking action, knowing that Russia is still not on board," she said Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Hillary-Clinton-opens-G8-talks-stressing-Syria-Iran-North-Korea-crises/articleshow/12629657.cms

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Syria says it will stop fighting by UN deadline

Apr 12, 2012

BEIRUT: Syria promised to comply with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire beginning Thursday but carved out an important condition _ that the regime still has a right to defend itself against the terrorists that it says are behind the country's year-old uprising.

The statement Wednesday offered a glimmer of hope that a peace initiative by special envoy Kofi Annan could help calm the conflict, which has killed some 9,000 people. But the regime still has ample room to maneuver.

In comments carried on the state-run news agency, Syria said the army has successfully fought off ``armed terrorist groups'' and reasserted state authority across the country.

``A decision has been taken to stop these missions as of the morning of Thursday, April 12, 2012,'' the statement said, adding: ``Our armed forces are ready to repulse any aggression carried out by the armed terrorist groups against civilians or troops.''

The government denies that it is facing an uprising by Syrians who want to dislodge the authoritarian family dynasty that has ruled the country for more than four decades. Instead, the regime says, terrorists are carrying out a foreign conspiracy to destroy Syria.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-says-it-will-stop-fighting-by-UN-deadline/articleshow/12629677.cms

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Saleh is gone, but Yemeni women’s struggle goes on

 Apr 12 2012

Now with Saleh deposed and a political transition underway, female activists fear the country is moving forward without them, and that men who were keen to have them on the streets crying freedom do not now want them in parliament, universities or the workplace

When Sara Ahmed joined a protest in November to demand the resignation of Yemen’s president, she and the other women marched at the very front of the crowd. But no sooner had they set off through the capital than they were shepherded towards the back.

“On that day I realised we had two fights,” said Ahmed, a 24-year-old sociology student and women’s rights advocate, who took part in some of the first protests in Yemen last year that helped oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office. “A battle against the regime, but also another struggle - a fight within the fight - against those elements inside the revolution who oppose us and our rights as women.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\12\story_12-4-2012_pg4_7

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Turkey says Nato is option to defend Syrian border

 Apr 12 2012

ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Nato is responsible for protecting his country’s borders, newspapers reported on Thursday, after gunfire from Syria hit a refugee camp on the Turkish side, wounding four people. 

“We have many options. A country has rights born out of international law against border violations,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily and other newspapers.

“Also, Nato has responsibilities to do with Turkey’s borders, according to Article 5,” added Erdogan, whose country is a Nato member.

Article 5 of the Nato treaty declares that an armed attack against one of its members will be considered an attack against all members and allows for the use of armed force. It has been invoked only once, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/04/12/turkey-says-nato-is-option-to-defend-syrian-border

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Israel PM to seek direct talks with Abbas at Fayyad meet

Apr 12, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu will propose holding direct talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas when he meets prime minister Salam Fayyad in Jerusalem next week, his office said on Wednesday.

The Israeli prime minister is to hold a rare meeting with his Palestinian counterpart and two other senior officials from Ramallah in Jerusalem on April 17, a spokesman from his office said earlier.

It will be the first top-level meeting between the two sides since the peace process ground to a halt more than 18 months ago in a bitter dispute over Jewish settlement building.

At the meeting, Netanyahu is to propose "raising the level of talks" and holding face-to-face negotiations with Abbas, his office said.

"At his meeting next week with the Palestinian delegation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will propose raising the level of the talks to conduct them directly with Abu Mazen," it said, using Abbas's nom-de-guerre.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israel-PM-to-seek-direct-talks-with-Abbas-at-Fayyad-meet/articleshow/12632182.cms

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Egypt's Salafi presidential candidate claims moral victory

Apr 12, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt's Salafi presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail claimed a moral victory on Wednesday when a court ruled that authorities must provide proof that his late mother did not hold dual nationality, which would prevent him running.

Thousands of supporters of Abu Ismail chanted "Egyptian, Egyptian" as they shot fireworks skywards, many crying in joy and praying. They had rallied outside and inside the court that had been in session since the morning, seeking to flock around the sheikh, who they say is the victim of a smear campaign.

He has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the first presidential vote since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, but the electoral commission said it had received notification from American authorities that his late mother had a U.S. passport, a status that would likely disqualify him from the race.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypts-Salafi-presidential-candidate-claims-moral-victory/articleshow/12631011.cms

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Kashmir report rules out ‘simple return to pre-1953 situation'

 Apr 12 2012

Constitutional Committee will review which Central laws to apply to State

Asserting that “a pure and simple return to the pre-1953 situation” would “create a dangerous constitutional vacuum” in the relationship between the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir, the Group of Interlocutors appointed by the UPA government to identify the political contours of a solution to the problems of the State has recommended instead a “case-by-case review of all Central laws and Articles of the Constitution of India extended to the State” since 1952.

The group's final report, ‘A New Compact with the People of Jammu and Kashmir' — a copy of which is with The Hindu — is likely to be made public after the Cabinet Committee on Security clears its release on Thursday. The report proposes the setting up of a Constitutional Committee that would review the applicability of Central statutes extended to Jammu and Kashmir after the July 1952 Delhi Agreement. The review process — once ratified by Parliament and the State legislature — would eventually end the extension by presidential order of further Central laws to the State.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3304614.ece

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2002 Gujarat riots: 18 get life term for Ode village massacre

Apr 12 2012

Ahmedabad : A designated court here awarded life sentence today to 18 people and handed out seven-year jail terms to five others in connection with the massacre of 23 people in Gujarat's Ode village during the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots.

District and Sessions judge Poonam Singh pronounced the sentence after she had found 18 people guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy and five others for attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy on Monday.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,800 each on the accused sentenced to life imprisonment and Rs 3,800 each on the five convicts awarded jail term for seven years.

The verdict caused an uproar among family members and relatives of convicts who were inside the court campus. Many of them broke down.

"There is no evidence against the accused. This is injustice, this is not the temple of justice but temple of injustice," the relatives alleged.

More than 100 people, including women and children, who were at the campus, resorted to sloganeering. The police asked them to leave.

Twenty-three people, including nine women and as many children of the minority community, were burnt to death in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village by a mob of over 1,500 on March 1, 2002 following the Godhra train burning incident that triggered a communal conflagration across the state.

Out of the total 47 accused, the court convicted 23 and acquitted as many while one of them died during the trial.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/2002-gujarat-riots-18-get-life-term-for-ode-villa.../935868/

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New Delhi Shahi Imam, Bukhari blows hot and cold on SP

 Apr 12 2012

Lucknow : Uncertainty prevailed on Wednesday over whether Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s son-in-law Umar Ali Khan will file his nomination for Member of Legislative Council (MLC) polls. This on a day when five candidates of the Samajwadi Party submitted their nomination papers for the MLC elections and a lone party candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat.

Amidst the speculations, Imam Bukhari, who was in Delhi said that he will be reaching Lucknow on Thursday to settle the issue. “There are issues about adequate Muslim representation, which need to be addressed. I will be leaving for Lucknow on Thursday,” said Imam Bukhari, who remained adamant on three MLC seats for Muslim candidates, for most part of the day. Later in the evening, he reduced his demand to two MLC seats and one Rajya Sabha nomination for Muslims.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/935795/

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Cockfighting in Iraq: a different kind of battle

April 12, 2012

BAGHDAD: Iraq is no stranger to battles, but this is not one fought with rifles and rockets: when the bell sounds, trainers release cockerels Daqduqa and Sammam into the ring.

The crowd, scattered across the makeshift stands in a dank Baghdad house, erupts into cheers, baying for blood.

Welcome to cockfighting in Iraq.

The matches, illegal in Iraq but still widespread, consistently see dozens of men attend, some of whom come to gamble, though many come just for the entertainment.

“I have been coming here for five years, at least once a month,” said Ahmed Jabbar, alluding to the fact that even through the capital’s brutal violence in 2007 and 2008, he was a regular.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/363555/cockfighting-in-iraq-a-different-kind-of-battle/

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Turkey raids in new crackdown on military

 Apr 12 2012

Turkish police have raided the homes of dozens of former military figures, in a fresh crackdown on the armed forces.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Retired Gen Cevik Bir, who played a key role in the fall of Necmettin Erbakan's government in 1997.

All the other military figures whose homes were searched were also in high positions at the time of what became known as the post-modern coup.

Earlier this month, two leaders of the 1980 coup went on trial in Ankara.

Gen Bir was deputy head of Turkey's army chiefs of staff when Mr Erbakan's Islamist Welfare Party was forced from power.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17687135

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URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/arab-nudes-defy-taboos-in-paris-art-show/d/7045

 

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