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

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Bride bazaar flourishes in Hyderabad, India

Swiss couple abducted in Pak, taken to Taliban turf

Afghan police detain seven burqa-clad insurgents

Pakistan's first gay pride celebration sparks online debate

Egypt urged to manage finances by Sharia rules

Grenade attack wounds 17 schoolchildren in Afghanistan

Seven policemen, civilian killed in Iraq attacks

Arrest warrant for Zia's eldest son over bomb attack on Hasina

Nigeria licenses first Islamic bank

Seven including a Pesh Imam killed in Karachi violence

Pak: Police kill protestor in Mianwali

One soldier killed in Militant attack on Bajaur check post

Muammar Gaddafi: rebels tell leader he can stay in Libya

Turkey cuts ties with Gaddafi’s Libyan government

Libya rebels poised for push towards Tripoli

Hezbollah leader vows not to surrender members

Pak attitude to counter- terror has altered’: Indian Foreign Secy

Foreign soldier missing in southern Afghanistan: Nato

Gulf political, economic reform crucial: Kuwait PM

Minister secures release of 113 Egyptian prisoners

Italy expels Algerian jailed for planning attacks

Israel targets top rabbis for anti-Arab incitement

Iran to continue oil exports to India

Kuwait sees oil prices at $100 until end of 2011

Syrian forces enter Hama

There is connection between ISI and Haqqani network: McCain

Key Taliban leader arrested in Islamabad

Terrorism biggest challenge for Pakistan: Admiral Bashir

Afghan mortar wounds four in North Waziristan

Cross-border raid: Militants attack 2 villages in Bajaur

‘Haqqani network bought suicide bomber from TTP’: Intelligence Agency

Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti organised by Ilyas Kashmiri'

Blast hits Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan

Pak military supporting militant groups like LeT

Osama bin Laden had support system in Pakistan: Donilon

Zardari gifts Camerons 'bizarre' portrait of themselves

Border strife in Afghanistan shows wider tensions

Headley initially refused to entertain questions on Rana

US shifts Afghan supply routes to Central Asia: report

Rangers killing case: Brother was told police killed Shah

Afghan drawdown plan ‘unnecessary risk’: McCain

Pakistan complains of new cross-border Afghan attacks

Sudan partition leaves rebel Nuba region feeling betrayed

Syria: Man appears to film himself being shot by sniper

Lebanon bloc urges arrests in Hariri killing

Gaza flotilla: We still plan to breach blockade

Bangladesh bans film over villain’s dress sense

World Press on Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus

Iran says to close Hormuz Strait if threatened

Indonesian Consulate launches Independence Day celebrations

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/bride-bazaar-flourishes-in-hyderabad,-india/d/4962

 

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Bride bazaar flourishes in Hyderabad, India

Suresh Dharur

July 4, 2011

A “bride bazaar” is thriving on a well-oiled network of unscrupulous qazis (priests) and agents who exploit the poverty and illiteracy of Muslim families and push young girls into a life of hell.

The unearthing of a contract-marriage racket in the old city area of Hyderabad recently, involving foreigners buying young brides for sexual exploitation, has come as a grim reminder of a flourishing trade through sham marriages.

The police busted the racket and arrested six persons, including two qazis, two Sudanese students and two women brokers. The modus operandi of the operators has exposed chinks in the monitoring set-up of the government agencies and the state Wakf Board.

The agents used to identify minor girls from poor families of old city, lured them with money and promise of a prosperous life in a faraway land and sold them off to foreigners with the help of qazis who “performed” marriage using fabricated documents. At the end of it, it was the minor girls from poor families who became victims of exploitation.

In the recent case, a 25-year-old Sudan national Mohammed Ansari, who is on a student visa, “married” a 16-year-old girl by paying Rs 50,000 to brokers. The girl’s mother is a poor widow with five daughters and hardly any source of income.

After suffering two weeks of sexual abuse by her “husband” and also his friend, another Sudanese student, the young bride managed to run away and sought police protection.

At least seven more such incidents were reported in old city in recent past involving Sudanese and Somalians, suggesting existence of a contract-marriage racket, exploiting poor Muslim women, Deputy Commissioner of Police Vineet Brijlal said. Many cases went unreported, he added.

Investigation revealed that the young bride was made to sign a blank piece of paper that was intended to be later used as a “khulanama” or a declaration of divorce. With this, she would not be entitled to alimony or other rights. The foreigner bridegrooms would leave after the expiry of their student visa.

“After arriving here on student visas, these Sudanese nationals trap poor girls into marriage, use them, and when they leave, they already have a divorce paper ready in hand, so they can go scot free,” the police official said.

The police has registered a case of rape, abduction of minor for marriage, outraging modesty and also a case under the Immoral Trafficking Act. Muslim intellectuals have suggested a series of measures to prevent exploitation of girls in the name of marriages.

“The Wakf Board should be given more powers. The archaic qazi Act should be replaced by a comprehensive act that takes into account the changing needs of the Muslims. A sustained effort must be made to promote education, vocational training and employment of the girl child,” senior analyst Mir Ayoob Ali Khan said.

AGENTS ON THE PROWL

Agents identify minor girls from poor families

Lure them with money and promise of a prosperous life

“Marry” (sell) them off to foreigners with the help of qazis

On most occasions, the young “bride” is made to sign a blank paper

The paper is later used as a “khulanama” or a declaration of divorce

This debars her from any alimony and other rights

The foreigner “bridegroom” leaves after the expiry of his student visa

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110704/main5.htm

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Swiss couple abducted in Pak, taken to Taliban turf

Jul 4, 2011

QUETTA: Gunmen who kidnapped two Swiss tourists in a volatile southwestern Pakistani province have taken them to a neighbouring tribal area that was once a Taliban stronghold, a senior government official said Sunday.

The Swiss tourists, a man and a woman who were travelling through Baluchistan by car, were kidnapped by gunmen Friday as they dined at a hotel in Lorali city.

Officials in South Waziristan tribal area have been asked to keep an eye out for "suspicious elements" . Tribesmen in both areas have also been asked for help, he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Swiss-couple-abducted-in-Pak-taken-to-Taliban-turf/articleshow/9098286.cms

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Afghan police detain seven burqa-clad insurgents

July 4, 2011

KABUL: Afghan police have arrested seven armed insurgents who disguised themselves as women by wearing burqas, officials said Monday.

Interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi told AFP that the men, who carried light weapons with at least one in a suicide vest, were captured in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar.

He said the men wore the all-enveloping veil as part of their disguise and were planning attacks on government targets, but gave no further details.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=18053

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Pakistan's first gay pride celebration sparks online debate

July 4, 2011

The US Embassy's hosting of Pakistan's first lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) 'Pride Celebration' has spurred a debate in the virtual world, where it is safest to air views on the taboo subject.

Most people learnt of the celebration organised on June 26 through a statement posted in the 'press releases' section of the US Embassy website. Unlike other press releases from the Embassy, however, this one was not widely circulated among the media.

As the release was posted on micro-blogging site Twitter and various Pakistani blogs, people took to the virtual world to debate the consequences of what was possibly the country's first LGBT event.

The US Embassy's involvement in the event at a time of rising anti-American sentiments was pointed out by some bloggers.

During the event at the US embassy, Charge d'Affaires Richard Hoagland acknowledged the struggle for LGBT rights in Pakistan and said: "I want to be clear: the US Embassy is here to support you and stand by your side every step of the way".

A person who identified himself only as Ali wrote on the blog of The Express Tribune daily: "To all the straight people out there, think of this. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to be gay in a society that persecutes anything different? I am gay".

"I would never wish it on anyone else as life can become hell. I would never choose this. But the fact is I don't have a choice, I am who I am.

"So I just accept myself and get along with life".

Ali added: "If you ask me to get married, who should I marry? Would you like it if your sister was married to a man who could not make her happy?" He pointed out that the situation is worse for lesbians in Pakistan.

Some bloggers took exception to Pakistan's opposition to the first resolution passed by the United Nations last month to endorse the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/350449/Pakistans-first-gay-pride-celebration-sparks-online-debate.html

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Egypt urged to manage finances by Sharia rules

July 4th, 2011

Egypt will encourage a much greater focus on Islamic finance if a leading political group gets its way, a senior Islamic party official said.

Abdel Hafez El Sawy, an economist for the Freedom and Justice political party, formed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, said all the group's economic policies would be rooted in Sharia principles.

The use of financial instruments such as derivatives and futures, which are contracts for delivery of commodities, currencies or shares of a company, violated the teachings of Islam, he said.

His views are significant, given that recent polls have shown the Muslim Brotherhood to be the single most popular group for elections expected to be held this year.

"Speculative instruments have caused great trouble for the Egyptian economy," said Mr El Sawy, a member of the party's economic committee. "We will start off by communicating that some of these acts are not in compliance with Sharia. But if we feel that these acts are harming the economy, they will be clearly prohibited."

An Abu Dhabi Gallup poll in April found that 15 percent of Egyptians supported the group, which had been banned for three decades under the government of Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted from the presidency in February. The group is seeking a role in politics through the newly formed party.

While the policy debate in Egypt is shifting towards reviving the economy, few parties have unveiled detailed platforms for how they would spur growth and create jobs. Mr El Sawy said Freedom and Justice was focused on lifting spending for education, healthcare and job creation.

Full report at: http://www.albawaba.com/egypt-urged-manage-finances-sharia-rules-381396

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Grenade attack wounds 17 schoolchildren in Afghanistan

July 4, 2011

KABUL: A suspected terrorist on a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the gates of a school in north Afghanistan on Sunday, injuring 17 children, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The incident took place in Maimana, the main city of the Faryab province, the ministry said, adding that the children had been taken to hospital, with two of them in a serious condition. “Seventeen school students were wounded when a terrorist riding a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the main gate,” said the statement, which condemned the attack. “Police have arrested the gunman who committed this action,” the statement added. An annual UN report in March revealed that the deaths of Afghan civilians in the war had increased 15 percent to a record high last year, and that terrorists were responsible for three-quarters of the killings. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg7_15

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Seven policemen, civilian killed in Iraq attacks

July 4, 2011

A drive-by shooting and other attacks in Iraq on Sunday killed a civilian and seven policemen, police and interior ministry officials said.

“At 8:30 am, gunmen riding in a car and carrying automatic weapons killed five policemen guarding a checkpoint, before fleeing,” a police officer in the Anbar provincial capital of

amadi, west of Baghdad, said.

He said the gunmen struck in the desert town of Rutbah, on the main highway leading from Baghdad towards Amman and Damascus.

Anbar province was an Al Qaeda stronghold until 2008 when US commanders began recruiting Sunni Arab tribesmen and former insurgents to form militias which turned the tide against the jihadists. Another policemen was killed in west Baghdad by a gunman using a silencer, an interior ministry official said. In the main northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed one policeman and wounded a second, police said.

In the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, a roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded another, police said.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/350411/Seven-policemen-civilian-killed-in-Iraq-attacks.html

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Arrest warrant for Zia's eldest son over bomb attack on Hasina

July 4, 2011

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi court on Sunday issued arrest warrants for the fugitive eldest son of former premier Khaleda Zia and 17 others over a 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally that killed 24 people and injured some 300 people, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

46-year old Tarique Rahman, who is now in London on a government parole for treatment since 2008, has been indicted for abetting one of the worst political violence in the country in decades that led to severe injury to one of Hasina's ears.

Chief metropolitan magistrate Enamul Haque issued the arrest warrants for Rahman and 17 others for the attack on the rally of Hasina on August 21, 2004.

CID earlier today formally charged Rahman, the senior vice president of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and 29 others of the attack after an "extended investigation" into the case.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Arrest-warrant-for-Zias-eldest-son-over-bomb-attack-on-Hasina/articleshow/9089745.cms

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Nigeria licenses first Islamic bank

By MUSHTAK PARKER

Jul 3, 2011

The most revealing thing about the latest new guidelines for non-interest banking issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on June 21; the provisional license given to Jaiz International to launch the country's first Islamic bank subject to fulfilling the bank authorization requirements; and the revelation that the Nigerian Treasury's Debt Management Office is studying the possibility of the country issuing its debut sovereign sukuk within the next year or so, is not the provisions of the above developments but the reaction of Nigerians (presumably) commenting on the websites of local newspapers and other such outlets.

Disturbingly these ranged from vitriolic Islamophobic rants which linked Islamic finance to terrorism financing and forebodes the transformation of Nigeria into a new Jihadist haven, to flattering admiration for Mallam Lamido Sanusi, the governor of CBN, for rising above the critics and facilitating the introduction of Islamic finance under financial inclusion policy. The few voices that saw Islamic banking as an alternative form of financial management to the interest-based capitalist conventional system and more connected to the real economy and with a potential to contribute to development in Africa's most populous country for the benefit of all Nigerians, hardly had a look in.

It would be unfair to draw generalizations from such a sample of comments, but in relation to recent statements from various groups and the sensitivity of the CBN over the matter, it becomes apparent that under the surface Nigeria is a highly sectarian society, which is further fuelled by the constant reinforcement of stereotypes on all sides of the ethnic and religious divides. Nigeria has a population of about 170 million which is roughly half Muslim and half Christian.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article466196.ece

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Seven including a Pesh Imam killed in Karachi violence

By Atif Raza

KARACHI: Seven people, including an activist of a nationalist party, were killed in different incidents of violence in the city on Sunday.

Two unidentified men shot dead a worker of the Sindh Nationalist Party Khadim, 32, in Bhittaiabad. The victim was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

A Pesh Imam was killed in Ayub Goth. DSP Iftikhar Lodhi said Gul Khan was standing outside his mosque when two armed men shot him dead.

A youth was gunned down in Qasba Colony. Police said Fazlur Rehman, 17, was standing outside his house when unidentified men shot and injured him. He died on his way to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

A man, Rafiq, 32, was shot dead in Sector 9-F/1, Baldia Town. Police officials said apparently he was killed over a personal enmity.

The body of an unidentified person was found near Ghas Mandi within the remits of Napier police station. It was shifted to Edhi morgue for identification.

Two men, Saifullah, 40, and Salman, 32, were shot dead by unidentified armed men at a mobile shop in North Nazimabad, police said. The bodies were brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for autopsies.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg1_5

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Pak: Police kill protestor in Mianwali

July 4, 2011

MIANWALI: Police resorted to aerial firing and teargas shelling on the protestors in Mianwali Monday, killing one person and injuring ten others including DCO, Geo News reported. The protestors were protesting against continued loadshedding and demanded uninterrupted power supply.

The area presented a view of a warfield when the police used teargas and aerial firing to disperse the crowd but the mob turned violent and threw stones in return. As a result, ten people were injured including a DCO and three policemen. Two of the injured persons are in critical condition.

A complete shutter down strike was observed in Mianwali following appeals from various political parties. Thousands of people staged a sit-in at Jahaz Chawk and chanted slogans against the administration.

The participants of sit-in protest marched towards the Chashma Power Plant where police used teargas shelling and baton-charged the protestors in order to stop advancement.

The police arrested a suspected person from the scene and recovered a pistol from his custody.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=18048

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One soldier killed in Militant attack on Bajaur check post

July 4, 2011

PESHAWAR: A security official was killed when militants attacked a check post in the northwestern Bajaur tribal region on Monday, DawnNews reported.

Several attackers were killed in the ensuing clash.

Bajaur is one of seven districts in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border. The United States considers the area the global headquarters of Al Qaeda and the most dangerous place on earth.

More than 4,400 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other extremist networks based in the tribal belt since 2007.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/04/one-soldier-killed-in-attack-on-bajaur-check-post.html

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Iran to try 26 U.S. officials for rights abuses – lawmaker

July 4, 2011

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran plans to try in absentia 26 U.S. officials is believes violated human rights, the latest attempt to turn the tables on Western accusations about Tehran's rights record.

Lawmaker Esmail Kosari told Monday's newspapers the Americans would be tried in absentia and their files passed on to international tribunals.

He did not identify the officials but it is likely they are the same people listed on a parliamentary bill to be subjected to Iranian sanctions. They include former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and military commanders at U.S. detention centres Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

There was no immediate comment on the Iranian move by the U.S. authorities.

The sanctions motion, which has yet to be approved by the full parliament, came after the U.N. Human Rights Council appointed a special investigator to look into human rights abuses in Iran.

Full report at: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Iran_to_try_26_U.S._officials_for_rights_abuses_-_lawmaker.html?cid=30607370

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Muammar Gaddafi: rebels tell leader he can stay in Libya

July 4, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi can live out his retirement in Libya if he surrenders all power, the country's opposition leader has said.

Gaddafi is facing an international arrest warrant and has resisted all demands to step down, but members of his inner circle have indicated they are ready to negotiate with the rebels, including on the Libyan leader's future.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who heads the rebels' national transitional council, told Reuters: "As a peaceful solution we offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw from their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad.

"If he desires to stay in Libya, we will determine the place and it will be under international supervision. And there will be international supervision of all his movements."

Speaking in the rebels' eastern Libyan stronghold of Benghazi, Jalil, who was formerly Gaddafi's justice minister, said he made the proposal about a month ago through the UN but had yet to receive any response from Tripoli.

He said one suggestion was that Gaddafi could spend his retirement under guard in a military barracks.

Full report at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/03/libya-gaddafi-rebels-deal

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Turkey cuts ties with Gaddafi’s Libyan government

July 4, 2011

ISTANBUL: Turkey has cut its diplomatic ties with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government and has recalled its ambassador, the Turkish official gazette reported.

The move comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the eastern stronghold of Benghazi on Sunday and pledges $200 million in aid to the rebel Transitional National Council.

It was time for leader Muammar Gaddafi to leave Libya, Davutoglu said. He declared that the rebel National Council was the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=18061

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Libya rebels poised for push towards Tripoli

July 4, 2011

Buoyed by French arms drops and intensified NATO air strikes on the regime’s frontline armour, Libya’s rebel army said it is poised for an offensive that could put it within striking distance of Tripoli.

The rebels’ announcement late on Saturday came as a prolonged deadlock on the battlefield prompted mounting pressure from countries outside the NATO-led coalition for a negotiated solution to a conflict that has dragged on for four and a half months.

South Africa, which has taken a lead role in mediation efforts, said that President Jacob Zuma would hold talks in Moscow on Sunday with representatives of the International Contact Group on Libya as well as Russian officials.

Rebel fighters are readying an advance out of their hilltop enclave in the Nafusa Mountains, southwest of Tripoli, in the next 48 hours in a bid to recapture territory in the plains on the road to the capital, spokesman Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani said.

“In the next two days the (revolutionaries) will come up with answers, things will change on the front line,” he said.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/350412/Libya-rebels-poised-for-push-towards-Tripoli.html

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Hezbollah leader vows not to surrender members

July 4, 2011

Hezbollah's leader has vowed never to turn over four members of his Shiite militant group who have been indicted in the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, saying in a defiant speech that "even in 300 years" authorities will not be able to touch them.

In his first comments since the indictments were announced Thursday, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah promised that the country would not see a new "civil war" linked to the findings of the U.N.-backed tribunal. But Saturday's assurance came with a tacit warning that peace in Lebanon depends on the government bowing to Hezbollah's power and not pushing ahead with arrests.

Nasrallah also denounced the six-year investigation as a plot by Israel and the United States and said it was "an aggression against us and our holy warriors."

Immediately following the speech, bursts of celebratory gunfire and fireworks erupted in Beirut.

Hezbollah, which gets crucial support from Iran and Syria, has denied any role in the killing and accused the U.N.-backed tribunal of doing Israel's bidding.

The accusations that Hezbollah - the most powerful political and military force in Lebanon - had a role in the 2005 Beirut truck bombing that killed Rafik Hariri has the potential to plunge this Arab nation on Israel's northern border into a new and violent crisis.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/350457/Hezbollah-leader-vows-not-to-surrender-members.html

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Pak attitude to counter- terror has altered’: Indian Foreign Secy

July 4, 2011

FOREIGN secretary Nirupama Rao, soon after her visit to Islamabad for talks with her counterpart Salman Bashir, seems to suggest that Pakistan’s approach towards counterterror has “ altered” despite the fact that scant progress has been made in the 26/ 11 case even over two years after the attack.

When asked — in an interview to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate — whether any change was visible in Pakistan’s attitude to terror during the recent talks, Rao said: “ I think the prism through which they see this issue has definitely been altered.” She, however, asserted that the strategic link between the “ Pakistani state and militancy and terror needed to be broken”. Rao was in Islamabad less than 10 days ago to engage with Bashir on the broad issues of peace and security, CBMs, J& K, terror infrastructure and David Headley’s testimonies on the ISI’s link with the Mumbai attack.

She said the Pakistanis spoke of the need to discuss all serious issues between the two countries, and that terrorism was at the forefront of this.

“I think when they speak of the fact that non- state elements in this relationship need to be tackled, that we must look at safe havens and sanctuaries, that we must look at fake currency, we must look at all the aspects that are concerned with the business of terror, I think that is a concrete development,” she said.

But Rao was quick to add that she did not expect Pakistan to discuss the strategic link between its state and militancy and terror.

Full report at: minister- level talks later.

Mail Today

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Foreign soldier missing in southern Afghanistan: Nato

July 4, 2011

US Marines of the Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines walks along Helmand river during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers near the Camp Gorgak in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, July 3, 2011. – Reuters Photo

KABUL: A soldier from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force has gone missing in the south of the country and his status is unknown, the coalition said in a statement on Monday.

“An International Security Assistance Force service member has been listed as duty status whereabouts unknown in southern Afghanistan,” ISAF said, adding a search had begun for the missing soldier.

ISAF gave no further details regarding the incident or the nationality of the soldier.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/04/foreign-soldier-missing-in-southern-afghanistan-nato.html

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Gulf political, economic reform crucial: Kuwait PM

4 July 2011

Gulf Arab rulers should enact economic and political reforms or risk raising the ire of their citizens, Kuwait’s prime minister was quoted as saying in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah remarks came two weeks after the country’s Amir warned there would be “zero tolerance” for anyone threatening Kuwait’s security.

“We believe that the reform process in all the (Gulf) countries is an important and crucial matter,” Sheikh Nasser told the daily during a tour of the Gulf Arab states.

“It is not possible to realise growth and stability in any country without economic and political reforms and to realise welfare of the peoples.”

In January, the government announced plans to spend nearly $5 billion, or around 4 percent of its GDP, on cash grants and free food rations.

On Monday, Sheikh Nasser called for improved relations with Iran. Relations between the two states have deteriorated over the past year with Kuwait accusing Iran of running a spy cell in the Gulf state.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/July/middleeast_July81.xml&section=middleeast

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Minister secures release of 113 Egyptian prisoners

By GALAL FAKKAR

Jul 3, 2011

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities have agreed to release 113 Egyptian inmates in Saudi prisons, according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Al-Orabi.

Al-Orabi was addressing a press conference at the Egyptian Consulate in Jeddah on Sunday. Earlier Al-Orabi met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal and discussed the issue of prisoners.

“Prince Saud Al-Faisal has agreed to solve the issue of Egyptian prisoners and other problems faced by the Egyptian community in the Kingdom,” Al-Orabi said in his statement.

Al-Orabi is on his first foreign visit after he became a minister following the Jan. 25 revolution.

The minister said that he discussed the issue of reopening of the Egyptian school, which was closed following a decision of the Arab League 15 years ago that no Arab country should open a school in another Arab country. The Egyptian community is facing a lot of difficulties in educating their children in the absence of a school of their own.

Other issues the two leaders discussed was the difficulties faced by Saudi investors and residents in Egypt and clearing the ground for the return of Saudi investments back into Egypt.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article466279.ece

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Italy expels Algerian jailed for planning attacks

Jul 3, 2011

ROME: Italy deported Algerian Yamine Bouhrama on Sunday after his prison term ended, saying he had been part of a group that tried to commit acts of terrorism on a scale exceeding the London and Madrid bombings.

Bouhrama was released from prison on Sunday after serving a six year sentence for association with the aim of international terrorism and fraud offenses, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that he was immediately repatriated.

It said prior to his arrest in 2005 he had formed a militant group in Italy connected to Al-Qaeda.

“This cell was ready to commit acts of terrorism on an even more devastating level than those carried out at the time by the same group in Spain and in Britain,” the ministry said.

European countries have grappled with militant threats for years, regularly arresting individuals or groups suspected of planning attacks some fear could mirror the bombings of Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 which killed more than 200 people.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article466095.ece

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Israel targets top rabbis for anti-Arab incitement

By DAN WILLIAMS

Jul 3, 2011

JERUSALEM: Israeli police briefly detained a leading rabbi on Sunday as part of a widening probe into a treatise suspected of inciting the murder of Arabs.

The investigation has pitted authorities in the Jewish state against far-right West Bank settlers and has led to scuffles outside government institutions in Jerusalem and a sit-down protest that choked off the main highway to Tel Aviv.

Rabbi Yaacov Yosef was seized by detectives on his way back from morning prayers, witnesses said, in a tactic similar to the arrest last week of a senior West Bank rabbi whose followers responded with street protests.

“They commandeered the car and took it away, together with my dad, to an undisclosed destination,” Yosef’s son Yonatan told Israel Radio. The rabbi was freed after an hour, police said.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article466004.ece

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Iran to continue oil exports to India

Jul 3, 2011

TEHRAN: Iran will not cut oil supplies to India despite warning refiners it could do so if months of unpaid bills are not settled soon, the Iranian Oil Ministry's news website SHANA said on Sunday.

"A warning has been sent to those refineries that are debtors, but sending such a letter does not mean Iran's oil exports have been cut, and we have no intention to cut our exports to the Indian market," SHANA quoted Mohsen Ghamsari, head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC), as saying.

In a letter to Indian refiners dated June 27, Iran threatened to halt oil supplies in August unless the problem was resolved, sources at the refiners and NIOC told Reuters on Friday.

India owes Iran $2 billion for oil imports in recent months due to the payments dispute. The payments impasse was triggered in December when the Reserve Bank of India ended a regional clearing mechanism under US pressure.

Another NIOC official, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Ghalebani, said that although some news reports had said Iran had already cut its exports to India, it was not true.

"Iran's crude exports to India are continuing, and the news reported in some media that Iran has cut its crude exports to India is absolutely wrong," SHANA quoted him as saying.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/economy/article466190.ecehttp://arabnews.com/economy/article466190.ece

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Kuwait sees oil prices at $100 until end of 2011

Jul 3, 2011

KUWAIT: Crude oil prices will likely stay between $90 and $100 until the end of 2011 due to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) emergency stock releases, a member of Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The group of 28 industrialized consumer nations said on June 23 it would release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves to compensate for a loss of Libyan crude supply and dampen prices.

The unexpected IEA move will likely keep oil prices between $90 and $100 for the rest of the year, Imad Al-Atiqi, part of the OPEC member's top oil policy body, was quoted as saying by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah on Sunday.

Kuwait's oil minister Mohammad Al-Busairi told Reuters last week that IEA's move was a short-term measure and that only OPEC could meet long term demand for oil.

Front month US crude oil has traded between $89.61 and $99.95 since breaking below $100 on June 10 on news Saudi Arabia was offering more oil to customers, a strong dollar and weak equities.

US crude prices ended June 23 at around $91 after the IEA stock announcement, down about $4.40 from previous close, and have traded below $96 since.

Crude prices hit a high for the year so far of $114.83 on May 2.

http://arabnews.com/economy/article466187.ece

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Syrian forces enter Hama

4 July 2011

AMMAN - Syrian troops stormed houses in the city of Hama on Monday as thousands of residents took to the streets in defiance of a government crackdown on recent large protests, residents said.

“At least 30 buses carrying soldiers and security police entered Hama this morning. They are firing randomly in residential neighbourhoods,” one of the residents, a workshop owner who gave his name as Ahmad, said by telephone.

He said he had seen dozens of soldiers surround a house in the Mashaa neighbourhood and make arrests.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/July/middleeast_July83.xml&section=middleeast

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There is connection between ISI and Haqqani network: McCain

July 4, 2011

A top US Senator has accused Pakistan's ISI of having links with the Haqqani network and asked the Obama Administration to have a true assessment of the situation in the country. "One of our big problems is of course Pakistan and a lot of the leadership resides in Pakistan," John McCain,

the top Republican Senator from Arizona told the CNN in an interview on Sunday.

He said there is no doubt that there is connections between Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and the Haqqani Network.

"We are going to have a realistic assessment of the true assessment in Pakistan, because there's no doubt that there is connections between ISI and the Haqqani Network who are responsible not only for the hotel tragedy there, but also for the attacks on Americans and our allies," he said.

"And that's not acceptable," McCain said.

Full report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/There-is-connection-between-ISI-and-Haqqani-network-McCain/Article1-717086.aspx

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Key Taliban leader arrested in Islamabad

Jul 4, 2011

ISLAMABAD: A key Taliban leader has been arrested by authorities in Pakistan, Xinhua reported Sunday.

The arrest was made during an overnight raid Saturday in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. However, there is uncertainity over the exact identity of the Taliban leader.

Conflicting reports in Pakistan's local media suggested the arrested leader is Zia-ur-Rahman, who was in-charge of the intelligence network of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

He is being questioned for his activities, said one report while adding there is no official word on the arrest.

The name of the arrested leader has created confusion as there is another senior Taliban leader with the name of Qari Zia-ur-Rahman.

Qari, who had been living for years in northwest Pakistan, is now leading his fighters in Afghanistan's Kunar province. He had moved to Afghanistan in the wake of major military operation in Bajaur in 2008-2009.

Qari was wanted both by the US and Pakistani sides for attacks in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal region and attacks on US security forces in Afghanistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Key-Taliban-leader-arrested-in-Islamabad/articleshow/9087302.cms

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Terrorism biggest challenge for Pakistan: Admiral Bashir

July 4, 2011

KARACHI: The 95th passing out parade for officers of the Pakistan Naval Academy took place on Monday, Geo News reported. Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nauman Bashir was the chief guest.

While addressing the gathering of naval officers, he said that Pakistan is facing many challenges and terrorism is at the top of the list of challenges.

Ninety four officers including seven women were commissioned during the passing out parade and the Naval Chief said that the inclusion of women in the Pakistan Navy is a testament to their hard work and perseverance.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=18055

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Afghan mortar wounds four in North Waziristan

July 4, 2011

It was the latest incident in a series of alleged cross-border attacks that have raised tensions between the two countries as officials confirmed exploratory peace contacts between Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Four Pakistanis including two children were wounded on Monday when a mortar shell fired from Afghanistan struck a village near the border, security officials said.

It was the latest incident in a series of alleged cross-border attacks that have raised tensions between the two countries as officials confirmed exploratory peace contacts between Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban.

The officials said the shell hit Bangedar village in the Ghulam Khan district of North Waziristan.

“The fire came from an Afghan border post in Khost province (in eastern Afghanistan) early this morning,” said local government official Mohammed Khan.

“One injured person is in a critical condition,” said doctor Mubarak Khan at the main hospital in Miranshah, adding that two children aged eight and 13 were among those wounded.

In Kabul, around 200 Afghans protested on Saturday against Pakistani rocket attacks that officials say have killed dozens of people.

Last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded an end to the attacks when he met army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, in the Afghan capital.

Pakistan said only that its security forces may have fired a few accidental rounds into Afghanistan while pursuing militants across the porous 2,400 kilometre border.

There are Taliban strongholds on both sides of the border, but Afghan and US officials want Pakistan to do more to eradicate militant sanctuaries in its semi-autonomous tribal belt used to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/202143/afghan-mortar-wounds-four-in-north-waziristan/

Cross-border raid: Militants attack 2 villages in Bajaur

July 4, 2011

PESHAWAR: At least hundred militants crossed over into Bajaur Agency from Afghanistan and attacked two villages late Sunday night.

The two villages in tehsil Mamoond came under attack at midnight. One security personnel was killed and one injured as a result of the attack, sources at tehsil headquarters in Khar confirmed.

Officials in the area said the militants had fired rockets at a tribal lashkar check-post located on a hilltop but no casualties were reported.

Official sources also said security forces had cleared the area and a search operation was underway.

The militants fled the area and crossed back into Afghanistan after the attack. The death toll could not be confirmed as the militants reportedly carried the bodies back.

There have been five major attacks from Afghanistan in the last month, with up to 250 to 300 militants crossing over and attacking posts in Dir Mohmand and Bajaur.

Afghanistan has also alleged that Pakistan has fired over 400 rockets over the border during the last month. Pakistan rejects these allegations, saying only that “a few accidental rounds” may have crossed the border when it pursued militants who had attacked its security forces.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/202131/cross-border-raid-militants-attack-2-villages-in-bajaur/

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‘Haqqani network bought suicide bomber from TTP’: Intelligence AgencyJuly 4, July 4, 2011

KABUL: Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Sunday that a senior commander from the Pakistani Taliban sold a suicide bomber to an Afghan militant network, to carry out an attack on a local commander in eastern Afghanistan.

Relations between the neighbours are already strained by weeks of cross-border shelling of Afghanistan’s east. Pakistan denies more than “a few accidental” rounds have landed in Afghanistan; Kabul says hundreds have hit. The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, said the bomber was a Pakistani national and was detained by NDS agents in Jaji Maidan district of eastern Paktia province before he could carry out his mission. Sher Hassan was sent by the Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan, but had not signed up to join them, the NDS said in a statement. Instead, he said, he was bought by the group to target “Azizullah”, a commander whose affiliation and rank were not given by the NDS. Hassan then spent a month after his sale training with the Haqqani network. “The detained man added that a commander under Hakimullah Mehsud sells suicide bombers at 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 Pakistani rupees ($70,000 to $93,000), to the Haqqani network for suicide missions,” the statement said.

Mehsud is the leader of Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, blamed for many suicide bombings across Pakistan. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg7_12

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Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti organised by Ilyas Kashmiri'

July 4, 2011

Islamabad: The assassination of Pakistan's Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was organised by al-Qaeda-linked militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri and the perpetrators of the crime are currently in Dubai, his brother Paul Bhatti has said.

"The investigations into the murder of my brother Shabhaz are finally on the right track: it is the work carried out by the Taliban and Islamic fanatics. Now we are waiting for the capture of the perpetrators of the crime, who are in Dubai," Paul said.

An inquiry commission set up by Interior Minister Rehman Malik had concluded following investigations that the murder was organized by al-Qaeda's 313 Brigade, also known as the "ghost army" and led by militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri, he said.

According to the commission's report, the 313 Brigade commissioned a Taliban commander from Punjab province, Asmatullah Mawaia, to eliminate Shahbaz.

The plan was then executed by elements of the Tehrik-e-Islami extremist group along with a faction of the Ghazi Force, Paul said.

The Interior Minister had "announced an international arrest warrant" for the perpetrators, said Paul, currently Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for religious minorities.

Shahbaz was gunned down near his residence in the heart of Islamabad on March 2 as he was driving to work.

He was the second senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People's Party to be assassinated for opposing the controversial blasphemy law.

Earlier in the year, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed by a police guard.

The 313 Brigade is the military organization of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and has been blamed for numerous attacks. It includes elements of the Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul- Jihad-al-Islami, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Ghazi Force was set up by followers of the clerics of the radical Lal Masjid in Islamabad.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/812216/

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Blast hits Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan

July 4, 2011

Unidentified assailants blew up the Egyptian pipeline that carries gas to Israel and Jordan early on Monday, starting a fire and disrupting the flow of the gas, security officials said.

The blast took place in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, near the Mediterranean coastal city of El-Arish, which is 50 km from Israel’s border.

The Egyptian officials had no further details and there were no immediate reports of casualties. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The blast is the third to hit the strategic pipeline since an uprising overthrew Egypt’s long-time leader Hosni Mubarak in February.

No one claimed responsibility for Monday’s explosion. Disgruntled Bedouin tribesmen in the area have been blamed for attacking the pipeline in the past.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2157698.ece

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Pak military supporting militant groups like LeT

July 4, 2011

New York : Not withstanding its repeated refutal of links with terror groups, the Pakistan military continues to support a broad range of militants as part of its three-decade strategy of using proxies against its neighbours and US forces in Afghanistan, a former top militant commander has claimed.

Terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen and Hizbul Mujahedeen are run by religious leaders, with the Pakistani military providing training, strategic planning and protection, the militant leader said.

A former top militant commander, said he was supported by the Pakistani military for 15 years as a fighter, leader and trainer of insurgents until he quit a few years ago.

The commander is well known in militant circles, but accustomed to a covert existence, 'New York Times' reported publishing an interview, the paper claimed he gave on the condition that his name, location and personal details would not be revealed.

Times said, that the former commander's account belies years of assurance by Pakistan to American officials since September 11 2001 attacks that it has ceased supporting militant groups on its territory.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/812541/

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Osama bin Laden had support system in Pakistan: Donilon

July 4, 2011

WASHINGTON: Osama bin Laden had some sort of "support mechanism" while operating out of Pakistan for six years which raises a lot of questions, a top White House official has said.

"The fact is that Osama bin Laden operated out of Abbottabad, Pakistan for six years or so, in an operational role, leading al-Qaida, in a town 35 miles from Islamabad. It is clear that he had some sort of support mechanism there," National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told CNN in an interview on Sunday.

"I don't think at this point we know all the elements of that support mechanism, and we're still obviously working through that," he added.

But, he said he had not seen evidence that Pakistani "leadership elements" had knowledge of bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.

"I've not seen any evidence that the Pakistani leadership elements, neither in the army, military, the intelligence or the political leadership, had foreknowledge of Osama bin Laden's operating in Abbottabad, Pakistan," he said.

"But, the fact is that he did operate there for an extended period of time, and that raises a lot of questions, and those questions are being asked in Pakistan," Donilon said.

The National Security Advisor said the US has a tremendous amount of information that was recovered from the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden operated.

The al-Qaida chief was killed in a raid by US commandos in Abbottabad, near the Pakistani capital city on May 2.

From the outset, he said, the Obama administration determined that it would launch an aggressive, focused, relentless effort on al-Qaida and associated groups to dismantle, disrupt and ultimately defeat them.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Osama-bin-Laden-had-support-system-in-Pakistan-Donilon/articleshow/9098091.cms

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Zardari gifts Camerons 'bizarre' portrait of themselves with baby Florence

July 4, 2011

LONDON: A painting presented by Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari to PM David Cameron during his visit here last week has been termed 'bizarre', with a leading British tabloid recommending that it be hung in a toilet in 10, Downing Street.

The painting is based on a widely-published photograph of Cameron, his wife Samantha and daughter Florence, when she was born on 10 August last year.

Aides of Zardari were snapped carrying the painting into 10, Downing Street, when Zardari visited the prime minister's office-cumresidence last week. Calling the painting 'bizarre' and an example of 'tacky offerings' made by world leaders, the Daily Mail said: "But Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari does not appear to have understood quite how the etiquette works" .

It added: "Critics claim something similar could be knocked out with the help of a computer within a day. Zardari is in London on a two day visit to discuss enhancing UK-Pakistan partnership in trade and investment".

The report began by stating that "one can only imagine David Cameron's reaction when he saw the gift... one for the downstairs loo perhaps". While some readers agreed with the tabloid's recommendation that the painting be placed in the toilet, others complimented the quality of the painting.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Zardari-gifts-Camerons-bizarre-portrait-of-themselves-with-baby-Florence/articleshow/9089368.cms

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Border strife in Afghanistan shows wider tensions

July 4, 2011

On a mountain trail toward the border with Pakistan, the explosions became louder, more constant and finally visible as puffs of smoke on distant peaks and rising from valleys.

Families escaping the fusillade led donkeys strapped with mattresses and bags of clothes the other way, down the steep footpaths. They passed crippled trees, cratered houses, empty villages. Some of the villagers had shrapnel scars and described seeing relatives blown apart during a five-week artillery barrage from Pakistan.

“My grandson was nine years old,” said Juma Gul, a 60-year-old village elder in the Sirkanay district in eastern Afghanistan. “He and three other children were herding our goats when a rocket came. All four were killed. We could not find most of their bodies.”

A loud crack sounded and rolled over the peaks. Mr. Gul swept his hand toward the mountain range rising toward Pakistan. “Still the rockets are landing here,” he said.

The shelling in Kunar province is taking place along one of the most strategically important fronts of the war -- a haven for hardcore insurgent groups fighting in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been so stung by insurgents’ recent cross-border attacks, they launched an offensive that also highlights NATO’s struggles to pacify the area and the lack of cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan against their common foes.

NATO officials, in fact, say they were unaware of the extent of Pakistan’s artillery barrage across Afghanistan’s border until last week because Western troops have been pulled back from more remote outposts in Kunar.

Afghan government officials have accused Pakistan of launching more than 761 rockets over the border into Kunar province since May and causing the deaths of at least 40 people and injuring 51. Pakistan has denied hitting Afghanistan intentionally, but acknowledged its military has been targeting Islamic militants to halt cross-border raids and that some rockets may have strayed off course.

Last month, President Hamid Karzai complained about the shelling to the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari.

Since those meetings, however, the assaults appear to have intensified in Kunar, about 125 miles (205 kilometers) east of Kabul.

Full report at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2157999.ece

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Headley initially refused to entertain questions on Rana

July 4, 2011

Washington: In the first few days of his arrest, Mumbai terror attack accused David Headley refused to entertain any question on his childhood friend Tahawwur Husain Rana, as he wanted to save him.

It was only after he was informed by the FBI agents that Rana has been arrested on terror related charge that Headley agreed to respond to questions about Pakistani Canadian Rana, Headley informed a Chicago court during a recently concluded Rana trial.

"I did not want them to be affected by my case," the 50-year-old Pakistani American told the court when asked by the government attorney when he testified before the jury during the Rana trial.

"Why not?" the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative was asked.

"I'm close to them. I didn't want to," Headley said.

"Besides your wife, who's the closest friend that you have in the world?" he was asked."Dr Rana," Headley said.

Headley said "Yes, I did" when the government attorney asked if he came to learn that Rana had been arrested.

And after Rana was arrested by the FBI on terror related charges, Headley said, he had conversation with the government about it.

After the conversation, the US attorney told Headley that if he was to cooperate it "would have to be complete," and he could not refuse to talk about any individual.

"So I decided to comply with that," he said.

The Mumbai terror accused also told the court that he initially lied about Rana to the FBI investigators, but later on provided information about him.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/812243/

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Rangers killing case: Brother was told police killed Shah

July 4, 2011

Arrested Pakistani paramilitary Rangers and a civilian, their faces covered in blankets, sit in a armored vehicle as they leave for jail from an anti-terrorism court after a hearing in Karachi. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

KARACHI: The brother of Sarfaraz Shah, the youth who was killed by Rangers in Karachi, said on Monday that when he went to the hospital to receive Shah’s body he was told that his brother had been killed by the police and the two Rangers personnel were standing by the body.

Salik Shah, the brother of Sarfaraz Shah recorded his statement before an Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday.

Earlier, witnesses also recorded their statements about the murder of Sarfaraz Shah by rangers in Karachi.

The case is being heard in an Anti-Terrorism Court. All four applications filed by the defence to have the Sarfaraz Shah murder trial transferred from an anti-terrorism court to an ordinary one were rejected on Saturday by the presiding officer, Bashir Ahmed Khoso. On Wednesday, the court had charged all six members of the paramilitary force with murder for the killing of Sarfaraz Shah.

Nineteen-year-old Sarfaraz Shah was shot by Rangers in the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Park on June 8. The incident was caught on videotape and broadcast on television channels nationwide.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/202144/rangers-killing-case-brother-was-told-police-killed-shah/

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Afghan drawdown plan ‘unnecessary risk’: McCain

July 4, 2011

KABUL: Top US lawmakers on Sunday slammed President Barack Obama’s military drawdown plans for Afghanistan as risky, unsupported by his military commanders and a threat to progress made in the last year.

“Withdrawal at the rate Obama has planned on, including the removal of 33,000 surge troops by the end of next summer, is an unnecessary risk and that is why there was no military leader who recommended it,” Republican Senator John McCain said during a visit to Kabul.

Joined by fellow Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman in the Afghan capital, the trio spoke to media after visiting US troops.

Graham described progress in parts of the war-torn country as “really stunning” but warned that “all the gains are still reversible”.

“What I’m mostly concerned about is that the accelerated withdrawal of surge forces has created a perception that we are leaving,” said Graham.

“Withdrawal is what the enemy wants to hear and our goal is to make sure they don’t hear withdrawal and the Afghan people don’t hear withdrawal,” he later added.

Both General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said Obama’s plan was more “aggressive” than they had recommended.

Obama late last month said 10,000 troops would leave this year and all 33,000 personnel sent as part of a surge ordered in late 2009 would be home by next summer, leaving a US force of some 65,000.

There are currently up to 150,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan, including about 99,000 from the United States.

Obama has indicated a series of drawdown until Afghan forces assume full security responsibility in 2014.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/04/afghan-drawdown-plan-%E2%80%98unnecessary-risk%E2%80%99-mccain.html

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Pakistan complains of new cross-border Afghan attacks

July 4, 2011

There are Taliban strongholds on both sides of the border, but Afghan and US officials want Pakistan to do more to eradicate militant sanctuaries in its tribal belt. — Photo by AFP

PESHAWAR: Pakistan said Monday that dozens of Taliban infiltrated from Afghanistan to attack a check post, killing one soldier as mutual recriminations over cross-border attacks intensified.

It was the latest in a series of alleged cross-border incidents that have raised tensions between the neighbours even as officials confirmed exploratory peace contacts between Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban.

There are Taliban strongholds on both sides of the border, but Afghan and US officials want Pakistan to do more to eradicate militant sanctuaries in its semi-autonomous tribal belt that is used to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said one soldier was killed and another wounded in the attack on the post in the tribal district in Bajaur, about three kilometres from the Afghan border.

“Since Bajaur has been cleared by the military, the military is present in the area so this attack has to come from the other side,” he said.

Pakistan has repeatedly claimed to have eliminated the militant threat in Bajaur, one of seven districts in the tribal belt that Washington has called the global headquarters of al Qaeda, but attacks on troops have continued.

Local administration official Islam Zeb told AFP that more than 100 Afghan Taliban attacked the paramilitary check post in the Kitkot area of the Mamoond district of Bajaur early Monday, and confirmed the casualties.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/04/mortar-fire-from-afghanistan-wounds-four-in-north-waziristan.html

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Sudan partition leaves rebel Nuba region feeling betrayed

July 4, 2011

As southern Sudan prepares for independence on Saturday, residents of the Nuba mountains near the new border are pushing for a breakaway state rather than affiliation with the north or the south.

The region lies in the Arabised north of Sudan, although its people have long been sympathetic to the south. But conflict in the area in recent weeks has cast a shadow over independence and bodes ill for the stability of Sudan after partition.

"There is no way for me to be part of the north anymore," said 35-year-old Yohanes Mudier. "I haven't fought for so many years just to fall under the same government again."

Like many of his fellow Nubians, Mudier joined southern Sudan's rebel movement at the start of the 1983-2005 Sudanese war to support what he thought would be a struggle towards freedom. He spent 14 years in the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) without going to see his family. When he came back to the Nuba mountains in 2006, after peace deals had been signed, many of his relatives were dead.

Mudier says there is no reason for him to celebrate independence. "I am part of the SPLA, but I feel I have been left behind. We will never get anything out of Khartoum through a political process. There is no point in talking to them any more."

His remarks reflect the views of a growing number of Nubians who feel betrayed by all the players involved in the peace agreement: the Sudanese government, the international community, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the political wing of the SPLA. Most Nubians are still affiliated with the northern wing of the movement, but many would prefer independence to joining the south.

Full report at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/03/sudan-partition-rebel-nuba-region

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US slams Gaddafi threat to attack Europe

July 4, 2011

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton stepped up Western calls on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit, brushing off his threat to attack Europeans in their homes and offices. "Instead of issuing threats, Gaddafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people first and he should step down from power and help facilitate a democratic transition," Clinton told reporters on a trip to Spain.

In an address relayed to some 100,000 supporters in Tripoli's Green Square on Friday, Gaddafi urged Nato to halt its bombing campaign or risk seeing Libyan fighters descend on Europe "like a swarm of locusts or bees".

"Retreat, you have no chance of beating this brave people," Gaddafi said. "They can attack your homes, your offices and your families, which will become military targets just as you have transformed our offices, headquarters, houses and children into what you regard as legitimate military targets," he said.

NATO announced it had stepped up strikes on Gaddafi forces in west Libya including the capital Tripoli, saying it had carried out more than 50 attacks since Monday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said the alliance stance was unchanged.

"Spain's and the international coalition's response is to maintain the unity and determination with which we have been working these past months," she said.

Libyan rebels who had advanced to within 80 km (50 miles) of the capital were stopped in their tracks on Friday by a barrage of rocket fire from government forces, underlining the dogged resistance of Gaddafi troops to a five-month revolt.

Full report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/africa/US-slams-Gaddafi-threat-to-attack-Europe/Article1-716975.aspx

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US shifts Afghan supply routes to Central Asia: report

July 4, 2011

WASHINGTON: The US military is expanding its Central Asian supply routes to the war in Afghanistan, fearing that the routes going through Pakistan could be endangered by deteriorating US-Pakistani relations, The Washington Post reported late on Saturday.

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said that in 2009, the United States moved 90 percent of its military surface cargo through the port of Karachi and then through mountain passes into Afghanistan. Now almost 40 percent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network, the report said.

The military is pushing to raise the northern network’s share to as much as 75 percent by the end of this year, the paper said. In addition, the US government is negotiating expanded agreements with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries that would allow for delivery of additional supplies to the Afghan war zone, The Post said. The United States also wants permission to withdraw vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan as the US military prepares to pull out one-third of its forces by September 2012, the paper noted.

Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg1_7

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Indonesian Consulate launches Independence Day celebrations

By Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Indonesian Consulate in Karachi has launched celebrations on Sunday at its premises to commemorate the 66th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia.

Consul General of Indonesia in Karachi Rossalis R Adenan inaugurated the celebrations amid their traditional drum beating.

Month-long celebrations focused on sports activities, which will continue till the end of national day of the Indonesia. Several colorful activities have been scheduled for the Indonesian community in Pakistan as well as for the Pakistani families.

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General emphasised on the importance of freedom and its impacts on nations. He urged the local based Indonesian community to be vigilant about their surroundings and respect the local values, which were almost similar as in Indonesia and act as a responsible citizen while living in Pakistan.

Adenan also invited the Indonesian community to take active part in the sports activities that include bowling, tug-of-war, billiard, table tennis and domino to be held on every Sunday at the Consulate.

The sports activities have been scheduled to entertain the Indonesian community so that they could celebrate their National Day in an enjoyable manner, he added.

The first event of sports activities was bowling competition held at a local club, while other games will be held on consecutive holidays. Games for children will also be organised separately. A large number of Karachi-based Indonesian families, besides the staff of the consulate, attended the ceremony.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg7_1

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Pak-Afghan border strife shows wider tensions

July 4, 2011

SIRKANAY: On a mountain trail toward the border with Pakistan, the explosions became louder, more constant and finally visible as puffs of smoke on distant peaks and rising from valleys.

Families escaping the fusillade led donkeys strapped with mattresses and bags of clothes the other way, down the steep footpaths. They passed crippled trees, cratered houses and empty villages. Some of the villagers had shrapnel scars and described seeing relatives blown apart during a five-week artillery barrage from Pakistan.

“My grandson was nine years old,” said Juma Gul, a 60-year-old village elder in the Sirkanay district in eastern Afghanistan. “He and three other children were herding our goats when a rocket came. All four were killed. We could not find most of their bodies.”

A loud crack sounded and rolled over the peaks. Gul swept his hand toward the mountain range rising toward Pakistan. “Still the rockets are landing here,” he said.

The shelling in Kunar province is taking place along one of the most strategically important fronts of the war — a haven for hardcore insurgent groups fighting in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\04\story_4-7-2011_pg7_13

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Syria: Man appears to film himself being shot by sniper

July 4, 2011

Shocking video footage has emerged from the Syrian city of Homs in which a young man filming gunfire in the streets appears to be shot dead in cold blood by the sniper he zooms in on.

A clip circulating on YouTube begins with a male voice describing "someone shooting at citizens in Karm al-Sham on 1 July without any reason and no demonstrations."

The cameraman is filming from an upper floor against a background of slogans being chanted. Jerky images of the street and balconies are followed by a blurred glimpse of a man in olive green, standing in the shadows, carefully moving forward and raising and firing a weapon – followed by a single shot, moaning, and distraught voices pleading for help.

The cameraman's identity is not known. Foreign journalists and human rights groups are largely banned from Syria and it has not been possible to authenticate the video.

The caption describes the gunman as a member of the Shabiha, a militia used by the Assad regime. Last Friday's demonstrations were described as the biggest yet in the three and a half month uprising. Human rights groups say the death toll in Homs, Syria's third city, is continuing to rise as security forces and gangs loyal to the Assad regime seek to crush protesters who come out in growing numbers in separate neighbourhoods on a daily basis. Tanks remain positioned in the city.

Full report at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/03/syria-man-film-shot-sniper

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Lebanon bloc urges arrests in Hariri killing

4 July 2011

Visitors enter to pay their respect at the grave of Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister Rafik Al Hariri, in downtown Beirut. Reuters

Lebanon’s pro-Western bloc has called on the govt to respect an international tribunal calling for the arrest of four Hezbollah members in the assassination of a former prime minister.

Hezbollah’s leader denies his group had any role in Rafik Harri’s 2005 killing and has vowed to protect suspects from arrest.

But the pro-Western bloc known as March 14 said in a statement late Sunday that Hezbollah is holding the country hostage by making it choose between justice and stability.

The Cabinet is packed with Hezbollah allies, so there is little enthusiasm within the current leadership to press forward with the case.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/July/middleeast_July79.xml&section=middleeast

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Gaza flotilla: We still plan to breach blockade

4 July 2011

ATHENS — Organizers of a Gaza-bound flotilla said they have not abandoned their plans to breach Israel’s sea blockade of the territory despite a Greek government ban on their vessels leaving the country’s ports.

The campaign experienced a major setback when Greece announced its restrictions on Friday, and authorities arrested the captain of a boat carrying American activists that tried to leave Greece without permission.

However, coordinators of the flotilla were trying to maintain momentum with small protests in Athens in the face of increasing calls for them to scrap their campaign. On Saturday, the Middle East Quartet of Mideast mediators — the US, UN, EU and Russia — urged governments to discourage Gaza-bound flotillas that could escalate tension in the region.

Several protesters from the American vessel briefly protested outside the US Embassy before leaving. They had originally planned to stay there overnight. They want Washington to pressure Greece to release their American captain, John Klusmire, and allow them to depart for the Gaza Strip.

The US Embassy provided standard consular services to the American citizens in the flotilla “before and after” the interception of their vessel, spokesman Stuart Smith said.

The Obama administration had warned American activists against participating in the flotilla, saying they might be violating US law because Gaza is run by the militant Hamas group, a US-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/July/middleeast_July73.xml&section=middleeast

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Bangladesh bans film over villain’s dress sense

4 July 2011

DHAKA — Bangladeshi censors have banned a film in which the main villain is shown wearing a jacket associated with the ruling Awami League party, saying it could trigger violence.

The film Ridoy Bhanga Dhew (Heart Breaking Wave), which was shot in Thailand, was refused a screening permit as it “mocks” ruling party officials, the vice-chairman of the Film Censor Board, Surat Kumar Sarker told AFP Monday.

“We have rejected the film because it clearly violates the country’s film censor rules. It goes against a political philosophy of the country,” Sarker said.

The main villain in the film is shown wearing a “Mujib coat” — a distinctive, black sleeveless jacket named after Bangladesh’s founding leader, Sheikh Rahman, who wore it when addressing political rallies.

It is usually worn only by Awami League members keen to show their party allegiance.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is Sheikh Rahman’s daughter.

“There is no need for the character to wear this dress. It could spark violence,” said Akanda Sanawar Morshed, a filmmaker and member of the censor board.

Morshed also noted that a hero in the film was shown wearing a safari suit of the style favoured by members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Hasina’s bitter enemy Khaleda Zia.

The film’s director Gazi Mazharul Anwar told AFP that, while he was a member of the BNP, he had never set out to mock anyone.

“Politics has nothing to do with the film,” he said, adding that he would appeal the ban.

In 2007, Bangladesh’s then army-backed government banned a movie after a character — playing the role of a criminal — was shown in military fatigues.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/entertainment/2011/July/entertainment_July12.xml&section=entertainment

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World Press on Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus

July 4th, 2011

The Guardian published an article entitled ‘Strangers in a foreign land’ by Kamin Mohammadi, an emigrant from Iran, telling the story of her life after fleeing the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when she was nine with her mother and sister to live in London. Later, her father joined them. She remembers the confusion of a new life in exile, after a move that changed their lives radically.

According to the Hurriyet Daily newspaper, Prime Minister Erdoğan’s meeting with US senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham might be a step to a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian talks. Only Turkey can convince the Palestinian organization Hamas to join in peace talks with Israel, the three U.S. senators told the Turkish prime minister over the weekend, according to well-placed sources. In response, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham that, if Hamas was “encouraged” to participate in the Palestinian peace talks, then Turkey “would do its best” to convince the organization to sit at the negotiating table, according to sources.

Full report at: http://vestnikkavkaza.net/world-press-review/politics/15464.html

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Iran says to close Hormuz Strait if threatened

2011-07-04

TEHRAN, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Iran will not restrict itself to closing the Strait of Hormuz if it is threatened, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Monday.

Closing the Strait of Hormuz is on Iran's agenda in special circumstances and in the face of threats, Jafari told the Mehr News Agency, adding that "we have not limited ourselves to this ( tactic) and have not stopped there."

"Currently, we are seeking to utilize our defensive capabilities in open seas. And it means that if enemy plans to pose a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran from outside the Strait of Hormuz, we are capable of taking retaliatory measures, and this strategy is currently on our agenda," he was quoted as saying.

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

Full report at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/04/c_13965183.htm

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Indonesian Consulate launches Independence Day celebrations

2011-07-04

Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Indonesian Consulate in Karachi has launched celebrations on Sunday at its premises to commemorate the 66th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia.

Consul General of Indonesia in Karachi Rossalis R Adenan inaugurated the celebrations amid their traditional drum beating.

Month-long celebrations focused on sports activities, which will continue till the end of national day of the Indonesia. Several colorful activities have been scheduled for the Indonesian community in Pakistan as well as for the Pakistani families.

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General emphasised on the importance of freedom and its impacts on nations. He urged the local based Indonesian community to be vigilant about their surroundings and respect the local values, which were almost similar as in Indonesia and act as a responsible citizen while living in Pakistan.

Adenan also invited the Indonesian community to take active part in the sports activities that include bowling, tug-of-war, billiard, table tennis and domino to be held on every Sunday at the Consulate.

The sports activities have been scheduled to entertain the Indonesian community so that they could celebrate their National Day in an enjoyable manner, he added.

The first event of sports activities was bowling competition held at a local club, while other games will be held on consecutive holidays. Games for children will also be organised separately. A large number of Karachi-based Indonesian families, besides the staff of the consulate, attended the ceremony.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C07%5C04%5Cstory_4-7-2011_pg7_1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/bride-bazaar-flourishes-in-hyderabad,-india/d/4962


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