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Islamic World News ( 22 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Deadly unrest grips Libya; 400 Killed

Suicide bomber kills 30 as Afghanistan violence spreads

Maulana Vastanvi to continue as Darul Uloom VC for now

Saudi women fighting the odds

Minority status for Jamia Millia Islamia

Godhra train burning: Court blames 31, acquits 63

Calls for 'Jasmine revolution' continues in China

Pressure builds on Vastanvi to quit

Libyan interior minister joins rebellion

Opposition trying to wrest control of Tripoli

Gaddafi grip weakens as forces take on protesters

Gaddafi says no surrender, protesters deserve death

Obama faces pressure to intervene in Libya

US plans NATO invasion of Libya, says Castro

Gaddafi digs in, Indians to fly out

Bahrain orders release of political prisoners

Thousands call for Yemeni leader’s ouster

Dalit set afire after son elopes with Muslim girl

IDB to help Muslim Aid push social progress

Afzal Guru's mercy petition not yet sent

Kasab to appeal against death penalty

Post-Egypt, Kashmir may put Centre in a spot

Document on 'Political solution to Kashmir' within 2 weeks: Interlocutors

CIA or not, Davis still has immunity, says US

Mullah Omar still calls the shots

Battle-scarred Taliban defying leadership

Davis has TTP links, says Pakistani media

Davis issue could spark Egypt-style revolution in Pak

Musharraf’s extradition not being pursued’

US eyes Iranian warships in Mediterranean

Yemeni army arrests al-Qaeda leader

Pirates kill four US hostages near Somalia

 MNLF to reap fruits of peace in southern

Many expats decide to return to ‘a new Egypt’

Egypt replaces several Mubarak-era ministers

Algeria OKs plan to lift state of emergency

Yamani: Nuclear pact to meet, energy needs

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/deadly-unrest-grips-libya;-400-killed/d/4179

 

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Deadly unrest grips Libya; 400 killed

February 23, 2011

TRIPOLI: The regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is facing its biggest threat since it took over Libya 41 years ago as the death toll of the unrest gripped the country over the past seven days hit 400.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, citing eyewitnesses, said deadly clashes in the Libyan capital of Tripoli claimed the lives of 160 people on Monday.

It said the Libyan forces hurled protesters in Tripoli with hand grenades in a last ditch to keep the regime of Gaddafi alive.

The Libyan air force bombed protesters in the capital of Tripoli while they were on the way to a base belongs to the army, it added.

In a televised speech, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam warned that his father, in power for 41 years, will fight to the end and he would never give up. "We will fight to the last bullet to the last soldier," Saif al-Islam said.

But he said on Monday that a commission will be tasked to investigate the latest wave of protests and unrest that swept the country over the past days, Libya's state TV said.

Seif al-Islam said he has set up the commission which will be headed by a Libyan judge and include members of Libyan and foreign human rights groups.

Security forces and pro-Gaddafi militia looted banks and other government institutions in Tripoli, and protesters had broken into several police stations and wrecked them.

Protesters in Tripoli have ransacked the headquarters of state television overnight and set the government buildings on fire.

Fighting has also broken out in the eastern cities of Al-Bayada, Ajdabiya, Darnah, and Tobruk.

Inspired by streets-born uprisings that had swept Tunisia and Egypt and forced their leaders to step down, thousands of Libyans have started a string of protests against Gaddafi.

A host of Muslim scholars in Libya issued a fatwa (a religious edict) to urge all Muslims to join the protests against the Libyan leadership, Al-Jazeera TV reported.

The so-called Network of Free Ulema of Libya, grouping 50 preachers, said that all Muslims have a religious obligation to rebel against the regime of leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya's permanent representative to the Arab League, who resigned over a heavy-handed security crackdown on protesters, said a number of Tribal chieftains will gather in Tripoli tonight to muster a support for falling Gaddafi. "They will gather to end the regime," Abdel Moneim al-Honi told Al-Jazeera TV.

Al-Honi said the chief of the Libya army is now under house arrest.

"I have confirmed information say Libyan army chief General Abu- Bakr Yunis Jabil is now under house arrest," he said.

But Libya's official TV said that security forces are now targeting dozens of rioters and those who incite violence, and urged people to cooperate with the operation.

The TV stopped short of providing more details, but it urged all citizens to help the security forces to restore security in the country which has been hit by a wave of protests, the worst since Gaddafi took power more than 40 years ago. (Agencies)

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11589

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Suicide bomber kills 30 as Afghanistan violence spreads

Feb 21, 2011

KUNDUZ: A suicide bomber killed at least 30 people in a government office in northern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said, with violence spiralling across the country even before an expected spring offensive.

Afghan and NATO-led forces were also investigating two serious incidents involving civilian casualties, the latest killing up to six people when a misdirected air strike appeared to hit a home in eastern Nangarhar province.

In Kunduz province in the north, the centre of a growing front in the Taliban-led insurgency, a suicide bomber killed at least 30 people, Mohammad Ayoub Haqyar, the chief of Emam Saheb district, told Reuters. Another 40 were wounded.

Haqyar said the bomber struck while people were queueing to collect identity cards inside a government office. Kunduz police chief, Abdul Qayum Ibrahimi, said three police were among the dead and that many civilians were wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, claimed responsibility for the Kunduz blast on behalf of the Islamist group. He said the target was men who were signing up for a community police group.

Kunduz has become established as an insurgent base over the past two years, with attacks radiating out into surrounding provinces while NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) offensives have been concentrated in Taliban strongholds in the south and east.

In 2010, violence across Afghanistan hit its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, despite the presence of about 150,000 foreign troops.

So far in 2011 there has been no let-up in attacks, or any sign of the traditional winter lull, and US commanders have warned violence is likely to spike even more when spring begins.

That is a worrying sign, analysts say, with US President Barack Obama having pledged to begin a gradual withdrawal of US troops in July as part of an overall timetable to hand security responsibility to Afghan Forces in 2014.

US commanders say their troops have started to make real headway, mainly in the south, since 30,000 extra troops arrived last year. But some analysts now question the wisdom of the July timetable so soon after progress has been noted and argue foreign troops should stay beyond 2014 to consolidate gains.

More civilians killed

Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of the war, and those caused by foreign troops have long been a source of tension with Afghan leaders.

ISAF said it was investigating whether its forces had killed or wounded civilians in a strike against insurgents seen placing a roadside bomb in eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday.

Reuters Television footage from the area showed two dead children, a boy and a girl, placed in fleece-lined coffins. A Reuters witness reported seeing six bodies outside a house in Nangarhar's Khogiani district, including four children.

Ahmadzia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, said a missile had killed six family members.

A badly damaged house could be seen with a gaping hole in its roof, which appeared to have been hit by a rocket or a missile fired from an aircraft.

"This is a deeply regrettable accident," ISAF spokesman US Army Colonel Patrick Hynes said in a statement.

Late on Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned raids in Kunar province, also in the east, which his office said killed more than 50 civilians.

Kunar Governor Fazlullah Wahidi earlier told Reuters that 64 civilians were killed by ground and air strikes in the Ghazi Abad district during operations spanning four days.

ISAF however cast doubt on the toll in Kunar but said an investigation with Afghan officials had begun on Monday.

Rear Admiral Greg Smith, the chief ISAF spokesman, said the probe would centre on a firefight that began in a rugged and remote area on Thursday night and lasted more than five hours.

He said ISAF had "clear intelligence" that Taliban leaders were planning a meeting that evening and that surveillance footage from weapons systems did not indicate any civilians, or permanent settlements, were in the area.

Rules governing air strikes and night raids have been tightened significantly in the past two years, leading to a drop in civilian casualties caused by foreign forces.

A United Nations report late last year found that civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose 20 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 compared with 2009, with more than three-quarters killed or wounded by insurgents.

On Saturday, at least 40 people were killed in an attack on a bank in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar, the worst attack in Afghanistan for eight months.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Suicide-bomber-kills-30-as-Afghanistan-violence-spreads-/articleshow/7541678.cms#ixzz1EnBaV757

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Vastanvi to continue as Darul Uloom VC for now

Abantika Ghosh

Feb 23, 2011

DEOBAND: Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, under attack for his his alleged endorsement of pro-Narendra Modi administration in Gujarat, will continue as vice-chancellor of Deoband Darul Uloom religious seminary till a three-member committee makes an enquiry into the controversy, according to Islamic seminary governing council sources.

Until then, Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani will act as the caretaker vice-chancellor of the religious seminary. If committee finds Vastanvi at fault, Nomani will automatically become the regular vice-chancellor.

The seminary students clearly belong to two groups. One section is articulate, aggressive and sore with incumbent Darul vice-chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi for his pro-Modi stand. Their resistance to Vastanvi holding onto the job as the VC became more pronounced on a day when a special court in Ahmedabad gave its verdict on the 2002 Godhra train-burning case.

The other lot is reluctant to talk. At best, they mutter an odd sentence in a muffled voice: "whatever happens, the seminary's environment should not be vitiated".

The latter forms Vastanvi's support base. There is a lurking fear among the powers that be, who otherwise seem to be convinced that Vastanvi's days as VC is numbered, about the silent lot's quiet determination to alter the script.

Earlier, pro-Vastanvi supporters had threatened to go on strike if the MBA cleric from Gujarat is shown the door.

Interestingly, Vastanvi's ardent supporter -- pro VC Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi -- seems to have toned down his support.

"If I had earlier said Maulana Vastanvi is the best option for Darul Uloom that was right in its own way. But I will stand by, whatever the Shoora decides tomorrow," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Vastanvi-to-continue-as-Darul-Uloom-VC-for-now/articleshow/7555076.cms#ixzz1EnC6Izrz

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Saudi women fighting the odds

By MARIAM NIHAL

Feb 22, 2011

JEDDAH: A lack of cultural and recreational activities has driven women to challenge existing rules and norms and pursue their hobbies and interests in secret.

Women mainly use shopping malls and cafés for recreation and entertainment purposes in the Kingdom.

While the recent trend in the Kingdom is to build new malls, language centers and Dawa schools and gyms, there is a greater demand from local women for public libraries, art centers, sport facilities and music schools.

Those cultural and recreational needs are served in other Arab countries like the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

“Health is a very important life factor. When I lived in the States, every community had a health club and community center where kids could play or women could participate in art and cultural activities,” a P.E. teacher from Jeddah, who did not wish to be identified, told Arab News.

“We can develop more skills and enhance our talents. Arab girls need a platform to show who they really are. Only a few girls can afford high maintenance gyms, which are far more inaccessible than a health center for the community.”

There are scarce centers for children and women to learn painting, cooking, horse riding, music, or other such activities in the Kingdom.

Maintaining physical and mental fitness as well as cardiovascular health is dependent on an active lifestyle.

Inactivity has been linked to type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

“Men should think about their wives, sisters and children in general. How will you have gold medal winners if you do not have anyone to support and encourage new talent in the country? You never know what you are capable of unless you nurture talent,” a Jeddah university woman professor, who chose to remain anonymous, told Arab News.

According to the World Health Organization, the most important risk factors of non-communicable diseases in Arab countries include high blood pressure, high concentration of cholesterol in the blood, inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use.

Five of these risks are closely related to improper diet and physical inactivity.

Aliyah Qureishi, 21, finds her passion for playing football is wasted.

“I have nowhere to play. Usually women are frowned upon or ridiculed if they want to play a sport traditionally played by men,” she said.

“But I love football and there should be a place for women to pursue our love for sports. Eventually, I make an excuse to go play football with my friends outside, like pretending to go swimming, but if my parents knew the truth they would start hyperventilating.”

Most young women restricted from such activities find a way to beat the odds and take bold risks.

Some women feel it is discrimination, while others blame the rules and norms of society for barricading their way to further accomplishments.

“I wanted to learn the guitar, so I started searching online. I finally found groups online and called up the private tutors to see if they could teach me because there are no music schools here,” a Saudi girl who chose to remain anonymous, told Arab News.

“Of course my mother thought it was ridiculous and my father told me I would be a shame to his family name if I tried to contact a man who could teach me an instrument. I was too scared to pursue my passion, but three years later I felt I had to find out if I was any good at it, so I took my chance and joined up with a group.”

She now learns the guitar with a group of Saudi college students.

“I love it. I wish my family could see this, and be proud. I have to lie that I am going to my girlfriend’s house every time I come for practice. If they find out, it’s over. But then Dalma Rushdi won a gold medal only because she was given a horse to ride.”

Dalma Rushdi H. Malhas was the first Saudi girl to compete at an Olympic event and won a bronze medal in equestrian at the Youth Games held in Singapore last year.

“I empathize with the young women here that have so much hidden talent. Women pioneers are like gold reserves, you need to extract them from the core,” a private male music instructor told Arab News.

“Unfortunately, every factor, be it cultural, traditional, or family related, seems to conspire against them.”

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article279671.ece

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Minority status for Jamia Millia

Charu Sudan Kasturi

February 23, 2011

The apex minority education watchdog, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, on Tuesday declared Jamia Millia Islamia a minority university — a status with wide academic and political implications, as it allows the varsity to reserve 50% seats for Muslims. Jamia can now scrap the

22.5% scheduled castes and scheduled tribes quota it has had to implement as a non-minority central university. It will also not have to follow the 27% OBC quota norm that central universities adhere to.

The varsity now does not need to follow government regulations except those relating to standards of education. Article 30 of the Constitution allows minorities to establish and administer educational institutions without interference. Human resource development ministry officials told HT that the government would not appeal against the NCMEI order.

Jamia vice-chancellor Najeeb Jung and the Jamia Teachers Association and Old Boys Association — petitioners who had approached the NCMEI —  asserted that the university would retain its secular character in its new avatar.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Minority-status-for-Jamia-Millia/H1-Article1-665662.aspx

 

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Godhra train burning: Court blames 31, acquits 63

Feb 23, 2011

AHMEDABAD: A special court on Tuesday held 31 people guilty of burning the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, killing 59 passengers, mainly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Additional sessions judge P R Patel acquitted 63 of the 94 accused for lack of evidence in Gujarat`s first and biggest case under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) where 134 accused were booked under terror laws. The court upheld the conspiracy theory but freed Maulvi Hussain Umarji, a 63-year-old the police had accused of plotting the killings. Of those acquitted, 13 were already out on bail; the rest would be free after nearly nine years in prison.

The court convicted 31 people for murder and conspiracy and would announce sentences on Friday. It described the motive of the attack as the accused`s anger against kar sevaks.

Those acquitted cried out of joy while the convicts anxiously listened to the judge who took some 30 minutes to read out the judgment after walking into the courtroom.

The Godhra train burning had sparked off riots across the state in 2002 in which nearly 1,200 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. The riots were seen as revenge for the killing of kar sevaks at Godhra.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Godhra-train-burning-case-Court-blames-31-for-S-6-fire-says-no-evidence-against-63/articleshow/7552276.cms#ixzz1Ek1rGaun

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Calls for 'Jasmine revolution' continues in China

Saibal Dasgupta

Feb 23, 2011

BEIJING: China saw a reemergence of Internet postings calling for a revival of protests in the name of 'jasmine revolution' that was crushed by local authorities in 13 cities before it took a big shape last Sunday.

The new online statement demanded the release of dissidents, who have been detained, and gave a call to fight the "corrupt political system".

Several Internet sites including Twitter carries postings and photographs from lawyers and human rights activists saying that people have been detained for "inciting subversion of state power" in different cities including Shanghai and Harbin in north China. Several others are under house arrests in different parts of the country even as the censors continued to strengthen their grip over the Internet, the postings complained.

The Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday Chinese people crave social and political stability and want to live and work in peace and contentment. "This is something that no person or force can shake," Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Most of the people and groups sending out statements asking for a repeat of the 'Jasmine revolution' in the Middle East have remained anonymous with no one coming forward to claim responsibility. Even human rights groups said they were unaware of who is making the postings. But there are signs some of the postings have managed to sneak through the tight censorship controls and reach young people in colleges and universities.

"Media censorship is strict. Media people with conscience are losing their jobs. Constitutional rights are only in paper rather than in practice.... We think the root causes of all this lies in the authoritarian regime," a statement issued by an anonymous group calling itself 'jasmine revolution' said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/Online-calls-for-Jasmine-revolution-continue-in-China/articleshow/7555512.cms#ixzz1EmVEGuVq

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Pressure builds on Vastanvi to quit

Abantika Ghosh

Feb 23, 2011,

DEOBAND: It is the proverbial lull before the storm. On the surface, it is business as usual inside the giant gates of Darul Uloom -- hum of some students learning lessons by rote, some busy in calligraphy exercise, mounds of rotis being carried from the humongous kitchen to the mess and the lone book binder hard at work -- but the tension is palpable.

The lathi-wielding guards are extra cautious to ensure students don't break the gag order and speak to the media, which has been barred from the premises.

The seminary students clearly belong to two groups. One section is articulate, aggressive and sore with incumbent Darul vice-chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi for his alleged endorsement of pro-Narendra Modi administration in Gujarat. Their resistance to Vastanvi holding onto the job as the VC became more pronounced on a day when a special court in Ahmedabad gave its verdict on the 2002 Godhra train-burning case.

The other lot is reluctant to talk. At best, they mutter an odd sentence in a muffled voice: "whatever happens, the seminary's environment should not be vitiated".

The latter forms Vastanvi's support base. There is a lurking fear among the powers that be, who otherwise seem to be convinced that Vastanvi's days as VC is numbered, about the silent lot's quiet determination to alter the script. Vastanvi's fate will be decided in the all-important meeting of the General Council, or Majlis-e-Shoora on Wednesday.

Earlier, pro-Vastanvi supporters had threatened to go on strike if the MBA cleric from Gujarat is shown the door.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pressure-builds-on-Vastanvi-to-quit/articleshow/7549771.cms#ixzz1EjxZIs1i

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Libyan interior minister joins rebellion

Feb 23, 2011

NICOSIA: Libyan interior minister Abdel Fatah Yunes has said on Wednesday that he was resigning and called on the armed forces to back the week-long rebellion against veteran leader Moamer Gaddafi.

"I announce my resignation from all my duties in response to the revolution of February 17," Yunes said on Al-J azeera television in a reference to violence that broke out last week against the four-decade rule of Gaddafi.

Dressed in military uniform and seated at a desk, he affirmed his "total belief with regards to the sincerity of

the (Libyan people's) demands."

"I call on all the armed forces to respond also to the demands of the people," he added.

Numerous high level Libyan officials, including ministers, diplomats and military officers, have abandoned the

regime and announced their support for the rebellion.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libyan-interior-minister-joins-rebellion-Al-Jazeera/articleshow/7554193.cms#ixzz1EmVL0xnh

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Opposition trying to wrest control of Tripoli

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: The Qadhafi regime in Libya is using African mercenaries, heavy weapons and air power to check the advance of the opposition, which is already in control of the eastern city of Benghazi and is making a serious bid to establish its hold over capital Tripoli.

The government's rearguard action began on Monday, and continued overnight till day-break on Tuesday. Reports quoting eyewitnesses said Libyan and foreign mercenaries first moved to barricade neighbourhoods. Snipers went on rooftops while heavily armed troops in trucks roamed the streets and shot at will. Overhead, helicopters fired at the protesters.

The poor neighbourhood of Fashloum, which has provided ample numbers to the pool of dissidents, was especially targeted. Hospital sources said the casualties, mainly young men aged 17 to 34, bore bullet wounds, mostly to the head, chest or spine. By evening tension gripped the area as a standoff prevailed between the anti-regime youth and Muammar Qaddafi's loyalist militia, accompanied by tribesmen. Seif al-Islam el-Qadhafi, Mr. Qadhafi's son, acknowledged war planes had been used but added they had attacked depopulated ammunition dumps in order to deny weaponry to protesters. However, two senior pilots who had on Monday defected with their planes to neighbouring Malta said they had orders to attack protesters.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/23/stories/2011022356791800.htm

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Gaddafi grip weakens as forces take on protesters

February 23rd, 2011

Libya appeared to slip further from the grip of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday, as Opposition forces in eastern Libya moved to consolidate control of the region, arming themselves with weapons taken from security warehouses, and fighting continued in Tripoli, witnesses said.

In Tripoli, the capital, the government was striking back at protesters challenging Colonel Gaddafi’s 40-year rule. Security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the city overnight, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.

Fighting was heavy at times overnight, witnesses said, and the streets were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi fighting alongside mercenaries. Roving the streets in trucks, they shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters.

Hundreds of Gaddafi supporters took over the central Green Square in the capital after truckloads of militiamen arrived and opened fire on protesters, scattering them. Residents said they now feared to leave their houses. “It was an obscene amount of gunfire,” said one witness. “They were strafing these people. People were running in every direction.”

Full report at:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/gaddafi-grip-weakens-forces-take-protesters-078

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Gaddafi says no surrender, protesters deserve death

February 23, 2011

TRIPOLI: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Tuesday he would not step down despite a natiowide revolt against his rule, vowing to die in Libya as a martyr while threatening to quash protesters.

“I am not going to leave this land, I will die here as a martyr,” Gaddafi said in a defiant speech on state television.

“Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution, I am not a president to step down…This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his post, Muammar is leader of the revolution until the end of time.”

In a fiery but rambling address, apparently made in front of a building bombed by United States’ war planes in 1986, he blamed the unrest on youths and called the protesters “rats and mercenaries” who wanted to turn Libya into an Islamic state.

Pounding his fists on a podium, Gaddafi called on people to take to the streets on Wednesday in a show of support for him.

Despite numerous reports from human rights groups and witnesses of widespread bloodshed, he said he had not yet used force against his opponents but would do so if necessary.

The image of his country before the rest of the world was being distorted by foreigners.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/22/gaddafi-says-no-surrender-protesters-deserve-death.html

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Obama faces pressure to intervene in Libya

February 23, 2011

WASHINGTON: Pressure mounted on the White House on Tuesday to intervene to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on democracy protests as a lawmaker close to President Barack Obama urged oil firms to halt work in Libya.

The United States faced calls to impose sanctions but also to take direct action such as bombing Libyan airfields and imposing no-fly zones — military steps that most analysts consider unlikely. Some critics questioned Obama’s silence on the violence in which hundreds of Libyans have died.

US officials called for an end to the violence but seemed to rule out any unilateral action, stressing the United States was working with other countries on a way forward.

Senator John Kerry, the influential chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the White House to consider reimposing tough sanctions on Libya.

“World leaders must together put Colonel Gaddafi on notice that his cowardly actions will have consequences,” Kerry said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/23/obama-faces-pressure-to-intervene-in-libya.html

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US plans NATO invasion of Libya, says Castro

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

eb 22, 2011

HAVANA: Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro said Tuesday that unrest in Libya may be a pretext for a NATO invasion. Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega has jumped to the support of the embattled leader of the North African nation, saying he telephoned to express solidarity.

The protests sweeping across Libya have created challenges for the Latin American allies of Muammar Qaddafi.

Leftist governments in the Americas have long embraced him as a fellow fighter against US influence in the world.

Qaddafi has responded over the years by awarding the Muammar Qaddafi International Human Rights Prize to Castro and Ortega, as well as to Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia.

His relations with Chavez are so warm that rumors that he was headed to Venezuela swept the world on Monday. Qaddafi took to television late Monday to deny them.

Ortega said he had kept in communication with Qaddafi and expressed solidarity due to the “moments of tension” Libya is experiencing. State radio carried excerpts of his remarks on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article279602.ece

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Gaddafi digs in, Indians to fly out

February 23, 2011

As a defiant Muammar Gaddafi late on Tuesday vowed to stay on as Libya's leader, raising fears of more bloodshed, India has decided to evacuate its citizens from the African country. The decision came on Tuesday after external affairs minister SM Krishna spoke to India’s envoy in Tripoli Mani Meklai. There are 18,000 Indians in Libya. In Benghazi, a stronghold of the opposition, some 3,000 Indians are trapped.

In the evening, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao meet senior officials to take stock of the situation.

“An in-principle call has been taken to bring back all those who want to be back. But the final plan, including the logistics, will be worked out in coordination with the ministry of civil aviation,” an official said on condition of anonymity. The government would first assess the number of people who want to come back.

The situation was being closely monitored and all Indians were safe, Krishna said earlier in the day.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Gaddafi-digs-in-Indians-to-fly-out/H1-Article1-665632.aspx

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Bahrain orders release of political prisoners

February 23, 2011

Bahrain’s king ordered the release of some political prisoners on Tuesday, conceding to another opposition demand as the embattled monarchy tries to engage protesters in talks aimed at ending an uprising that has entered its second week. The king’s decree — which covers several Shiite activists accused of plotting against the state — adds to the brinksmanship on both sides that has included a massive pro-Government rally on Monday, an opposition march in response and the planned return of a prominent opposition figure from exile.

It’s unclear how many prisoners will be freed, said Government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar.

But they include some of the 25 Shiite activists on trial for allegedly plotting against the Sunni rulers of the strategic island kingdom, a leading member of Bahrain’s Shiite opposition, Abdul Jalili Khalil said. He called the prisoner release “a good step” and a “positive gesture.”

Two of those in the case are being tried in absentia, including opposition leader Hassan Meshaima, who has been in self-exile in London since last year. He was expected to return to Bahrain later on Tuesday.

Mesheima’s presence could bolster opposition forces seeking a harder line against the monarchy, including some who have called for the complete ouster of the king and the royal dynasty that has ruled for more than 200 years.

Meshaima’s group, known as Haq, is considered more radical than the main Shiite political bloc that has so far taken a central role in the revolt, which began last week with marches but quickly met with violent resistance from security forces.

The primary Shiite group includes 18 members of the 40-member Parliament, who resigned on Thursday to protest the killing of demonstrators by security forces.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched on Tuesday through the capital of Manama, carrying Bahrain’s red-and-white flag and circling the Bahrain Mall and Manama’s financial district — symbols of the country’s prosperity in recent decades. Security forces did not move to confront the procession, but helicopters circled overhead.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/319707/Bahrain-king-orders-release-of-political-prisoners.html

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Thousands call for Yemeni leader’s ouster

February 23, 2011

About 5,000 anti-Government protesters have rallied in a town in eastern Yemen, calling for the ouster of the country’s President. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the target of widespread protests for the past three weeks, has said he will not step down before the end of his term in 2013.

However, he has pledged security forces will not fire on protesters. Medical officials have said 11 people have been killed in protests this month.

Police stood by on Tuesday as demonstrators marched in the eastern town of al-Shiher, chanting “Down, down with Saleh.” In the capital of Sanaa, thousands rallied at a university campus while hundreds continued to camp out in a nearby square. Demonstrators set up checkpoints around the square and searched those trying to enter.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/319705/Thousands-call-for-Yemeni-leader%E2%80%99s-ouster.html

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Dalit set afire after son elopes with Muslim girl

Feb 23, 2011

NAMAKKAL: A 61-year-old dalit man was burnt to death in Periyapatti village of Namakkal district after his son eloped with a Muslim girl of the same village.

Nallayan's son Sekhar (27) was in love with Gulzar (21) and couple allegedly eloped recently. At 3pm on Monday, when Nallayan was working in a shop in Periyapatti, Gulzar's father Shahjahan went there and called out to him. An argument ensued, followed by a scuffle during which Shahjahan allegedly poured petrol over Nallayan. He then lit his cigarette lighter, setting fire to Nallayan who suffered serious burn injuries. Although he was admitted to the Namakkal government hospital, Nallayan died later, police said.

Nallayan's daughter Shanthi said Shahjahan and his relatives had threatened her family members soon after Sekar eloped with Gulzar. Nallayan had pleaded with Shahjahan to give him two days to search for his son

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dalit-set-afire-after-son-elopes-with-Muslim-girl/articleshow/7552211.cms#ixzz1Ejya9lco

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IDB to help Muslim Aid push social progress

Feb 22, 2011

JEDDAH: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Muslim Aid, a UK-based charity, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the IDB headquarters in Jeddah on Tuesday.

The aim of the agreement is to facilitate cooperation between the IDB and Muslim Aid in the fields of health and education, promote human development and social progress of Muslim communities worldwide, and establish necessary arrangements to implement these goals.

The MoU was signed by IDB President Ahmad Mohamed Ali and Muslim Aid’s Chairman Sir Iqbal Sacranie. Under the MoU, the IDB and Muslim Aid will work together in coordinating programs and activities as agreed by the two institutions.

“We have worked together on many projects in developing countries and I am confident that this MoU will strengthen our existing relationship to pursue our common goals of fighting global poverty,” said Ali, stressing on the need to enhance cooperation with Muslim Aid within the UK.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article279729.ece

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Afzal Guru's mercy petition not yet sent to President: Chidambaram

Feb 23, 2011

NEW DELHI: The mercy petition for Afzal Guru, convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the Parliament House attack, has not yet been forwarded to President Pratibha Patil, home minister P. Chidambaram disclosed here Wednesday.

In reply to a question by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader S.S. Ahluwalia in the Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram said 23 of the 25 mercy petitions with the home ministry have been forwarded to the President.

Afzal Guru, whose petition stands at number 18 in the list, however, is not one of those forwarded. The case was "under examination".

Replying to supplementaries, the minister said there was no delay on the part of the home ministry and a new procedure was being followed in forwarding the case to the President.

"There is no delay from home ministry, I am in no position to comment on the President's part," Chidambaram said.

"I am following a particular procedure. The mercy petitions, according to the date of sentence and date of filing the mercy plea, are being forwarded to the president."

The home minister said he could not answer for the delays before he took over in December 2008.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Afzal-Gurus-mercy-petition-not-yet-sent-to-President-Chidambaram/articleshow/7555352.cms#ixzz1EmVXhWhn

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Kasab to appeal in Supreme Court against death penalty

Feb 23, 2011

MUMBAI: Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab will file an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the judgement of the Bombay high court confirming death penalty awarded to him for his role in the 26/11 terror attacks, his counsel Farhana Shah said today.

Kasab told his lawyer, who met him in jail this afternoon that he wished to move an appeal in the apex court.

Shah told PTI that she informed Kasab that the high court had, in its judgement, upheld the trial court's verdict awarding him death penalty.

However, Shah said she did not give details of the high court verdict upholding the trial court's judgement but mentioned to him that he had a right to challenge the order in the Supreme Court. She informed Kasab that he would soon get a copy of the high court judgement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kasab-to-appeal-in-Supreme-Court-against-death-penalty/articleshow/7555268.cms#ixzz1EmVfcJBI

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Post-Egypt, Kashmir may put Centre in a spot

Randeep Singh Nandal

Feb 23, 2011

SRINAGAR: The Central and state intelligence agencies are in a tizzy for the past one month trying to keep track of the mood on the street here. They are not taking any chances after what happened in Cairo. And their prognosis is grim: something is brewing.

The first sign of tension surfaced after a survey in January by separatists at the behest of Pakistan's ISI to prepare a list of the young men involved in stone pelting last summer. This list is now with the ISI. The initial apprehension within the administration was that these young men could be groomed to pick up the gun. But developments in Egypt changed that.

"Militancy we can handle. After 9/11 (we've seen) it backfires on its promoters. People here are sick of violence. But our greatest fear is 50,000 people landing up at Lal Chowk for a dharna. How do you handle that?" said a top government source requesting not to be named.

Last summer, a section of moderate separatists had called for a dharna but were over-ruled as being "impractical" by the hardliners. Post-Egypt uprising, things look different. A similar protest, in full glare of the international media, would put the Centre and the state government in a spot. The police believe that for such a mass upsurge, all that the separatists needs is a spark. This is where stone pelters come in. One death could ignite a fire.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Post-Egypt-Kashmir-may-put-Centre-in-a-spot/articleshow/7554862.cms#ixzz1EmVtEsUA

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Document on 'Political solution to Kashmir' within 2 weeks to centre: Interlocutors

Sanjay Khajuria

Feb 23, 2011

JAMMU: The three-member team of the interlocutors appointed by the centre on Wednesday said that the initial document on 'political solution to Kashmir' would be submitted to the government within two weeks.

Addressing media conference here today, the chief Interlocutor Dilip Padgaonkar flanked by other two team members Ms Radha Kumar and M M Ansari said, "We have invited separatists for dialogue but they do not want to talk to us. We have decided to submit the initial document to the Union Government in two-week's time after assessing the situation on ground and meeting various sections of the society."

"The initial document will be submitted in two-weeks but our efforts to reach out the separatists will continue," Padgaonkar said.

The political solution document would not only take into consideration, the National Conference's (NC) Autonomy report, People's Democratic Party's (PDP) 'self Rule' report but also Awami National League's, Sajjad Lone's and even Justice Sageer Ahmed's reports. Padgaonkar also said that their meeting with the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was very helpful and constructive. "He provided us with a lucid account of the steps his government has taken to address a host of issues of concern and interest to the people of the state," the chief interlocutor added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Document-on-Political-solution-to-Kashmir-within-2-weeks-to-centre-Interlocutors/articleshow/7555428.cms#ixzz1EmVltgc0

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CIA or not, Davis still has immunity, says US

Chidanand Rajghatta

Feb 23, 2011,

WASHINGTON: Despite broad acknowledgment in Washington that Raymond Davis was a hired gun for the CIA operating undercover as an employee of the US embassy in Islamabad, the Obama administration on Monday insisted that he still has diplomatic immunity under international law and Pakistan should release him forthwith.

Davis' CIA affiliation, widely known to the US media for several days now, was finally made public on Monday after the British newspaper Guardian broke a compact that American press had with the administration to withhold his affiliation till his safe release.

Soon after, the US State Department wheeled out one of its "foremost experts in international law" to make the case that regardless of Davis' reported affiliation, he was entitled to diplomatic immunity because the US had clearly intimated to the Pakistani government that he is a member of the administrative and technical staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Sources also indicated that Pakistan had been told he is an intelligence operative working undercover and Islamabad was aware of it.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/CIA-or-not-Davis-still-has-immunity-says-US/articleshow/7552383.cms#ixzz1Ek1WLxuI

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Mullah Omar still calls the shots

Feb 23, 2011

Afghanistan's Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar still has a "very powerful" effect on his followers, who are ready to fight on his orders. Omar recently exhorted his men in an audio tape to keep fighting, a Taliban commander said.

"His words have a very powerful effect on us," the Taliban commander was quoted as saying by the New York Times. "We obey his orders, every Talib does, and we believe in him," the Taliban commander said about the one-eyed Omar, who is believed to be 52. Omar is the spiritual leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Mullah-Omar-still-calls-the-shots-/articleshow/7552951.cms#ixzz1EjzSkdg2

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Battle-scarred Taliban defying leadership

Carlotta Gall

Feb 23, 2011

KANDAHAR: Recent defeats and general weariness after nine years of war are creating fissures between the Taliban's top leadership based in Pakistan and midlevel field commanders , who have borne the brunt of the fighting and are reluctant to return to some battle zones, Taliban members said in interviews.

After suffering defeats with the influx of thousands of new American troops in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand last year, many Taliban fighters retreated across the border to Pakistan. They are now coming under pressure from their leaders to return to Afghanistan to step up the fight again, a Taliban commander said. Many are hesitant to do so, at least for now.

"I have talked to some commanders , and they are reluctant to fight," one 45-year-old commander said. "Definitely there is disagreement between the field commanders and the leaders over their demands to go and fight."

The differences point not just to the increasing stresses on the battlefield for midlevel Taliban commanders like him, but also to the difficulty of ending the insurgency as long as the Taliban's top leadership has sanctuary in Pakistan, which has long protected and sponsored the Taliban.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Battle-scarred-Taliban-defying-leadership/articleshow/7552973.cms#ixzz1EnFVWIcD

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Davis has TTP links, says Pakistani media

Anita Joshua

ISLAMABAD: A day after the American media began authoritatively referring to Raymond Davis as an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a section of the press in Pakistan reported he had close links with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

While Mr. Davis' cover got blown soon after the shooting incident on January 27 with the U.S. embassy changing its position on his job profile more than once, American media reports confirming him as a CIA operative have given credence to speculations in Pakistan that he was a spy. The new narrative is he was recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban as part of a plan to lend credibility to U.S. concern about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/23/stories/2011022356781800.htm

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Davis issue could spark Egypt-style revolution in Pak: Imran

Feb 22 2011

Davis was arrested in Lahore on Jan 27 for killing two men he claimed were trying to rob him.

The case of American official Raymond Davis, arrested for double murder in Lahore last month, could spark an Egypt-style revolution in Pakistan, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said.

Contradicting reports have emerged regarding Davis, some claiming that he had 'close links' with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan while others said the US official "was part of a covert, CIA-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country."

"This is not an ordinary situation," Khan told the Time. "If he (Davis) is returned to the US under diplomatic immunity, it might trigger the revolution off."

37-year-old Davis, arrested in Lahore on January 27 for killing two men he claimed were trying to rob him, is currently in jail in Pakistan.

The US had demanded the release of Davis contending that he is an "administrative and technical official" attached to its Lahore consulate and that he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/davis-issue-could-spark-egyptstyle-revolution-in-pak-imran/753387/

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Musharraf’s extradition not being pursued’

February 23, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday that his ministry was not pursuing the matter of extradition of former president Pervez Musharraf from Britain.

“We are not pursuing the extradition of Gen (retd) Musharraf from the UK,” he said at a press conference which was also addressed by British Minister for Immigration Damian Green and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, chairperson of the ruling Conservative Party.

Mr Green also was asked about Gen Musharraf`s extradition, but Mr Malik advised him against making any comment.

A joint investigation team of the Federal Investigation Agency, which is reinvestigating the Benazir Bhutto`s assassination case, visited on Friday the farm-house of the former president in Chak Shahzad and served the warrants for his arrest issued by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi.

“The arrest warrants have been issued by the court at the request of FIA and one of them bears the mailing address of Mr Musharraf`s London apartment,” an FIA source said. Gen Musharraf has been accused of not providing adequate security to Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/23/musharrafs-extradition-not-being-pursued.html

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US eyes Iranian warships in Mediterranean

23 February 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States is “watching carefully” two Iranian warships that entered the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday, officials said.

It was Iran’s first passage through the Suez Canal since its 1979 revolution, and comes at a time of widespread unrest roiling the Middle East. Israel has called Tehran’s move a “hostile” act.

“We continue to monitor the movements of these ships and their actions,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. “We will be watching carefully to see where these ships go and the implications of that.”

Crowley said the decision authorizing passage through the Suez Canal rests with Egypt — where mass protests forced the resignation of long-time president Hosni Mubarak on February 11.

“We have concerns about Iran’s behaviour in the region,” he said.

The Kharg, a supply ship, and the Alvand patrol frigate were bound for Syria in what Tehran has described as a routine visit.

The Suez Canal Authority said last week that ships of any nationality can pass through “as long as the country is not in a state of war with Egypt.”

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February732.xml&section=middleeast

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Yemeni army arrests al-Qaeda leader

22 February 2011

SANAA, Yemen — A regional governor in Yemen says the army has arrested an al-Qaeda leader following a shoot-out with security forces that killed three soldiers and two civilians.

Governor Naji bin Ali al-Zayedi of Marib province says troops stopped a car at a checkpoint. He says men fired from the car when soldiers asked for identification. A firefight ensued, killing three soldiers and two civilians. Nine others were injured.

Al-Zayedi said Tuesday that the army arrested Mohammed Abdallah Maouda, an al-Qaeda leader wanted by Yemeni security for his suspected role in attacking army posts and bombing oil facilities.

The shoot-out took place Monday.

Yemen is the Arab world’s most impoverished nation and has become a haven for al-Qaeda militants.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February727.xml&section=middleeast

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Pirates kill four US hostages near Somalia

23 February 2011

WASHINGTON - Pirates shot dead four US hostages on a private yacht on Tuesday, the deadliest incident involving Americans kidnapped for ransom in the increasingly dangerous waters off Somalia.

The US military said the pirates shot the hostages before American Special Forces boarded the vessel.

US troops killed two pirates as they took control of the the boat, and took 15 pirates into custody. Another two pirates were found dead when the US Special Forces arrived but they were not killed by US forces, the military said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US government was “deeply saddened and very upset by the murder of four American citizens” — a “deplorable act” that underscored the need for more international cooperation against the pirates.

“We’ve got to have a more effective approach to maintaining security on the seas, in the ocean lanes, that are so essential to commerce and travel,” she told reporters.

Pirate gangs preying on shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean typically target large merchant ships, with oil tankers the prize catch, but the snatching of foreigners can also yield high ransoms. There were around 750 pirate hostages at the end of January.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February761.xml&section=international

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MNLF to reap fruits of peace in southern

By SYED FAISAL ALI

Feb 22, 2011

JEDDAH: The peace agreement signed between the Manila government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has opened up new horizon of hopes and expectations in southern Philippines, said the secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah on Tuesday.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was speaking at the 4th Tripartite Meeting between the OIC, the Philippine government and the MNLF at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah. The meeting will conclude on Wednesday.

“To ensure that the people of the southern Philippines reap the fruits of peace and stability, it must be accompanied with economic and infrastructural development through reconstruction, redressal of injustice, appropriate resettlement of the displaced and a fair and equitable distribution of the resources,” the OIC chief said.

“The achievement of the peace agreement should be accompanied by a comprehensive developmental process so that the community in southern Philippines may have tangible evidence of the positive changes brought about by the peace, which will consolidate and further entrench peace itself.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article279728.ece

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Many expats decide to return to ‘a new Egypt’

By GALAL FAKKAR

Feb 22, 2011

JEDDAH: A large number of Egyptians living and working in Saudi Arabia have decided to return home after former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime was removed from power following a revolution in the country.

Saudi Arabia has the largest Egyptian expatriate population of about 2 million.

“I decided to go back to Egypt after I saw on television the changes that took place in Al-Suiz, my home town,” Sayyid Hifni, a designer for a Saudi newspaper, told Arab News.

He said he wanted to take advantage of the numerous new work opportunities in his hometown, including in the media sector.

Amr Abdul Rahman, an Egyptian from Alexandria who has been working in the tourism sector in the Kingdom for more than 30 years, said his decision to return home was intended to be permanent.

He said a number of his friends back home told him that there were several new tourism opportunities in Egypt following the dismissal of the former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garana and his business associates who had monopolized the industry there.

Emad Sulaiman, an Egyptian working in the transport sector, said he decided to go back home after he was assured that he could open his own transport company for tourists there.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article279669.ece

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Egypt replaces several Mubarak-era ministers

Feb 22, 2011

CAIRO/WASHINGTON: Egypt's military rulers swore in a Cabinet with 11 new ministers Tuesday, a nod to the protest movement that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

However, three former members of the Mubarak regime retained senior posts. The move comes as the military leadership overseeing the country's transition is trying to assure Egyptians that it is committed to democratic reforms.

However, the decision to keep Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Justice Minister Mamdouh Marie — three former Mubarak’s loyalists — in their post drew criticism from youth activists who helped launch the uprising on Jan. 25.

Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Egypt Youth Coalition, described the changes as “patchwork.” He called for swift, comprehensive changes. He said the youth groups hope to draw one million to a rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising, on Friday, and will urge them to stay overnight. “We have to keep the pressure until all our demands are met,” he said.

The new Cabinet includes independents and members of opposition parties for the first time in decades, pushing out the longtime ministers of oil, social justice and labor.

The new Cabinet also included two Coptic Christians, including an ex-lawmaker. Among the new names were Monier Fakhri Abdel Nour, a Coptic member of the Wafd opposition party as minister of tourism, filling a position that has been vacant since Zuhair Garana was jailed on corruption charges.

Top leftist Tagammu party member Gouda Abdel Khaleq also was named minister of social justice.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article279670.ece

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Algeria OKs plan to lift state of emergency

Feb 22, 2011

ALGIERS: Algeria's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to lift a state of emergency that has been in place for 19 years. The government had already announced the plan, but the Cabinet gave it formal approval Tuesday.

The move is seen as a bid to defuse spiraling and potentially dangerous discontent in Algeria amid successive uprisings in the Arab world.

It comes after protesters in Tunisia and Egypt toppled their longtime presidents in massive street demonstrations, and as Libya continues to wage a bloody crackdown on protesters there.

The lifting has not yet taken effect, and the exact date that will happen is still unclear.

The state of emergency was declared in the early 1990s as Algeria descended into a civil war between Islamists and government forces, a yearslong battle that killed up to 200,000 people. Violence has tapered off, and attacks by militants are now only sporadic.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article279584.ece

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Yamani: Nuclear pact to help meet growing energy needs

By MD RASOOLDEEN

Feb 22, 2011

RIYADH: The Kingdom and France signed a bilateral agreement for developing the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes on Tuesday. It was the Kingdom's first-ever nuclear treaty.

Hashim Yamani, chairman of the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), signed together with the French minister in charge of industry and energy, Eric Besson, in Riyadh on Tuesday. French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot was present during the signing ceremony.

The agreement allows the two countries to cooperate in the fields of production, use and transfer of knowledge regarding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“Saudi Arabia has decided to make use of alternative energy resources, such as atomic energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and wind energy,” Yamani said, following the ceremony at the KA-CARE headquarters in the Saudi capital.

Power demand is forecast to increase by 8 percent annually in the Kingdom, he added.

“Demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia is expected to triple by 2032, which will give rise to the need for energy plants with a total of 80 gigawatts of installed capacity.”

Yamani said the agreement would pave the way for the Kingdom's long-term plans to build power stations utilizing alternative energy sources to produce electricity and water desalination.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article279758.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/deadly-unrest-grips-libya;-400-killed/d/4179


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