New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 16 Apr 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Extramarital sex leads to earthquakes: Iran cleric

India's highest court not to lift ban on book showing ‘Islam in bad light’

KARACHI: Dalit father can only watch his six-year-old daughter die

Kasmir CM’s request led to withdrawal of ban on SMS

Burqa bombers kill 41 at Pakistan camp for displaced

'Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with west'

Minor blasts in Bangalore a wake-up call ahead of CWG?

Pak used terrorists as a tool in Kashmir: UN

UN declares Pakistan as a terrorist state?

'26/11 attackers underwent training in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan'

Islam vis-à-vis Christianity: Panel discussion focuses on love

Osama bin Laden's Facebook account disabled

Belief in witchcraft widespread among Christians: survey

Sania bhabhi come to Pak...

16-year-old girl barred from school for wearing hijab in Spain

7,000 Palestinians in Israel jails

Benazir may have been killed for seeking better Indo-Pak ties: UN panel

Netanyahu must show sincerity on peace, says Clinton

Pakistan pledged to punish, eliminate anti-India terrorists: US

US slaps sanctions on two Pak financiers of al-Qaida, Taliban

Hezbollah says its missiles are not Israel's business

Twenty-one militants killed in Orakzai clashes

1750 security personnel complete anti-terror course

European push to ban burqas appalls Afghan women

Gaddafi: Obama wise & peaceful

FBI: Solo terrorists as bad as Qaeda

Prabhakaran's mother arrives, immediately deported to Malaysia

Suicide blast at Pakistan hospital kills 8

Three militants killed in Philippines

Musharraf may face Pak trial

Brown to claim war on terror victory by declaring Bin Laden legally dead

Canadian takes on Islamist movement

Ahmadinejad calls for global body to oversee disarmament

 This week in Middle East conspiracy theories

Al-Qaida frees two Italian hostages in Mali: Official

Main plotters of Metro bombings held, claims Russia

Suicide bomber kills four including TV journalist in Pakistan

Travel chaos worst since 9/11 

Kabul anxious about Indo-Pak exchange

Sudanese president ahead in early election results

Iraqi PM says next government has to include Sunnis

OIC monitors return from Sudan

UK boy Sahil’s abductors killed in ‘encounter’

Her father can only watch her die

Imran asks youngsters to 'dream big'

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

 URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/extramarital-sex-leads-to-earthquakes--iran-cleric/d/2715

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Extramarital sex leads to earthquakes: Iran cleric

April 17, 2010

Tehran, Apr 17: An Iranian cleric has proclaimed that inappropriately dress women leading to extramarital affairs are the resons behind the devastating earthquakes that frequently rattle the country.

Speaking to worshipped at the Friday prayers here on Apr 16, senior cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi said, "Many women who dress inappropriately ... cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes."

"Calamities are the result of people's deeds...We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers," the teligious leader is quoted as saying in newspaper reports.

The Islamic laws prescribe a strict dress code for women. Females are expected to cover hair and bodily contours in public or face punishment and fine.

However, the cleric was probably referring to the women who appear on the streets with well-fitted clothes and layers of make-up as the evil forces behind the natural calamities.

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/04/17/extramarital-sex-leads-to-earthquakes-iran-cleric.html

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SC not to lift ban on book showing ‘Islam in bad light’

Abraham Thomas

April 17, 2010

Noted painter MF Husain’s depiction of nude Hindu gods may pass the Supreme Court’s scanner as an expression of art. But the apex court on Friday refused permission to lift the ban on a book that showed Indian Muslims in bad light.

The book titled, “A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims”, had spoken about the rapid growth of Muslims and found fault with the religion’s holy text, its high priests and the community at large for eulogising terror and violence. Afraid that the contents could spark a communal strife, the Maharashtra Government banned the book in March 2007.

Coming against the ban, author RV Bhasin pointed out that the Government had no basis to ban the book, 10,000 copies of which were meant to be circulated. With his Mumbai office been raided, Bhasin asked the apex court to consider revoking the ban as it affected his right to freedom of speech and expression.

But the apex Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and HL Dattu expressed serious concerns on the book. “We are more concerned about public interest and peace in the country…We should not allow such kind of books to be read by our citizens.”

The Bench, before dismissing Bhasin’s petition, also relied on the fact that the Bombay High Court had discussed in detail about the contents of the book. On January 6, 2010 the High Court had passed a detailed judgment upholding the ban order. The High Court held, “the way this sensitive topic is handled by the author, it is likely to arouse the emotions or sensibilities of even strong minded people.”

Full report at: www.dailypioneer.com/249644/SC-not-to-lift-ban-on-book-showing-%E2%80%98Islam-in-bad-light%E2%80%99.html

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KARACHI: Dalit father can only watch her die

By Amar Guriro

17 Apr, 2010

KARACHI: Birbhu Kolhi, a landless peasant of the scheduled caste community (untouchables) of Hindus, hails from a small village named Warihya Mori of Khipro taluka in Sanghar district. He has sold all his property, comprising two cows, two goats and the dowry received from his in-laws during the last 25 months for the treatment of his six-year-old daughter Giyani, a patient of vestibular fistula and perineal ectopic anus.

The administration of the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) on Friday refused to treat her and ordered her father to take her away.

"I have no option left now but to wait for her death, as I have nothing left to sell to meet the expenses of her treatment," the aggrieved father told Daily Times.

"I believe that being a Hindu and a poor peasant, my daughter is not being treated, otherwise during the last two years, I saw that several patients with the same problem had their treatment completed," said Kolhi.

In December 2008, doctors at the NICH told the peasant that his daughter would be treated by anterior sagittal anorectoplasty, a type of surgery to resolve these anorectal malformations in female children.

Initially, the hospital administration put a tube in her abdomen for defecation and her parents were told to bring her back after three months. "Each time I take her to the hospital, I have to sell something for the travelling expenses," said Kolhi.

After three months, her father took her to the NICH again, but after waiting for a month, they were sent back. The poor peasant kept on visiting the hospital but her turn never came.

Kohli said he went to request NICH Director Professor Jamal Raza to help him on Friday. "When he heard my name, he immediately asked me to leave the hospital and now I have no hope left," he said.

When contacted, Professor Raza told this scribe that there is nothing he could do in this matter. "We are not his enemies and he must wait for his turn," the professor said.

This scribe then contacted Federal Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, who was surprised to learn about the issue, and immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter on which, he said, he would soon receive a report.

Federal Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti condemned the hospital administration's attitude and also announced a probe into the issue.

Kolhi lives in a small village and works on the farms of a landlord. Like other rural areas of Sindh, his village too has no basic facilities such as health care, potable water and education. The first time his daughter was admitted to the NICH, she was only four months old.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\17\story_17-4-2010_pg12_2

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Burqa bombers kill 41 at Pakistan camp for displaced

AFP, Apr 17, 2010, 05.44pm IST

 

PESHAWAR: Two suicide bombers dressed in burqas struck a crowd of displaced people collecting aid handouts, killing at least 41 and wounding more than 60 on Saturday at a camp in northwest Pakistan.

 

The bombers struck minutes apart in the Kacha Pukha camp on the outskirts of the garrison city of Kohat, a registration centre for people fleeing Taliban violence and Pakistani army operations close to the Afghan border.

 

The attacks underscored the grave threat posed by extremists despite stepped-up Pakistani offensives and a significant increase in US drone attacks targeting Taliban and al-Qaida-linked commanders in the nearby tribal belt.

 

"We have 41 dead in the twin suicide bombing. There are 64 injured," local police chief Dilawar Khan Bangash said.

 

He said the bombers walked into the crowd wearing burqas, the loose-fitting head-to-toe outfit that obscures the face and worn by conservative Muslim women in parts of northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Body parts of the bombers were recovered and most of the victims were members of the Mani Khel and Baramad Khel tribes who had gathered for registration after fleeing fighting in their home district of Orakzai, he said.

 

Bangash said the first bomber detonated his explosives while displaced people gathered to register and receive relief items. A few minutes later the second bomber blew himself up in the middle of the gathering crowd.

 

Khalid Omarzai, the local chief of administration, also said 41 people died, including Azmat Ali Bangash, a journalist working for local TV channel Samaa.

 

Northwest Pakistan has suffered a major internal displacement of people as a result of Taliban violence and a series of military offensives concentrated on flushing out the armed Islamists from parts of the northwest and tribal belt.

 

The United Nations says 1.3 million people are currently displaced.

 

At least 210,000 people have been displaced from the tribal districts of Orakzai and Kurram, most of whom have registered in Kohat and Hangu towns.

 

Under US pressure, Pakistan has in the past year significantly increased operations against militants in its tribal belt, which became a stronghold for hundreds of extremists who fled Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion.

 

On Saturday army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani made a rare public apology over the "unfortunate" deaths of civilians during air strikes in Khyber, part of the tribal badlands, last Saturday.

 

Military officials initially said 42 militants were killed in a gunfight and two air strikes in the Tirah valley, but tribesmen later said up to 61 civilians were killed. A security official estimated that 15 civilians died.

 

One elder in the Khukikhel tribe accepted the apology but said those responsible should be punished.

 

Northwest Pakistan suffers from chronic insecurity largely stemming from the semi-autonomous tribal belt, which Washington calls the most dangerous place on Earth and a global headquarters of al-Qaida.

 

A campaign of suicide and bomb attacks have killed more than 3,200 people in less than three years across the nuclear-armed country of 167 million, blamed on al-Qaida, Taliban and other extremist Islamist groups.

 

On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing 10 people, in what police said was a sectarian attack linked to the shooting of a Shiite banker.

 

Last year, 3.1 million people were displaced from their homes in northwest Pakistan. Nearly two million people have returned home, but uncertainty continues in the wake of ongoing clashes between troops and the Taliban.

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'Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with west'

Stephen Grey, Sunday Times, London, Apr 18, 2010, 02.41am IST

 

KANDAHAR: The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.

 

In an interview with the Sunday Times, two of the movement's senior Is lamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban's ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in "sincere and honest" talks.

 

A senior US military source said the remarks reflected a growing belief that a "breakthrough" was possible. "There is evidence from many intelligence sources (that) the Taliban are ready for some kind of peace process," the source said.

 

At a meeting held at night deep inside Taliban-controlled territory, the Taliban leaders said that their military campaign had only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law), the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.

 

"(Mullah Omar) is no longer interested in being involved in politics or government," said Mullah Abdul Rashid, the elder of the two commanders, who used a pseudonym to protect his identity. "All the mujaheddin seek is to expel the foreigners, these invaders, from our country and then to repair the country's constitution. We are not interested in running the country as long as these things are achieved."

 

The interview was conducted by a reputable Afghan journalist employed by the Sunday Times with two members of the shura that directs Taliban activity across southern Afghanistan, including Helmand and Kandahar.

 

Looking back on five years in government until they were ousted after the attacks in America on September 11, 2001, the Taliban leaders said their movement had become too closely involved in politics.

 

Abdul Rashid said: "We didn't have the capability to govern the country and we were surprised by how things went. We lacked people with either experience or technical expertise in government. "Now all we're doing is driving the invader out. We will leave politics to civil society and return to our madrassa."

 

The Taliban's position emerged as an American official said colleagues in Washington were discussing whether President Barack Obama could reverse the US policy and permit direct American talks with the Taliban.

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 Minor blasts in Bangalore a wake-up call ahead of CWG?

TNN, Apr 18, 2010, 03.10am IST

 

NEW DELHI: The authorities may have refrained from calling minor blasts in Bangalore a terror act, but the incident can well be a wake-up call ahead of the Delhi Commonwealth Games as it exposed chinks in the armour of the security agencies.

 

The low-intensity explosions were set off by devices with timers, pointing to an expertise that can be used to engineer mayhem on a bigger scale. In fact, in crowded settings, even low-intensity blasts can exact a disproportionate toll by triggering panic leading to stampede

 

That the packets carrying explosives went undetected in an area which is supposed to be thoroughly scanned, considering the known plan of terrorists to target Bangalore and sports venues across the country, has distressed the authorities.

 

The government is apprehensive of terrorists carrying out spectacular strikes and mass murder ahead of and during Commonwealth Games, in keeping with their plan to render India an "unsafe destination" just like Pakistan.

 

The failure of Bangalore police to keep its vigil when it had to guard just one venue should naturally deepen worries about a situation such as the Commonwealth Games when events would be going on at different stadia across the Capital.

 

"How can police ignore such sanitization exercise, given the fact that the IPL matches have always been on terror radar? It seems no one had even been monitoring the CCTVs' panel. Had police been alert, they could have detected the packets carrying explosive the moment it was planted there", said a senior home ministry official.

 

Officials here feel that since Bangalore has been on terror radar for long, such lapse could well be avoided keeping constant intelligence inputs in mind.

 

Union home ministry, which has been in touch with the state police over the investigation and forensic analysis of the explosives, preferred not to comment over the incident at this point.

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Pak used terrorists as a tool in Kashmir: UN

Apr 17, 2010

United Nations : Pakistan's powerful spy agency ISI continues to have close links with Lashkar-e-Taiba and has used the terror group's services to foment anti-India passion in Kashmir and elsewhere, a UN report said today.

"The Pakistani military organised and supported the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan in 1996. Similar tactics were used in Kashmir against India after 1989," said the much-awaited report by UN-appointed independent panel to probe the killing of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto.

The three-member panel concluded that such a policy of the Pakistan military to use terrorists as a tool to achieve its strategic objectives against its neighbours resulted in active linkages between elements of the military and the Establishment with radical Islamists at the expense of national secular forces.

Noting that the jihadi organisations are Sunni groups based largely in Pakistan's Punjab, the 65-page report said that members of these groups aided the Taliban effort in Afghanistan at the behest of the ISI and later cultivated ties with Al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban groups.

"The Pakistani military and ISI also used and supported some of these groups in the Kashmir insurgency after 1989. The bulk of the anti-Indian activity was and still remains the work of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has close ties with the ISI," said the panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-used-terrorists-as-a-tool-in-kashmir-un/607270/

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UN declares Pakistan as a terrorist state?

Dipin Damodharan

April 17, 2010

At last the United Nations has overtly admitted that Pakistan fueled anti-Bharat activities in Kashmir. According to a UN report, Pakistan’s spy agency ISI (Inter-services Intelligence) and military has used terror groups’ services to drum up anti-India passion in Kashmir and in entire country.

The report is submitted by the panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz, which was appointed by the United Nations to probe the assassination of former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhuto. The panel found out that the Pakistan Government had formulated a policy to use terrorists as a tool to achieve its strategic objective against its neighbors, especially India.

This resulted in active linkages between Pakistan Government and Islamic terrorists at the expense of national forces.

The panel also pointed out some past actions of the Islamic state to substantiate their observation. In 1996, the Pakistani military masterminded, and supported the Taliban acquisition of Afghanistan, the report said.

The panel observed that Pakistan has been using similar techniques in Kashmir against India since 1989. The terror activities in Kashmir border are mentored by ISI, Lashkar-e-Toiba and HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami).

These terror outfits have close links with Pakistan Army and Government. The panel observed that the bulk of anti-India movement by Pakistan in Kashmir still remains in full swing.

The 65-page report stated that the jihadi organizations are Sunni groups based largely in Pakistan's Punjab. The report said Qari Saifullah Akhtar, one of the founders of the extremist HuJI, was reportedly one of the ISI's main links to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and is believed to have cultivated ties to Osama bin Laden, who lived in Afghanistan during that period.

“Akhtar's one-time deputy Ilyas Kashmiri, who had ties with the Pakistani military during the Afghan and Kashmir campaigns, had been a senior aide to bin Laden's deputy Ayman al Zawahiri,” the report observed.

With this the UN effectively established Pakistan as a terrorist state, a state which is becoming a serious threat to neighboring nations.

In this situation, one should also analyze Pakistan’s stand on Mumbai terror during the recently concluded Nuclear Summit in Washington. Pak Prime Minister Yoosaf Raza Gilani yet again asked for more evidences to support the alleged involvement of Lashkar-e-taiba in 26/11.

India has already given enough evidences about LeT role in the attacks to Pakistan, but still they are asking for more proof.

Dear Manmohan Singh, How can a country, which is ruled by Islamic terrorists take action against an Islamic terror outfit. So don’t ask them to take action. Do what you can.

If you are so committed to save India from terrorists, you should go for a real terror hunt in Kashmir and in the entire country without considering the minority appeasement policy of your Italian boss. Do you have the courage to do this?

For starting an effective hunt against Maoist terrorists, P Chidambaram, Minister, Home Affairs has been isolated within the Congress party. So, I request my fellow-countrymen to not expect a nationalist approach from the present Government.

http://news.oneindia.in/cj/dipin-d/2010/un-declares-pakistan-as-a-terrorist-state.html

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Kasmir CM’s request led to withdrawal of ban on SMS

Shuchismita

17 APRIL 2010

JAMMU, April 16: Demonstrating yet another flip-flop and impetuous action, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Friday first imposed blanket ban on text message services (SMSes) to post-paid subscribers in J&K (partial on pre-paid) and then revoked it within hours on the intervention of Union home ministry at the request of chief minister Omar Abdullah. The directives issued by the Department of Telecommunications, ministry of communications & IT to 12 Unified Access Services and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service licensees including BSNL providing service in Jammu & Kashmir service area on SMS management this afternoon had caught all, including the subscribers and more so the state government unawares.

DoT directives, which service providers were directed to comply with, had to become effective from 2400 hours on April 16, 2010. No wonder, unsuspecting chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is also the home minister of the state, was simply bowled out by this impulsive move of DoT in the name of “national security.” In a hurriedly convened press conference selectively for electronic media at the civil secretariat immediately after the word spread about the ban on SMSes through electronic channels, the chief minister reacted sharply while clarifying, “We’ve requested the Government of India to put this order in abeyance immediately.”

Full report at:  

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9330:omar-request-led-to-withdrawal&catid=35:india&Itemid=60

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Panel discussion focuses on love

By Rashed Ferdous

April 17 2010

Rochester can expect a sea of goodness when two of the largest world religions come together to talk about love.

A panel discussion on "A Common Word: Love in Christianity and Islam," featuring panelists Dr. Jamal Badawi and the Rev. David Plevak will be held at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Monday.

On Oct. 13, 2007, Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals unanimously came together to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam. In "A Common Word Between Us and You," (www.acommonword.com) the signatories to this message come from every school of thought in Islam. Every major Islamic country or region in the world is represented in this message, which is addressed to the leaders of all the world's churches, and indeed to all Christians everywhere.

A lot of great responses came from Christians all over the world. It invigorated the interfaith dialog, peace, understanding and respect. The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: Love of the one God, and love of the neighbor.

These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbor is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.

Here are a few examples:

• In the Holy Qur'an, God enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to Christians (and Jews — the People of the Scripture): Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God (Quran 3:64).

• About love of God, enjoins Muslims who truly love God to follow the examples of the Prophet: Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love God, follow me; God will love you and forgive you your sins. God is Forgiving, Merciful (Quran 3:31).

Love of God in Islam is thus part of complete and total devotion to God; it is not a mere fleeting, partial emotion. The call to be totally devoted and attached to God heart and soul, far from being a call for a mere emotion or for a mood, is in fact an injunction requiring all-embracing, constant and active love of God. It demands a love in which the innermost spiritual heart and the whole of the soul — with its intelligence, will and feeling — participate through devotion.

• In the New Testament, Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." This is the first commandment.

And the second, is this: "'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31).

• Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself."

In the spirit of this great interfaith dialog, St. Francis of Assisi, Islamic Resource Group and Rochester Community Muslim Circle came together to organize this event where Badawi will talk about love in Islam and Plevak will tell us about love in Christianity. After their initial talks, the audience will be able to ask questions to both of them.

Badawi is professor emeritus at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he served as professor of both management and religious studies.

Plevak is deacon of the Diocese of Winona and is assigned to the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi in Rochester. He is also a physician.

This event is co-sponsored by St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Islamic Resource Group and Rochester Muslim Community Circle.

Rashed Ferdous is an Islamic Resource Group speaker and Rochester Mosque open house coordinator.

http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=31&a=448131

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Osama bin Laden's Facebook account disabled

17 Apr 2010

LONDON: Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's profile on social networking website Facebook has been shut down, after a security expert raised the issue with the website's U.S. owners.

According to reports, Osama had a Facebook page named "The leader of the Mujahideen, Osama bin Laden", and he used it as a platform to show videos and speeches to Islamic militants.

Talking about the decision, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said that the company could not ascertain if the profile belonged to Osama or was fake.

"People often attempt to register fake accounts under the name of famous or infamous people, and we have a number of technical measures designed to prevent this behavior," Fox News quoted Noyes, as saying.

"Sometimes these fakes do get through, but there is no evidence to suggest that the account in question or the other dozens of people who have tried to present themselves as Osama Bin Laden have any relation to the terrorist. As is our standard practice, we have disabled the account," he added.

Full report at:

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/Osama-bin-Ladens-Facebook-account-disabled/articleshow/5825083.

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Belief in witchcraft widespread among Christians: survey

By MUCHIRI KARANJA

April 17 2010

A quarter of Kenyans believe in witchcraft even though they are deeply religious, a survey shows. They also believe that the world will end in the next 39 years.

According to the survey conducted by The Pew Research Center, a US-based organisation dealing in religious research, Kenyans are ranked 11th in Africa and 16th in the world on the most religious people, with nearly nine in every 10 people stating that religion plays an important role in their lives.

The Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa survey compares Kenya to the Czech Republic and Sweden where only eight out of 100 people said religion was important.

But in spite of impressive religious credentials, strong belief in one God, and in heaven and hell, the survey found that sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included, leads in the worship of alternative gods — witchcraft, evil spirits, and sacrifices to ancestors, traditional religious healers and reincarnation.

Kenya is ranked 15th in Africa in its people’s belief in witchcraft, a few points behind the Democratic Republic of Congo, and way ahead of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia and Rwanda. A quarter of Kenyans, both Christians and Muslims, confessed they believe in the protective power of juju (charms or amulets) and that they consult traditional healers.

A number admitted to revering their dead ancestors and treasuring animal skins and skulls or knowing of friends or relatives who identify with these faiths. Tanzania leads the pack in believing in juju and other superstitious objects, with six in every 10 Tanzanians confessing to sacrificing to spirits and dead ancestors.

Full report at:

www.nation.co.ke/News/Belief%20in%20witchcraft%20widespread%20among%20Christians%20says%20survey%20/-/1056/900844/-/15ifv01/-/

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Sania bhabhi come to Pak...

PIYALI DASGUPTA

Apr 17, 2010

Dressed in white tee and blue jeans, we spotted Pakistan cricketer Sohail Tanveer a close friend of Shoaib Malik relaxing at the hotel lobby along with Pakistani actor and singer Wasir Baig a little before the reception.

A beaming Sohail said, “I’m happy for Shoaib and Sania. I’m pleased to be here for this wonderful occasion. There are tons of wishes from Pakistan. I would say this is Shoaib bhai’s best innings so far and Sania bhabhi’s best game, set and match. May Allah bless them both.”

When asked if he’s missing being part of the IPL matches, he confesses, “It feels nice to be in India, but this time for different reasons -I am here not to play any match but to attend my close friend’s wedding. I’m definitely missing all the action that is happening at the IPL 3 season. Frankly, I haven’t been able to follow the matches but I will try going to Kolkata to watch the next match of the Rajasthan Royal team.”

Sohail further adds, “The mahaul here was very dull, lag hi nahi raha hain ki koi shaadi ka mahaul hain. Let Shoaib and Sania bhabhi come to Pakistan... we will have a grand reception... aur log dekhte hi reh jayenge.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life/people/Sania-bhabhi-come-to-Pak/articleshow/5821827.cms

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16-year-old girl barred from school for wearing hijab in Spain

2010-04

A 16-year-old schoolgirl, Najwa Malha, has been banned from classes in Spain after she refused to remove her hijab (Islamic headscarf).

Malha has been excluded from classes at Camilo Jose Cela School in Madrid after being told that her hijab was in violation of the school dress code.

The school said in a statement that its internal regulations bar 'the use of hats and any other article of clothing that cover the head'.

"I feel totally discriminated against," The Telegraph quoted Malha, as saying.

The 16-year-old, who was born in Spain to Moroccan parents, said she alone took the decision to wear the headscarf to school last February 'against the advice of her mother'.

It is believed that Malha's classmates have supported her decision, but regional authorities have backed the school.

Meanwhile, Association of Moroccan Workers and Immigrants in Spain has condemned the school's decision.

"For the past several weeks Najwa Malha cannot go to class in her school, which is contrary to her right to a basic education guaranteed by the constitution," said Kamal Ramoini, the association's head.

It is the second such case to come to light in Spain. Last November, a Muslim lawyer was ejected from a Spanish court, where she was defending a client, because she refused to remove her headscarf.

http://sify.com/news/16-year-old-girl-barred-from-school-for-wearing-hijab-in-spain-news-international-kerlEfjfced.html

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'26/11 attackers underwent training in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan'

April 17, 2010

Mumbai attackers had undergone training in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, sources have said, revealing for the first time the Afghan link to the deadly 26/11 carnage.

Highlighting this threat, the sources underlined the the criticality of Afghanistan for India in terms of security.

The sources said India has larger interest in Afghanistan, which is part of its periphery. "Whatever happens

there affect us," they said.

The sources also said some of those responsible for the 26/11 attacks that killed 166 people, including

foreigners, had undergone training at Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. "This can't be ignored," they said.

India has blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba for the deadly attacks and has been demanding action Hafiz Saeed,

who is the chief of JuD, the front organisation for LeT.

The sources also said India will continue its presence in Afghanistan while adjusting according to the situation and

capabilities.

India is involved in a number of developmental projects in Afghanistan despite a spate of attacks against its

interests in the war-torn country.

Full report at: www.hindustantimes.com/26-11-attackers-trained-in-Al-Qaeda-camps-in-Afghanistan/H1-Article1-532358.aspx

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7,000 Palestinians in Israel jails

17 Apr, 2010

RAMALLAH, April 16: More than 7,000 Palestinians, including 270 who are under the age of 18, are currently held in Israeli prisons, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

Three of the prisoners have been in jail for more than 30 years, and 315 for more than 15 years, PCBS said in a statement released to coincide with Prisoners Day, which Palestinians mark on Saturday.

Of those currently held, 264 are under administrative detention, which means they are held without trial.

Since 1967, when it occupied the Palestinian territories, Israel has detained more than 760,000 Palestinians, the statement said.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/7,000-palestinians-in-israel-jails-740

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Benazir may have been killed for seeking better Indo-Pak ties: UN panel

Apr 17, 2010

UNITED NATIONS: A possible link between Benazir Bhutto's "independent" position on improved relations with India with its implications for the Kashmir dispute, and her assassination has been drawn by a UN investigation made public on Friday.

The brutal killing of the 54-year-old Bhutto in a gun and suicide attack outside a park in Rawalpindi in December 2007 could have been "prevented" but the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf's government had failed to protect her despite serious threats, according to the report.

The 65-page report by a three-member independent panel headed by Chile's UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz was handed over to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The investigation was undertaken at the behest of the Pakistan government.

Unable to pinpoint who killed Bhutto, the panel said her assassination was "shrouded in mystery" and recommended the setting up of a "truth commission" to find who murdered Pakistan's first woman prime minister.

Such a commission should follow "all leads and reasonable hypothesis, including al-Qaida, Taliban and members of the so-called "establishment" consisting of elements of military commanders, ISI, allied political parties and business partners, it said.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Benazir-may-have-been-killed-for-seeking-better-Indo-Pak-ties-UN-panel/articleshow/5821826.cms

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Netanyahu must show sincerity on peace, says Clinton

Apr 16, 2010

WASHINGTON: Frustrated by more than a year of intense but failed diplomatic efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians to restart stalled peace negotiations, the Obama administration is turning up pressure on Israel to resume peace talks with Palestinians.

In a speech marking the opening a new Middle East think tank Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Thursday on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prove his commitment to a Palestinian state, warning that prolonged conflict only strengthened extremists.

Speaking at a dinner attended by the ambassadors of Israel and several Arab states, Clinton was forthright in her demands of Netanyahu, urging Israel to "refrain from unilateral statements and actions" that could undermine peace.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu has embraced the vision of the two-state solution," Clinton said.

"But easing up on access and movement in the West Bank, in response to credible Palestinian security performance, is not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere," she said.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article44217.ece

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Pakistan pledged to punish, eliminate anti-India terrorists: US

17 Apr 2010

WASHINGTON: The US appears to have extracted a "pledge" from Pakistan to cooperate fully with Washington and New Delhi to ensure that anti-Indian terrorists groups are punished for their crimes and ultimately eliminated.

The US has been "concerned about the presence of extremist groups in countries of South Asia regardless of where they are," State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley told reporters on Friday when asked about a UN report's finding that Pakistan's Army and its spy agency ISI continue to have links with Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) and the Taliban.

"This has been a part of our ongoing dialogue with Pakistan," he said noting it came up in the discussions that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during last week's nuclear security summit.

"And I just simply would say that we emphasise again this is a shared struggle. We believe very strongly in the aggressive steps that Pakistan is taking," Crowley said.

"They have pledged to continue to cooperate fully with the United States and also to cooperate fully with India, both in terms of ongoing investigations, making sure that those who have perpetrated past crimes are brought to justice," he said without naming LeT, blamed for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Full report at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5824858.cms?prtpage=1

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US slaps sanctions on two Pak financiers of al-Qaida, Taliban

Apr 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US has slapped sanctions on two Karachi-based Pakistani nationals, one of them born in India, for allegedly providing financial support to terrorist activities of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The two are identified as Mohammed Mazhar, the director of Al-Akhtar Trust, and and Mufti Abdul Rahim, leader of Al-Rashid Trust.

While Mohammed Mazhar was designated for his fund- raising activities and financial and other support for al-Qaida and the Taliban, Mufti Abdul Rahim was designated for his fund-raising activities for the Taliban, the department of treasury said.

Al-Akhtar Trust and Al-Rashid Trust are both Pakistani charities previously identified as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under an executive order, which freezes any assets the designated entities and individuals have under US jurisdiction and prohibits Americans from engaging in any transactions with those entities and individuals.

"Today's designation of these two high-profile financiers of al-Qaida and the Taliban, who are also leaders of Al-Akhtar Trust and Al-Rashid Trust, further exposes those organisations' continuing support for terrorism under the guise of charitable activity," Stuart Levey, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said.

Born in the Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Mazhar, lives in Karachi and carries three Pakistani passports, the treasury said.

Full report at:

/timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-slaps-sanctions-on-two-Pak-financiers-of-al-Qaida-Taliban/articleshow/5821921.cms

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Hezbollah says its missiles are not Israel's business

By ZEINA KARAM

Apr 16, 2010

BEIRUT: A Hezbollah government minister refused Friday to confirm or deny Israeli allegations that the militant Lebanese group has acquired Scud missiles.

In the first Hezbollah comment on the Israeli charges, Minister Hussein Haj Hassan said the group was always arming and preparing itself but, “what we have is not their business.” Israeli defense officials have said they believe Hezbollah has obtained Scud missiles capable of hitting targets anywhere in Israel. Israel's President Shimon Peres earlier this week directly accused Damascus of providing the weapons.

Israel has not offered proof to back up the claim, and Syria's Foreign Ministry strongly denied the charge, saying it “believes that Israel aims through these claims to further strain the atmosphere in the region.” It added that Israel could be setting the stage for a possible “aggression in order to run away from the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace.” Haj Hassan also told Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV Friday that Israel possessed all kinds of weapons, including nuclear warheads.

“It's only natural for Lebanon to have the means to defend itself against an Israeli attack,” he said.

Full report at:  http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article44214.ece

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Twenty-one militants killed in Orakzai clashes

17 Apr, 2010

ORAKZAI: At least 21 militants have been killed in the Orakzai agency overnight as security forces target militants in the area, three militant hideouts have also been destroyed.

The suspected militants were killed during clashes with troops in the Sangra area, reports DawnNews.

Security forces claim they have cleared militants from the Sangra mountains in the agency.

However gunship helicopters continue to target militant hideouts elsewhere in the agency.

The offensive has been going on for weeks and hundreds of militants have been taken out since the operation started.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/14-eleven-militants-killed-in-orakzai-clashes-zj-07

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1750 security personnel complete anti-terror course

17 Apr, 2010

PESHAWAR—Nearly 1750 security personnel, including Frontier police have completed their anti-terrorism course and reported back to their respective units. Meanwhile the second such batch has also been readied for another training course, to begin next week. The training focuses on such aspects as protection from any terrorist attack, arresting suicide bomber alongwith his explosives, defusing bombs and explosives, and other hi-tech aspects. The participants include FC, Frontier Police, Frontier Corps, and other sections of security apparatus. Reliable sources have cited an earlier memorandum signed with America on 01st Sep 2004, regarding provision of this training, in which Pakistan has borne no expenditure. Sources have also said that no foreign security firm had been hired for this job.—Online

 http://dailymailnews.com/0410/17/Brief/Brief5.php

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European push to ban burqas appalls Afghan women

By SAYED SALAHUDDIN

Apr 16, 2010

KABUL: A firm believer in women's rights, the only thing Afghan lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail finds as appalling as being forced to wear a burqa is a law banning it.

Karokhail is one of many Afghan women who see a double standard in efforts by some European nations to outlaw face veils and burqas - a move they say restricts a Muslim woman's choice in countries that otherwise make a fuss about personal rights.

"Democratic countries should not become dictatorships and Muslim women should not be deprived from all kinds of opportunities. It should be their choice," said Karokhail.

"Otherwise, what is the difference between forcing women to wear a burqa and forcing them not to? It is discrimination." France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, as well as Italy and Belgium are considering proposals to ban all-enveloping burqas and face veils called niqabs. Many in the West see them as a symbol of the subjugation of women.

In France, government and opposition lawmakers call burqas an affront to the country's secular traditions, though an advisory board has said a banning them may be unlawful.

In deeply conservative Afghanistan, the Taleban made wearing a burqa mandatory for all women during their five-year rule that ended with the U.S-led invasion in 2001. It is still widely worn in the Muslim country, especially in rural areas and the south.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article44065.ece

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Gaddafi: Obama wise & peaceful

17 APRIL 2010

Sirte (Libya), April 16: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has urged global support for the “peaceful” policies of “wise” US President Barack Obama in his pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons.

“I appeal to everyone to give Obama time and to support his policies, as long as his programme remains peaceful,” Mr Gaddafi told a gathering late on Thursday in a huge tent erected in the desert near the eastern coastal city of Sirte.

He was speaking during commemorations marking the anniversary of the bombing by American planes on April 15, 1986 of Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi which killed 41 people, including Mr Gaddafi’s adoptive daughter. Then US President Ronald Reagan ordered the raids in retaliation for the bombing blamed on Libyan agents of a Berlin disco in which a US serviceman was among three people killed.

“We have confidence in our son Baraka (“chance” in Arabic) Obama and, if he continues his wise and peaceful policies, we will help and support him so that they succeed,” Mr Gaddafi, dressed in white suit and black shirt, told the crowd of around 1,000 people.

At the same time, the Libyan leader urged Washington to change its policies towards the Palestinians so as to garner support in the Arab world, saying “the Arabs hate the United States” because of its support for Israel.

He said Mr Obama “should abandon his naive solution” to West Asia conflict through his support for international peace efforts which aim to create two separate states, one for Israelis and one for Palestinians.

Such a solution, Mr Gaddafi said, has “no chance of succeeding.” Instead he proposed the creation of a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians, an idea he floated before the UN General Assembly in September 2009.    http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9321:gaddafi-obama-wise-a-peaceful&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

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FBI: Solo terrorists as bad as Qaeda

17 APRIL 2010

Washington, April 16: Al Qaeda still aims to strike inside the United States but home-grown or unaffiliated extremists now “pose an equally serious threat,” FBI chief Robert Mueller warned US legislators.

“Al Qaeda and its affiliates are still committed to striking us in the United States,” Mr Mueller told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, pointing to plots to bomb New York City subways and the failed Christmas airline attack. “Home-grown and lone-wolf extremists pose an equally serious threat,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation director said, citing the shootings at the sprawling Fort Hood Army base in Texas.

Experts have warned that a “lone wolf”, an extremist acting alone, without connections to an established network like Al Qaeda, may be the most difficult threat for authorities to thwart.

“We have also seen US-born extremists plotting to commit terrorism overseas,” such as Mumbai attacks planner David Headley, the US-born son of a former Pakistani diplomat and American woman, said Mr Mueller. “These terrorist threats are diverse, far-reaching and ever-changing, and to combat these threats, the FBI must sustain our overseas contingency operations and engage our intelligence and law enforcement partners both here at home and abroad,” he said.

Homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano noted a rise in US citizens seeking to carry out acts of home-grown terrorism over the past 15 months, since she took the Cabinet position in early 2009. Individuals that have been radicalised enough to travel oversees to learn “the tradecraft of a terrorist and then return,” or even learn at home on the Internet, are a focus of her department, working with local law enforcement to spot the threats, she told a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington.

The key question, she said, surrounds “when someone is moving from First Am-endment (freedom of spe-ech) activity, plain old angry rhetoric, which we have had in this country since we began, to actually playing a violent act.

http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9318:fbi-solo-terrorists-as-bad-as-qaeda&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

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Prabhakaran's mother arrives, immediately deported to Malaysia

Apr 17, 2010

CHENNAI: Slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's ailing mother, Parvati, who arrived tonight from Malaysia was deported immediately as the Central government did not give permission for her stay in India, police said here.

Parvati, who was supposed to get admitted to a hospital here, arrived from Kuala Lumpur but policemen did not permit her to alight from the aircraft, officials said.

Elaborate security arrangements were made and suburban police commissioner, Jahangir, was himself present to oversee matters as there was a crowd of over 150 persons including MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Tamil nationalist movement leader P Neduraman, both vocal supporters of the proscribed LTTE, at the airport.

On May 18, 2009, the Sri Lankan government announced Prabhakaran had been killed while trying to escape advancing army troops in the north of the country and said his parents were found inside a camp for displaced people.

His father Tiruvekkdam Velupilli died this January.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Prabhakarans-mother-arrives-immediately-deported-to-Malaysia/articleshow/5823368.cms

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Suicide blast at Pakistan hospital kills 8

Apr 17, 2010

QUETTA, Pakistan: A suicide bomber attacked a hospital emergency room where Shiite Muslims were mourning a slain bank manager on Friday, killing eight people including a journalist and two policemen in Pakistan's main southwest city, police said.

The explosion in Quetta underscored the poor security conditions in Pakistan, a US ally where sectarian violence remains a problem even as al-Qaida and Taliban militants pose a growing, and linked, threat. It wasn't the first time that Shiite mourners have been attacked at hospitals in Pakistan, evidence of a tactic in vogue for their Sunni extremist foes.

Gunshots rang out after the explosion at the Civil Hospital, and rescuers carried away the dead and wounded, TV footage showed.

Among the dead was a cameraman working for Pakistan's Samaa TV, said Saifuddin Khan, a hospital official. Two policemen also died, while 35 people were wounded in the apparent "sectarian attack," said Qazi Abdul Wahid, a senior police investigator.

Journalists were at the hospital covering the aftermath of Friday morning's shooting of the bank manager, who came from a prominent Shiite family. A gunman shot him as he stepped out of his car outside the bank on a major city road, officials said.

The emergency room was full of his friends and relatives when the bomber struck at the gate, police official Mohammad Sabir said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Suicide-blast-at-Pakistan-hospital-kills-8/articleshow/5815685.cms

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Three militants killed in Philippines

April 17, 2010

 MANILA: Three Al-Qaeda-linked militants suspected of being behind deadly bomb attacks in the southern Philippines were killed in a gun battle with troops, the military said Saturday.        

Two soldiers were also wounded in the firefight Friday when troops caught up with fleeing Abu Sayyaf extremists on Basilan Island, said Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino.     

The gunmen are believed to be part of the Abu Sayyaf group that set off two bombs and fired on civilians and security forces in Basilan's capital on Tuesday in an attack that left 15 people dead, Dolorfino said. Two rifles and a machinegun were recovered from the dead extremists, said Dolorfino, who is head of military forces in the southern Philippines.         

Troops accompanied by sniffer dogs also discovered and safely detonated a bomb believed to have been left by the Abu Sayyaf in a creek on Basilan on Friday, officials said.  

http://thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=103020

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Musharraf may face Pak trial

Shafqat Ali

April 17, 2010

Islamabad, April 16: The Pakistan government may try former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for involvement in the assassination of two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, official sources said.

“We are looking into the UN report which clearly indicates negligence on part of the then government,” a senior government official told this newspaper.

He said it is up to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to decide if they want to put their hands on Mr Musharraf who lives abroad after quitting power in 2008.

“Once a decision has been taken, the authorities can act against Pervez Musharraf,” he added.

Ms Bhutto was killed in a December 27, 2007, gun and suicide-bomb attack during a rally in Rawalpindi city, where she was campaigning for general elections.

The three-member UN panel said that her death could have been avoided if Mr Musharraf’s government and various security agencies had taken adequate measures. It also found that the probe into her death was deliberately hampered by intelligence agencies and other officials.

Full report at:

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9328:musharraf-may-face-pak-trial&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

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Brown to claim war on terror victory by declaring Bin Laden legally dead

17 APRIL 2010

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is this morning considering giving his election campaign a boost by claiming a victory in the war against terror and using little known legislation to have Osama Bin Laden declared legally dead.

It is now more than seven years since a verifiable sighting of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and as such Brown is well within his rights to have him declared ‘dead in absentia’.

A Labour spokesperson said, “After last night’s televised debate, what we need is a big win, and they don’t come much bigger than having Osama Bin Laden dead.  In the legal sense of the word.”

“Okay, we might not have Osama’s head on a stick to parade to the world’s media, but standing in front of Number 10 holding a death certificate with Osama’s name on it would make a nice photo call, don’t you think?”

“I admit, this is a legal manoeuvre usually employed by the families of missing persons to help settle estates and inheritances, but it’s equally applicable in the war against terror. Definitely.”

Hidden

An move to declare Bin Laden dead is likely to meet fierce opposition from Al Qaeda sympathisers, something Labour is fully prepared for.

Full report at: newsarse.com/2010/04/16/brown-to-claim-war-on-terror-victory-by-declaring-bin-laden-legally-dead/

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Canadian takes on Islamist movement

By SALIM MANSUR, QMI AGENCY

April 17 2010

Pointde bascule,or the tipping point, is a Montrealbased French language web-magazine. It is dedicated to explore and expose Islamist activities in our midst, particularly in Quebec.

Point de basculeis the creation of Marc Lebuis, a remarkable French-Canadian with a passionate interest in global affairs and adeep concern about the dangers of Islamism to his country.

Last Thursday,Point de basculeheld a press conference open to the mainstream media and public to discuss the latest lecture tour of Tariq Ramadan in Montreal and Ottawa sponsored by Islamist organizations, such as the various chapters of the Muslim Association of Canada, for fundraising purposes.

In making full disclosure here, I was invited by Marc Lebuis to join four other individuals in exploring the ramifications for us of the transnational political movement that Tariq Ramadan represents, and how Quebec is exceedingly vulnerable in the systematic penetration of Canada by Islamists.

Joining me were Tarek Fatah, the well-known author and journalist from Toronto, and Ariless Bouktit, a Canadian of Algerian origin. By webcast Zuhdi Jasser from the U.S. and Naser Khader from Denmark joined us in Montreal.

Jasser is of Syrian-Arab origin and a retired officer from the U.S. Navy practising medicine in Arizona. Khader is also of Syrian-Arab origin and a member of the Danish parliament. All five of us are of Muslim faith.

Full report at: http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2538738

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Ahmadinejad calls for global body to oversee disarmament

April 17th, 2010

Iran’s nuclear disarmament summit opened Saturday, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for a global body to oversee nuclear disarmament. US President Barack Obama recently hosted a 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit, which did not include Iran.

Iran slammed the United States as an “atomic criminal” on Saturday and called for its suspension from the UN nuclear watchdog, while urging changes to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

At the start of a two-day nuclear disarmament conference in Tehran, the Islamic republic’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said any use of nuclear weaponry was “haram,” meaning banned under Islam.

He branded the United States an “atomic criminal” in his opening address at the conference, Tehran’s answer to a nuclear summit held in Washington earlier this week.

Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went a step further and called for Washington’s suspension from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) along with all other nations which possess nuclear arms.

“Only the US government has committed an atomic crime,” said a message read out from the all-powerful Khamenei who formulates Tehran’s foreign policy, including its nuclear strategy.

“The world’s only atomic criminal lies and presents itself as being against nuclear weapons proliferation, while it has not taken any serious measures in this regard,” he said.

Ahmadinejad, under whose presidency Iran has aggressively pushed ahead with a controversial nuclear programme despite three sets of UN sanctions, attacked the present structure of the UN Security Council, the IAEA and the NPT.

Full report at: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/news/69983

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This week in Middle East conspiracy theories

17 APRIL 2010

One of the small joys of Middle East coverage is seeing the gems of stories that occasionally show up in local papers. Buried in the morass of reports on which-prince-visited-which-seedy-ex-Soviet-country and how-Hindu-migrant-workers-converted-to-Islam are the voluminous conspiracy theory op-eds and nods to paranoia that would make Lyndon LaRouche blush.

Westerners are largely unaware of the rich subculture of conspiracy theory in the Arab world. The stories proliferate there for a complex list of reasons rooted in colonialism, autocratic rulers, religion, xenophobia and culture... but for the outside observer, they're total gold.

And they show up in the English-language editions too.

For instance, Galal Nassar at the highly-regarded English edition of Cairo paper al-Ahram (The Pyramids) just wrote a long essay accusing Israel of being behind the chaos in Yemen. Also? The Israelis may be the secret masters of the Somali pirates.

Nevermind the legacy of the long civil war, the longtime lack of strong civil authority, competition between tribes or the short- and long-term effects of the Salafist boom of the 20th and 21st century; it's all the fault of the evil Jewmerican conspiracy.

Also: The Eritreans are secret Israeli collaborators. Sample graf:

Full report at: palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/blogs/archive/2010/04/17/this-week-in-middle-east-conspiracy-theories.aspx

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Al-Qaida frees two Italian hostages in Mali: Official

Apr 17, 2010

BAMAKO: Al-Qaida-linked militants released in northern Mali today two Italians taken hostage nearly four months ago, a regional government official said.

"The couple of Italians have been freed," said the official from the government of the northern Gao region on condition of anonymity.

"A patrol from our army has just picked them up, they are fine," the official said.

Sergio Cicala, 65, and his Burkina Faso-born wife Philomene Kabore, 39, were abducted on December 18 in southeast Mauritania, then handed over to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in neighbouring Mali.

The couple are the latest Europe kidnap victims to be released by AQIM after the group freed a Frenchman on February 23 and a Spaniard on March 10.

However, armed Islamists still hold two Spanish men who were kidnapped in the north of Mauritania at the end of November.

The two members of non-profit organisation Barcelona Accio Solidaria are still held by Algerian Moctar Ben Moctar, according to a Malian source close to the matter.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Al-Qaida-frees-two-Italian-hostages-in-Mali-Official/articleshow/5823392.cms

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Main plotters of Metro bombings held, claims Russia

April 17, 2010

Russia on Friday claimed a major breakthrough in the twin suicide attacks at Moscow Metro stations in which 40 people were killed, saying it has arrested main plotters of the terror bombings. “We have made arrests. Very serious work is underway,” a law enforcement source was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. However, no other details were disclosed.

Earlier, the investigators had identified the suicide bombers as Dzhanat Abdurakhmanova (Abdulayeva), 17, and Mariyam Sharipova, 28, both residents of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Daghestan. Forty people were killed and over 100 injured in the incidents.

Abdurakhmanova was the widow of Daghestani militant Umalat Magomedov (Al-Bar), who was killed during a special law enforcement operation on December 31 last year fter he shot at police who were attempting to search a car he was travelling in.

Sharipova was a school teacher and wife of militant leader, Magomedali Vagapov.

In the course of investigation the Moscow police found an apartment which was rented by the suspected male accomplices of the bombers, who are believed to have accompanied the two women to the Metro and given them explosive belts.

Currently the security forces are reported to be carrying out operation in Daghestan against Vagpov’s militants.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/249621/Main-plotters-of-Metro-bombings-held-claims-Russia.html

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Suicide bomber kills four including TV journalist in Pakistan

April 17, 2010

A suicide bomber on Friday blew him up in a hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, killing at least four persons, including a TV journalist, and injuring over 10 others.

The bomber struck when a large number of people gathered outside the Civil Hospital in Quetta to protest the killing of a member of the minority Shia community.

The Shia man was shot outside a bank and died after being brought to the hospital.

A large number of protesters, policemen, reporters and TV cameramen were outside the hospital when the suicide attacker detonated his explosives at around 10.15 am.

Malik Arif, a cameraman for Samaa news channel, was among the dead. A reporter for the channel said Arif's body was blown to pieces and his head severed. The reporter said he had also seen another severed head.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

TV channels beamed dramatic footage of people running out of the hospital complex after the blast as a cloud of dust rose into the sky.

The explosion was followed by heavy firing though it could not immediately be ascertained who had opened fire.

The blast blackened the walls of the hospital and shattered windows. People carried the injured away from the site of the explosion.

Four policemen, two journalists and a TV cameraman were among the injured, witnesses said. Geo TV reported that its reporter Salaman Asharf was also injured in the attack.

Quetta and other parts of Balochistan province have witnessed several attacks on members of the Shia community and non-Baloch people over the past year.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/pakistan/Suicide-bomber-kills-four-including-TV-journalist/Article1-531908.aspx

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Travel chaos worst since 9/11

Michael Holden

April 17, 2010

London, April 16: A huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano spread out across Europe on Friday, causing air travel chaos on a scale not seen since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

About 17,000 flights were expected to be cancelled on Friday due to the dangers posed for a second day by volcanic ash from Iceland, aviation officials said. Airports in Britain, France, Germany, and across Europe were closed until at least Saturday.

“I would think Europe was probably experiencing its greatest disruption to air travel since 9/11,” said a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK aviation regulator. “In terms of closure of airspace, this is worse than after 9/11. The disruption is probably larger than anything we’ve probably seen.” In 2001, following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, US airspace was closed for three days and European airlines were forced to halt all trans-Atlantic services.

[Flights between India and the UK, North America and some European cities for Saturday have been cancelled. Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have cancelled flights on April 17 to and from London, Paris, Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Toronto, Newark and New York, a report from New Delhi adds.

Full report at:

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9235:travel-chaos-worst-since-911&catid=34:top-story&Itemid=59

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Kabul anxious about Indo-Pak exchange

Anand K. Sahay

17 APRIL 2010

New Delhi, April 16: While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated in Washington on Wednesday that he was yet to take a call on meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani bilaterally at the Saarc summit in Thimphu later this month, top official sources here say it is hard to visualise what Islamabad can do over the next 10 days to make Dr Singh agree to a substantive interaction with Mr Gilani on the margins of the Saarc summit.

India’s decision on the question of the two Prime Ministers getting together for a serious bilateral exchange will have to factor in the effect of such an engagement on India’s neighbours and the world, considering that Pakistan has done too little to prosecute its citizens who planned 26/11 despite India’s insistence on this for a year-and-a-half. Pakistan has, however, acknowledged that its nationals carried out the Mumbai attacks.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and his foreign minister Zalmay Rasool are scheduled to be here for consultations on the eve of the Thimphu summit. Kabul closely watches how New Delhi deals with Islamabd. It views India as a “soft state” each time India accommodates Pakistan with a view to appearing reasonable or going the extra mile, knowledgeable sources have noted. In Kabul’s assessment, Pakistan is a “strong state”.

Dr Singh and Mr Gilani couldn’t help bumping into one another on the sidelines of the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington both attended. They ran into each other twice and exchanged pleasantries. But a meaningful engagement is a different matter, and has to be choreographed by the foreign offices of the two countries following appropriate directions from their principals issued in the light of political objectives they wish to pursue.

Full report at:

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9348:kabul-anxious-about-indo-pak-exchange&catid=35:india&Itemid=60

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Sudanese president ahead in early election results

Apr 17, 2010

KHARTOUM: Early results from Sudan's first multiparty presidential and local elections in years are showing the incumbent president ahead in voting that was marred by delays, faulty registration and boycotts.

Omar Bashir is widely expected to win another five years in office after his most credible challengers pulled out, raising questions about the legitimacy of the troubled vote.

Results from a few districts announced by the National Elections Commission Friday show Bashir receiving between 88 percent and 94 percent of votes counted. Final results are expected Tuesday.

The five-day vote was a key requirement of a 2005 north-south peace deal and paves the way for a referendum next year on southern independence.

With opposition parties and candidates boycotting much of the north, it is almost certain there will be no change of leadership in both north and south.

President Omar Bashir — wanted by the International Criminal Court to face war crimes charges over Darfur — is likely to be confirmed as president of the republic and Salva Kiir should remain president of semi-autonomous south Sudan, given his party's dominance there.

Many political analysts fear a newly elected NCP, freshly legitimized by the polls, may clamp down after the results.

Full report at:  http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article44239.ece

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Iraqi PM says next government has to include Sunnis

By KHALID AL-ANSARY

Apr 16, 2010

BAGHDAD: Iraq's incumbent prime minister said the next government to be formed after an inconclusive election in March had to include the Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats.

Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who is seeking a second term, said in an interview aired on Friday it was too early for Iraq to be run by a majority government and a "national partnership government" was needed to ensure stability after years of war.

That meant the next government would be weak due to its subservience to conflicting interests, he said.

"I had wished that the (next) government would be formed on the basis of a political majority, leaving behind the quota-based system, but it seems that idea is still premature," Al-Maliki told the US-funded Al-Hurra television network.

"The thing we have to accept is that there must be a national partnership government. A national partnership government means all main factions making up the Iraqi community are represented in it." Al-Maliki's Shiite-led State of Law alliance came second in the March 7 vote with 89 seats in the 325-seat Parliament.

Full report at:  http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article44216.ece

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OIC monitors return from Sudan

By RIMA AL-MUKHTAR

Apr 17, 2010

JEDDAH: Two Saudi women who helped monitor the recent elections in Sudan have returned home, richer in experience and impressed by what they have observed.

Dr. Jehan Felemban and Dina Madani went to Sudan on April 7 as part of an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) monitoring team, becoming the first Saudi citizens to be sent abroad to observe an election.

Maha Akeel, managing editor of the OIC Journal, said each OIC department allocated one of its members to monitor the key election and the two young Saudi women were nominated.

“We attended preparations for the election and went through the backstage groundwork. It was quite delightful and we learned a lot,” said Madani, an officer at the OIC’s Muslim Minority Community Department.

Felemban, an officer at the OIC’s Department for Political Affairs, said: “We have only been working at the OIC for a few months now, and it was pleasant for the OIC to appoint Saudi women, something that proves we are good enough for work like this and more.”

“Everything went smooth and according to plan. The Sudanese are a very educated and organized people. We didn’t have problems with the people as much as the technical system,” she added.

Madani said she was "very happy with this remarkable experience" and looks forward to monitoring another election elsewhere.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir has promised that the country’s first multiparty elections in over two decades will be “free and fair.”

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article44246.ece

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UK boy Sahil’s abductors killed in ‘encounter’

17 Apr, 2010

LAHORE: Three men suspected of involvement in last month’s abduction of a British boy, Sahil Saeed, have been shot dead in an encounter, police has claimed. Gujranwala Deputy Inspector General Zulfiqar Cheema told the BBC the men were killed by police in “an encounter” in Gujrat. He said no other details were available as yet. The boy was abducted for 12 days in March and was released unharmed after his family paid a £110,000 ransom. He was on holiday with his father in Jehlum when he was abducted on 4 March during a robbery at his grandmother’s house. Two men have appeared in court in Pakistan on suspicion of carrying out the kidnapping. Three people have also appeared in court in Spain. Two others were arrested in Paris. The boy’s father told reporters that four armed men ambushed the family as they were getting ready to leave the house to go to the airport. The kidnappers initially sought a £200,000 ransom but this was negotiated down. daily times monitor

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\17\story_17-4-2010_pg7_4

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Her father can only watch her die

By Amar Guriro

17 Apr, 2010

KARACHI: Birbhu Kolhi, a landless peasant of the scheduled caste community (untouchables) of Hindus, hails from a small village named Warihya Mori of Khipro taluka in Sanghar district. He has sold all his property, comprising two cows, two goats and the dowry received from his in-laws during the last 25 months for the treatment of his six-year-old daughter Giyani, a patient of vestibular fistula and perineal ectopic anus.

The administration of the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) on Friday refused to treat her and ordered her father to take her away.

"I have no option left now but to wait for her death, as I have nothing left to sell to meet the expenses of her treatment," the aggrieved father told Daily Times.

"I believe that being a Hindu and a poor peasant, my daughter is not being treated, otherwise during the last two years, I saw that several patients with the same problem had their treatment completed," said Kolhi.

In December 2008, doctors at the NICH told the peasant that his daughter would be treated by anterior sagittal anorectoplasty, a type of surgery to resolve these anorectal malformations in female children.

Full report at: www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\17\story_17-4-2010_pg12_2

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Imran asks youngsters to 'dream big'

By Haya Fatima Iqbal

17 Apr, 2010

KARACHI: The Pakistani society would not change until new people take active part in politics because political participation happens to be the most effective tool for social transformation, said Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan. He expressed these views while speaking to students at a hotel on Friday, at an event titled 'An Evening with Imran Khan on Nation Building'.

He asked his mostly young audience to 'dream big', elaborating that in order for the youth to make Pakistan the nation envisaged by Jinnah, it is essential to achieve three goals.

According to the sportsman-turned philanthropist-turned politician, these three goals were a just and lawful society, a homogenised curriculum of education and economic justice.

He further pressed on youngsters to have a vision and to be fearless in achieving it. Citing the example of the Holy Prophet, he said, "The Prophet (PBUH) is the greatest leader ever because he never compromised on his vision." Though the truce of Hudaibiya was a compromise, it was solely for the propagation of his vision, Khan mentioned. Reflecting upon the current situation in the country, he described that the need of the time was to bring all Pakistanis on one common platform, instead of dividing them along different lines.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\17\story_17-4-2010_pg12_4

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/extramarital-sex-leads-to-earthquakes--iran-cleric/d/2715


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