New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 24 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Gun battles rage in Libya

10 Nato tankers torched; 4 dead in Peshawar

Libya: desperate Col Gaddafi offers protesters concessions as British rescue continues

Britain to seize Gaddafi's London assets: Report

Rebels close in, Gaddafi strikes back

Three activists killed in wave of violence in Karachi

US missiles kill six in NWA

Libya revolt could reveal fate of missing Lebanon imam

Foreign journalists work for al Qaeda, says Libya

Indian employees in Libya are safe, say companies

Pakistan’s intelligence ready to split with CIA

NOC for Pak actors and singers must for visiting India

US arrests Saudi bomb plotter

JEDDAH: Patience does not mean we’re weak, say women suffering in silence

Has Syria built a secret nuclear site?

Gaddafi struggles to hold on to power as opponents make gains

Evil eye cast on Libya, says Qaddafi

Libya denies Gaddafi has Swiss bank funds

Benghazi holding assassins; Residents set up defenses

U.S. keeps options open on Libya

World leaders seek action against Qadhafi over crackdown

3 Navy warships roped in to evacuate Indians from Libya

India trying to save 18,000 citizens from 'drug-crazed' Libya mobs

Qaddafi's charge against Bin Laden angers Saudis

Egypt detains ex-minister and former state TV boss

Clinton sees validation of Gandhi's principles in Egypt

Bahrain opposition leader's passport seized in Lebanon

Yemeni tycoon shrugs off risk from unrest

Saudis use Facebook and Twitter to air their views

Saudi taxi drivers complain about 'unfair discrimination'

Saudi students told they can return to Egypt

Saudi King healthy but needs physiotherapy: Minister

Abdullah driving force behind many diplomatic initiatives, says UK envoy

AIMMM Urges those convicted to Challenge Judgment on Godhra case

Badruddin Ajmal to file Rs 10,000 cr defamation suit against Arshad Madani

Mir Waiz Farooq meets Bilawal Bhutto in London

Trial in double-murder case against Davis to begin

US ‘ready to mend Pakistan ties’

PM calls for political reconciliation

UK court orders Assange’s extradition to Sweden

Taliban warn PPP against freeing Davis

Japan to lend $170m to Pak flood rehab

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket attack

Oil jumps 7.5% to $119.79 a barrel

Death toll from Jeddah floods rises to 13

Israeli gunfire kills Palestinian civilian

Uganda opposition leader urges protests over polls

Palestinian premier seeks youth input on Facebook

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gun-battles-rage-in-libya-/d/4187

 

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Gun battles rage in Libya

25 February 2011

BENGHAZI - Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi hit back at rebels holding towns near the Libyan capital on Thursday but there was no sign they had broken the momentum of opposition gains that have been closing in around Tripoli.

With a spike in oil prices threatening prospects for a global economic recovery, the United States said it was keeping all options open, including sanctions and military action in response to the Libyan government’s crackdown on the uprising.

But coordinated international action against Gaddafi, who has ruled the oil-rich desert nation of six million for 41 years, still seemed some way off, as foreign governments sought to evacuate thousands of their citizens trapped by the violence.

In a rambling appeal for calm, Gaddafi blamed the revolt on Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and said the protesters were fuelled by milk and Nescafe spiked with drugs.

Disparate opposition forces were already in control of major centres in the east, including the second city Benghazi. Reports of the third city Misrata, as well as Zuara, in the west also falling brought the tide of rebellion closer to Gaddafi’s power base — though information from western Libya remained patchy.

In Misrata, which opponents of Gaddafi said they had taken on Wednesday, residents said loyalists and foreign mercenaries launched a counter-attack on Thursday but had been contained.

Gun battles in Zawiyah, an oil terminal 50 km (30 miles) from the capital, left 23 people dead, a Libyan newspaper said. Al Jazeera quoted residents putting the toll at 100 there.

France’s top human rights official said up to 2,000 people might have died so far in the uprising which began on Feb. 15.

Western governments, which embraced Gaddafi and his oil in recent years after decades of isolating a leader once branded a “mad dog”, struggled to find a common response to the crisis.

Talk of sanctions against the country, or against Gaddafi and his circle, swirled without clear agreement in view.

The Swiss government said it had frozen assets belonging to Gaddafi and his family.

Gaddafi, who just two days ago vowed in a televised address to crush the revolt and fight to the last, this time spoke to state television by telephone, and sounded more conciliatory.

Fightback

As governments and foreign companies scrambled to evacuate foreign nationals working in Libya, a US-chartered ferry remained trapped in Tripoli with 285 passengers on board.

US diplomatic cables from 2009 published by Wikileaks portrayed Gaddafi’s family as a fragmented group, riven by greed, jealousy and ambition, casting doubt on how they might respond to their father’s current plight.

Former Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, who quit this week, told a Swedish newspaper he expected the Libyan leader to commit suicide the way Adolf Hitler did at the end of World War Two, rather than surrender or flee.

Misrata resident Senoussi said he knew of seven civilians and several government troops and mercenaries who were killed.

“The protesters arrested 20 mostly African mercenaries and two Libyan soldiers. I have seen them in shackles,” he said by telephone, adding that armed rebels were roaming the city outskirts in search of Gaddafi loyalists.

Al Jazeera quoted a senior officer who joined the rebels as saying the government used poisoned gas against demonstrators at Misrata’s airport early on Thursday, but other Misrata residents said they were not aware of such an event.

Soldiers were reported along the roads approaching Tripoli. In Zawiyah, witnesses said pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces were firing at each other in the streets.

Libya’s Quryna newspaper said 23 people were killed and 44 wounded in the town. Quoting medical sources it said “intense exchange of fire” was preventing the wounded from reaching hospitals. Some men were removing wounded kin from hospitals for fear of them falling into the hands of Gaddafi loyalists.

Anti-government militias were in control of Zuara, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Tripoli, residents said. There was no sign of police or military and the town was controlled by “popular committees” armed with automatic weapons.

In the east of Libya, many soldiers have withdrawn from active service and some are openly supporting the revolt.

Protesters have also taken control of Al Kufra, some 1,000 km (600 miles) southeast of Benghazi, Quryna newspaper said.

The uprising has virtually halted Libya’s oil exports, said the head of Italy’s ENI, Libya’s biggest foreign oil operator. The unrest has driven world oil prices up to around $120 a barrel, stoking concern about the economic recovery.

Key Libyan oil and product terminals to the east of the capital are in the hands of rebels, according to Benghazi residents in touch with people in region. The oil and product terminals at Ras Lanuf and Marsa El Brega were being protected, they said, amid fears of attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces.

There were mixed reports of whether output was affected.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February855.xml&section=international

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10 Nato tankers torched; 4 dead in Peshawar

February 25, 2011

PESHAWAR: At least four people have been reportedly killed while 10 NATO fuel-supplying tankers have been burned to coal as they came under attack by unidentified miscreants at Ring Road here in the heart of Peshawar on late Thursday, Geo News reported.

According to details, the militants opened fire at standing fuel tankers parked by roadside. The bullets, sprinkled at tankers, led to eruption of fierce fire, which engulfed many tankers in no time, witnesses told police officials, adding that the atrocious act also ended up injuring some people.

Meanwhile, four persons, believed to be the drivers and cleaners of the containers, have also succumbed to dreadful attack and lost their lives.

Many fuel containers are still on fire as the fire is raging by the time; however, law enforcement agencies have arrived at the crime site and sealed the location for public traveling.

Fire tenders have been dispatched to the crime scene and efforts to tame blaze have been kicked off.

Investigations have been launched into the attack, police claimed.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11701

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Libya: desperate Col Gaddafi offers protesters concessions as British rescue continues

Feb 25, 2011

Col Gaddafi of Libya was making a last desperate attempt to face down protesters threatening to come on to the streets of the Libyan capital on Friday, offering concessions but threatening no mercy to those who disobey his calls to stay at home.

As world leaders met to discuss how to stop the crisis, state television promised pay rises to state workers and cash hand-outs equal to around £300.

But protesters in Tripoli said they had been warned to stay at home during demonstrations planned for after Friday prayers in Green Square, or risk being shot on sight.

"Thousands are still prepared to defy Gaddafi by taking to the streets today," said one resident. "The time for change has come. The dictator has to step down. We know he has ordered his troops to shoot on sight, but we are ready."

Other residents confirmed reports that regime forces were trying to clear away the evidence of the wave of killing in Tripoli earlier in the week.

One resident told CBS news network that he saw 62 bodies in Green Square after violence on Tuesday but that the bodies were now being removed to an unknown location. Forces were even killing the wounded in hospital, he said.

"They go in with guns into hospitals," he said. "They take the bodies that are dead. In some hospitals, they have shot the wounded. This is true."

The regime's remaining leaders are now concentrated in Tripoli, with some desert cities still presumed to be in government hands. Troops attacked rebel-held towns such as Zawiya to the west and Misurata to the east on Thursday, but were unable to subdue them.

Nevertheless, there was no immediate sign of the Gaddafi family fleeing. "Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya," the dictator's son, Saif al-Islam, told CNN.

The United Nations Security Council, NATO, and the United Nations Human Rights Council, on which Libya has a seat, were all due to meet to discuss how to address Libya's future.

"The crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors," Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

"Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protesters. According to some sources, thousands may have been killed or injured."

The Council is likely to take a vote on whether to recommend suspension of Libya's three-year membership, which would eventually require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.

Britain and France are preparing a case for sanctions and a weapons embargo on Libya to be put before the UN Security Council later in New York. They are also arguing for Libya to be referred to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into "crimes against humanity".

Members of the regime continued to go over to the opposition, with Col Gaddafi's cousin and close aide, Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam the latest to say he was defecting.

Gaddafi's justice minister, who resigned earlier in the week, warned that the dictator had weapons of mass destruction and would use them as he made his last stand.

"He has camps to the south, east and west of Tripoli, and these camps are led by the sons of Gaddafi," said the ex-minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, in interviews.

"Gaddafi owns everything. He owns bacterial and chemical weapons. At the end he can do anything, he will burn everything left behind."

According to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which monitors the destruction of stockpiles, Libya was given an extension until May this year to destroy its remaining supplies of mustard gas as agreed when the country re-entered the international fold in 2003.

It now has about 10 tons out of an original 25 remaining, according to estimates, though it has already destroyed the shells and bombs that were designed to deliver the gas.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8347396/Libya-desperate-Col-Gaddafi-offers-protesters-concessions-as-British-rescue-continues.html

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Britain to seize Gaddafi's London assets: Report

Feb 25, 2011

LONDON: Britain will shortly seize billions of pounds in assets that Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi has stored in the European country, the Telegraph newspaper reported today.

Britain's finance department has set up a unit to trace Gaddafi's British assets which it believes include bank accounts, commercial property and a USD 16.1 million London home, the paper said.

"The first priority is to get British nationals out of Libya," a government source told the British daily.

"But then we are ready to move in on Gaddafi's assets, the work is under way. This is definitely on the radar at the highest levels."

Britain understands that Gaddafi owns around 20 billion pounds in liquid assets, mostly in London. According to the paper, these will be frozen "within days."

The international community has rounded on the long-serving ruler after he responded to anti-regime demonstrations with a violent crackdown that has claimed hundreds of lives.

Read more: Britain to seize Gaddafi's London assets: Report - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Britain-to-seize-Gaddafis-London-assets-Report/articleshow/7567983.cms#ixzz1Ey1NNU9F

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Britain-to-seize-Gaddafis-London-assets-Report/articleshow/7567983.cms

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Rebels close in, Gaddafi strikes back

Feb 25 2011,

Thousands of mercenary and irregular forces struck back at a tightening circle of rebellions around the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, trying to hold off an uprising against the 40-year rule of Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi, who blamed the violence on “hallucinogenic” drugs and Osama bin Laden.

The fighting on Thursday centered in Zawiya, a gateway city to the capital, just 30 miles west of Tripoli, where government opponents had briefly claimed victory. Gaddafi’s forces — a mixture of special brigades and African mercenaries— fought back, blasting a mosque that had been used as a refuge by protesters, a witness said.

Fighting intensified in other cities near Tripoli— Misurata, 130 miles east, and Sabratha, about 50 miles west. There were also reports that Zuara, 75 miles west of the capital, had fallen to anti-government militias.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rebels-close-in-gaddafi-strikes-back/754449/

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Three activists killed in wave of violence in Karachi

By Atif Raza

KARACHI: Panic gripped several areas of the provincial capital after three people, two activists of the Sunni Tehreek and one of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), were killed in a fresh wave of violence and targeted killings on Thursday.

The Sunni Tehreek’s activists were shot dead on Nishtar Road near the KMC workshop in the limits of the Eidgah Police Station.

As per reports, 29-year-old Danish Qadri, son of Qasim, was going home along with his brother-in-law Waseem Qadri, 30, son of Muhammad Qadri, when some unidentified armed men, riding on a motorcycle, opened indiscriminate firing on them. As a result, they both received bullet and died on the spot. The culprits, however, managed to flee from the crime scene. After being informed about the incident, police rushed to the spot and shifted the bodies of the dead to the Civil Hospital Karachi.

Superintendent of Police (SP), Qamar Raza Jasqani, confirmed that both the victims belonged to the Sunni Tehreek and claimed that it was a targeted killing incident as the killers adopted a procedure which they had used in their previous crimes. He also said that seven empty bullet shells of 9 MM pistol were recovered from the crime site.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\25\story_25-2-2011_pg7_1

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US missiles kill six in NWA

Feb 25, 2011

PESHAWAR: Suspected US missiles hit a house and car in a village in the Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border on Thursday, killing at least six people, intelligence officials said. The strikes occurred within minutes of each other in the North Waziristan region, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to brief the media. Unmanned drones frequently fire missiles at suspected al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border. The attacks have emerged as a major weapon in Washington’s campaign against terrorists that are blamed for attacks in Afghanistan as well as plots against the West. ap

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\25\story_25-2-2011_pg7_11

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Libya revolt could reveal fate of missing Lebanon imam

Feb 25, 2011

BEIRUT: Rabab Al-Sadr has waited in vain for more than 30 years to discover the fate of her brother, Lebanon's charismatic Shiite cleric Musa Al-Sadr who disappeared on a visit to Libya in 1978.

But the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi has given her family hope that they may finally find out what happened to him if the Libyan leader is toppled, she told Reuters on Thursday.

"I am not gloating, but any oppressor who has done injustice to people will face this bad end," she said. "We are relying on God in this issue and on his will, we will accept (whatever Sadr's fate is).”

The family and Lebanon's Shiite community hold the Libyan leader responsible for the disappearance of Sadr, founder of the Shiite Amal movement, and two of his aides during a 1978 visit.

Libya says Sadr, a relative of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, vanished after leaving Tripoli for Italy, but an Italian investigating magistrate has ruled he never arrived there. In 2008, Lebanon indicted Qaddafi over Sadr's disappearance and is seeking his arrest.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283655.ece

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Foreign journalists work for al Qaeda, says Libya

Yashwant Raj

February 25, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi doesn’t think much of reporters. He has made passes at women interviewers, he called them dogs recently. And now, Libya has said, foreign journalists illegally present in Libya will be treated as al Qaeda collaborators. Libyan officials told US diplomats that journalists from CNN, BB

C Arabic and Al Arabiya would be allowed to report on the current situation. But those that are already in, illegally, are in trouble.

“These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan government now considered these reporters al Qaeda collaborators,” the US department of state said on  Thursday.

“Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labelling unauthorised media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught,” the state department said in a statement.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Foreign-journalists-work-for-al-Qaeda-says-Libya/H1-Article1-666478.aspx

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Indian employees in Libya are safe, say companies

Feb 24 2011

Amid concerns over the safety of 18,000 Indians in violence-hit Libya, companies like BHEL, Punj Lloyd, D S Constructions and Unitech Infra today said their employees in the North African country are safe.

The companies said that some of them have already been evacuated, while efforts are on to bring others back safely and they are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)on the issue.

Punj Lloyd said in a statement that “the company has been assured safety and security of its employees and assets in Libya”.

“We are in constant touch with the Indian Embassy in Libya and with the MEA in India to enable our employees to return to India safely,” the company said.

Reports suggested that Punj Lloyd has large presence in the violence-hit country with around 1,800 employees and projects of about USD 1.8 billion.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indian-employees-in-libya-are-safe-say-companies/754384/

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Pakistan’s intelligence ready to split with CIA

By KATHY GANNON & ADAM GOLDMAN

Feb 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ISI spy agency is ready to split with the CIA because of frustration over what it calls heavy-handed pressure and its anger over what it believes is a covert US operation involving hundreds of contract spies, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with US and Pakistani officials.

Such a move could seriously damage the US war effort in Afghanistan, limit a program targeting Al-Qaeda insurgents along the Pakistan frontier, and restrict Washington’s access to information in the nuclear-armed country.

According to a statement drafted by the ISI, supported by interviews with officials, an already-fragile relationship between the two agencies collapsed following the shooting death of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a US contracted spy who is in jail in Pakistan facing possible multiple murder charges.

“Post-incident conduct of the CIA has virtually put the partnership into question,” said a media statement prepared by the ISI but never released. A copy was obtained this week by the AP.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article283151.ece

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NOC for Pak actors and singers must for visiting India

Bharati Dubey

Feb 25, 2011

Pakistani actors and other artistes will have to get an NoC from their interior ministry before coming to India. The decision was taken in a high level meeting held with the interior minister Rehman Malik in Islamabad on Thursday evening.

The meeting was attended by representatives of all ministries where it was decided that no artiste would be allowed to travel to India without an NOC after March 15.

It maybe recalled here that Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and his manager Maroof were charged under FEMA and customs act for carrying undeclared foreign currency of Rs 60 lakh.

Read more: NOC for Pak actors and singers must for visiting India - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/NOC-for-Pak-actors-and-singers-must-for-visiting-India/articleshow/7567708.cms#ixzz1Ey2VEpkL

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/NOC-for-Pak-actors-and-singers-must-for-visiting-India/articleshow/7567708.cms

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US arrests Saudi bomb plotter

Feb 25, 2011

WASHINGTON: A Saudi man has been arrested for allegedly buying chemicals and equipment to make a bomb and researching US targets, including the Dallas home of former president George W. Bush, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari a Saudi national who came to Texas on student visa in 2008, was arrested late Wednesday and faces charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the FBI, Aldawsari wrote himself an email entitled “NICE TARGETS,” and then listed two types of targets: hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. In another email titled “Tyrant’s House,” he listed the address of Bush’s home.

The authorities’ affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari researched using dolls to hide explosives and concealing them in a backpack to target a nightclub.

Prosecutors said Aldawsari, who was admitted into the United States in 2008 on a student visa, posted extremist messages on a blog, vowing jihad.

“You who created mankind… grant me martyrdom for Your sake and make jihad easy for me only in Your path,” he wrote.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/us-arrests-saudi-bomb-plotter.html

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JEDDAH: Patience does not mean we’re weak, say women suffering in silence

By DIANA AL-JASSEM

Feb 25, 2011

JEDDAH: It is believed that most Arab women accept domestic violence as part of their lives. For various reasons, women from different age groups and backgrounds prefer to hide their pain and suffering and never report it to the authorities.

A police source told Arab News that most non-Saudi women report cases of violence against them from their husbands or families.

Saudi women on the other hand report only a few cases, preferring to hide their family problems, perhaps because they fear the possibility of divorce. They find themselves in a situation where they believe they have to learn how to accept abuse.

A number of Saudi and expatriate women exposed to domestic violence told Arab News the reasons why they chose not to speak out.

Sarah, a Saudi woman who requested not to mention her family name, said that she would prefer to be beaten up by her husband than get divorced.

She said that it is considered an insult to her family to complain to authorities about her husband, especially as she has children with him.

“I always believe and pray to God that one day he will not beat me up. I criticize those who call us weak. Our silence does not mean we are weak,” she said.

“We are strong and there are many factors that prevent me from seeking a divorce. This is a sacrifice that I have to make and I have to be patient for the sake of my kids. I always believe that one day he will change.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283690.ece

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Has Syria built a secret nuclear site?

Feb 25, 2011,

VIENNA: Western intelligence agencies suspect Syria may have built a secret atomic facility near Damascus, a German newspaper said, and a US think-tank suggested it could be linked to a site bombed by Israel in 2007.

If confirmed, Thursday's report by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung would add to Western fears that the Arab state had engaged in covert nuclear activity prior to the Israeli attack and it may increase pressure for action by the UN nuclear watchdog.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington-based think-tank , said the operational status of the facility near the town of Marj as Sultan was not known.

"However, there is suspicion that Syria may have emptied the buildings prior to mid-2008 and taken steps to disguise previous activities at the site," it said in an analysis issued in conjunction with the German newspaper report. Syria has refused to allow UN inspectors to revisit a site destroyed by Israel in 2007, which US intelligence reports said was a North Korean-designed nuclear reactor intended to produce bomb fuel.

ISIS said the site near may have been linked to the Dair Alzour facility attacked by Israel.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Has-Syria-built-a-secret-nuclear-site-/articleshow/7567533.cms#ixzz1Ew4dtHQ5

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Gaddafi struggles to hold on to power as opponents make gains

Feb 24 2011

Libya's embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi today scrambled hard to stick to power as anti-regime protesters gained control of several eastern cities and the revolt moved closer to the capital Tripoli with many army officers defecting to join the uprising.

The town of Zuara, 120 km west of the capital Tripoli, has reportedly become the latest to fall to the opponents of 68-year-old Gaddafi. There were no police or soldiers left in Zuara, BBC quoted witnesses crossing out of Libya as saying.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, residents had been queuing to be issued guns looted from the army and police in order to join what they called the battle for Tripoli, it said.

However, the regime continued to unleash a crackdown in the capital city where, according to witnesses, 'militias' roamed the streets to target protesters.

They said Tripoli was heavily guarded by pro-Gaddafi forces, with tanks deployed in the suburbs.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gaddafi-struggles-to-hold-on-to-power-as-opponents-make-gains/754250/

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Evil eye cast on Libya, says Qaddafi

Feb 25, 2011 00:39

TRIPOLI: Abandoned by some of his staunchest supporters and losing his grip on much of the country, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on Thursday blamed the unprecedented revolt against his 42-year rule on an "evil eye." In a telephone interview with state TV, he said: "The village is the victim of an evil eye."

In a rambling appeal for calm, he also said Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was behind the unrest and and that protesters were fueled by milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs.

Saudis reacted with anger and disbelief. "Qaddafi does not know what he's talking about. He's blaming Bin Laden when he should look at himself instead and ask why widespread Libyan protests are tearing the country apart," Ali Al-Enagy, a professor at the King Saud University (KSU), said.

Hezab Sadoun, a professor of mass communications at a university in Riyadh, said that Qaddafi was way off the mark with his claims. "There's no foreigner or foreign force involved in the turmoil that has engulfed Libya. What stokes the anger of the Libyan people who have risen in arms against him is top-level corruption," he said.

Qaddafi, who just two days ago vowed in a televised address to crush the revolt and fight to the last, showed none of the fist-thumping rage of that speech. This time, he spoke to state television by telephone without appearing in person, and his tone seemed more conciliatory.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283646.ece

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Libya denies Gaddafi has Swiss bank funds

25 February 2011

TRIPOLI - Libya’s Foreign Ministry denied on Thursday that leader Muammar Gaddafi holds banks accounts in Switzerland or in any other bank around the world.

“We demand that ... Switzerland proves that the brother leader has funds or bank accounts in its banks or in any other banks around the world,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The Foreign Ministry will take all the legal procedures to sue the Swiss government for this unfounded statement.”

Switzerland said on Thursday it was freezing any assets Gaddafi and his family might have in the country. The Libyan ministry said the Swiss statement showed “the degree of its animosity towards Libya and its leader”.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February852.xml&section=international

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Benghazi holding assassins; Residents set up defenses

Feb 25, 2011

BENGHAZI: Residents of Benghazi have jailed those they say are African mercenaries and set up defenses around this eastern city now out of the control of leader Muammar Qaddafi, who has lost control of swathes of Libya.

A court compound in the center of Benghazi, on the Mediterranean coast, has become a focal point for those seeking to reimpose law and order after a bloody rebellion against Qaddafi loyalists who relinquished the city to residents.

Defenses were being prepared in some parts of the city for the chance of an attack by Qaddafi’s forces, said organizers who have set up committees to run the city. The airport was closed because residents feared more mercenaries could be flown in.

“We expect an attack, but we are not afraid,” said Soliman Karim, a 65-year-old lawyer involved in the organization, adding the city had enough food but hospitals were low on medicine. “There is plenty of food, thank God. Our problem is a lack of medicine,” he said, sitting in the courthouse as demonstrators gathered outside, chanting “Free Libya, Free Libya” and waving monarchy-era flags.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283706.ece

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U.S. keeps options open on Libya

Feb 25, 2011

Washington: The United States persisted with its muted response to the unfolding crisis in Libya on Wednesday, with President Barack Obama reiterating his condemnation of violence by Libyan forces against protesters but stopping short of declaring sanctions or supporting any stronger measures.

Mr. Obama said his “highest priority” was protecting U.S. citizens in Libya. However, he added the U.S. strongly supported the universal rights of the Libyan people and “strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya”.

Yet, unlike other leaders — notably French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has called for sanctions against Libya — Mr. Obama only hinted at a “full range” of measures that his administration might take against Libya for potential human rights violations.

“I have also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we will carry out through multilateral institutions,” he said.

Mr. Obama, however, noted he had asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to travel to Geneva on Monday to join Foreign Ministers of other nations in a discussion on the developments in West Asia.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/25/stories/2011022565321900.htm

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World leaders seek action against Qadhafi over crackdown

Feb 25, 2011

UNITED NATIONS: World leaders studied punitive measures to take against Moamer Qadhafi on Thursday as the Libyan strongman’s crackdown against opponents grew more desperate.

The UN Security Council will meet again Friday to discuss the crisis and US President Barack Obama has already discussed possible measures with France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and the British and Italian Prime ministers David Cameron and Silvio Berlusconi.

Diplomats said they are studying a possible no-fly zone over Libya, as well as a travel ban and assets freeze against the Qadhafi family amid mounting concern over the growing death toll.

“All options are on the table. We are not ruling anything out,” a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The 15-nation council is determined to show international anger after Qadhafi rejected calls from Obama, other heads of state and the Security Council itself for a halt to the violence, diplomats said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/25/world-leaders-seek-action-against-qadhafi-over-crackdown.html

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3 Navy warships roped in to evacuate Indians from Libya

February 25, 2011

The Navy will dispatch three of its warships on Friday to Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya as India on Thursday decided to immediately start evacuating its citizens in view of the sharp deterioration in the situation there. The Navy warships will be in addition to the passenger ferry that the Government has chartered for the evacuation exercise.

The ships would bring out nearly 8,000 Indians from Tripoli and 1,500 Indians from Benghazi. The three ships, including two destroyers and landing platform dock Jalashwa, will ferry the evacuated people either to Malta, which takes about eight hours of sailing time and Alexandria, Egypt, which takes two days. The evacuees will then be flown back to India by special Air India flights.

Officials said given the magnitude of evacuation effort, ships cannot be diverted and have to be launched from India with all necessary equipment to look after the evacuees’ welfare. Naval authorities submitted detailed plans to the Defence Ministry on Wednesday after the External Affairs Ministry asked the Navy to deploy warships for evacuation. An MEA statement said evacuation is being arranged by sea and air.

The chartered passenger ferry – Scotia Prince - with a capacity to seat 1,200 persons for this purpose is already in Egypt and readying for sail to Benghazi which will be the initial focus of the evacuation operations.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/320262/3-Navy-warships-roped-in-to-evacuate-Indians-from-Libya.html

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India trying to save 18,000 citizens from 'drug-crazed' Libya mobs

February 24th, 2011

Tripoli: Government today decided to immediately commence evacuation of Indians from Libya by sea and air in view of the 'sharp and unprecedented deterioration' in the situation in the African nation which is witnessing anti-government protests that have claimed 300 lives so far.

At stake are about 18,000 Indian lives, the majority of them living in Tripoli which is one of the worst-affected cities due to the protests.

"Evacuation is being arranged by sea and air. Government has chartered a passenger ferry with capacity to seat 1,200 persons for this purpose. The ship, 'Scotia Prince', is already in Egypt and readying for sail to Benghazi which will be the initial focus of the evacuation operations," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here.

"Primary evacuation focus (in Libya) will be on medical emergency cases, women and children," added Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

Full report at:

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/india-trying-save-18000-citizens-drug-crazed-libya-mobs-569

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Qaddafi's charge against Bin Laden angers Saudis

By RODOLFO C. ESTIMO JR.

Feb 25, 2011

RIYADH: Saudis have expressed anger in reaction to Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi's allegation that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, and his followers are to blame for the protests wracking his country.

Qaddafi was quoted on Thursday by the media, including the BBC, as saying that Bin Laden had been manipulating Libyans who have risen up against him to take control of large parts of the oil-rich country.

"Qaddafi does not know what he's talking about. He's blaming Bin Laden when he should look at himself instead and ask why widespread Libyan protests are tearing the country apart," Dr. Ali Al Enagy, a professor at the King Saud University (KSU), told Arab News on Thursday night. He claimed that Qaddafi had not done anything good for his people.

"Libya is a rich country, one of the oil producers in the region, and yet its people had not benefited because Qaddafi had not done anything for them. That is because he's not a good leader. He does not have the qualifications of a good leader," he added.

"Look at Qaddafi's record. He does not have culture and believes that he's above the Libyan people. He's a mad man and out of touch with reality.

"Qaddafi acts as if he's the Libyan founder when in fact he's not. He feels superior to his people, who deserve a much better leader than him."

Dr. Hezab Sadoun, a professor of mass communications at a local university, said that Qaddafi was way off the mark with his claims.

"There's no foreigner or foreign force involved in the turmoil that has engulfed Libya. What stokes the anger of the Libyan people who have risen in arms against him is top-level corruption," he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283687.ece

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Egypt detains ex-minister and former state TV boss

Feb 25, 2011

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities on Thursday arrested the country's former information minister and the chairman of state TV and radio on corruption allegations, security officials said.

Authorities also referred to trial two former Cabinet ministers and a one-time top official of Mubarak's political party. They will face corruption charges, the officials said.

Thursday's arrests of Anas Al-Fiqqi, the ex-information minister, and Osama El-Sheikh, the state TV boss, were widely expected. Al-Fiqqi was placed under house arrest earlier this month and El-Sheikh was banned from traveling abroad Wednesday, steps that often precede a criminal investigation or a trial.

Al-Fiqqi was a confidant of Mubarak and his powerful, one-time heir apparent son Gamal. Under his and El-Sheikh's stewardship, state TV persistently discredited the young organizers of the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to hand power to the military after nearly 30 years of authoritarian rule.

The security officials said the Al-Fiqqi investigation looked into the fate of 2 million pounds (about $340,000) he collected in donations to support of a film festival in Cairo. Al-Fiqqi never presented documents explaining how he spent the money, said the officials.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283678.ece

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Clinton sees validation of Gandhi's principles in Egypt

Feb 24 2011

Effusively praising Egypt's youth for bringing about a bloodless revolution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the success of the country's uprising had validated yet again the principles propounded by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

In a web-social media interaction with Egyptians and later in her remarks at a conference, Clinton said leaders like Gandhi and King showed to the world how to bring transformation without picking a gun.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/clinton-sees-validation-of-gandhis-principles-in-egypt/754330/

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Bahrain opposition leader's passport seized in Lebanon

Feb 25, 2011

MANAMA: A hard-line Bahraini opposition figure seeking to return home after a week of anti-government protests is stranded in Beirut after Lebanese authorities seized his passport, a Lebanese judicial source said Thursday.

The Bahraini government, meanwhile, reported progress toward starting a dialogue with the opposition after thousands of protesters took to the streets last week to demand an elected government in the kingdom.

Hassan Mushaimaa, the London-based leader of the Haq movement, had said on his Facebook page that he would fly home last Tuesday to see whether Bahrain's leadership was serious about dialogue with its opponents or would arrest him.

A Lebanese official said authorities had blocked Mushaimaa from boarding a flight to Manama because his name was on an international arrest warrant. A Lebanese judicial source said Mushaimaa's passport had been seized, but he was not in custody.

"The Bahraini government has distributed his name to borders in the Arab world," Abbas Al-Amran, a friend of Mushaimaa, told Reuters. "He will not let himself be arrested. He wants to take a plane and come to Bahrain as an ordinary citizen."

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283659.ece

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Yemeni tycoon shrugs off risk from unrest

Feb 25, 2011

SANAA: Accustomed to instability during five decades in international business, Yemeni businessman Abdulwasa Hayel Saeed shrugs off the unrest in his homeland as another chapter in Yemen’s turbulent history.

The soft spoken 70-year old, whose family’s empire stretches from Egypt to Indonesia, is building a $230 million sugar refinery in Yemen he says will open next year and expanding scores of businesses ranging from biscuits to an oil concession and a Porsche franchise.

“When we built our first factory in 1970, Yemen was emerging from civil war. No one accepted to go into partnership with us. We employ now 16,000 people in the Yemen factories alone,” Hayel Saeed said.

“What we are seeing is a cloud that will pass. Yemen is ripe for all kind of investments. This is a country with cheap labor force and an unparalleled strategic location,” he said.

Hayel Saeed, who is also active in politics, heading the parliament’s transport committee, would not be drawn on the demonstrations demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule, but he expected compromise to be reached between the president and his opponents.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article283336.ece

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Saudis use Facebook and Twitter to air their views

By FATIMA SIDIYA

Feb 25, 2011

JEDDAH: With the rapid increase in social networks’ users in the Kingdom, more Saudis are sharing their views on fighting corruption and are calling for more transparency and women's rights.

Twitter and Facebook are providing more space for the Saudi public not only to voice support to the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans but also to call for their own rights.

The Middle East and North Africa Facebook Demographics, a study by Carrington Malin from Spot on Public Relations, says that in 2010 there were 15 million Facebook users in the region, half of whom use English as their primary language. The top five countries using Facebook are Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman) have five million Facebook users with Saudi Arabia and the UAE representing 45 percent of the total.

An in-depth look at this study by Arab News revealed that only eight percent of the Kingdom’s population (Saudis and expatriates combined) use Facebook. Meanwhile, 31 percent of the population of the UAE, 44 percent of Qatar’s, 17 percent of Kuwait’s, 51 percent of Bahrain's and 5.1 percent of Oman's are Facebook users. Only 4.2 percent of people in Egypt are Facebook members while 14.7 of Tunisians and 5.6 of Moroccans are Facebook users.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283686.ece

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Saudi taxi drivers complain about 'unfair discrimination'

By ARJUWAN LAKKDAWALA

Feb 25, 2011

JEDDAH: Saudi taxi drivers are dismayed by the fact that women tend to avoid them fearing harassment. Most women in the Kingdom would hire a cab only if the driver is a non-Saudi.

A number of women interviewed by Arab News did not hide their feelings. Housewife Wajida Abdullah said she prefers expatriate taxi drivers because they don’t make a fuss like Saudi drivers.

“First of all, a Saudi driver charges too much. I can go to Hamra for SR15 to SR20 with an expatriate driver, but a Saudi driver will charge SR30 to SR35. Also, if the driver is going fast and I ask him to slow down, he will, but a Saudi driver will ignore me and continue speeding,” she said.

Ahlam, who is a student, said her brother or father usually chauffeur her around, but sometimes when they are very busy she is allowed to take a cab as long as the driver is not Saudi.

“My family feels that a Saudi taxi driver is more likely to flirt with me than a non-Saudi.”

Fathima Misfer, who is a housewife, said that because of the language barrier between the Saudi woman and expatriate drivers, Saudi men feel that it is unlikely for their female family members to get into a relationship with a non-Saudi taxi driver.

Saudi taxi driver Ghazi is very upset by what he calls unfair discrimination. “We are also God-fearing Muslims, why are they (passengers) afraid of us as if we are criminals?”

Ghazi said that he has never charged extra money or been rude to a passenger. He said once a woman passenger duped him into taking her practically all over Jeddah to get her various errands done and offered him only SR10.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283676.ece

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Saudi students told they can return to Egypt

Feb 25, 2011

CAIRO: Egyptian universities will reopen classes suspended during the recent unrest on March 5, according to the Saudi Embassy in Cairo.

Saudi students can now return to their universities as second term classes are due to resume in all universities, the embassy’s Cultural Attaché Muhammad Al-Oqail said in a statement on Thursday.

He said his office sent e-mails to all Saudi students who had returned to the Kingdom because of security concerns during the uprising.

The attaché office's website has more information about the reopening of universities, he added.

Some students will have to attend examinations on Feb. 26. Students should contact the attaché’s office for further details, Al-Oqail said.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283666.ece

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Saudi King healthy but needs physiotherapy: Minister

25 February 2011

RIYADH - The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who spent three months abroad for medical treatment, is healthy but needs to continue his physiotherapy, the health minister told the state news agency SPA on Friday.

On Wednesday, the King, returned to Riyadh after treatment for a blood clot that had complicated a slipped disc.

He twice underwent surgery in New York and spent the past four weeks in Morocco for recuperation and physiotherapy.

“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is in natural health but needs to continue the physiotherapy he started in New York,” Health Minister Abdullah Al Rabeeah told the agency on Friday.

“He will continue the physiotherapy that he started a long time ago but that does not stop the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah  from practising his office like he did when he was outside the Kingdom,” the minister added.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February758.xml&section=middleeast

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Abdullah driving force behind many diplomatic initiatives, says UK envoy

Feb 25, 2011

JEDDAH: The UK’s ambassador in Riyadh, Sir Tom Philips, has praised Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his leadership and his reform program to develop the country. 

“As a diplomat, I have traveled to many countries. But only on occasions have I met leaders whose significant contribution has made them symbols of their countries, and has won them the love and admiration of their people,” said Sir Tom in a statement put out by the embassy on Wednesday.

“Having arrived in Saudi Arabia and met the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, it is clear to me that His Majesty is such a man, as the architect of domestic reform, a proponent of education and the author of a major overseas scholarships program, the driving force between many diplomatic initiatives designed to promote peace and stability in the region, and as a man who generates a culture of tolerance and understanding between the world’s faith communities.”

Noting that Saudi Arabia was the UK’s prime partner in the region and that the two kingdoms shared many interests and were major trading partners, the ambassador also said that there were thousands of Saudi students in British schools and universities and that the UK was the top tourist destination in Europe for Saudis.

“It is a privilege and an honor to welcome the return of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to Saudi Arabia and to share the joy of the occasion with millions of Saudis,” Sir Tom concluded.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283664.ece

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Trial in double-murder case against Davis to begin

Feb 25, 2011

LAHORE: Additional District and Sessions Court Judge Muhammad Yousuf Aujla will begin the trial of US official Raymond Davis in the double-murder case at Kot Lakhpat jail on Friday.

The court has ordered Davis’s trial in jail on the request of the Punjab Home Department for security concerns.

Davis is accused of killing two youths – Faizan and Faheem — at Qartaba Chowk on January 27.

US consul general in Lahore, Carmela Conroy, and other consulate officials met Davis in prison on Friday before the start of the trial.

In the double murder case, there are 30 witnesses to the incident mentioned in the challan who have recorded their statements with the police.

According to the challan, the accused opened fire from inside his car at Fahim and Faizan and then shot, after coming out of his vehicle, twice on Faizan in his back who was running. They said the accused later took some pictures of the deceased and called someone through a wireless set to retrieve him.

Witnesses traffic wardens Muhammad Husain and Waqas Khaliq stated the accused after committing the crime fled in his car (LEC-10/5545) from the scene. They chased and captured him at Old Anarkali Chowk and handed him over to Anarkali Circle DSP Raza Safdar Kazmi.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/25/trial-in-double-murder-case-against-davis-to-begin.html

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US ‘ready to mend Pakistan ties’

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: The United States has revived high-level diplomatic and military contacts with Pakistan, indicating a desire to put behind the bitterness created by the arrest of a CIA contractor in Lahore, diplomatic sources told .

On Wednesday, when the US and Pakistani military chiefs had a day-long meeting in Oman, Pakistan`s Ambassador Husain Haqqani was invited to the State Department for a formal meeting with Marc Grossman, the new US Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

During the meeting, the State Department informed the ambassador that Mr Grossman planned to visit Islamabad early next month for exploratory talks with Pakistani leaders.

Although Mr Grossman served in Islamabad from 1976 to 1983, this would be his first visit to the country since his appointment earlier this month as US special representative for the region, replacing the late Richard Holbrooke.

“There`s no severance of relations,” said a diplomatic source while describing the impact of Raymond Davis`s arrest on US-Pakistan ties. “The Americans were still talking to the Pakistanis but almost always focused on the Davis affair.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/25/us-ready-to-mend-pakistan-ties.html

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PM calls for political reconciliation

Feb 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday ruled out any possibility of mid-term polls and said the government will seek a new public mandate after two years.

In interviews to various regional television channels, he said those who are shouting for mid term polls, boycotted the elections in 2008.

If the provinces cannot hold local bodies election how they can hold polling for National Assembly, he wondered.

The premier underlined the need for politics of reconciliation, harmony and tolerance and said politics of confrontation should be shunned.

Political parties need to show wisdom and sagacity, he remarked.

Commenting on reports of a deadline given by the PML-N, he said in politics there are no ultimatums and the government accepted the offer of dialogues with the opposition party with sincerity.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/gilani-calls-for-political-reconciliation.html

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UK court orders Assange’s extradition to Sweden

Feb 25, 2011

LONDON: A British court agreed on Thursday to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over sex crimes, dismissing claims the move would breach his human rights. Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denies, made by two WikiLeaks volunteers during his time in Sweden last August. “I have specifically considered whether the physical or mental condition of the defendant is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” Judge Howard Riddle said. “I am satisfied that extradition is compatible with the defendant’s (European) Convention rights, I must order Assange be extradited to Sweden.” Lawyers for Assange, who has angered the US government by releasing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables on his website, said they would appeal against the decision at London’s High Court, putting the extradition on hold. Mark Stephens, a lawyer for Assange, said the case showed that extraditions under the fast-track European arrest warrant were a form of “tick-box justice”. “We are still hopeful that the matter will be resolved in this country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\25\story_25-2-2011_pg7_4

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Taliban warn PPP against freeing Davis

By Haji Mujtaba

MIRANSHAH: A Taliban commander has warned the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) against freeing Central Intelligence Agency agent Raymond Davis who is facing double murder charge for killing two Pakistani nationals in Lahore.

“Raymond is killer of Pakistanis and tribal people. We will pick one by one PPP leaders if the American was released,” Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani said on Thursday in a press statement.

He warned that the PPP leaders at provincial, district and town level would be targeted if Davis was released under pressure. “Hand him over to us if the government is hesitant to punish him for his crime,” the militant commander demanded.

The American undercover spy is languishing in Lahore jail waiting for legal battle over Washington’s claim that he is a diplomat and thus entitled to immunity under the Geneva Convention. “Raymond Davis is the killer of innocent Pakistanis. The tribal people will not let go the killer scot-free,” Haqqani warned.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\25\story_25-2-2011_pg7_23

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Japan to lend $170m to Pak flood rehab

February 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Japan International Cooperation Agency will extend a loan of 14.7 billion yen ($170 million) to Pakistan for reconstruction work in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

An official development loan agreement was signed in Tokyo Tuesday.

The Japanese government arm in January had agreed to another loan of up to 5 billion yen, taking total ODA loans to 19.7 billion yen.

Both loans carry an interest rate of 0.01% and will have to be repaid in 40 years.

Pakistan last July was ravaged by the worst floods in its history which submerged one-fifth of the south Asian country and left millions homeless, damaging roads and infrastructure.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11706

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Israel bombs Gaza after rocket attack

Feb 25, 2011

JERUSALEM: Israel on Thursday warned militants in the Gaza Strip not to “test” the Jewish state, as fighter jets pounded targets across the coastal enclave after a Palestinian rocket attack.

Slamming into a house, it was the first rocket to strike Israel's city of Beersheva since the devastating 2008-2009 Gaza war. “I don't suggest anyone test the determination of the state of Israel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The warning came after 24 hours of tit-for-tat violence along Israel-Gaza border. Early on Thursday, Israeli jets raided sites across the coastal strip. — AFP

http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/25/stories/2011022565251900.htm

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Oil jumps 7.5% to $119.79 a barrel

Feb 25, 2011 00:03

LONDON: Oil surged more than 7.5 percent to its highest since August 2008 on Thursday on concern that the uprising in Libya would affect crude stocks.

Brent crude oil for April spiked up $8.54 a barrel to a peak of $119.79 before easing to around $114.40 by 1450 GMT. US crude futures for April rose as high as $103.41. They were up $1.70 at $99.80 at 1450 GMT.

Unrest in the world's 12th-biggest exporter has cut at least 400,000 barrels per day from Libya's 1.6 million bpd output, according to Reuters calculations.

ENI Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said Libyan output had fallen much more dramatically, estimating it was putting 1.2 million barrels per day less into the market.

Eastern areas holding much of Libya's oil have slipped from the control of Muammar Qaddafi.Goldman Sachs said the spread of unrest to another producing country could create severe oil shortages and require demand rationing. "The market cannot accommodate another disruption, in our view, with the problems in Libya potentially absorbing half of OPEC's spare capacity," analyst Jeffrey Currie said in a research note.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article283681.ece

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Death toll from Jeddah floods rises to 13

By IBRAHIM NAFFEE

Feb 25, 2011

JEDDAH: The official death toll from the Jan. 26 floods in Jeddah has risen to 13 after two people passed away in hospital, spokesman for the Civil Defense in Jeddah Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Qarni said on Thursday.

The official denied reports that the number of people killed or missing in the flood was higher than the official figures.

"All concerned departments are keen on supplying facts about the dead or missing people with their name, nationality, age and place of missing,” he said, adding that it was unreasonable to suspect that the department was holding back the real list of the missing. "If anyone knew that some of his relatives or acquaintances died he will come forward and inform the Civil Defense," he said.

He also said officials make inquiries to verify the circumstances of any reported case of death due to the flooding.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article283638.ece

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Israeli gunfire kills Palestinian civilian

By HISHAM ABU TAHA

Feb 25, 2011

GAZA CITY: One Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli gunfire in northern Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, witnesses and medical sources said.

The sources said that the man was killed when Israeli soldiers patrolling the border between Gaza and Israel opened fire in the victims direction.

Israeli warplanes also carried out six air strikes across the Gaza Strip resulted in wounding four people, among them three fighters from the Islamic Jihad movement.

The Israeli air sorties that began around midnight and ended at 5 a.m. Gaza local time on Thursday led to extensive damage to property. Two training grounds belonging to Al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas, were targeted in the attacks.

The bombardment came a few hours after two Grad rockets were fired from Gaza at Beer Sheva on Wednesday evening. One of the rockets hit a building in a residential area of the city, causing damage. No injuries were reported.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article283634.ece

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Uganda opposition leader urges protests over polls

By BARRY MALONE & ELIAS BIRYABAREMA

Feb 25, 2011

KAMPALA: Uganda’s opposition leader called for peaceful anti-government protests and a re-run of last week’s disputed presidential poll on Thursday, but the authorities said demonstrations would not be tolerated.

Kizza Besigye said last week’s presidential and parliamentary polls were a sham due to widespread bribery, ballot box stuffing and military intimidation.

“We therefore make a call to action. The time is now for the people of Uganda to rise and peacefully protest against the outcome of the 2011 elections,” Besigye, leader of the Inter-Party Cooperation coalition, told a news conference.

After unsuccessfully appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the previous two polls — which the court acknowledged had been marred by rigging and violence against the opposition — Besigye says he has lost faith in the judicial system.

A police spokeswoman said it was too risky to permit demonstrations against incumbent President Yoweri Museveni’s election to a fourth term in office.

“We can’t allow them to demonstrate, there’s already enough tension,” police spokeswoman Judith Nabakoba told Reuters.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article283075.ece

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Palestinian premier seeks youth input on Facebook

25 February 2011

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian premier is looking to a modern tool to tap into demands of his youth for change — a Facebook page.

At a time when disgruntled youth are spurring revolutions in the region, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is posting questions on his page in the popular social media outlet, asking for their opinions.

Among the questions is one asking Facebook users to list candidates for a new Cabinet. Fayyad and his Cabinet resigned recently as part of a run-up to September elections.

Fayyad said 3,200 people commented on that issue, and the number of people viewing his page has increased 20 percent since the question appeared on Wednesday.

Another question asks for priorities for the next government’s agenda. That one has 361 responses so far, according to Fayyad’s office. Content of the replies was not released.

Fayyad spokesman Jamal Zaqout said the prime minister is personally looking at the entries. “This is a method to stay in touch with people and listening to what they have to say,” he said Thursday.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February757.xml&section=middleeast

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gun-battles-rage-in-libya-/d/4187

 

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