New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 29 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Indonesian gambling convicts escape before caning


New Age Islam News Bureau

 

30 Jan 2010

Muslims join hands with Pandits to renovate 80-yr-old temple in: Zee News

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 BELGRADE: Patriarch apologizes to Muslim citizens

 Pandits get back temple with Muslim help

 Özdemir: Europe should build its own Islamic culture

 Taliban as part of an Afghan solution

 Blair faces the hot seat

 UK seen linked to torture

 Long history of Israel's 'covert killing'

 Muslims for Haiti: 5 hour LIVE Telethon for Haiti Relief

 Taliban threaten to bombard brothels in Attock

 UN in secret peace talks with Taliban

 Afghan talks offer not for Mullah Omar: US

 Afghanistan: Pakistan’s influence seen limited

 Saudis 'mediating Taliban talks'

 No decision on talks: Taliban

 India willing to try out 'good Taliban'

 India reconciles itself with new Afghan reality

 Nigeria fighters call off ceasefire

 Muslims in the city of Tiruvarur of Tamil Nadu

 Iran tries 16 people over Ashura Day protests

 Father of convicted terrorist denies endorsing violence

 Sena dares SRK to include Pak players in Kolkata Knight Riders

 Aamir, Shah Rukh Khan are '2 Idiots': Shiv Sena

 No regrets for removing Saddam Hussein: Former UK PM Tony Blair

 Americans play Terror Trap

 Indian polity divided, confused: Qureshi

 Give facilities to Ayodhya pilgrims: Swamy

 Five militants killed in US drone attack in Pakistan

 3 Americans killed in eastern Afghanistan, says NATO

 Krishna, Qureshi spar over 26/11 probe

 Resume talks with Pakistan, says Karan Singh

 OIC Secy Gen. addresses the Think Tank Forum in Istanbul

 ‘170 abducted remain untraced since 1988’

 Drone attacks benefiting terrorists, says Imran

 What peace? What talks? Let Pakistan stop aiding terrorists first

 Two political activists killed in clash

 Adopt similar public & private policies regarding Pakistan, Islamabad tells Delhi

 US reconsidering NY trial of 9/11 suspects

 15 killed in heavy Mogadishu fighting

 Bin Laden blasts US for climate change

 Four Afghan soldiers killed in friendly fire incident with NATO soldiers

 Former Speaker Blasts Israel's Ongoing Crimes against Palestinians

 U.S. Senate Passes Iran Sanctions Bill Unanimously

 Nigerian oil rebels threaten 'all-out' attacks

 Leader's disgust at theft in a Slough mosque

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/indonesian-gambling-convicts-escape-before-caning/d/2436

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Indonesian gambling convicts escape before caning

30 January 2010

Caned in front of a baying crowd: Eight convicted gamblers are su: Daily Mail

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Three Indonesian men convicted of playing dominoes for money have escaped from jail moments before a public caning in devoutly Muslim Aceh province.

Local Islamic police chief Muhammad Rusli said Saturday the men bolted during an unguarded bathroom visit minutes before the punishment for violating anti-gambling laws.

The men were caught playing dominoes for 1,000 rupiah ($0.10) per game. They were to be caned six times each outside a mosque on Friday.

Aceh adopted Islamic laws banning alcohol and gambling after gaining semiautonomy from the secular central government following a decades-long civil war. Last year, lawmakers there imposed stoning to death as a punishment for adultery.

The majority of Indonesia's roughly 200 million Muslims practice moderate Islam.

http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1168840&lang=eng_news

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Patriarch apologizes to Muslim citizens

29 January 2010

BELGRADE -- Serbian Patriarch Irinej apologized on Friday to the Muslim citizens for his recent statement in which he spoke of Islam in an imprudent manner.

In a statement issued by his office, Patriarch Irinej pointed out that his actual position on Islam is based on the absolute appreciation of identity, dignity and integrity of Muslims as individuals, the Islamic community as a whole, and Islam as a great world religion.

Explaining that his statement was taken out of the context, Patriarch said that Belgrade daily Blic, which published the interview, left out the beginning and the end of his statement, in which he said that “we are all God's creation, and, as a consequence, we are invited to overcome all existing differences with human affection, and to live together in mutual love and respect.”

“I express my deepest regret over the statement and its consequences, and I apologize sincerely to Muslims – our fellow-creatures and brothers,” the statement reads.

In the interview, as published by Blic on St. Sava's Day, Patriarch Irinej evaluated that the philosophy of Islam is that Muslims, when there is a small number of them, know how to behave themselves and be fair, but when they become predominant and superior, they exert pressure.

Islamic communities in Serbia reacted harshly to this,

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2010&mm=01&dd=29&nav_id=64855

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Pandits get back temple with Muslim help

Muzaffar Raina

A devotee places a lamp under a mulberry tree considered holy at the Puran Raj Bhairav temple in Srinagar. Picture by Abdul Qayoom

Srinagar, Jan. 29: Muslims in a Srinagar locality today formally handed over a temple to Kashmiri Pandits after ridding it of squatters from their own community.

The centuries-old Puran Raj Bhairav temple in Sazgaripora was reopened after its hand-over to the Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, which represents Pandits who have not left the Valley.

The gesture was made possible by days of heroics from Sazgaripora residents, all of whom are Muslims.

“Some people had come to the temple with claims that they had bought it from a Hindu trust that was the shrine’s caretaker in the pre-militancy days. They even showed us some documents,” said Asif Gani Sofi, 28, who led the drive against the encroachment.

 “This didn’t satisfy us. We approached neighbourhood elders and all of us decided to resist them.”

The residents said the squatters looked determined and dropped some timber and other material at the site.

“We then approached the district administration, which directed the police to clear the temple of the encroachment. All the men from my locality supported the police. By returning the temple to those it belongs to, I think I have fulfilled my religious obligation,” Sofi said.

Samiti president Sanjay Tickoo said today’s event was historic. “It displays the unbreakable bond between the two communities. This event will surely boost the morale of our men and set an example for others,” he added.

Tickoo said the Muslim residents had approached his organisation with a request to take control of the temple. “After consultation with the local Muslims, we decided to formally throw it open today.”

The temple’s gates, though, had never been closed. After the Pandits began leaving the Valley, local boys would sit and play on its lawns and sometimes taste the sweet water of the spring inside.

“This temple is as old as Kashmir but it is unlike others. Bhairav is another name for Lord Shiva, and such temples have no idols or structures,” Tickoo said.

Full report at: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100130/jsp/nation/story_12045661.jsp

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Özdemir: Europe should build its own Islamic culture

Mahinur Özdemir

30 January 2010

A Belgian deputy of Turkish origin in the Brussels Regional Parliament has defined the absence of an Islamic culture containing European elements as one of the main causes triggering xenophobia and Islamophobia, especially against the Muslim minority living in Europe, and has urged European authorities to take steps towards building up a European Islam which she thinks will accelerate the integration of Muslim immigrants in Europe

According to Mahinur Özdemir, the most effective way to tackle religious radicalism in Europe and to fight extremism is to create a European Islam.

“That would also pave the way for non-Muslim Europeans to have a closer look at Islam and get to know European Muslims better,” Özdemir told Today’s Zaman in an exclusive interview.

She also expressed her hope that such an initiative accompanied by the expansion of tolerance in Europe would decrease the risk of religious confrontation “because it would result in providing people who have prejudices against Islam with a greater knowledge of the subject,” she emphasized.

Özdemir underlined that just as Islamic principles have been introduced into different societies, some cultural aspects of these societies which do not contradict the basic pillars of the religion have also had an effect on how Muslims interpret Islam.

The Turkish-Belgian deputy maintained that a European Islam would definitely help European decision-makers and facilitate the integration process of immigrants, most of whom are Muslim, into European society.

“It will be more beneficial for Europe to have an Islam with a European approach rather than a Moroccan or Algerian-oriented Islam or an extremist view of Islam that creates the opportunity for radical organizations to attract more interest,” she said. A Belgian Muslim of Turkish origin, Özdemir said that she has encountered many Christian deputies in parliament who are keen to find answers to their questions on Islam and has had several conversations with her non-Muslim colleagues on the matter. “As a devout Muslim, which is visible because of my headscarf, they ask me questions about Islam,” she said, defining these conversations as a humble platform for cultural and religious dialog.

Özdemir was the first headscarved deputy of any of the parliaments in Europe and was elected to the Brussels regional capital parliament in June 2009, an event which kicked off a controversial debate on secularism, the Muslim minority’s political rights and the political engagement of European Turks.

Full report at: www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-200096-100-ozdemir-europe-should-build-its-own-islamic-culture.html

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Taliban as part of an Afghan solution

AN international moot on Afghanistan is beginning today in London. Delegates from 65 states, including those from the neighbouring countries of the war-torn Afghanistan, and major powers are expected to attend. Among other things to be taken up, would be a proposal to involve moderate Taliban in the peace process. Two important meetings to evolve a joint regional approach were held in Turkey during the last few days. There was a consensus over involving the Afghan Taliban in the peace process at the Ankara tripartite summit of Pakistani, Afghan and Turkish heads of state, held last week. The talks were also attended by military and intelligence officials from both countries, including the head of ISI. Following an initiative, spearheaded by Islamabad, a number of Afghanistan’s neighbours also met in Turkey in yet another meeting, on Tuesday, to hammer out a common approach before the London conference. Among those attending the Istanbul meeting were China’s foreign minister, Iran’s vice-president, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Britain’s foreign minister and the deputy to the US special envoy Richard Holbrooke. Officials from Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nato and the European Union were also in Istanbul. Pakistan is genuinely wary of the American suggestion to give India a greater role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. It has revived an eight-country grouping to counter US pressure. India, which does not have a common border with Afghanistan, was not invited to either of the two meetings. It will, however, be present the at London moot.

Islamabad has, over a long period, tried to persuade Washington and Kabul that it was necessary to hold talks with moderate elements among the Afghan Taliban. It also offered its services to approach them. In the past, the suggestion had fallen on deaf years, but with a military solution nowhere in sight after eight years of war, and dissent fast spreading in the countries supplying troops, Washington and Kabul are showing keenness to give the idea a trial. Early last year, Obama appeared to rule out any possibility of talks with the Taliban leadership, maintaining that the “uncompromising core of the Taliban” must be defeated. With western governments under pressure to deliver results quickly and then start bringing some of their troops home, they are willing to talk to the Taliban now. This was reflected in Robert Gates remarks calling Taliban a ‘part of the political fabric of Afghanistan’ and in General McChrystal’s remarks on Monday that the Taliban could be ‘part of the political solution in Afghanistan.’ The US and its allies however, want to achieve the objective through a carrot-and-stick policy. Holbrooke has planned a $500 million fund in the name of funding for a formal reintegration program for Taliban fighters to woo the Taliban. Meanwhile, more US troops are being dispatched to Afghanistan. The US hopes that the recent surge in Afghanistan, which has taken the figure of the allied troops to well over 100,000, would serve as a disincentive to the Taliban to continue the fight. The Western military leaders insist that talks can succeed only if the allies are able to speak from a position of strength.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0110/29/Editorial_Column/DMEditorial.php

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Blair faces the hot seat

Linda Heard

THE world and its wife broadly agree that the Iraq war turned out to be a disaster on multiple fronts. Not only was it cooked up on false pretexts, it robbed the lives of over a million civilians, insurgents and military personnel. It has cost coalition countries up to one trillion dollars. It has also been judged illegal by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan while a recent Dutch probe found that it had “no basis in international law”. Its repercussions are even more far-reaching. Saddam Hussein didn’t have too many fans inside Iraq or abroad but his regime stood as a buffer to Iranian ambitions, which are now enjoying free rein throughout the region.

This was a war of aggression equating to mass murder yet, until now, nobody has been made to pay. Indeed, the invasion’s main instigators US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have simply been allowed to stroll away from the carnage untarnished — Bush to semiretirement in Texas while Blair was rewarded with the post of the Middle East Quartet’s envoy. George Bush is wisely keeping a low profile but ahead of his exit from the White House in 2008, he did admit that Iraq was his biggest regret while disingenuously blaming “intelligence failures” for his mistake. I use the word disingenuous because, as we now know, there was no hard intelligence on Iraq’s WMD, only presumption. Blair, on the other hand, has consistently maintained that he did the right thing. “It was what I believed in and I still do believe it,” he told the London Times in 2007. More recently, in December, he provoked cries for war crimes prosecution when he admitted that he would have invaded Iraq even if there were no evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein’s regime was reason enough to invade, he insisted, even though regime change is not considered a legal casus belli.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0110/29/Editorial_Column/DMColumn.php#1

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UK seen linked to torture

By Ian Cobain

Friday, 29 Jan, 2010

UNITED Nations human rights investigators have concluded the British government has been complicit in the mistreatment and possible torture of several of its own citizens during the “war on terror”.

In a report published on Wednesday that will make difficult reading for British ministers who repeatedly denied the UK’s involvement in torture, UN officials have indicated there is clear evidence of the UK’s role in the secret detention overseas of several British Muslims.

The officials say such secret imprisonment — or “proxy detentions” — not only facilitates torture, but may amount to torture in its own right. In one starkly worded passage, they warn that if a state’s use of proxy detention had been systematic or widespread it would amount to a “crime against humanity”.

There was no immediate comment from the British government.

The 226-page UN report follows the publication two months of ago a dossier entitled Cruel Britannia, from the New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch, whose researchers interviewed several Pakistani intelligence agents who alleged they had tortured British terrorism suspects on behalf of their UK counterparts.

It also follows a series of disclosures in the Guardian about the role played by officers of MI5 (British security service), MI6 (British intelligence) and Greater Manchester police, in the north of England, in the detention and questioning under torture of terrorism suspects held in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The UN investigation into torture and rendition across the globe since 9/11 lasted several years and was led by Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on terrorism and human rights, and Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture.

Full report at: www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/uk-seen-linked-to-torture-910

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Long history of Israel's 'covert killing'

By Heather Sharp

29 January 2010

The Islamic movement Hamas claims that the death of one its senior commanders, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, is the latest in Israel's history of assassinating individuals it believes to have been behind attacks on its citizens.

Israel's general policy is to neither confirm nor deny allegations about the activities of its intelligence agents but it is notable that many of its enemies meet suspicious and violent deaths.

"We are witnessing an intense intelligence struggle, most of it is covert, some of it overt," said Ronen Bergman, author of By Any Means Necessary, and other books and articles on Israel's covert operations.

Among the best documented of Israel's assassinations were a wave of killings of pro-Palestinian militants in Paris, Nicosia, Beirut and Athens, carried out in response to the hostage crisis at the Munich Olympics in 1972 which resulted in the deaths of 11 Israelis.

Methods used included a booby-trapped telephone, a bomb planted in a bed, and a raid in Beirut in which current Defence Minister Ehud Barak dressed as a woman.

There are even claims that a poisoned chocolate was later used to kill a commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in East Germany in 1978.

In 1987 Israel made no attempt to disguise their assassination of Khalil al-Wazir - known as Abu Jihad - the Palestine Liberation Organisation's military leader and second in command.

Israeli commandos crept into Tunisia, where the PLO's exiled leadership was based, and shot him several times in his own home before escaping by sea.

It was an operation in which Mr Barak is also believed to have been involved.

Covert failure

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8488249.stm

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Muslims for Haiti: 5 hour LIVE Telethon for Haiti Relief

Jan. 29 2010

DETROIT -- Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) is going to air a LIVE 5 hour 'Muslims For Haiti' Telethon on ARY Digital that will air worldwide; USA, Canada, Middle East, UK, and Pakistan on Saturday January 30th, 2010 12:00 pm EST. HHRD has set up a medical base camp for the victims of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Not only is HHRD working closely with the local doctors and nurses, but they have sent their own team of qualified medical professionals on January 29th, 2010.

Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) is going to air a Live five hour  - Muslims For Haiti - Telethon on ARY Digital, that will air worldwide; USA, Canada, Middle East, UK, and Pakistan on Saturday, January 30th, 2010 starting 12:00 PM EST.

HHRD has set up a medical base camp for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Not only is HHRD working closely with the local doctors, a second team of Medical professionals arrived January 29, 2010 in Haiti.

At the forefront of this effort is HHRD's Director of International Projects, Irfan Khurshid. His initial observation states, "In all the camps that we visited, we didn't see any medical help available. There isn't much medical help and only a few have access to it." Thus, our primary focus is providing medical assistance. While we tend to these requests, we have kept in mind the most needed items like drinking water, food and shelter.

HHRD volunteers and Medical team had been initially staying on the border of Haiti in Santa Domingo due to safety issues. They have been traveling into Haiti, making a 7 hour trip everyday and returning by night. Despite the security issues within Haiti, HHRD has been successful in setting up a Medical Clinic in Port-au-Price.

Full report at: /www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/muslims-for-haiti-5-hour-live-telethon-for-haiti-relief-83078882.html

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Taliban threaten to bombard brothels in Attock

IANS, 29 January 2010, IST

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban has given brothels in Pakistan's northern Attock district five days till Tuesday to shut down or face bombardment.

The warning was contained in letters that were distributed in different areas of the district Friday that also alleged that the police were taking hefty bribes from brothel owners, Online news agency reported.

The letters warned police personnel against taking these bribes otherwise they would have to face dire consequences.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Taliban-threaten-to-bombard-brothels-in-Attock/articleshow/5513333.cms

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UN in secret peace talks with Taliban

Kabul envoy met top commanders in Dubai this month to discuss terms

Taliban commanders held secret exploratory talks with a United Nations special envoy this month to discuss peace terms, it emerged tonight.

Regional commanders on the Taliban's leadership council, the Quetta Shura, sought a meeting with the UN special representative in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, and it took place in Dubai on 8 January. "They requested a meeting to talk about talks. They want protection, to be able to come out in public. They don't want to vanish into places like Bagram," the Reuters news agency quoted a UN official as saying, referring to the Bagram detention centre at a US military base outside Kabul.

The Dubai meeting was confirmed to the Guardian by officials with knowledge of the encounter, but they said they could provide no further details.

It was the first such meeting between the UN and senior members of the Taliban. The fact that it took place suggests that peace talks have revived since exploratory contacts between emissaries of the Kabul government and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia last year broke down.

It also suggests that some Taliban members might be prepared for the first time to put faith in an international organisation to broker a deal to end the nine-year war.

News of the Dubai meeting surfaced at the end of a day-long conference in London intended to map out a transition over five years from a Nato-led military campaign to Afghan-led effort involving more political, social and economic measures to end the fighting.

As part of the transition, Afghan forces are due to take lead responsibility for security in a handful of provinces by the end of this year, assume the lead in the most violent regions within three years, and take overall responsibility for security across the country in five years. If successful, the transition would pave the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

An official statement from the Taliban leadership in response to today's conference warned that "attempts by the enemy to bribe the mujahideen, offering them money and employment to abandon jihad, are futile". However, it added what appeared to be a conciliatory note, saying that it was waging a jihad only to "liberate" Afghan territory and posed "no threat to neighbouring countries or anyone else".

Full report at: www.readersupportednews.org/off-site-news-section/46-afghanistan/863-un-in-secret-peace-talks-with-taliban

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Afghan talks offer not for Mullah Omar: US

By Anwar Iqbal

Saturday, 30 Jan, 2010

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that while the United States backed the Taliban integration programme, the offer did not include the group’s top leadership.

Earlier, the Pentagon had expressed similar sentiments about the integration plan approved at a meeting of more than 60 nations in London on Thursday.

Secretary Clinton, who also attended the conference, told America’s National Public Radio network that she understood the military action alone was not enough to win the war in Afghanistan but the London peace proposal was not meant for senior Taliban leaders.

In her interview to NPR, Mrs Clinton acknowledged that most modern conflicts don’t end with a victory on the field of battle and therefore political and development work was essential.

“I think everyone has realised, as we did in Iraq, that you have to begin to go right at the insurgents and peel those off who are willing to renounce violence, renounce Al Qaeda, agree to live by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan and re-enter society,” Mrs Clinton said.

“That is not going to happen with (Taliban chief) Mullah Omar and the like,” she added. “But there are so many fighters in the Taliban that are there, frankly, because it’s a way to make a living in a country where the Taliban pay them more than they can make as a farmer or in some other line of work out in the countryside.”

Earlier, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told a briefing in Washington that the US government was still working to figure out which mid-level Taliban officials it might be possible to integrate into the current Afghan political structure.

He said that top Taliban figures, like the country’s former leader Mullah Omar, would probably be what he called “a bridge too far”.

Full report at: www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12-afghan-

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Afghanistan: Pakistan’s influence seen limited

Zeeshan Haider & Robert Birsel | Reuters

 Pakistan has shown support for Afghanistan’s invitation to the Taleban to take part in a peace council but the old Taleban ally has only limited influence over the militants, who many expect will reject the offer.

The Afghan government on Thursday invited the Taleban to a jirga, or traditional council, during an international conference in London as its Western allies worked out plans to try to end the war in Afghanistan. Taleban representatives were not at the conference. A spokesman for the group said on Friday his leaders would decide soon whether to join the talks.

Pakistan, facing an insurgency by indigenous Taleban allied with the Afghan militants, wants a peaceful Afghanistan but more importantly, it wants the growing influence of old rival India in Afghanistan kept to a minimum. Pakistan is viewed with deep suspicion in Kabul because of its ties to the Taleban, whom Pakistan backed through the 1990s. The hard-line Islamists are the only Afghanistan faction over which Pakistan has any influence and can use as leverage to try to limit India’s influence, and for the time being, Pakistan is likely to tread very carefully. Main Taleban factions, such as those led by veteran guerrilla commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and supreme Taleban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar, derive much support from supply networks and bases on the Pakistani side of the border.

As efforts to stabilize Afghanistan gather pace, Pakistan is likely to use those groups as bargaining chips, said Khadim Hussain of the Pakistan-based Aryana Institute think tank. “I don’t think Pakistan is going to put all of its cards on the table. They will try to keep some of them for their own interests and agenda,” Hussain said. “Pakistan will keep the whole thing very vague so it can address its own interests and foreign policy agenda.”

In an indication of the quickening pace of diplomacy, a UN official said members of the Taleban’s leadership council had secretly met the UN representative for Afghanistan in Dubai last month to discuss the possibility of laying down arms.

Full report at: www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=132105&d=30&m=1&y=2010&pix=opinion.jpg&category=Opinion

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Saudis 'mediating Taliban talks'

January 30, 2010

Dr Ashraf Ghani, the former finance minister of Afghanistan, has told Al Jazeera that reconciliation talks with the Taliban are under way.

Ghani, currently a senior fellow for the Brookings Institution in Washington, said that Saudi Arabia had been active in mediation.

"There are people [doing] mediaton in the of kingdom of Saudi Arabia and his majesty the King of Saudi Arabia has been involved and others have been involved," he said.

At a conference in London earlier in the week, officials announced that "moderate" Taliban would be urged to enter talks with the government and a new fund would be set up to encourage fighters to lay down their arms.

'Disenchanted brothers'

However, Ghani's remarks and a report from earlier in the week that suggested Afghan officials had held a meeting in the Maldives with representatives of an armed group believed to be fighting alongside the Taliban suggest that Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is already reaching out.

At the London conference, Karzai said that Kabul and its international backers would concentrate of wooing his "disenchanted brothers", who were fighting for money rather than ideology.

Ghani said that efforts to draw Taliban elements into the political process would require the assistance of foreign powers.

"We're delighted that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and other Islamic countries will be coming increasingly forward to claim an active role," he said.

"We also need the engagement of China to make sure the regional arrangements are put in place to bring about a situation where use of sanctuary in neighbouring countries is denied."

"This is a time of high risks but simultaneously a time of high awards."

Full report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/01/2010130114235579766.html

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No decision on talks: Taliban

Kabul, January 29, 2010

Taliban leaders will decide soon whether to join talks with the Afghan government, a militant spokesman said on Friday, after President Hamid Karzai invited them to a peace council aimed at ending the Afghan war.

In the country’s south, suicide attackers launched an assault in the capital of Helmand, Afghanistan’s most violent province, and gunmen were holed up in a building battling government and Nato troops who returned fire with helicopter strikes.

On Thursday, at a major conference on Afghanistan, Karzai set the framework for dialogue with Taliban leaders when he called on the Islamist group’s leadership to take part in a “loya jirga” — or large assembly of elders — to initiate peace talks.

The call came amidst a diplomatic push from Western powers involved in the Afghanistan conflict to make hard plans that would pave the way for them to begin withdrawing their troops.

Under Karzai’s proposal, the West would not be directly involved in peace talks. A separate plan backed by Washington and its allies would set up a fund to reintegrate Taliban by luring them away from the insurgency with jobs and cash.

A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan declined to talk in detail about Karzai’s plans and said the militants would make a decision about his offer “soon.”

“I cannot say a word regarding these peace talks. The Taliban leadership will soon decide whether to take part,” the spokesman, who uses the name Qari Mohammad Yousuf, said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The Taliban have said repeatedly that negotiations with the Afghan government can only take place when foreign troops completely withdraw from Afghanistan and have dismissed the reintegration plans as a “trick”.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/afghanistan/No-decision-on-talks-Taliban/Article1-503211.aspx

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India willing to try out 'good Taliban'

Indrani Bagchi

30 January 2010

New Delhi: Swept away by an international "consensus" led by US, UK and Pakistan, India has to swallow a bitter pill on the Taliban. With the London conference on Afghanistan clearing the way for a new chapter on negotiation with the Taliban, India is grudgingly coming round to accepting the new reality.

Speaking exclusively to TOI from London, foreign minister S M Krishna said, "We're willing to give it a try. If the Taliban meet the three conditions put forward -- acceptance of the Afghan constitution, severing connections with Al Qaida and other terrorist groups, and renunciation of violence, and they are accepted in the mainstream of Afghan politics and society, we could do business."

The conference effectively turns a new chapter in Afghanistan with a $500 million fund earmarked for a reconciliation programme. Krishna said, "The international community has come out with a proposition to bring into the political mainstream those willing to function within the Afghan system."

But he was clear about India's fundamental discomfort with the decision. India's position and assessment of the Taliban remains unchanged, Krishna said. "We consider them to be terrorists, who have close links with Al Qaida and other terrorist groups." He said India has seen the Taliban from up close, and more deeply than others ("they see them from far away" and through a blinkered vision). "We're next door and our experiences make it difficult for us to differentiate between good or bad Taliban," he said.

Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, had close links with the hijackers of IC-814, even helping to unload their baggage from the aircraft in Kandahar, and negotiating on their behalf. He has just been taken off the UN sanctions list to "facilitate" the reconciliation.

Krishna said, "For Afghanistan's stabilisation, it is essential for neighbouring and regional countries to ensure that support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations is ended forthwith."

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-willing-to-try-out-good-Taliban/articleshow/5514757.cms

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India reconciles itself with new Afghan reality

Indrani Bagchi

30 January 2010

New Delhi: Swept away by an international "consensus" led by US, UK and Pakistan, India has to swallow a bitter pill on the Taliban. With the London conference on Afghanistan clearing the way for a new chapter on negotiation with the Taliban, India is grudgingly coming round to accepting the new reality.

Speaking exclusively to TOI from London, foreign minister S M Krishna said, "We're willing to give it a try. If the Taliban meet the three conditions put forward -- acceptance of the Afghan constitution, severing connections with Al Qaida and other terrorist groups, and renunciation of violence, and they are accepted in the mainstream of Afghan politics and society, we could do business."

The conference effectively turns a new chapter in Afghanistan with a $500 million fund earmarked for a reconciliation programme. Krishna said, "The international community has come out with a proposition to bring into the political mainstream those willing to function within the Afghan system."

But he was clear about India's fundamental discomfort with the decision. India's position and assessment of the Taliban remains unchanged, Krishna said. "We consider them to be terrorists, who have close links with Al Qaida and other terrorist groups." He said India has seen the Taliban from up close, and more deeply than others ("they see them from far away" and through a blinkered vision). "We're next door and our experiences make it difficult for us to differentiate between good or bad Taliban," he said.

Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, had close links with the hijackers of IC-814, even helping to unload their baggage from the aircraft in Kandahar, and negotiating on their behalf. He has just been taken off the UN sanctions list to "facilitate" the reconciliation.

Krishna said, "For Afghanistan's stabilisation, it is essential for neighbouring and regional countries to ensure that support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations is ended forthwith."

Full report at: /timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-willing-to-try-out-good-Taliban/articleshow/5514757.cms

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Nigeria fighters call off ceasefire

January 30, 2010

Nigeria's main armed group has called off a three-month-old ceasefire in the Niger delta and threatened to unleash "an all-out assault" on Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), responsible for years of attacks on oil facilities, said on Saturday it could no longer trust the government to negotiate demands for greater control of the region's natural resources.

The threat comes as Umaru Yar'Adua, Nigeria's president, has been out of the country receiving medical treatment for more than two months.

His absence has raised fears of a constitutional and political crisis in the country.

"It is sufficiently clear at this point in time the government of Nigeria has no intentions of considering the demands made by this group for the control of the resources and land," Mend said in a statement.

"All companies related to the oil industry in the Niger delta should prepare for an all-out onslaught against their installations and personnel."

The truce was declared in October last year, but it was breached in December when the fighters attacked a major pipeline operated by Shell and Chevron.

Lost revenues

Attacks by Mend on Nigeria's oil and gas industry in the past few years have prevented the country from producing above two-thirds of its capacity, costing it about $1bn a month in lost revenues.

Full report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2010/01/201013022452924104.html

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Muslims in the city of Tiruvarur of Tamil Nadu

By Shafee Ahmed

30 January 2010

Tiruvarur is a city in the state of Tamil Nadu with its surrounding area having a strong Muslim belt. Though it is an ancient temple town with the history of Chola heartland famous for Sri Tyagaraja Temple, there are some mosques in the town as well – the oldest near the market and the latest one is just fifteen years old built in modern architecture.

Tiruvarur district is located in the east of the state, roughly halfway between its northern and southern borders. It has an average elevation of 3 metres (9 ft). Tiruvarur is situated at a distance of 24 km from Nagapattinam, 29 km from Nagore, 40 km from Karaikal, 40 km from Mayiladuthurai, 40 km from Kumbakonam, 56 km from Thanjavur, 27 km from Mannargudi and 28 km from Thiruthuraipoondi. Tiruvarur lies in the Kaveri River basin and the main occupation of the inhabitants of the district and surrounding areas is agriculture.

According to 2001 Census, the Tiruvarur town had a population of 56,280 (about 50% of them Muslims). Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Tiruvarur has an average literacy rate of 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. Male literacy is 85% and female literacy is 76%.

The Muslims and Hindus of Tiruvarur are quite friendly and no incident of any communal violence has been reported either in the near past or in the distant past. Tiruvarur Muslims have borrowed some festivals like Pongal (Harvest Festivals) and they celebrate it in the same way as Hindu brethren except immolation of animals or offerings to gods and goddesses. They speak fluent Tamil.

The young Muslim children aged five to nine are seen in madrasas generally attached to mosques where free teaching in Arabic and fundamentals of Islam are imparted. Both after Fajar (early Morning Prayer) and Asar (pre-dusk Namaz), children could be seen there – boys with caps and small girls with Niquab or headscarf.

Most of the parents are employed in Gulf countries. Their boys are girls are being educated in colleges. Muslim girls are opting for higher education, and when this correspondent interviewed some of the Muslim elites of the town, they came forward to say, “Our girls should be well educated and should stand at par with others.” However, few old schools of thoughts questioned, “Why girls should be educated; what do they do after marriage?”

There are a number of colleges both self financed and Government run in Tiruvarur. Some of them are: Tiruvarur Medical College of Tamil Nadu, Vilamal, Tiruvarur TMC Paramedical College, Madappuram, Tiruvarur Oviya Paramedical College, Tiruvarur DK Paramedical College, Tiruvarur. Bharath Paramedical College, Tiruvarur.

Full report at: http://twocircles.net/2010jan30/muslims_city_tiruvarur_tamil_nadu.html

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Iran tries 16 people over Ashura Day protests

30 January 2010

Iran has put 16 people on trial after anti-government protests in December, when eight people died in some of the most violent clashes seen in months.

Five of the defendants are charged with "waging war against God" while the others are accused of public order and national security offences.

They were all arrested over protests on 27 December when Shia Muslims gathered for the religious festival of Ashura.

Street protests have recurred in Iran since the disputed election in June.

Hardline leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected for a second term in a poll marred by allegations of fraud.

Hundreds of people were detained in the immediate aftermath of the Ashura Day protests.

On Thursday, Iran reportedly executed two men arrested during the unrest which followed the June election.

The executions are believed to be the first related to the protests.

Reporting Saturday's trial, Iran's state news agency said five defendants were accused of "waging war against God" and being "corrupt on earth" - both crimes punishable by death under the Iranian legal system.

The others, the agency reported, were accused of "gathering and conspiring against security, propaganda against the system and seeking to harm security by inciting unrest and riot".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8489012.stm

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Father of convicted terrorist denies endorsing violence

Isabel Teotonio

Jan 29 2010

The father of a Toronto 18 bomb plotter said on Friday that he never issued a fatwa condoning a terror attack in Toronto, contrary to the evidence of a police agent whose testimony he believes was motivated by money and revenge.

The comments by Tariq Abdelhaleem, whose son was found guilty of participating in a 2006 bomb plot targeting downtown Toronto, were made to reporters outside the courtroom where he testified at a hearing being held to determine if his son was entrapped by the police agent.

The father of Shareef Abdelhaleem said he wanted to set the record straight after testimony last week by Shaher Elsohemy, a former friend of his son’s who became an agent.

In earlier proceedings, Elsohemy told the Brampton court that Shareef said he had obtained a religious fatwa from his father who allegedly said an attack on Toronto was Islamically correct.

“He told me his father told him there was nothing wrong with it. In other words, it was acceptable,” testified Elsohemy. “And if civilians were to be there, that was their destiny.”

On Friday, Tariq Abdelhaleem said his son never asked him for fatwa, adding it would have been pointless because Shareef knows he is against terrorism. The 9/11 attacks, and the many family discussions that followed, made it amply clear to his son that he was against terrorism, said the father.

Holding one of the eight books he has authored on Islam, the father pointed to a passage that denounces killing innocent civilians.

Outside court, he told reporters Elsohemy “has a grudge against me and my son” and became a police mole because he was offered a compensation package worth up to $3.99 million and wanted “to take revenge.”

The desire for revenge, he said, stemmed from an incident at Mississauga’s Dar Al-Arqam Islamic Centre, which he used to run but says, is no longer in operation.

In court, the father testified that Elsohemy was his student, but was kicked out in the winter of 2005 after a series of events, including his disregard for one of the centre’s rules: No talk about jihad.

Full report at: /www.thestar.com/news/gta/crime/article/757797--father-of-convicted-terrorist-denies-endorsing-violence

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Sena dares SRK to include Pak players in Kolkata Knight Riders

29 January 2010, IST

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena today attacked Shah Rukh Khan for lamenting exclusion of Pakistani players from IPL and dared him to take the players in his team Kolkata Knight Riders.

"If Shah Rukh wants Pakistani players to play here, he should go to Karachi and Islamabad to play with them...If he includes Pakistani players in his team, he should be aware of the consequences," Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told reporters here.

Reacting to the non-selection of Pakistani players in the IPL auction, Bollywood star and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders Shah Rukh Khan had recently said that they (Pakistani players) should have been welcomed.

"I truly believe they (Pakistan players) should have been chosen," Khan had said.

"We would have loved to have Pakistani players if they were made available legally," he had said.

Meanwhile, protesting the actor's comment, Sena activists tore posters of SRK's upcoming movie 'My Name Is Khan' at Eternity Mall premises in neighbouring Thane.

The activists handed over a letter to the owner of the mall asking to stop release of the movie.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sena-dares-SRK-to-include-Pak-players-in-Kolkata-Knight-Riders/articleshow/5513002.cms

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Aamir, Shah Rukh Khan are '2 Idiots': Shiv Sena

IANS, 30 January 2010

MUMBAI: After targeting Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for his remarks supporting the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the IPL, the Shiv Sena Saturday dragged in Aamir Khan, calling the duo "2 Idiots".

"In real life, Aamir and Shah Rukh have been proved as '2 Idiots' as both are making stupid statements supporting the cause of Pakistani cricketers," said a statement in the party's Hindi mouthpiece ‘Dopahar Ka Saamna’.

"On the one hand, while SRK is openly displaying his love for Pakistani players, Aamir has even put nationalistic sentiments in his utterances on this issue," said the statement in the tabloid, which hit the stands this afternoon.

"According to Aamir, if any cricketer is good, he would like to have him in his team, it makes no difference to him which country he belongs to," said the statement.

The statement is accompanied by a digitally altered picture of the recent record blockbuster "3 Idiots". It shows the head of Aamir (the star and promoter of the movie) popping out of a drum and SRK sticking his tongue from another drum - signifying the accompanying heading of "2 Idiots".

Aamir had said Friday that if he were to select IPL players he would do so only on the basis of their performance and not nationality.

The Shiv Sena Friday hit out at Shah Rukh, who is also the Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner, after he said he would have picked a Pakistani player for IPL matches if his team had a slot.

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said if the actor was so keen on them, "he could go play his matches in Lahore, not in India".

Thane Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde announced that no film of Shah Rukh would be screened in the district.

Both actors have not reacted to the Shiv Sena's tirade.

Follow us on Twitter for TOI top stories

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Aamir-Shah-Rukh-Khan-are-2-Idiots-Shiv-Sena/articleshow/5517829.cms

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No regrets for removing Saddam Hussein: Former UK PM Tony Blair

AFP, 30 January 2010

LONDON: Former British prime minister Tony Blair told a public inquiry into the Iraq war on Friday he had no regrets about removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Asked by the inquiry chairman if he had any regrets, Blair said: "Responsibility but not a regret for removing Saddam Hussein."

Blair's comments were greeted with shouts of "liar" and "you're a murderer" from the public gallery, where relatives of some of the 179 British soldiers killed in the war were watching his evidence.

After the chairman demanded quiet, Blair continued: "I think that he was a monster, I believe he threatened not just the region but the world.

"And in the circumstances that we faced then, but I think even if you look back now, it was better to deal with this threat, to deal with it to remove him from office. And I do genuinely believe that the world is safer as a result."

The statement came at the end of a day-long session of evidence, in which he set out his reasons for taking Britain into the US-led war against Iraq in 2003.

Earlier, the inquiry panel had questioned Blair about the civilian death toll in Iraq since the invasion, which the former premier put at about 100,000, citing non-governmental organisations.

"The coalition forces weren't the ones doing the killing," he replied.

"The ones doing the killing were the terrorists, the sectarians, and they were doing it quite deliberately to stop us making the progress we were trying to make."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/No-regrets-for-removing-Saddam-Hussein-Former-UK-PM-Tony-Blair/articleshow/5515016.cms

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Americans play Terror Trap

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

Jan 30 2010

[Specialist on State Terrorism, Chronicler of Freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, etc)]

Bulk of Americans and Europeans- more than Jews and Hindus- suffer from a peculiar superiority complex thinking they control the world and the rest would trust them and follow their foot steps and do exactly what they are asked for. However not every American or European supports the NATO terror agenda in Islamic world. The western criminal media use the interests of capitalists, colonialists and imperialists and ill-focused on Islam as a serious threat to their  hidden terror religions.

American high-speed intelligence outfits are still investigating endlessly the bogus Sept-11 engineered and executed by their own agents as part of advancing US and European global interests. The Obama administration is looking for places other than the heart of New York City to prosecute the accused Sept. 11 attack plotters in the face of fierce criticism about security and costs. One doe s not know how many years more they would require to make some conclusive  statements only to shield the US interests around the world. After all USA does not do “things” to disarm itself and make it less powerful in any manner in the eyes of the world. World now know USA and its allies have committed humanity crimes around the world- not just in the USA- and the leaders have to be brought to justice.

Western double-talks and double-standards in international conflicts are well known. Wealth and military terror resources they  have amassed indicate the power of western mischief. World doubts U.S. honesty and seriousness in world affairs, so is it’s supposedly eagerness to solve the Afghan crisis by placing a Taliban led government in Kabul . The GST (global state terrorists) wants to finish off the Afghan freedom fighters by covert operations and mischievous peace talks. Their main aim is to disarm the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and continue to kill Afghans, while Israel and India and their western terror collaborators are fully armed against Islam and Muslim nations.

Full report at:.kashmirwatch.com/showarticles.php?subaction=showfull&id=1264858176&archive=&start_from=&ucat=3&var0news=value0news

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Indian polity divided, confused: Qureshi

ASHIS RAY

TNN, 30 January 2010

LONDON: The war of words between India and Pakistan has escalated with external affairs minister S M Krishna on Friday rebutting his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi's accusations against India a day earlier. In contrast to Qureshi's strong remarks, Krishna's response was diplomatic, but firm. Both ministers were in London to attend the Afghanistan Conference.

Referring to the meeting between the two ministers in New York September last, Qureshi had claimed: "I gave him (S M Krishna) a very crisp proposal, a roadmap for the future. He said he would get back to me, but he has not got back to me. That means he has nothing to offer." He persisted: "It seems that the Indian polity is divided, India is confused."

Reacting to this allegation, seemingly born out of Pakistan's frustration at India rejecting a return to the composite dialogue between the two countries, Krishna told reporters: "I don't want to react harshly to what my esteemed friend Qureshi is reported to have said. India, I would like to reiterate, wants friendly, normal relations with Pakistan and the road blocks which I've pointed out to Qureshi for restoring the relationship have to be cleared."

He expanded: "I hope Pakistan will take positive, visible steps to investigate fully the attacks on Mumbai and bring those responsible to justice. This is the only response I expect from Pakistan, which we feel is yet to be done."

Qureshi had also stated that the MEA was divided on Pakistan. Krishna retorted: "I don't know what makes him say that the MEA speaks in two voices. I think there is total unity of thinking in the ministry and unity of approach."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indian-polity-divided-confused-Qureshi/articleshow/5515432.cms

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Give facilities to Ayodhya pilgrims: Swamy

TNN, 30 January 2010

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's plea for a direction to the state government to put in place proper amenities for pilgrims -- both Hindus and Muslims -- visiting the makeshift temple and the disputed site at Ayodhya.

Clarifying his status as a pro-bono litigant, Swamy said he had painfully watched for years the manner in which the Ayodhya dispute, after demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, had meandered through the corridors of judiciary without a solution, which had further widened the chasm between the two communities.

"The time has come for Supreme Court to put an end to this era of indecision by taking certain positive healing steps," he said in his application seeking to be made a party in the related litigation pending in the apex court.

"I have been apalled at the unnecessary hardships and indignities to which devout pilgrims are being subjected," Swamy said. When he inquired about it, he was told that such hardship to pilgrims was inevitable because of the status quo order of the apex court that would be in force till the title suits in the Allahabad High Court were decided.

"The petitioner came to the conclusion that if the suits themselves cannot progress, at least interim orders must be in place to give some relief to devotees, both Hindus and Muslims," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Give-facilities-to-Ayodhya-pilgrims-Swamy/articleshow/5514428.cms

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Five militants killed in US drone attack in Pakistan

PTI, 30 January 2010

PESHAWAR: At least five militants were killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan tribal region, officials said on Friday.

The drone fired three missiles at a suspected militant compound in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan Agency late last night, they said.

Initial reports said at least five militants were killed in the strike. However, officials said the toll could rise.

A vehicle and a house were also destroyed in the attack.

The compound targeted by the drone was believed to be a centre for the Haqqani network, which carries out attacks on US and NATO forces in Afghanistan from its bases in Pakistan's tribal belt.

The US has stepped up drone attacks in North Waziristan since a suicide bomber linked to Pakistani Taliban killed seven CIA operatives in neighbouring Khost province of Afghanistan last month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Five-militants-killed-in-US-drone-attack-in-Pakistan/articleshow/5515854.cms

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3 Americans killed in eastern Afghanistan, says NATO

AP, 30 January 2010

KABUL: Two US service members and one US employee were killed on Friday in eastern Afghanistan, pushing the American death toll this month to 29.

NATO announced the deaths in a brief statement that did not say whether the three were killed by hostile fire or an accident. It said the incident was under investigation and no further information was available at this time.

The number of American dead as January draws to a close is more than double the 14 reported in the same month last year, reflecting warnings that more US casualties were expected with an influx of 37,000 coalition forces as part of President Barack Obama's strategy against the Taliban.

Also on Friday, Afghan troops backed by British soldiers and NATO helicopter gunships repelled an attack by Taliban fighters armed with machine guns and suicide vests in the heart of a major city in southern Afghanistan, witnesses and officials said.

Six militants were killed and six government forces wounded during the assault on Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province. The assault occurred nearly two weeks after a similar attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul - part of a Taliban campaign to undermine public confidence in the government's ability to provide security.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/3-Americans-killed-in-eastern-Afghanistan-says-NATO/articleshow/5515443.cms

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Krishna, Qureshi spar over 26/11 probe

Qureshi accuses India of non-cooperation; Krishna says Pakistan should introspect

LONDON: The Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India have sparred over the 26/11 Mumbai attack probe, with Shah Mehmood Qureshi accusing New Delhi of non-cooperation, prompting S.M. Krishna to ask the “people who are sitting in the epicentre of terror” to introspect before making such allegations.

“I have had a meeting with S.M. Krishna in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly [in September 2009]. I gave him a very crisp proposal, a road map for the future. He said he will get back to me but he has not got back to me. That means he has nothing to offer,” Mr. Qureshi said.

“It seems that the Indian polity is divided; India is confused,” he told journalists here on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan.

Coming face-to-face on Thursday at the meet hosted by British Premier Gordon Brown, Mr. Krishna and Mr. Qureshi shook hands and exchanged pleasantries but did not have a separate meeting.

“India does not know whether it should engage or it should shy away,” Mr. Qureshi said. “Unfortunately there is a dichotomy here. What’s going on right now is that the public stance of the Indian Foreign Office is different. On the other hand, the private stance is that Pakistan’s cooperation has been unprecedented. They acknowledge the exchange of dossiers, the exchange of information that we have had...There is a lack of political agreement in India on foreign policy [towards Pakistan].”

Responding to Mr. Qureshi’s charges, Mr. Krishna said Pakistan should introspect before making such statements.

“People who are sitting in the epicentre of terror, I think they should look inwards and they should introspect,” he said.

“We met in New York and we had hoped that the investigations in Pakistan about the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks would continue based on the dossier that we have provided to Pakistan. We have not heard about the outcome of those investigations that have taken place,” he added.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/30/stories/2010013060231500.htm

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Resume talks with Pakistan, says Karan Singh

Karan Singh

NEW DELHI: The former Union Minister, Karan Singh, on Friday called for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan.

“War as an option must be firmly ruled out because of nuclear technology on both sides. Therefore, the only way to move forward is the universally accepted practice of dialogue, first at official and then, hopefully, at the political level,” he said in a statement here.

‘Mutual cooperation’

“Both countries are facing a serious threat from a variety of ruthless terrorist organisations, and in the final analysis, it is only by mutual cooperation this can be overcome,” he said.

Pointing out that there was an ongoing public debate on whether or not India should restart the composite dialogue, Dr. Singh said that in the final analysis, only mutual cooperation could help both countries combat the threat from terrorist organisations.

“We have nothing to fear from dialogue and, possibly, something to gain,” Dr. Singh said.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/30/stories/2010013060221500.htm

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OIC Secy Gen. addresses the Think Tank Forum in Istanbul

 

The Think Tank Forum of the OIC Member States was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 28-30 January 2010 and attended by various think-tanks from the OIC Member States and its Observers.

The OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, as the keynote speaker at the opening session, elaborated the growing relevance of the work of think tanks at the international level.

He said that the world at present is passing through a complicated period. The fault-line between the Muslim World and Western World is becoming visible more than ever before. New world powers are emerging at the international scene whereas problems related to underdevelopment are plaguing many parts of the Muslim World. At the same time extremism and violence are on the rise in a pervasive manner.

He stated that at a time when we are faced with such difficult and complex challenges, we feel an obvious need to have innovative ideas, analyses and policy advises emanating from the research centers and think tanks of the Muslim World to tackle them effectively.

The forum has been initiated by the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM).

During the two days of the Forum, discussion on a wide range of issues relating to peace and security, Islamophobia, relations between the Islamic World and the West, democracy, good governance, human rights as well as the question of public diplomacy was carried out in detail by the participants of the Forum.

The forum emphasized the need to collaborate among the Think Tanks of Islamic Countries and reiterated the importance of the multilateral cooperation and coordination in this regard.

http://www.isria.com/pages/30_January_2010_55.php

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‘170 abducted remain untraced since 1988’

By Imtiaz Ali

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Sindh Assembly was informed on Friday that around 170 kidnapped persons from the city remained untraceable for the last 22 years.

Minister for Home Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Mirza, in his written reply to a question by Muhammad Moin Aamir Pirzada, said that a total of 1,132 persons were kidnapped in Karachi from July 1, 1988 to June 30, 1992, of whom 962 persons were recovered, while the whereabouts of remaining 170 persons could not be traced.

Responding to a question by Humera Alwani, the minister said that around 37 persons were kidnapped in Karachi from January 1 to June 30, 2008, of whom 34 persons were recovered, while one was killed.

Apparently irked by a supplementary question of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator about the alleged rise in kidnapping cases, the minister said: “Our colleagues want to earn political mileage by presenting wrong figures about kidnappings and staging a walk-out from the National Assembly”.

He said that around 13 persons were kidnapped from the metropolis in January 2010, of whom 11 have been recovered. He, however, alleged that his colleagues presented wrong figures on the floor of National Assembly by claiming that 30 persons were kidnapped. Similarly, he said, around 80 persons were kidnapped in the year 2009, while their colleagues told the Parliament that 130 persons were kidnapped.

Mirza said that when he took charge as Sindh’s Minister for Home, around 77 persons were in the captivity of kidnappers but now there were 17 persons.

In an explicit reference to the MQM, the home minister asked as to “why they were misleading the people” and urged them to avoid such things in the wake of obtaining situation at the country’s borders.

Full report at: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221598

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Drone attacks benefiting terrorists, says Imran

Saturday, 30 Jan, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan has said that US drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan are benefiting militants.

“Drone attacks should be immediately stopped. The war against terrorism will destroy the economies of both Pakistan and the United States. Following the way of negotiations is good but it can only be successful if the war is stopped.”

Mr Khan was talking to a delegation of American Congress on Friday.

In a statement issued after Mr Khan’s meeting with Bob Inglis, Todd Platts, Stephen lynch, Joe Donnelly, Betty Sutton and other US representatives, the PTI leader said that incidents of extremism and terrorism were on the rise in the country because of drone attacks in tribal areas.

He said when innocent people lost their near and dear ones in drone strikes and their sources of income were affected because of bombardment, they joined terrorist groups to take revenge.

Drone attacks and military operations in Malakand division and tribal regions are thus indirectly benefiting militants, he claimed.

“Drone attacks are affecting our economy, peace and harmony. If the drone attacks don’t stop, we will be stuck in this war for many years,” he warned.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/16-drone-attacks-benefiting-terrorists%2C-says-imran-hs-10

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What peace? What talks?: Let Pakistan stop aiding terrorists first

The Pioneer Edit Desk

January 30, 2010

The past week has witnessed needless debate about the current freeze in India-Pakistan relations and the non-selection of Pakistani cricketers for IPL 3. Pakistan has been constantly complaining that the freeze in diplomatic relations is harming the prospects of regional ‘peace’. Some within the Indian establishment too are beginning to question the efficacy of not talking to Pakistan. But the question here is not whether the diplomatic freeze is detrimental to regional peace but whether engaging Pakistan through the composite dialogue process will achieve anything. Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is reported to have said that “one incident” — the 26/11 fidayeen attack on Mumbai — should not be allowed to hold talks between the two countries to ransom. But Mr Gilani forgets that things have come to this pass not just because of what happened in Mumbai when Ajmal Amir Kasab and his fellow Pakistani jihadis colleagues butchered 189 innocent civilians, but the numerous instances of Pakistan-sponsored mass murder that amply prove Islamabad’s refusal to give up terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Even today Pakistan is dragging its feet over the prosecution of those who planned 26/11. All that it has done, despite numerous dossiers provided by India, is file a chargesheet against middle and lower-level Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operatives while sparing the terrorist organisation’s chief Hafiz Saeed. It is clear that groups such as the LeT are too closely associated with the Islamabad establishment to get rid of.

The Pakistani leadership, such as it is, makes it sound that unless talks are resumed, war between the two countries is the only option. This is plain bunkum. Talks have been put on hold because Islamabad refuses to address the core issue of cross-border terrorism. Bilateral talks cannot move forward unless there is progress on this front. Islamabad cannot expect things to be normal while we continue to be at the receiving end of the nefarious designs of Pakistan-based terrorist groups. Moreover, whom do we talk to in Pakistan? The so-called civilian Government? The Army? The ISI? Or the American Ambassador? Pakistan is facing a serious crisis with the Taliban turning on their masters. Yet, Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the problem. Under these circumstances, there is no logical reason for India to revive dialogue with Pakistan. For the moment, Islamabad should worry about talks at home, not ‘peace’ talks.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/232573/What-peace-What-talks.html

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Two political activists killed in clash

KARACHI: Two political activists were reportedly shot dead during a clash between the members of Awami National Party (ANP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Orangi Town late on Friday night.

The incident took place in Katchiabadi, Muslimabad No 2 in the Pirabad police station limits. It was learnt that the clash between the members of ANP and MQM erupted over wall chalking in the area.

Following the incident tension and fear gripped the locality and heavy contingent of law enforcers had to be called, but they were unable to control the worsening condition of law and order.

During the intense firing, at least two people identified as Javed and Shareef were wounded and were taken to the hospital where doctors pronounced them dead.

On the other hand, Orangi Town SP Fayyaz Qureshi when contacted confirmed that the clash took place between ANP and MQM, and the police personnel were busy in controlling the situation.

Furthermore, ANP claimed that the people killed in the firing were associated with their party.

In the aftermath of the incident tension and aerial firing was also reported from other parts of the city.

Four street criminals held: Police claimed to have arrested Friday four people allegedly involved in various cases of street crimes.

According to Gulbahar police station, Investigation Officer (SIO) Shafeeq Khan the arrested persons identified as Zaheer, Bilal, Shakeel and Amir Jamal were involved in over 40 different cases of street crime and various FIRs were registered against them at different police stations in the city. They were arrested after a brief encounter.

The police also claimed to have recovered weapons from their possession. staff report

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\01\30\story_30-1-2010_pg12_4

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Adopt similar public & private policies regarding Pakistan, Islamabad tells Delhi

— Indian polity is divided, Delhi is confused, says Pak FM

— PCB cancels NOCs of Pak players for IPL

LONDON—Islamabad has once again urged upon New Delhi for cooperating in Pakistan’s combat against terrorism and has emphasized that New Delhi should adopt a clear policy with regard to its relations with Pakistan, shunning the traditional hypocrisy aside. Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi was crystal clear in accusing New Delhi of non-cooperation here at London where he said. “I had a meeting with S M Krishna in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (in Sept 2009). I gave him a very crisp proposal, a roadmap for the future. He said he will get back to me but he has not got back to me. That means he has nothing to offer.” “It seems that the Indian polity is divided, India is confused,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters here on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan.

“India does not know whether it should engage or it should shy away,” Qureshi said. “Unfortunately there is a dichotomy here. What’s going on right now is, the public stance of the Indian foreign office is different. On another hand, the private stance is different.

“The private stance is that Pakistan’s cooperation has been unprecedented. They acknowledge the exchange of dossiers, the exchange of information that we have had. There is a lack of political agreement in India on foreign policy (towards Pakistan).”

Coming face-to-face at the meet, hosted here by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Krishna and Qureshi yesterday shook hands and exchanged pleasantries but did not hold a separate meeting.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0110/30/FrontPage/FrontPage3.php

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US reconsidering NY trial of 9/11 suspects

Barbara Ferguson

WASHINGTON: Let’s see: Whose diabolical plan was it to have alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants tried in downtown New York City — just blocks from the former World Trade Centers?

New Yorkers, already traumatized from two devastating attacks on their former World Trade Centers, are freaking out at the thought that the trial could become a potential terrorist target. They also fear the requisite security could disrupt residents and businesses.

“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters. “It will also impact traffic and commerce and people’s lifestyles downtown and it would be great if we didn’t do it.”

The trial’s costs are estimated at more than $200 million a year and it is not known how long the trial, or future trials, might last.

New York officials say they back a criminal trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who had admitted planning the attacks, and the other four accomplices. They asked for a review of other possible sites in the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx and six counties north of the city.

Alternative trial locations are also being considered because Congress is now thought to almost certainly deny President Obama the funds necessary to conduct the trials there, as originally planned, in the federal courthouse mere blocks away from the Twin Towers, the epicenter of the 9/11 attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 civilians.

Other New York sites also being considered are an Air National Guard Base and a federal prison, but the base has no court or prison facilities and the prison has no courtroom. Another possibility is said to be the federal courthouse in White Plains, 30 miles north of Manhattan, but the mayor there is adamantly against the idea.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132122&d=30&m=1&y=2010

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15 killed in heavy Mogadishu fighting

Mohamed Olad Hassan | AP

 MOGADISHU: Somali insurgents sparked the heaviest day of fighting in the capital in months Friday, launching simultaneous attacks on government forces and peacekeepers that killed at least 15 people, residents and a medical official said.

A spokesman for the insurgency said the early morning attacks on multiple government bases and African Union peacekeeping troops were a response to a plan for peacekeepers and the government to wrest back control of Mogadishu.

“The fighting was a response to the so-called government and the (African Union peacekeepers) trying to intimidate us by saying that they will take control of the whole capital,” Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said.

Friday’s attacks come a few days before the first anniversary of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s government. At the time it was hoped that the election of Ahmed, a former preacher, would drain support from the insurgency. But the weak and divided administration has not proved able to deliver either security or services to the population.

Italy and the African Union have recently criticized the world’s governments for not honoring their pledges to fund Somalia’s fledging security forces, which would help them offer a measure of security.

In April, donors pledged more than $250 million to fund the AU peacekeeping force for a year and the government’s security force. But by year’s end only 30 percent had been disbursed, Italian and AU diplomats have said.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for 19 years, during which time all institutions that existed have crumbled and the government has limited sources of income of its own.

The UN-backed government currently only controls a few city blocks and only the presence of about 5,100 foreign peacekeepers keeps it from being overrun altogether. The government has been planning for months to try to retake control of the capital, where insurgents openly hold courts and carry out punishments that include amputations and executions.

Full report at: www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132118&d=30&m=1&y=2010&pix=world.jpg&cat

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Bin Laden blasts US for climate change

Salah Nasrawi | AP

CAIRO: Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has called for the world to boycott American goods and the US dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming, according to a new audiotape released Friday.

In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, Bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring “the wheels of the American economy” to a halt.

He blamed Western industrialized nations for hunger, desertification and floods across the globe, and called for “drastic solutions” to global warming, and “not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change.”

The terrorist leader also called for a boycott of American products and an end to the dollar’s domination as a world currency.

“We should stop dealings with the dollar and get rid of it as soon as possible,” he said. “I know that this has great consequences and grave ramifications, but it is the only means to liberate humanity from slavery and dependence on America.”

He argued that such steps would also hamper Washington’s war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The new message, whose authenticity could not immediately be confirmed, comes after a Bin Laden tape released last week in which he endorsed a failed attempt to blow up an American airliner on Christmas Day.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132097&d=30&m=1&y=2010&pix=world.jpg&cate

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Four Afghan soldiers killed in friendly fire incident with NATO soldiers

By Joshua Partlow

January 30, 2010

KABUL -- Mistaking one another for the enemy, NATO forces and Afghan soldiers battled in the morning darkness Saturday in a shootout that left at least four Afghan soldiers dead and prompted the Defense Ministry to call for the perpetrators to be punished.

A joint patrol of Afghan and coalition forces took gunfire around 3 a.m. while on a mission in the Sayyidabad district of Wardak province, according to statements from NATO-led coalition and Afghan militaries. After returning fire and calling in an aircraft attack, coalition forces later realized that the initial shooting had come from an Afghan National Army outpost.

The Afghan Defense Ministry condemned the friendly fire incident, which they said wounded other soldiers in addition to the four killed.

"After the investigation is completed, the Defense Ministry wants to bring those responsible to justice," the ministry statement said in a statement.

A spokesman for the ministry, Shahidullah Shahid, said that U.S. Special Forces soldiers had completed an operation with Afghan soldiers, detained suspected insurgents and were on their way back to base when the shooting broke out.

"They thought they were insurgents and opened fire on each other," he said. "It was all a misunderstanding."

The governor of Wardak, Haleem Fedai, sent a delegation out to the scene Saturday to collect information about the fighting.

"There is confusion about what happened there," he said in a telephone interview. "Let's wait until we have all the final findings. The delegation is on the ground now."

There have been other such friendly fire incidents in Afghanistan. In November, eight Afghans, including four soldiers, were killed when fighting broke out as U.S. soldiers searched for a paratrooper who'd gone missing in a river in Baghdis province. Afghan officials blamed several of those deaths on an errant NATO airstrike.

The coalition forces statement called Saturday's attack a "regrettable incident."

"We work extremely hard to coordinate and synchronize our operations," Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay, a spokesman for the coalition forces, said in the statement.

Special correspondent Javed Hamdard contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/30/AR2010013000735.html?hpid=topnews

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Former Speaker Blasts Israel's Ongoing Crimes against Palestinians

Saturday 30 Jan 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri lambasted Israel's ongoing crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people, and called for action by Islamic states to stop the Israeli crimes.

"What Israel is now doing against the oppressed people of Palestine and the holy Qods is undoubtedly a full instance of aggression, humiliation and crime against the entire Islamic Ummah (community)," Nateq Nouri said at the annual meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Uganda.

He underlined that the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union cannot afford to be indifferent to the most important tragedy of the Islamic World i.e. the Zionist regime of Israel's merciless onslaught on Palestine and Qods.

The former Iranian parliament speaker further called on the Islamic states participating in the IPU conference to voice their firm support for the Palestinian people in a bid to force the Muslim governments to show cooperation in dealing with the issue.

Nateq Nouri further described the Islamic states' resistance to the Zionist regime's plots and conspiracies as the sole way to stop the regime's crimes.

The two-day IPU annual meeting which started in Kampala on Thursday was chaired by Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8811101678

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U.S. Senate Passes Iran Sanctions Bill Unanimously

January 30, 2010

Two days after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to bring sweeping sanctions legislation to the Senate floor,[9] the Senate gave unanimous approval to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 (S. 2799), which enables state divestment efforts and target U.S. companies that provide refined petroleum to Iran. [1] Iran’s inability to refine petroleum is a key liability for the Islamic Republic.[2]

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators had been pushing the Obama administration to implement immediate, tougher sanctions on Iran and build international support for them.[3]

"… Passing this legislation is critical to send Iran the message that the United States is serious about keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability," Reid said in a statement. [4] “This bill would impose new sanctions on Iran’s refined petroleum sector and tighten existing US sanctions in an effort to create new pressure on the Iranian regime and help stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” [5]

Said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, “The Iranian regime has shown no interest in limiting its nuclear ambitions. And an entire year was lost as Iran moved closer and closer to its goal." [6]

The petroleum provisions are based on another Senate bill, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (S. 908). The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill last month.[7] In order to take effect, the two bills need to be combined, approved by both the Senate and the House and signed by President Obama. [8]

The passage of the Senate bill came the same week Iran’s supreme leader made his most explicit threat against Israel in years,[9] implying that other Muslim countries should band together to destroy Israel. A day later, in President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday (Jan. 27), the President threatened stricter sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its continued defiance of nuclear negotiations.[10]

Full report at: beforeitsnews.com/story/14648/U.S._Senate_Passes_Iran_Sanctions_Bill_Unanimously.html

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Nigerian oil rebels threaten 'all-out' attacks

January 30, 2010

Nigeria's main rebel group Saturday called off a truce in the oil-rich Niger Delta, threatening an "all-out onslaught" and adding to the political and economic woes of Africa's oil and gas giant.

The announcement is a fresh blow for authorities amid uncertainty over the health of the country's president, in hospital in Saudi Arabia for more than two months, which has sparked an unprecendented political crisis.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had declared the unilateral ceasefire on October 25 to allow "meaningful" dialogue with authorities.

But three months on, MEND said: "it is sufficiently clear that the government of Nigeria has no intentions of considering the demands made by this group for the control of the resources and land of the Niger Delta to be reverted to the rightful owners, the people of the Niger Delta.

"All companies related to the oil industry in the Niger Delta should prepare for an all-out onslaught against their installations and personnel," warned MEND, adding: "Nothing will be spared."

No comment could be immediately obtained from the government. However, one official speaking on condition of anonymity said MEND's move was aimed at pressuring the government to appoint an interim head of state.

"The militants want to put pressure for an acting president," the source said.

The MEND statement hinted that the federal government wanted the non-oil producing north, a mainly Muslim region as opposed to the Christian-dominated south, to benefit from the oil revenues.

Previous MEND attacks on Nigeria's oil industry have played havoc with world oil prices.

On Friday, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said it was selling certain assets in the Delta region to a local consortium.

Full report at: http://news.ph.msn.com/top-stories/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3831712

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Leader's disgust at mosque theft

30th January, 2010

A MUSLIM leader has blasted two callous thieves who snatched £500 from charity boxes at a Slough mosque.

The men walked into Stoke Poges Lane Mosque after sneaking in through the back window. They made their way upstairs to the women's prayer area where they stole two large boxes.

Trustee Mohammed Ayub said: "This is a disgusting act. They managed to get the key to open the box and steal the money before escaping. To steal in general is wrong but from a holy place where people worship Allah is just unthinkable.

"It's a sad day for society when criminals start stealing from a mosque. There must be something wrong with them because it is not normal behaviour. I hope the police catch the people. I want to make an appeal to everyone to come forward if they saw anyone acting suspiciously."

The burglary happened sometime between 9pm and 9.40pm on Thursday last week when the mosque was empty. It attracts thousands of worshippers every day who donate cash to the mosque after five daily prayers. The money would have been used to help run the mosque.

Forensic experts have analysed the site for clues and are now examining CCTV footage.

Officers are also appealing for any witnesses to come forward. Anyone with information can call 08458 505505.

http://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2010/01/30/44526-leaders-disgust-at-mosque-theft/

URL of this Page: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/indonesian-gambling-convicts-escape-before-caning/d/2436


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