New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 29 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Iraqi forces end siege, 53 killed in attack

Indian people's Solidarity with Arab Uprising

Suicide bomber kills 10 in NW Pakistan: Police

India, Pakistan agree to 'terror hotline'

SA condemns desecration of Holy Quran in US

Washington in Fierce Debate on Arming Libyan Rebels

Kuwait sentences 3 to death in Iran spy case

India-Pak Cricket Diplomacy: Now, Chandigarh-Lahore people-level peace appeal

India and Pakistan Leaders Meet at Cricket Match

UK talks agree Qaddafi must go

Libya rebels flee Gaddafi assault as world debates

Obama defends Libya offensive, rules out ousting Gaddafi by force

Libya: William Hague hints at Muammar Gaddafi exile

Clinton meets Libyan opposition in London: Official

US Muslim coalition to take part in April 9 anti-war and anti-Islamophobia rally

Syrian protesters rev up for evolution

Turkey tells Syria: make reforms now

Russia 'may have killed' Islamist chief

Taliban seize district in Afghanistan's remote east

Saudi state is based on Islam: Salman

Philippine VP heads to Riyadh to discuss maid ban

Haj Ministry to curb beggars in the guise of pilgrims

Terror suspect in Bali bombings caught in Pakistan

Saudi mortgage law to boost developers

Syria offers concessions amid wave of unrest

Monitors concerned by referendum violations

Egypt’s foreign minister: Iran is not an enemy state

Hamas looks to turn a new page with Egypt

Israel considering annexing West Bank settlements

Darfuris feel betrayed by Libya no-fly zone

World powers move towards Gaddafi exile plan

Top diplomats agree that Gaddafi must go

World leaders meet on Libya's future

Israel slams Palestinian unity efforts

Officials praise arrest of Bali terror suspect

Obama not ruling out arming Libya rebel

Syrians await President Assad's address

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/iraqi-forces-end-siege,-53-killed-in-attack/d/4369 

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Iraqi forces end siege, 53 killed in attack

MAR 30 2011

BAGHDAD (Reuters): The death toll from an attack on the Iraqi provincial council headquarters in Tikrit rose to 53 on Tuesday and Iraqi security forces ended a siege by gunmen in the building, a health official said. Jasim al-Dulaimi, head of the health operations center in Salahuddin province, said three provincial council members and seven insurgents were among the dead. Freelance journalist Sabah al-Bazee, 30, who worked for Reuters was also among the dead. Three lawmakers who were inside the Salahuddin provincial council building in Tikrit when the gunmen overran the compound are missing, said provincial governor Ahmed Abdullah. He said the lawmakers were not answering their mobile phones and could not immediately be located indicating they may be held hostage. "We've lost contact with three provincial council members who were inside the building when the attack took place," Abdullah said in a telephone interview from Amman, Jordan, where he was receiving updates on the assault via mobile phone. He described a fierce shootout between at least eight gunmen, who have overtaken the council headquarters' second floor, and Iraqi security forces who surrounded the building. He said the attackers were hurling grenades at Iraqi forces. Salahuddin province media adviser Mohammed al-Asi said 21 have been killed in the siege, which was still ongoing more than three hours after it began. Sixty-five people have been wounded, he said. Among the dead was journalist Sabah al-Bazi, a correspondent for Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel and a freelancer for CNN, according to the two news outlets. A senior intelligence official in Baghdad said the gunmen were holding some hostages inside the building but did not know how many. He blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the attack. "The goal of the attackers was apparently to take hostages," Salahuddin government spokesman Ali al-Saleh said. At least some officials and government employees escaped before they the gunmen could capture them, he said. Tikrit is 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad. Authorities said the attackers blew up a car outside the council headquarters to create a diversion before launching their raid. Wearing military uniforms including one with a high rank the gunmen identified themselves as Iraqi soldiers at a security checkpoint outside the government compound but opened fire on guards when they were told they needed to be searched.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=2000

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Indian people's Solidarity with Arab Uprising

MAR 30 2011

In solidarity with Arab Uprising , and against Saudi brutal Invasion in
Bahrain to Support Regime's Crackdown on people's democratic rights.
Students,activists and poets  from India are going to protest at the Saudi
embassy  against the dictatorial Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa regime's brutal
crackdown through Saudi Govt. on democratic protests in Bahrain . the protest was in solidarity with the thousands of people in Bahrain and Arab
Countries  demanding their democratic rights. We hail the people's upsurge
against US/Saudi puppet dictatorships in Africa and the Middle East.
The Hamad AL Khalifa dictatorial regime, which has consistently been backed
by the US, sirael and Saudi, today is facing an unprecedented challenge from
the people of Bahrain. Thousands of people are on the streets demanding not
just that Al khalifa step down and stop the Saudi , UAE’s ivasion on
Bahraini people.
It is to be noted that the people are braving tear gas, water cannons,
rubber bullets, concussion grenades and truncheons every single day. The
regime has also tried to quell the movement by shutting down internet
services, a key organizing tool of the protests.
"Not just Bahrain, but several countries like Libya , Yamen and saudi arabia
are now revolting against anti-people puppet regimes supported by the US and
the direct invasion of US in libya also." Sajjad Kargili said  "This is a historic moment, and all
progressive and democratic voices across the world join the protesters in
solidarity in Bahrain,Libya,Yemen and elsewhere  where revolts are
happening" he added. All democratic and progressive voices are united in their
"condemnation of the manner in which various governments are brutally
suppressing dissenting voice is our duty and we will stand for it " Said Laxman singh a Protester from JNU .,
After protest  a delegation of the students meet Saudi officials and submitted their resolution and they demanded the complete withdrawal of Saudi forces from Bahrain and yemen , and also demanded for democratic elections and there shoul be people;s rule in arab , the delegation has mention the US coliation forces attack in libya is also a crime

http:// Press Release At Saudi Embassy Against Bahrain Invasion

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Suicide bomber kills 10 in NW Pakistan: Police

Mar 30, 2011

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up near a police checkpoint in Pakistan on Wednesday, killing ten people and wounding more than 20, police and hospital officials said.

Police chief Abdullah Jan said the checkpoint was close to a camp set up by a religious political party for a public meeting in the northwestern town of Swabi, about 10 kilometres (60 miles) east of Peshawar.

"Seven people died on the spot and three more succumbed to their injuries in the hospital," he said. "We have recovered the body parts of the suicide bomber."

Nurul Wahid, the doctor in charge of the emergency ward at the state-run Swabi hospital, confirmed the toll. "We have 10 bodies. The dead included two policemen also," he said. A total of 21 people were receiving treatment, Wahid added.

The meeting was planned by the hardline Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The event was cancelled after the bombing.

Rehman was on his way to the venue when the blast happened, party spokesman Jalil Jan said.

"He is safe and the meeting has been cancelled," Jan told AFP. "We can't immediately identify the attackers. We don't know who is involved. But we can say the target appears to be the JUI leadership.

"Six party supporters were martyred and seven wounded," he said.

Police official Hayatullah Khan told AFP Rehman's convoy was set to enter the town when the blast hit.

"We were lined up and party members came out from a nearby reception camp. Suddenly there was a huge blast amid welcome slogans by party workers. Shrapnel hit me and I received injuries to my head and leg," he said.

The northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province bordering Afghanistan has frequently been the target of militant violence.

More than 4,000 people have died in suicide and bomb attacks throughout Pakistan since government forces launched an offensive against militants in a mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants launch almost daily attacks across northwest Pakistan and the tribal belt that Washington has branded the most dangerous place on Earth.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Suicide-bomber-kills-10-in-NW-Pakistan-Police/articleshow/7825663.cms

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India, Pakistan agree to 'terror hotline'

MAR 30 2011

India and Pakistan agreed Tuesday to set up a "terror hotline" to warn each other of possible militant attacks, a move to build trust as the two nuclear foes get their peace process back on track.

Indian home secretary G.K. Pillai, the highest official in the home ministry, and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman also confirmed that an Indian team probing the 2008 attacks in Mumbai may visit Pakistan.

"Both sides agreed to set up a hotline between the home secretary of India and the interior secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real-time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats," they said after talks in New Delhi.

The joint statement said that Zaman had agreed "in principle" to India's request to send a commission to Pakistan to investigate the Mumbai attacks, in which ten Pakistan-based militants killed 166 people.

"Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels," the statement said after two days of meetings between Pillai and Zaman.

The talks finished a day before the two countries play a high-profile cricket World Cup semi-final match in Mohali in the Indian state of Punjab.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has accepted an invitation from his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to attend the game in a move being dubbed "cricket diplomacy".

New Delhi broke off ties with Islamabad in the wake of the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which were blamed on Islamist militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) network.

In 2001, another attack by Pakistani militants on the Indian parliament in New Delhi brought the two countries to the brink of another war. They have fought three since independence in 1947.

Last month, the two countries announced they would re-start the formal peace dialogue with a view to resolving their issues, including the vexed subject of Kashmir, which is divided between them.

India and Pakistan, who conducted copycat nuclear weapons tests in 1998, also set up a hotline in 2004 to alert each other of any nuclear event which could be confused as an attack.

Delhi-based strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney labelled the new hotline as a "public relations" stunt.

"A line already exists between director-general of military operations of the two countries and from a practical perspective this new line does not change the dynamics of India, Pakistan relations," he said.

The statement released on Tuesday said Pakistan would also provide updates on the ongoing trials into the Mumbai attacks.

India has been pressing its neighbour to prosecute the alleged masterminds in Pakistan of the attacks and has provided several dossiers of evidence recorded by Indian police and intelligence agencies.

Pakistan has charged seven people but none has been convicted.

The two sides also agreed to free fishermen kept in Indian and Pakistani jails.

Coastguards often detain fishermen who accidentally stray into the waters of the other country.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/8861/World/International/India,-Pakistan-agree-to-terror-hotline.aspx

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SA condemns desecration of Holy Quran in US

MAR 30 2011

KARACHI (PPI): The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed three resolutions to condemn the shameful act of desecration of Holy Quran by an American priest in Florida, USA. When the session started, Minister for Electric Power Shazia Marri tried to table the resolution in this regard but MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said that they had also a resolution on the same issue. PPP MPA Saleem Khurshid Khokhar had already submitted a resolution on the same issue, which was part of the order of the day. Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that three resolutions be merged into a one resolution. However, Shazia Marri insisted she would table her motion separately. After a short debate, Speaker allowed all three movers to table their resolutions one by one.

 Full report at:.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=qn&nid=884

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Washington in Fierce Debate on Arming Libyan Rebels

By MARK LANDLER

MAR 30 2011

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya, senior officials said on Tuesday, with some fearful that providing arms would deepen American involvement in a civil war and that some fighters may have links to Al Qaeda.

The debate has drawn in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, these officials said, and has prompted an urgent call for intelligence about a ragtag band of rebels who are waging a town-by-town battle against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from a base in eastern Libya long suspected of supplying terrorist recruits.

“Al Qaeda in that part of the country is obviously an issue,” a senior official said.

On a day when Libyan forces counterattacked, fears about the rebels surfaced publicly on Capitol Hill on Tuesday when the military commander of NATO, Adm. James G. Stavridis, told a Senate hearing that there were “flickers” in intelligence reports about the presence of Qaeda and Hezbollah members among the anti-Qaddafi forces. No full picture of the opposition has emerged, Admiral Stavridis said. While eastern Libya was the center of Islamist protests in the late 1990s, it is unclear how many groups retain ties to Al Qaeda.

Full report at:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/world/africa/30diplo.html?ref=world#h[]

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Kuwait sentences 3 to death in Iran spy case

MAR 30 2011

DUBAI: A Kuwaiti criminal court has sentenced three people to death for being part of an alleged Iranian spy ring in the Gulf Arab state, Dubai-based Al Arabiya television said on Tuesday.

The station did not give further details on a case that has strained relations between Kuwait and Tehran.

Kuwait, which banned media coverage of the case, has said only that several people were detained in an unspecified security probe.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article334598.ece

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India-Pak Cricket Diplomacy: Now, Chandigarh-Lahore people-level peace appeal

Sanjay Sharma

Mar 30, 2011

CHANDIGARH: People of Chandigarh and Lahore have prepared a joint appeal before the prime ministers of India and Pakistan engage in cricket diplomacy during Wednesday's world cup cricket semi-final at Mohali, urging them to let people of the two countries explore peace, despite fringe elements on both sides of the divide planning otherwise.

"A declaration has been prepared stating that people in both countries want to explore peace through direct contacts in the absence of the respective establishments taking any definitive step towards this end," a key figure behind the declaration, representing a Gandhian NGO Yuvsatta, Pramod Sharma, told TOI on Tuesday.

Yuvsatta and peaceniks from Pakistan will stand at the entrance of the match venue at the Mohali cricket stadium and get the declaration signed by spectators from both countries.

Full report at:

appeal/articleshow/7822587.cms

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India and Pakistan Leaders Meet at Cricket Match

By JIM YARDLEY

Mar 30, 2011

NEW DELHI — With careful diplomatic scripting, India and Pakistan began talking again this week. Officials from the two countries convened in New Delhi to discuss security issues and pave the way for future meetings between more powerful officials. The talks were billed as baby steps, a modest restarting of an important diplomatic dialogue that had stalled.

Then, unexpectedly, a cricket match intervened, and by Wednesday, the scope and possibilities of the dialogue had changed.

Full report at:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/asia/31india.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

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UK talks agree Qaddafi must go

MAR 30 2011

LONDON: A sweeping array of world powers — from the United States to the United Nations, from the Arab League to NATO — spoke from the same script Tuesday in forcefully calling for Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi to step down. Some even hinted at secret talks on Qaddafi’s exit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague led the crisis talks in London between 40 countries and institutions, all seeking an endgame aimed at halting Qaddafi’s bloody onslaught against Libya’s people.

Although the NATO-led airstrikes on Qaddafi’s forces that began March 19 aren’t aimed at toppling him, dozens of nations agreed in the talks that Libya’s future does not include the dictator at the helm.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article335087.ece

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Libya rebels flee Gaddafi assault as world debates

Mar 30 2011

Ras Lanouf : Muammar Gaddafi's forces hammered rebels with tanks and rockets, turning their rapid advance into a panicked retreat in an hours-long battle Tuesday. The fighting underscored the dilemma facing the US and its allies in Libya: Rebels may be unable to oust Gaddafi militarily unless already contentious international airstrikes go even further in taking out his forces.

Opposition fighters pleaded for strikes as they fled the hamlet of Bin Jawwad, where artillery shells crashed thunderously, raising plumes of smoke. No such strikes were launched during the fighting, and some rebels shouted, ''Sarkozy, where are you?'' – a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the strongest supporters of using air power against Gaddafi.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/769163/

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Obama defends Libya offensive, rules out ousting Gaddafi by force

March 30, 2011

S Rajagopalan

President Barack Obama has stoutly defended the American military offensive in Libya, asserting that it has helped avert a massacre, but is opposed to going the Iraq way of using military power to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya and the world would certainly be better off without “tyrant” Gaddafi, Obama said but felt that the international coalition would splinter “if we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force”. So, he would prefer to actively pursue that goal “through non-military means”.

In a major address to convince a sceptical nation on the merits of the first military intervention under his watch, Obama said such was the urgency that if he had waited one more day, Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, would have suffered “a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world”.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/327761/Obama-defends-Libya-offensive-rules-out-ousting-Gaddafi-by-force.html

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Libya: William Hague hints at Muammar Gaddafi exile

MAR 30 2011

Foreign Secretary William Hague has hinted that the UK might accept Muammar Gaddafi going into exile as a way of solving the crisis in Libya.

Mr Hague said he would prefer to see the Libyan leader held to account at the International Criminal Court.

But he told the BBC a move into exile would create the kind of change that "most of the world and probably most of the Libyan people want to see".

His comments came after allies met in London to discuss Libya's future.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has written an article in the Arab press promising the international community will stand by the people of Libya.

Italy is talking to a number of countries about a possible deal which would allow Col Gaddafi to take refuge, possibly in another African state, in exchange for a ceasefire and transition of power.

In an interview with BBC Two's Newsnight, Mr Hague did not reject the idea of Col Gaddafi going into exile.

"That is up to him. There is no doubt that if Colonel Gaddafi left power - wherever he went - there would be a major change in the situation, and that is what most of the world and probably most of the Libyan people want to see," he said.

"That is up to him to decide. That's not up to us to decide."

'Protect civilians'

He added: "I would like to see him brought to account, but of course it is possible for people to go to places where you can't get at them - where the ICC can't get at them."

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

Mr Hague also said the UK was not planning to give military assistance to rebels fighting forces loyal to Col Gaddafi, despite the US suggesting it might be legal under the UN resolution that launched military action by a coalition of countries.

"Others may choose to do so, but we are not proposing to arm the rebels in any form," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12902694

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Clinton meets Libyan opposition in London: Official

MAR 30 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met a Libyan opposition leader in London on Tuesday while Washington prepared to send an envoy soon to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, officials said.

Her talks on the sidelines of an international conference on Libya marked an increase in US contact with the Transitional National Council (TNC), from whom US officials say they are trying to obtain a "clearer picture."

However, the United States has stopped short of officially recognizing the body, which it hopes will further the aims of a future democratic Libya.

It was Clinton's second meeting with Mahmud Jibril, who handles foreign affairs for the TNC, following a first on 15 March in Paris where she was attending a Group of Eight meeting.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8856/World/Region/Clinton-meets-Libyan-opposition-in-London-Official.aspx

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US Muslim coalition to take part in April 9 anti-war and anti-Islamophobia rally

MAR 30 2011

NEW YORK: On Thursday, March 31, a coalition representing national and local Muslim organizations and their interfaith and civic supporters will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall to announce their endorsement and participation in the April 9 anti-war and anti-Islamophobia rally.

The rally is organized by the United National Anti-war Committee and is endorsed by more than 500 peace, justice, labor, civic, religious, and civil liberties organizations around the country.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article334709.ece

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Syrian protesters rev up for evolution

MAR 30 2011

Syria is treading its own path through the regional turmoil rocking the Middle East and North Africa. Instead of full-blown revolution, the country is evolving toward reforms long promised by the country’s leaders. Hopes are high that changes will move in the right direction as the government resigns amid mass demonstrations in support of the president

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=damascus-gives-backing-to-assad-amidunrest-in-syria8217s-north-south-2011-03-29

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Turkey tells Syria: make reforms now

MAR 30 2011

As Syrian protests turned increasingly violent in recent days, Turkey urged the country’s administration to make reforms “without delay,” an adviser to the Turkish president has said.

“Waiting for the protests to end to make reforms is the wrong approach. Necessary reforms should be made now, not later. Leaders should be brave,” Ersat Hürmüzlü, adviser to President Abdullah Gül on the Middle East, told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview on Monday.

Syria is a very important country for Turkey, Hürmüzlü said, recalling that this country is in a significant process of transformation. “The system, stability and demands of the Syrian people are all equally important for us," he said. The Syrian leader should apply immediately “whatever they believe in without waiting for other accounts,” Hürmüzlü said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=ankara-calls-syrian-president-for-courageous-and-immediate-decision-on-reforms-2011-03-29

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Russia 'may have killed' Islamist chief:

MAR 30 2011

The leader of the Islamist insurgency in the Northern Caucasus, Doku Umarov, may have been among the 17 militants killed in a special operation by the Russian security forces, reports said Tuesday.

However the reports were not confirmed and Russian officials have repeatedly over the last years prematurely announced the death of Umarov, only to be proven wrong later.

Umarov, whose Caucasus Emirate rebel group aims to enforce Islamist rule across the Northern Caucasus, claimed organising both the Moscow metro bombing one year ago and the suicide attack at Domodedovo airport in January.

The Interfax news agency quoted security officials as saying that "according to preliminary information" Umarov was killed in Monday's special operation in Ingushetia, along with another militant leader Aslan Byutukayev.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/8830/World/International/Russia-may-have-killed-Islamist-chief-reports.aspx

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Taliban seize district in Afghanistan's remote east

March 29, 2011

ASADABAD: Taliban insurgents seized a district in Afghanisan's remote northeast after a brief battle with police, provincial officials said on Tuesday, underscoring the difficulty Afghan and foreign forces face in securing the increasingly violent region.   

Hundreds of Taliban fighters had captured the Waygal district centre in mountainous Nuristan province in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, said Mohammad Zarin, a spokesman for the provincial governor.       

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13338

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Saudi state is based on Islam: Salman

MAR 30 2011

MADINAH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman emphasized on Tuesday that the Saudi state has been based on Islam since the time of its formation by the late King Abdul Aziz.

"The Saudi government has been an extension of the first Islamic state in Madinah... and its constitution is based on the Qur'an and Sunnah," the governor said. "The Kingdom's political and social systems are rooted in Islam and not based on any imported thoughts or ideas," he said while giving a lecture at Madinah Islamic University.

He commended the endeavors of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the success of Islamic causes, in the service of the two holy mosques and Muslims and for the progress of Saudis.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article335132.ece

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Philippine VP heads to Riyadh to discuss maid ban

MAR 30 2011

MANILA: Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay is traveling to Saudi Arabia to discuss the ban on hiring of Filipino domestic helpers.

Earlier this month, the Saudi government told Philippine officials to stop verifying whether the contracts of maids working in the kingdom conform with Philippine labor laws.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article334863.ece

 

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Haj Ministry to curb beggars in the guise of pilgrims

MAR 30 2011

JEDDAH: The Haj Ministry has urged all licensed Umrah companies to ask their agents worldwide not to accept visa applications from people who intend to come to Saudi Arabia with the sole purpose of begging.

“You should not grant Umrah or Haj visas to pilgrims whose main intention is begging. This includes the sick, old, disabled and children,” the ministry said in a circular on Tuesday. Arab News obtained a copy of the circular.

The ministry explained that the measure was intended to curb rising levels of begging during the sacred seasons.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article334992.ece

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Terror suspect in Bali bombings caught in Pakistan

MAR 30 2011

WASHINGTON: A senior Indonesian Al-Qaeda operative wanted in the 2002 Bali bombings has been arrested in Pakistan, a rare high-profile capture that could provide valuable intelligence about the organization and possible future plots.

Umar Patek, a suspected member of the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested earlier this year in Pakistan, foreign intelligence sources said Tuesday.

It is not clear if Pakistan stumbled on Patek or his capture was the result of an intelligence tip. Details about what he was doing in Pakistan also remain murky, raising questions about whether he was there to plan an attack with Al-Qaeda’s top operational leaders as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 200l looms over the US

Patek, 40, a Javanese Arab, is well-known to intelligence agencies across the world. He is believed to have served as he group’s deputy field commander in the nightclub bombings that left 202 people dead, many of them foreigners.

The US was offering a $1 million reward for the arrest of the slight Patek — who’s known as the “little Arab ” — in the attack that killed seven Americans.

News of his arrest came from two intelligence officials in Indonesia and Philippines. Patek’s exact whereabouts were not immediately known. Both spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the information.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article335152.ece

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Saudi mortgage law to boost developers

MAR 30 2011

DUBAI: A top governing council's approval of a mortgage law in Saudi Arabia will lead to formation of specialized mortgage companies and a rise in availability of funds, boosting the prospects of contractors and developers, Shuaa Capital said.

The Shoura Council's approval of the mortgage law will facilitate bank ownership and repossession of properties, though the proposed law requires a number of steps to be fully implemented, Shuaa said in a note.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article335036.ece

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Syria offers concessions amid wave of unrest

MAR 30 2011

DAMASCUS, Syria: Facing an extraordinary wave of popular dissent, Syrian President Bashar Assad fired his Cabinet on Tuesday and promised to end widely despised emergency laws — concessions unlikely to appease protesters demanding sweeping reforms in one of the most hard-line nations in the Middle East.

The overtures, while largely symbolic, are a moment of rare compromise in the Assad family’s 40 years of iron-fisted rule. They came as the government mobilized hundreds of thousands of supporters in rallies in the capital and elsewhere, in an effort to show it has wide popular backing.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article335218.ece

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Monitors concerned by referendum violations

MAR 30 2011

The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections announced that the logistical violations during the recent referendum on the constitution amendments could nullify the procedure. However, perhaps more importantly, the will of the Egyptian people to engage with the process was beyond all expectations.

The results of the monitoring exercise, which included 1250 monitors in 26 governorates, organized by three major organizations, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights   (EOHR), the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-violence Studies, and the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, was announced today in a press conference at EOHR headquarters .

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/1/64/8892/Egypt/Politics-/Monitors-concerned-by-referendum-violations,-buoye.aspx

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Egypt’s foreign minister: Iran is not an enemy state

MAR 30 2011

In his first press conference as Egypt's foreign minister Nabil El-Araby stated that Egypt will witness a new phase in its foreign relations with other countries including Iran. He emphasized that Iran has historically rooted relations as a neighboring country to Egypt and is not an enemy state.

El-Araby added that Egypt’s embassies mistreated its citizens abroad and that they have been notified to act otherwise.

When asked about Egypt’s stand towards Hizballah, he said that it is considered to be part of Lebanon’s political and social makeup and that communication between Egypt and Hizballah is welcomed.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/8881/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt%E2%80%99s-foreign-minister-Iran-is-not-an-enemy-stat.aspx

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Hamas looks to turn a new page with Egypt

MAR 30 2011

Hamas leaders visited Egypt on Monday for the first time in 15 months. Their visit follows a tour of the region that included Sudan and Turkey to understand the Middle East’s new map, which was drawn in Tunisia and Egypt.

The visit seeks to clarify the effect of these changes on the Palestinian cause and relations with Hamas.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8850/World/Region/Hamas-looks-to-turn-a-new-page-with-Egypt.aspx

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Israel considering annexing West Bank settlements

MAR 30 2011

An Israeli official says Israel is considering annexing major West Bank settlement blocs if the Palestinians unilaterally seek world recognition of a state.

The official said Tuesday that Israel can respond to unilateral Palestinian action with one-sided acts of its own.

Annexation of settlements is one option. He says others could include restricting water supplies beyond agreed-upon amounts and restricting Palestinian use of Israeli ports for business purposes.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because no final decisions have been made.

With the peace process going nowhere, Palestinian leaders plan on seeking international recognition of a state, with or without an agreement with Israel, at the United Nations in September.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8853/World/Region/Israel-considering-annexing-West-Bank-settlements.aspx

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Darfuris feel betrayed by Libya no-fly zone

MAR 30 2011

People in Darfur watching how quickly a no-fly zone was imposed on Libya by the United States and its allies said they felt betrayed because US President Barack Obama had broken his promise to protect them in the same way from government attacks.

The government in Khartoum is still defying a UN Security Council resolution by bombing rebels in Darfur.

While Darfur was a foreign policy priority for Obama during his election campaign, the festering conflict has fallen into oblivion since his election.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in Darfur, where the United Nations estimates at least 300,000 people have died in a humanitarian crisis sparked by a brutal counter-insurgency campaign that began in 2003.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8868/World/Region/Darfuris-feel-betrayed-by-Libya-nofly-zone.aspx

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World powers move towards Gaddafi exile plan

30 March 2011

International powers meeting in London on Tuesday edged closer to an exile plan for embattled Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, as France said it was ready to discuss military aid for rebels.

More than 40 countries and organisations, including the United Nations and NATO, agreed to create a contact group to map out a future for Libya and to meet again as soon as possible in the Arab state of Qatar.

British Foreign Minister William Hague, who chaired the conference, said the delegates “agreed that Kadhafi and his regime have completely lost legitimacy.”

The representatives had agreed to continue military action until Gaddafi met all the conditions of the UN resolution authorising a no-fly zone and other measures to protect civilians, he added.

Qatar had also agreed to facilitate the sale of Libyan oil, he said.

The statement made no mention of an exile plan for Gaddafi, but Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told AFP that the participants had “unanimously” agreed that Gaddafi should leave the country.

“Beyond that, it depends on the country which may offer to welcome Gaddafi,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March1648.xml&section=international

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Top diplomats agree that Gaddafi must go

MAR 30 2011

A sweeping array of world powers called forcefully Tuesday for Muammar Gaddafi to step down as Libya's ruler. Some even hinted at secret talks on Gaddafi's exit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague led the crisis talks in London between 40 countries and institutions, all seeking an endgame aimed at halting the Libyan leader's bloody onslaught against Libya's people.

Although the Nato-led airstrikes on Gaddafi's forces aren't aimed at toppling him, dozens of nations agreed in the talks that Libya's future does not include the dictator at the helm.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=29131

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World leaders meet on Libya's future

MAR 30 2011

International powers met in London yesterday to map out a future for Libya, vowing to continue military action until leader Muammar Gaddafi stops his "murderous attacks" on civilians.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has not ruled out arming rebel fighters in Libya, the US officials said yesterday, despite assertions by key US allies that such a move would be outside the UN mandate.

"We've not made that decision... but we've not ruled that out," Washington's UN ambassador Susan Rice told ABC television when asked about military support to the fighters battling Gaddafi's forces.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=179680

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Israel slams Palestinian unity efforts

MAR 30 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the moderate Palestinian leadership not to seek reconciliation with the militant Hamas, saying it would come at the expense of peace with Israel.

"We hear in recent days that the Palestinian Authority is thinking of uniting with Hamas," Netanyahu told Jewish fundraisers in a speech distributed yesterday by the Israeli Government Press Office. "Well, I say to them something very simple: you can't have peace with Israel and Hamas. It's one or the other, but not both," he said.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=179752

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Officials praise arrest of Bali terror suspect

MAR 30 2011

Security officials praised the arrest of Indonesia's most wanted terror suspect, saying Wednesday the senior al-Qaida operative blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings could provide valuable intelligence about regional militant networks and possible future plots.

Umar Patek, a suspected member of Jemaah Islamiyah with ties to militant groups in the region and beyond, was captured early this year in Pakistan, local and foreign Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/30/officials-praise-arrest-bali-terror-suspect.html

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Obama not ruling out arming Libya rebel

MAR 30 2011

US President Barack Obama has said he does not rule out arming the rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

He said in an interview that Col Gaddafi had been greatly weakened and would ultimately step down.

Pro-Gaddafi forces have driven the rebels back tens of kilometres over ground they took in recent days after coalition air strikes.

The rebels have now retreated eastwards past the town of Ras Lanuf.

News of the rebel withdrawal came as an international conference on Libya in London agreed to set up a contact group involving Arab governments to co-ordinate help for a post-Gaddafi Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12902450

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Syrians await President Assad's address

MAR 30 2011

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to address the nation in his first speech since anti-government demonstrations erupted two weeks ago.

More than 60 people have been killed during violent protests that began in the southern city of Deraa.

He is expected to announce a lifting of the state of emergency in place for the past 50 years.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12904156

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/iraqi-forces-end-siege,-53-killed-in-attack/d/4369


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