New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 18 Jan 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamic State Crucifies 17 Men, Throws 'Gay' Men off Tower

 

 

 

FOX News Julie Banderas issues an apology on air for several errors made in regards to Muslims in England and France.

 

 

 

 

 

Arab World

Islamic State Crucifies 17 Men, Throws 'Gay' Men off Tower

Muslim World Questions Logic behind Charlie Antics: Oic Secy Gen

35 Syrian Soldiers Killed In Plane Crash

Shoura OKs Panel on Domestic Violence

Hezbollah Says Israeli Helicopter Strike Killed Five Fighters in Syria

Muslim 'angels' ease American's prison days in UAE

Egyptian officials meet with Libyan tribe

Al-Sisi in Abu Dhabi for high-stakes energy summit

OIC plans to sue French magazine

Al-Nusra claims to have downed Syrian cargo jet with 35 soldiers

Jihadi son stuns Lebanese Christian family

Syria opposition shuns Russia peace initiative

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-crucifies-17-men,-throws--gay--men-off-tower/d/101109

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Pakistan

Law Enforcers Sitting On Intel Regarding ‘Black Sheep’ Among Madrasas

Mainstreaming Madrasas— Back To the Drawing Board

Terror financing: Incapable of following money trail, govt grasping at straws

US drone attack in North Waziristan kills six

Lakhvi to stay in jail for one more month

Maulana Abdul Aziz under house arrest?

Two terrorists killed in Buner firefight

Policeman escorting polio team shot in Karachi

PML-N leaders blame crisis on Sharifs’ misplaced trust

PTI to now focus on Naya KP

Third Pakistani beheaded this year in Saudi Arabia for heroin smuggling

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Africa

Suicide Bomber Kills Four at Bus Station in Nigeria

Boko Haram Fighters Kidnap around 80 in Cameroon

Deadly suicide blast hits Nigerian town

Chadian troops join war against Boko Haram

Libyan army announces ceasefire after UN talks

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Mideast

Eight Israeli Arab Men Are Charged With Aiding Islamic State

Political Bickering Stalls Gaza Rebuilding

Yemeni army, Houthi fighters clash in capital

3,000 in Turkey linked to IS

Israel kills son of Hezbollah’s late army chief

Yemen's journalists: First casualty in war

Israel lobbies to cut ICC funding

Turkish PM says Israeli 'provocations' radicalizing Muslim world

France ‘100 percent’ happy with Turkey on security: Envoy

Tehran, Moscow ink deal to build 2 more nuclear plants in Iran: Salehi

Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks useful, serious: EU

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India

3 Muslims Burnt To Death, 14 Arrested For Arson in Bihar's Muzaffarpur

India Does Not Need To Be Hawkish On Pakistan: Mos Home

BJP Encouraging Conversions to Consolidate Hindu Votes: Subhashini Ali

No terror during Obama India trip, US warns Pak

2 top Pak terrorists killed in N Kashmir encounter

Modi inquires about Saudi king’s health

Displaced Kashmiri Pandits protest govt ‘apathy’

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Europe

Force out Preachers of Hate, British Govt Tells Mosques

'Wave of Islamisation' sweeping Western Europe, Benjamin Netanyahu says

Belgium asks Greece to extradite terrorist suspect

German police ban anti-Islamic Pegida rally in Dresden citing terror threat

Europe on high terror alert

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South Asia

Officials Confirm Isil Present in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Blast Kills Several Officers

Bangladesh Police Arrest Four Suspected Islamic State Members

Us Drone Strike Kills Unknown Number of People in Afghanistan

No respite in Bangladesh violence; death toll rises to 27

Bangladesh ends confinement of opposition leader Zia

Afghan refugees in Dir given ultimatum

Bomb attack on police bus

Hasan shot 2 Hindu men dead in Kishoreganj

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia’s Shariah Laws At ‘Extreme Limits’, Muslim Says in Plea to Reclaim Centre

Malaysia on Alert over Extremist Preaching

Indonesia Says Diplomatic Relations Will Not Suffer Because of Executions

Australia Pursues Plea to Spare Drug Smugglers on Indonesia’s Death Row

Bali Murder Accused Wins US Estate Funds

Australian, Indonesian Journalists Receive Award

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North America

Fox News Apologizes for False Claims of Muslim-Only Areas in England and France

Rebuttal to Pope: Cameron says there is right to cause offence about someone’s religion

Qatari held as 'enemy combatant' in US freed

US lawmakers unveil toned down sanctions bill against Iran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Arab World

 

Islamic State Crucifies 17 Men, Throws 'Gay' Men off Tower

January 19, 2015

Disturbing images of these executions started to appear on IS-affiliated social media accounts on Thursday last week and culminated in the killing of two blindfolded men who were pushed to their deaths from a height towards a watching crowd below, reported The Independent.

The images were attributed to the "Information Office of the mandate of Nineveh", a city in Iraq, and claimed to show IS militants carrying out "hudhud," a system of punishment for what the group's courts regard as serious crimes.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the recent spate of public killings came after the terror outfit suffered a series of assassinations and a major setback to its overall military advance across Iraq and Syria.

The monitoring group insisted that the crucifixion of 17 men in a span of 48 hours came as a direct retaliation to the deaths of 12 Syrian, Iraqi and Algerian jihadists. It added that the killings were IS' way of sending a message to people living under its control that said, "This is what will happen to any opponent." (ANI)

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/islamic-state-crucifies-17-men-throws-gay-men-off-tower_1532790.html

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Muslim World Questions Logic behind Charlie Antics: OIC Secy Gen

15 January 2015

RIYADH/CAIRO: Iyad Madani, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has denounced the publication of sacrilegious cartoons by French magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, calling the move “insolence, ignorance and foolishness.”

He said: “Freedom of speech must not become a hate-speech and it must not offend others. No sane person, regardless of doctrine, religion or faith, accepts his beliefs being ridiculed.”

Prominent Saudi scholar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi said that publication of the latest image was a mistake. “It’s not a good way to make the people understand us. Jesus or Moses, all messengers (of God) we should respect,” and should not be made fun of in pictures or words, Ghamdi said. “I believe it will make more problems.”

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian lands, Mohammed Hussein, said such cartoons “fuel feelings of hatred and resentment among people” and publishing them “shows contempt” for Muslim feelings.

Leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar denounced the new edition and said: “The stature of the Prophet of Mercy is greater and more lofty than to be harmed by cartoons that are unrestrained by decency and civilized standards.” It said: “Al-Azhar calls on all Muslims to ignore this hateful frivolity.”

The International Union of Muslim Scholars also criticized the antics of Charlie Hebdo, claiming they would further stir up hatred, extremism and tension. “It is neither reasonable, nor logical, nor wise to publish drawings and films offensive or attacking the Prophet of Islam,” said the Qatar-based union, headed by Yusuf Al-Qardawi.

According to the union, publication of the drawing would give further “credibility” to the idea that “the West is against Islam.” It said: “If we agree that (those who committed the attacks) are a minority that do not represent Islam or Muslims, then how can we respond with actions that are not directed against them, but against the Prophet revered by a billion-and-a-half Muslims?”

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Al-Qaeda branch on Wednesday confirmed it carried out last week’s deadly assault in Paris and vowed more attacks on the West.

In a video posted on Twitter, a commander said: “You will look for peace and stability but you will not find it because of the deeds of those carrying out martyrdom operations and heroes of lone jihad.”

He said the Yemeni-American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011, had arranged the attack.

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/689751

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35 Syrian soldiers killed in plane crash

January 19, 2015

BEIRUT - At least 35 Syrian soldiers were killed overnight when an army cargo plane crashed in bad weather in the northwest of the country, a monitor said on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the plane crashed after hitting electricity lines in heavy fog in Idlib province, a claim echoed by Syrian state media. But Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front claimed on Twitter that it had shot down the aircraft. Syrian state media reported the crash without giving a death toll.

"A medium-sized cargo plane crashed last night while landing at the Abu al-Duhur military airport because of bad weather conditions and heavy fog, killing the crew on board," state news agency SANA said. It gave no further details on the incident. The Observatory said the plane was carrying troops as well as military equipment and ammunition.

It said regime forces were involved in heavy clashes with Al-Nusra fighters in a bid to reach and recover the bodies of those killed in the crash.

On one of its Twitter accounts, Al-Nusra claimed it had shot down the plane and posted photos it said showed some of those killed in the crash, as well as the remains of the aircraft.

Militant groups have regularly shot down regime planes and helicopters in the country's civil war. In December, Islamic State group militants captured a Jordanian pilot whose plane crashed while participating in the US-led coalition against the jihadist group. IS claimed to have shot down the plane, though Jordanian and US authorities say the crash was an accident.

Meanwhile, Israel on Sunday laid charges against seven Arab Israelis over allegations they set up a militant cell linked to the Islamic State group, the Shin Bet internal security agency said.

The seven, who all come from Israel's northern Galilee region, were all arrested in November and December and indicted at Haifa District Court on Sunday. They are aged between 22 and 40.  Shin Bet said they were indicted on charges of "membership of, and activity within an illegal organisation, support for a terror organisation and attempts to make contact with an enemy agent".

In September, Israel outlawed both IS and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades as "illegal organisations", allowing for legal measures to be taken against them or anyone supporting or financing them.

In a statement, Shin Bet identified the ringleader as 40-year-old Adnan Alaaeddin and said the group met frequently with a radical Salafist cleric.

"Adnan presented himself to the other members as an senior commander within the Islamic State group in Palestine and he was a dominant figure among the activists. During their meetings, Adnan would urge them to carry out military operations and attacks on Jews," it said.

Another suspect, Karim Abu Salah, 22, was arrested at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv as he was heading to Syria to join the ranks of the jihadists, it said.

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jan-2015/35-syrian-soldiers-killed-in-plane-crash

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Shoura OKs panel on domestic violence

19 January 2015

The Shoura Council on Tuesday voted a proposal to establish a special executive committee to deal with domestic violence. This topic is a priority on the council’s agenda, sources told Arab News.

The Ministry of Social Affairs recently submitted a proposal to establish a special executive committee to deal with domestic violence issues and intervene to prevent any damages, taking into account the psychological and social aspects of these cases.

A new survey about violence in the Saudi households stated that 45 percent of Saudi children are subject to images of harm in their daily lives. The poll also found that around 84 percent of families suffering domestic violence sought help from police, while 72 percent of the victims’ parents have sent their children to seek help in these centers.

The survey, conducted on a random sample of people, showed that 50 percent of those interviewed believe that domestic violence is on the rise, while 45 percent claimed not to notice any increase.

Many other studies are exposing shocking information about domestic abuse, with children and women being the primary victims. Experts and psychologists believe this phenomenon has serious ramifications for future generations, even if its effects are not visible immediately.

A legal source told Arab News that the domestic violence law will be disseminated to all judges for use in rulings. “Nowadays, each judge has the authority to make the ruling based on his own views,” the source said, explaining that the laws are not lenient when it comes to violence against women. “Most of the violent cases monitored by Justice and Social Affairs Ministries were targeted against women,” the source said.

Some articles of the law state that police need to respond to calls without any conditions. The source confirmed that the law represents a major qualitative jump in the laws and regulations regarding the protection of women, children and vulnerable groups, as it aims to curb the spread of domestic violence, psychological and physical abuse.

The law’s spirit was dependent on high Islamic values such as good manners, proper ways of dealing with others and refraining from causing harm, the source commented. At the same time, the law comes in harmony with international laws and agreements regarding anti-domestic violence, the protection of women and children.

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/691731

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Hezbollah Says Israeli Helicopter Strike Killed Five Fighters in Syria

By ANNE BARNARD and ISABEL KERSHNER

JAN. 18, 2015

BEIRUT, Lebanon — An Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed five Hezbollah fighters on Sunday, including the son of the group’s slain military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah said as a member briefed on the episode described the attack as a provocative move by Israel.

The attack threatened to rekindle fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group and political party. Tensions between the two set off a deadly war in 2006 but have, in recent years, taken a back seat to the civil war in neighboring Syria, where Hezbollah is fighting to prevent the overthrow of a crucial ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

During nearly four years of war there, Israel has bombed Syrian territory several times, targeting weapons storehouses and convoys said to be bound for Hezbollah, without provoking retaliation from the group. But with a direct strike on Hezbollah fighters on the ground in Syria, the Hezbollah member said, “They are trying to modify the rules of engagement, and Hezbollah will never allow that.”

The attack, targeting two vehicles traveling in the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights, came days after Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said Israeli strikes in Syria constituted serious aggression and that Syria and its allies had a right to respond.

The Hezbollah member, who was not authorized to make an official statement, said the strike drew intense interest because among those killed was Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, 25, whose father was assassinated in 2008 in Syria, presumably by Israel. Israeli officials refused to comment, maintaining their usual policy of ambiguity regarding attacks on Syrian turf, intended to stave off retaliation by allowing adversaries to save face.

Agence France-Presse, however, cited an unidentified Israeli security source who said that an Israeli helicopter carried out the strike against “terrorists” in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights, saying they were preparing an attack against Israel.

Citing unnamed Western intelligence sources, two Israeli news outlets, Haaretz and Ynet, said the younger Mr. Mughniyeh headed a militant network that had already operated against Israel in the Golan Heights and that Mr. Mughniyeh was planning attacks aimed at killing Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The Hezbollah member said Mr. Mughniyeh was a rank-and-file fighter whose importance was mainly symbolic.

Israel’s strike on Hezbollah fighters in Syria, or any attempt by those fighters to target Israel, would be a shift from the two enemies’ tacit agreement not to escalate tensions with each other at a time when each has other security concerns. Southern Syria is a complicated, volatile battleground, an unpredictable mix of alliances, where Qaeda-affiliated fighters operate within sight of Israel without attacking it, choosing instead to battle Hezbollah.

Western-backed insurgents, whose fighters have been allowed into Israel-controlled territory for treatment, sometimes coordinate with the Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Nusra’s recent advances in the area have alarmed Hezbollah because Nusra has carried out attacks on Hezbollah’s Shiite supporters in Lebanon.

Syria’s information minister, Omran al-Zoubi, said Sunday’s attack proved Israel was cooperating with Nusra, which the United States lists as a terrorist group.

Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister, declined to comment on the strike, but told an Israeli radio station that considering Mr. Nasrallah had recently denied the group’s presence in the Golan Heights, “he has some explaining to do.”

With Hezbollah devoting significant resources to Syria, Israeli strategists may believe that they have more room to maneuver without drawing retaliation. Mr. Nasrallah said on Friday that Hezbollah was stronger than ever.

For hours on Sunday, Al Manar, Hezbollah’s television network, broadcast martial songs. In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah fighters and United Nations peacekeepers were on heightened alert.

On social media, loyalists quickly commemorated the slain fighters, calling them martyrs.

Hezbollah also said that among the dead was Mohammad Ahmed Issa, 42, said to be a leading commander. The Hezbollah member said an Iranian had also been killed, fueling speculation that Iranian military figures were present.

It was not immediately clear whether the strike targeted specific individuals, said Prof. Eyal Zisser, a Tel Aviv University expert on Syria and Lebanon, but he said that Mr. Mughniyeh was well known to the Israelis. “When you put a helicopter in the air there is not likely to be anything coincidental about it,” Professor Zisser said.

In addition to several attacks on weapons headed for Hezbollah, Israel has retaliated with what it calls pinpoint strikes at sources of fire from Syria into the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights. (Israel seized part of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war and annexed the area in a move that has not been recognized internationally.)

But this is the first time since the Syrian civil war began that Israel has targeted a specific group of Hezbollah fighters in Syrian territory.

Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006, has struck Israel in recent months, laying several bombs along the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-held part of the Golan Heights, and injuring several Israeli soldiers on patrol.

The Hezbollah member said that one such recent attack was in retaliation not for Israeli operations in Syria, but for an Israeli strike that killed a Hezbollah operative in southern Lebanon as he tried to dismantle an Israeli spy device. He said that Hezbollah had not used its new fighting positions in Syria to target Israelis.

Yoav Galant, a former senior commander in the Israeli military who is running for Parliament, said the timing of such military actions is sometimes “not unconnected to election campaigns.”

Correction: January 18, 2015

A headline with an earlier version of this article online identified incorrectly the fighters who were killed. They were Hezbollah fighters, not Syrians.

Anne Barnard reported from Beirut, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem. Mohammad Ghannam and Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/middleeast/hezbollah-says-israeli-helicopter-strike-killed-5-fighters-in-syria.html

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Muslim 'angels' ease American's prison days in UAE

By Tristan Smith

January 18, 2015

It was 3:30 in the morning when Robert Alan Black was escorted into Khalifa jail.

An American in Abu Dhabi, he found himself frightened even though the other prisoners were sleeping. Movie scenes from "Midnight Express" and "Brubaker" swirled through his head.

He sat at a table in the common area, waiting for the others to wake, not knowing what the reaction would be to his presence.

His crime

Black, who has a degree in architecture, three master's degrees and a doctorate in educational psychology, was in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, for October's Creative Thinkers Conference. He was to present a workshop and emcee the event. On a Tuesday morning, the 70-year-old got up early to take a walk in the neighborhoods near his hotel. An avid photographer, Black took his camera to snap photos of houses and a couple of the mosques he passed.

When he left the second mosque, he was approached by a man in uniform. He motioned Black to get into a camouflaged truck.

"I had no idea what he wanted," Black said, "but never felt threatened so I got in."

He was driven a short distance to a building with a sign out front that read "Reception." He waited about an hour before he was guided back outside and told, "Do not photograph security areas."

Black asked for clarification, but he was waved away with no further explanation, he said.

He decided to continue his walk. A few blocks away, he came upon a sign on a lamppost that said in English, "Photography Forbidden." Thinking a photo of the image would make for a novel Facebook post, he snapped an image.

After crossing the road, he approached by the uniformed men he'd met in the camouflaged truck. He was driven back to "Reception," which Black believes was a police station, where his passport, camera and cell phone were seized.

Headed to jail

Black tried to keep his composure. He was questioned and moved to different rooms, waiting for hours at a time, but the process was civil, he said. No one harmed him in any way.

After eight or nine hours at the police station, a man came in and asked him to stand. His hands and feet were shackled and a hood was put over his head. He was escorted to an SUV where he was chained to the floor and driven to the Khalifa jail.

When the sun rose that morning, Black was relieved to be greeted with smiles from the other inmates. A few prisoners from the Philippines spoke English. Their conversation revolved around why Black was there, and the daily routine at the jail.

Later in the day, police took him back to his hotel and allowed him to retrieve his belongings and check out of the hotel.

Concerned friends and family called the hotel but couldn't obtain any information on his whereabouts. After Black spent about a week in jail, a translator for the prosecutor's office felt bad about his plight and Googled his name, Black later learned. The translator contacted some of his associates, which is how friends and family members learned what had happened to him.

He was quickly transferred to al-Wathba prison, where he met a Syrian in his mid-30s named Kousai.

"All of those who could speak any English were very supportive and helpful" in both the prison and the jail, Black recalled, but Kousai made the most concerted effort.

Kousai and 'The Foreman'

Well-educated, he had a master's degree in business administration from Florida State University and spoke fluent English.

Black called him the cell blocks's "den mother." He was always trying to help and facilitate the needs of the prisoners who came from countries such as Oman, Yemen, Nigeria and Egypt -- all of them foreign workers. Kousai himself had been in prison for six months on an immigration violation.

When Black first walked in, Kousai and his roommate, a massive man everyone called "The Foreman," offered him an orange drink and crackers. "The Foreman" didn't speak much English, Black said, but seemed to be in charge of the cell block.

Kousai helped Black settle into the facility, making sure he had snacks and arranging for Black to have his prison clothes laundered. In one act of kindness, Kousaid was chatting with his wife on the prison phone and asked Black if there was anyone he wanted to contact.

Kuosai's wife called Black's daughter on her cell phone and held her phone up to the phone line. It was the first time that Black had been able to talk to someone outside of the prison or jail.

His family finally knew first-hand where he was and what had happened to him.

As the weeks dragged on, Black became immersed in prison life.He walked the cell block halls to pass time, often recalling humorous episodes of "M*A*S*H" and "Frasier" to buoy his spirits.

He and the other prisoners told jokes or talked about funny movies to help inject humor in their otherwise serious world.

When he got down about his situation, many of the prisoners would ask him to join their conversations, share cookies and boxed drinks they had bought from the canteen or offer food they had cooked in their cells.

If the prisoner didn't speak English, a simple smile or thumbs up was offered.

Black was grateful for the acts of friendship, and he made an effort to reciprocate, he said.

Back home

Meanwhile, Black's family, friends and colleagues were raising money to hire an Abu Dhabi attorney and working official channels to get Black released. They called themselves FAB, Friends of Alan Black.

The U.S. Embassy sent representatives to meet with Black several times while he was at al-Wathba. Many told him he would be out soon, but the days dragged on.

He continued to endure the daily routines of incarceration while waiting for his case to go before a judge.

Black was the only Westerner in his cell block, though he believes he saw a few others in the prison, he said. Besides a Nigerian man, he was the only Christian. The rest, if they had religious beliefs, were Muslim.

Five times a day, the devout would roll out their prayer mats. Black never spoke much about religion with the other inmates, he said, and he never felt any animosity toward him for being a Christian.

He had no biases against Muslims, and they had no predispositions about him. In fact, many of the inmates told Black they prayed he would be released soon, he said.

Sweet freedom

On November 17, almost a month after his arrest, a lawyer pleaded Black's case before the superior court's three-judge panel.

"He was very passionate and forceful," Black said. "He told the judges that he thought the case was an embarrassment and that I should have been fined and released the first day."

The judges agreed and ruled Black "not guilty, no intent to do harm."

He was fined 500 dirham, around $135 dollars, the minimum fine allowed by allow. It was later waived because of time served.

It took about 28 hours to get fully processed, and Black immediately made his way to the airport and flew back home to Athens, Georgia.

Black was grateful about how quickly his case was ultimately resolved, he said. Some of the prisoners he met had been in prison for years, and many still hadn't seen their case presented in court.

The support of his family and friends was important, Black said, but he considered prisoner such as Kousai his "angels." It was their generosity of spirit, humor and kindness that made a bad situation tolerable.

The episode reinforced Black's belief that while differences exist among cultures, in the end "we are all human beings."

"Sometimes it takes something like this to show you people will reach out when you need it," he said. "It's important to be open to your emotions and know people care."

Black plans to keep in touch with some of the men he met in prison, he said, and has already Skyped with Kousai, who was recently released and is back in Damascus.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/18/us/american-arrested-uae-photo/

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Egyptian officials meet with Libyan tribe

January 18, 2015

The foreign minister assistant for neighbouring countries Osama Al-Magdoub, and the Egyptian ambassador in Libya Mohamed Abu Bakr, met representatives from the Libyan tribe Awlad Solieman in Cairo on Sunday.

“The meeting aims at keeping track of the security situation in Libya, especially in the southern part,” the foreign ministry announced in an Sunday statement. The ministry added it is important to maintain security in Libya and keep citizens alert of any potential threats made by “terror” groups in some parts of Libya.

The meeting is part of a series of talks between the Egyptian officials and their Libyan counterparts, including tribal groups.

Full report at:

http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/01/18/egyptian-officials-meet-libyan-tribe/

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Al-Sisi in Abu Dhabi for high-stakes energy summit

January 18, 2015

By Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi and Marina Makary

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to attend the 2015 World Future Energy Summit (WFES), an annual event held under the auspices of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Al-Sisi’s visits to the UAE comes ahead of the Sharm El-Sheikh Economic Summit, which will be held in March to support Egypt’s economic development

“This visit holds great importance,” said Yomna Hamaqy, a professor of economics at Ain Shams University. Hamaqy believes that Al-Sisi’s participation in the Abu Dhabi summit will help Egypt benefit from the Emirati experience in the field of new and renewable energy, and at the same time will offer the president an opportunity to meet with major global companies operating in the field.

WFES is one of the Middle East’s largest gatherings on the future of energy. More than 30,000 leaders in government, industry, technology, and finance are expected to attend the event, which is scheduled to run between 19 and 22 January, according to the WFES website.

According to an economic report issued by the Emirati Embassy, the UAE has allocated more than $10bn in development aid to Egypt in 2014. A total of $1.5bn was allocated to build 50,000 housing units and 100 schools, renovate and build 25 silos with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes, and provide electricity generated from solar power to 62,000 homes.

Alongside the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait became some of the biggest supporters of the Egyptian economy after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Hamaqy explained that one of the main challenges facing Egypt is that the investment law remains under fire for its alleged lack of vision. Investment Minister Ashraf Salman announced in press statements that the government will complete the unified investment law before March.

Full report at:

http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/01/18/al-sisi-abu-dhabi-high-stakes-energy-summit/

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OIC plans to sue French magazine

Syed Rashid Husain

January 19th , 2015

RIYADH: The Jeddah-based Organisa­tion of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) plans to sue the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for publishing controversial cartoons, Secretary General Mr Iyad Madani told the local press.

“OIC is studying European and French laws and other available procedures to be able to take legal action against Charlie Hebdo,” Madani has been quoted as saying. “If French laws allow us to take legal procedures against Charlie Hebdo; OIC will not hesitate to prosecute the French magazine,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157905/oic-plans-to-sue-french-magazine

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Al-Nusra claims to have downed Syrian cargo jet with 35 soldiers

19 January 2015

Beirut: At least 35 Syrian soldiers were killed overnight when an army cargo plane crashed in bad weather in the northwest of the country, a monitor said on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the plane crashed after hitting electricity lines in heavy fog in Idlib province, a claim echoed by Syrian state media. But Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front claimed on Twitter that it had shot down the aircraft.

Syrian state media reported the crash without giving a death toll. “A medium-sized cargo plane crashed last night while landing at the Abu Al-Duhur military airport because of bad weather conditions and heavy fog, killing the crew on board,” state news agency SANA said.

The Observatory said regime forces were involved in heavy clashes with Al-Nusra fighters in a bid to reach and recover the bodies of those killed in the crash.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/691611

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Jihadi son stuns Lebanese Christian family

19 January 2015

Mejdalaya, Lebanon: When Lebanese authorities announced the arrest last week of three alleged jihadis planning suicide bomb attacks, Elie Warraq’s family was stunned to see his name among the accused.

Warraq, 22, would hardly be the only young man in Lebanon lured to the ranks of extremists — but he appears to be the first Christian.

Choking back tears at the family home in the northern village of Mejdalaya, Warraq’s father Tony said his relatives were devastated.

“We were so shocked when we heard the news, I haven’t slept since. It’s my son!” Warraq’s father Tony told AFP, chain-smoking cigarettes as he sat near a Christmas tree and a table mounted with a small cross.

Warraq’s case appears to be the first time in Lebanon that a Christian has converted to Islam and joined a jihadi group. On Thursday, the Lebanese Army announced it had thwarted “a plan to implement a series of suicide attacks” and arrested three people including Warraq, who was going by the name “Abu Ali.”

“They were preparing to carry out terrorist attacks against army posts and residential areas and were using falsified Syrian and Palestinian identity documents,” the army said.

“The investigation found they had pledged allegiance to terrorist organizations and participated in fighting in Syria and attacks against the army,” it added. It gave no information on which group Warraq and the others had joined or details on their planned attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/691606

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Syria opposition shuns Russia peace initiative

18 January 2015

BEIRUT: A Russian initiative to host peace talks this month between the Syrian government and its opponents appears to be unraveling as prominent Syrian opposition figures shun the prospective negotiations amid deep distrust of Moscow and concerns the talks hold no chance of success.

The faltering effort suggests that even after four years and at least 220,000 people killed, the antagonists in Syria’s civil war are far from burning themselves out and will likely keep fighting for a more decisive battlefield advantage before any real talks can take place.

The planned meetings in Moscow, scheduled to start Jan. 26, would be the first on Syria since a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva collapsed early last year after making no headway.

But the Syrian tableau has changed dramatically since then.

President Bashar Assad faces growing resentment among his supporters in the wake of bloody defeats, while his main patrons, Russia and Iran, are feeling the pinch from the global plunge in oil prices.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/691176

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Pakistan

 

Law Enforcers Sitting On Intel Regarding ‘Black Sheep’ Among Madrasas

Munawer Azeem

January 19th, 2015

ISLAMABAD: It’s either that law enforcement agencies do not trust information gathered by their own departments, or that they just don’t take such intelligence seriously. Nothing else can explain the blatant disregard for the unchecked movement of terrorists and their facilitators in the seminaries of the twin cities that has been displayed by the authorities thus far.

In a press conference held on Jan 4, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had stated that most religious seminaries had nothing to do with terrorism. But on Jan 17, in committing to rooting out the black sheep from amongst their ranks, madressah representatives conceded – albeit implicitly – that they may have to do quite a lot of in-house cleaning before they can claim to have a clean conscience. If the minister is serious about his comments from Saturday’s presser, then he should act on the information that is already available.

Read more| Sympathisers, supporters of terrorists live among us: Nisar

On Dec 17, in the aftermath of the Peshawar attack, Islamabad Inspector General Tahir Alam Khan told a press conference that police had information regarding a terrorist presence in the areas of Bhara Kahu and Tarnol and were aware of intelligence regarding certain religious seminaries’ involvement in terrorism.

Also read: Seminaries to help identify ‘black sheep’

At the time, he had said, “Surveillance and vigilance have started, but I cannot divulge more,” he added.

The information he was referring to includes, among other things, a Special Branch report informing authorities that certain religious seminaries in the capital were not only providing support to members of the various Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) factions in carrying out terrorist attacks in the area, but were also acting as go-betweens, collecting extortion or ransom money from victims and passing them off to militant groups.

Special Branch report names two seminaries that are known to support terrorist activities in twin cities

The report, prepared last year by the Special Branch of Islamabad and Rawalpindi police, also predicted a strong backlash from the TTP if the peace talks between the two sides – that were taking place in at the time – collapsed.

The report stated that TTP operatives were not alone in planning and carrying out terrorist attacks and enjoyed logistical support from certain religious seminaries and mosques.

The report singled out the Jamia Darul Uloom Zakrya Basti Anwarul Madina, in Sarai Kharbooza, Tarnol and the Jamia Khalid Bin Walid in Shamas Colony, Golra. The former is run by Azizur Rehman Hazarvi, while the latter is managed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, one of the founders of the banned Harkatul Mujahideen and chief of its latest incarnation, Ansarul Ummah.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157983/law-enforcers-sitting-on-intel-regarding-black-sheep-among-madressahs

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Mainstreaming Madrasas— Back To the Drawing Board

Malik Asad

January 19th, 2015

ISLAMABAD: It appears the government is considering old and failed policies, as it once again flexes its muscles to ‘streamline’ seminaries.

Focusing yet again on the curriculum, the Ministry of Religious Affairs is planning to add a subject vaguely described as ‘anti-terrorism’ that will be taught to seminary students.

Hafiz Sajjad Qamar, advisor to the religious affairs minister, told Dawn that the addition of ‘anti-terrorism’ is part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

He added that the proposed subject would serve a ‘counter narrative’, the buzzword that is doing the rounds these days. He claimed that the subject would redefine the concept of Jihad.

“It would focus on the teachings of the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) on peace and interfaith harmony.”

“It would serve to educate Madrasasstudents that waging war against any country is the responsibility of the state and not of individuals or organisations.”

Also read: MPC ends with national consensus on NAP

However, to bring the Wafaqul Madaris on board, the textbook for the course may be titled Amn Ki Kitab.

This is not the first time that the government has pushed the idea that problems associated with seminaries in Pakistan can be fixed by tweaking the subjects taught there.

But this is the first time the government has acknowledged that certain seminaries are linked to militant organisations and have promised to tackle them as part of its plan to eliminate militancy. But it still persists with old and failed methods of ‘mainstreaming’ seminaries by trying to modernise their curricula.

Few believe such efforts will bear any fruit.

For instance, an official from the religious ministry argued that one or two modern subjects are not enough to counter the extremist mindset.

“How can you expect a madressah student to behave like a student from a mainstream school,” he asked.

“We should follow Turkey’s model where the madaressahs provide modern, quality education; the incumbent prime minister and president of Turkey both studied at madaressahs”, he pointed out.

Social scientist A. H. Nayyar also endorsed that view. He said that by adopting the Turkish madaressah model, extremism could be curtailed.

He said that seminary students believe that the followers of other religions and even different sects are on the wrong path. “That makes them intolerant,” he added.

According to him, there are main three problems linked with seminaries.

 “One, the seminary students cannot get a decent job in a good organisation. Second, the environment, to some extent, promotes sectarianism and third is the outdated books the student is taught.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157986/mainstreaming-madressahs-back-to-the-drawing-board

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Terror financing: Incapable of following money trail, govt grasping at straws

Kalbe Ali

January 19th , 2015

ISLAMABAD: Despite the government’s claims that it is going to choke terrorists’ financial networks and streamline the way that religious seminaries are financed, experts are still skeptical over the outcome of these efforts, which do not seem to be rooted in ground realities.

“It is clear from the two recent meetings chaired by the prime minister, that things are not moving in any direction,” said senior journalist and security analyst Zahid Hussain told Dawn.

In both meetings that looked at ways to crack down on the sources of terrorists’ funding, the prime minister was briefed by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and his team from the interior ministry. Since no official of the finance ministry was present in both meetings, it is unlikely that any technical input was availed over the various possible modes of financing and funding that Madrasasand militant groups use.

In the second meeting, held on Jan 14, the PM announced that the national tax collection agency – the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been asked to cut off funding for proscribed organisations.

“This is strange, because Madrasasare not registered tax payers or evaders. They have nothing to do with the FBR. They are tax collectors and can’t do anything about legal or illegal channels of funding for seminaries at the local or international level,” Mr Hussain said.

In an earlier briefing, on Jan 13, the PM was told about foreign sources of funding for madressahs, but interior ministry officials failed to highlight that such inflows from abroad include both legal and illegal transactions.

On Jan 14, the interior minister met Saudi envoy Jassem Al-Khaledi and to discuss ways to cut funding for proscribed organizations.

Most experts that Dawn spoke to believed that with so many modes of informal money transfer available to them, including hundi/hawala and human carriers bringing money into the country, hardly any group uses normal banking channels to send or receive funds from foreign donors.

Govt efforts to crack down on terror financing, foreign funding for Madrasasnot very well thought-out

Officials confirm that none of the agencies have been able to track down the sources of the foreign funding sent to Madrasasand proscribed organisations.

“There are very few people in our security agencies who have the capability of tracking down the sources of their financial support,“ lamented an official of the Special Branch. “But it is primarily the responsibility of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to trace improper transactions,” he said.

Even though the FIA comes under Chaudhry Nisar’s ministry, the agency has yet to receive any specific directives to gear up its efforts to trace suspicious transactions.

Officials speaking off-the-record told Dawn that the financial crimes circle of the FIA was keeping a close eye on people suspected of being involved in the hundi/hawala business. But they admitted that the volume of such transactions was so large that it would be difficult to pin down individual transactions without a lot of digging.

“As far as human carriers are concerned, they are the responsibility of the Customs department, who are charged with checking the baggage of international travellers and ensuring that they are not taking out or bringing in money beyond the authorised limit,” the official said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157984/terror-financing-incapable-of-following-money-trail-govt-grasping-at-straws

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US drone attack in North Waziristan kills six

Zahir Shah Sherazi

January 19th , 2015

PESHAWAR: At least six people killed and four others were injured in a drone strike in northwestern Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region on Monday, sources told Dawn.

More casualties are feared in the attack that targeted a compound in the Shahi Khel area of North Waziristan's Shawwal tehsil.

Intelligence sources say the drone fired two missiles killing six people. The identity of those killed could not be ascertained.

The area is off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.

Shawal valley lies on the border of Pakistan's North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1158011/us-drone-attack-in-north-waziristan-kills-six

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Lakhvi to stay in jail for one more month

January 19, 2015

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack - will remain in jail for another month after the Pakistan government extended his detention under a public security law amid a row with India over granting him bail in the 26/11 case.

As the Lahore High Court today resumed the hearing in Lakhvi's detention case, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mujahid Sher Dil told the court that the government had extended the detention of Mumbai attack prime accused for another 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).

54-year-old Lakhvi's counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi protested the government's decision to detain his client for another one month.

"While the court is hearing Mr Lakhvi's detention case, the government should have sought the court's permission in this regard. The government cannot issue another 'illegal' order while the case is pending with the court," he argued.

The court adjourned the hearing till January 26.

On December 18, the trial court (Anti Terrorism Court Islamabad) granted bail to Lakhvi, who was involved in planning, financing and executing the attack in November 2008.

The Pakistan government detained him next day under the MPO. However, Islamabad High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi suspended Lakhvi's detention on "weak legal ground", evoking a strong reaction from India.

India raised the issue with Pakistan - both in New Delhi and Islamabad, with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoning Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and Indian mission taking it up in Islamabad with the Pakistan Foreign Office.

Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping Afghan national Muhammad Anwar Khan. Lakhvi got bail from a local court in Islamabad in the abduction case.

Full report at:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/lakhvi-to-stay-in-jail-for-one-more-month-115011900672_1.html

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Maulana Abdul Aziz under house arrest?

Ikram Junaidi

January 19th, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Rumours are circulating in the federal capital that Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz has been placed under house arrest in a seminary near the mosque.

The rumours started after Maulana Aziz did not come to the Lal Masjid and delivered his Friday sermon via telephone.

Also read: Arrest warrant issued for Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz

After that, there were speculations that the cleric had been house arrested in Jamia Hafsa located near the mosque otherwise he would not have opted for the telephonic sermon. However, both the Islamabad police and the Lal Masjid administration rejected the rumours.

It may be mentioned that after the Peshawar incident, Maulana Aziz stated that he cannot condemn the killing of the innocent children in Peshawar and neither considered them martyrs. After the controversial statement, the civil society launched a protest campaign against the cleric.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157981/maulana-abdul-aziz-under-house-arrest

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Two terrorists killed in Buner firefight

January 19, 2015

BUNER - Two suspected terrorists were killed and arms were recovered in an operation by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) here on Sunday.

A heavy contingent of police along with other LEAs personnel on a tip-off conducted a search operation in Chagharzai area of district Buner.

During the operation exchange of firing took place in which two suspected terrorists were killed.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jan-2015/two-terrorists-killed-in-buner-firefight

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Policeman escorting polio team shot in Karachi

Asim Khan

January 19th , 2015

KARACHI: Unknown gunmen on Monday shot a policeman assigned to provide security to a polio vaccination team in Karachi's Orangi Town area.

Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tabassum Ali was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen while polio workers were administering the vaccine to a child inside a house in Banaras Colony in Orangi Town No 4.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1158016/policeman-escorting-polio-team-shot-in-karachi

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PML-N leaders blame crisis on Sharifs’ misplaced trust

January 19th , 2015

ISLAMABAD: It is no secret that the Sharif brothers prefer their bureaucrats over politicians and are known for their tendency to keep key government positions “in the family”. This has also proven to be their undoing as a crippling fuel shortage has all but paralysed their citadel, Punjab, senior PML-N office-bearers told Dawn.

Some leaders, who have been quite close to both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over the years, said that throughout the 90s and even now, the brothers have always preferred government officials and family members over party colleagues, something which has done them more harm than good. As is evident from recent events, it seems that they have not learnt their lesson yet.

Take a look: Exclusive leadership of Sharif brothers saps PML-N’s political strength

“Even some of the ministers, who look all-powerful to the public, have nothing in their hands and need clearance from the PM’s Office just to change their personal staff. Moreover, Senator Ishaq Dar’s omnipresence as the de facto prime minister and his tight control over nearly all ministries irks everyone in the government,” a PML-N lawmaker said.

“If somebody has to be asked to explain the long queues on petrol pumps, it’s Ishaq Dar,” the party member said.

This is not the first time that their approach to running the government has caused embarrassment to both the PM and the Punjab CM.

Also read: Khosa to initiate ‘anti-Sharif’ move from Sindh

Only last week, on the eve of the PM’s meeting with leaders of the business community, a couple of Karachi-based businessmen complained to him about the Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and accused the Ministry of Water and Power of not facilitating them in setting up new power plants.

On hearing this, according to senior members of the water and power ministry and PPIB, the PM flew into rage and immediately sought clarifications from the officials present. When the officials tried to present their point of view, a visibly perturbed PM expressed his frustration, saying, “I really don’t know who you people work for.”

A senior official of the water and power ministry told Dawn that since financing on investment in the power sector was available at very soft terms thanks to the Chinese government, “The PPIB and power ministry have been under tremendous pressure from all sides for ‘facilitation’.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157913/pml-n-leaders-blame-crisis-on-sharifs-misplaced-trust

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PTI to now focus on Naya KP

January 19, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Brushing aside the politics of confrontation with no word on his future protest plan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday gave his plan of sprucing up governance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to make it ‘Naya KP’.

Addressing Dharna Convention in Islamabad, the PTI chief reiterated his party’s support to government in ongoing war against terrorism, adding PTI would now transform Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa into a model for rest of the country to follow vis-a-vis good governance and efficient delivery of services to the people.

Imran said his party would not create any difficulties for the incumbent government in its fight against terrorism. “We have decided not to create any sort of difficulties so the government could focus on war on terror,” he said.

“Now all our energies will be directed to reform KP,” said Imran while addressing the participants of Dharna Convention. However, he added, “No one should remain under the impression that PTI has backtracked on its word to build a new Pakistan.”

He ruled out the allegations that the PTI’s Islamabad sit-in was ‘scripted’. “I assure you that even Einstein could not have written such a script,” he held. He reiterated his earlier stance that the General Elections 2013 were the most rigged polls in country’s history.

The cricketer-turned-politician added that there should be no confusion about PTI’s stance that the party would not budge an inch from its principled stand on poll rigging investigation.

The PTI chief, in a cheek in tongue remark, thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for providing him with an opportunity to awaken the nation by staging 126-day sit-in in federal capital. He said the people had been awakened, and he thanked the workers and supporters of PTI, especially women and the youth for coming in large numbers to support the cause of Pakistan.

Taking a jibe at the incumbent government for the current petroleum crisis, Imran said, “We were going for shutting down the country but the PML-N government itself shut the entire country by creating petrol shortage.” He accused the government of paralysing life in the country by creating a gas, petrol and water crisis.

The PTI leader also highlighted the measures already being taken in KPK to improve the governance system. Imran said the police system in KPK has been transformed and that reforms were also being introduced in public hospitals. He claimed, “There has not been a single FIR registered against political rivals.”

Outlining the agenda to improve governance in the province ruled by his party, Imran said a cleaning drive will be launched in the entire province, followed by a tree-plantation drive, measures to ensure supply of safe drinking water, as well as improving the systems of government hospitals and educational institutes.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jan-2015/pti-to-now-focus-on-naya-kp

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Third Pakistani beheaded this year in Saudi Arabia for heroin smuggling

19 January 2015

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a convicted Pakistani heroin smuggler, the third person from his country executed for the crime this year.

Yassir Arafat Munir Ahmed was executed in the Muslim holy city of Makkah, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

“Investigations led to his confession and after a trial he was sentenced to death,” the ministry said.

Ahmed is the 11th person, and the third Pakistani, to be executed in the kingdom this year under a strict version of Islamic Shariah law.

The interior ministry has said it is battling narcotics because of the “great harm” they do to society.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1158036/third-pakistani-beheaded-this-year-in-saudi-arabia-for-heroin-smuggling

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Africa

 

Suicide bomber kills four at bus station in Nigeria

January 19th , 2015

KANO: A suicide bomber killed four people and wounded dozens on Sunday in an attack on a bus station in Potiskum, northeastern Nigeria, police and hospital sources said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the town has often come under attack from Boko Haram militants.

Last Sunday, two female suicide bombers, one believed to be aged around 15, carried out an attack on a crowded market.

Witnesses to the latest assault said the explosion ripped through the bus station at Tashar Kunne, on the outskirts of town, at around 10:30 am.

“(The bomber) slowed his car twice... some distance from the bus station, and he suddenly increased speed and rammed into buses lined up waiting for passengers,” local trader Umar Sani said.

A police officer said four bodies and 48 injured people had been taken from the scene.

A nurse at the Potiskum General Hospital gave a similar death and injury toll, and said local residents had rushed to the hospital in search of their loved ones.

She described the suicide bomber as a young man.

Potiskum has been hard hit previously in Boko Haram attacks. Fifteen people were killed in November 2014 during a Shia religious procession. A week later a suicide bomber blew himself up in a high school, killing 58 people and wounding more than 100.

Brutal raids, massacres, suicide bomb attacks and kidnappings by Boko Haram have claimed at least 13,000 lives and driven an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes, mainly in arid northeast Nigeria.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157942/suicide-bomber-kills-four-at-bus-station-in-nigeria

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Boko Haram fighters kidnap around 80 in Cameroon

YAOUNDE - Suspected Boko Haram Islamist fighters from Nigeria kidnapped around 80 people, many of them children, and killed three others on Sunday in a cross-border attack on villages in northern Cameroon, army and government officials said.

The kidnappings, among the largest abductions on Cameroonian soil since the militants began expanding their zone of operations across the border last year, came as neighbouring Chad deployed troops to support Cameroon's forces in the area.

"According to our initial information, around 30 adults, most of them herders, and 50 young girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 years were abducted," a senior army officer deployed to northern Cameroon told Reuters.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jan-2015/boko-haram-fighters-kidnap-around-80-in-cameroon

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Deadly suicide blast hits Nigerian town

18 Jan 2015

A suicide bomber has killed five people and wounded dozens in Potiskum in the third such attack to hit the town in northeastern Nigeria this month.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack on a bus station, but suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram.

Boko Haram opposes Western education and wants to impose Islamic law in all 36 states of Nigeria, which is roughly equally divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a mainly Christian south.

The group operates mainly in the northeastern Nigerian states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where the government has declared a state of emergency since May 2013.

Last Sunday, Potiskum was the scene of a bombing in a crowded market carried out by two female suicide attackers, one believed to be aged around 15.

Witnesses to Sunday's latest attack said the explosion targeted the bus station at Tashar Kunne, on the outskirts of Potiskum, at around 10:30am local time (09:30 GMT).

A police officer said four bodies and 48 injured people had been taken from the scene.

A nurse at the Potiskum General Hospital gave a similar death and injury toll, and said local residents had rushed to the hospital in search of their loved ones.

She described the suicide bomber as a young man.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/01/deadly-suicide-blast-hits-nigerian-town-20151181430227943.html

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Chadian troops join war against Boko Haram

18 Jan 2015

A contingent of soldiers from Chad has arrived in northern Cameroon where it will deploy to the Nigerian border as part of efforts to contain Boko Haram fighters.

The troops arrived in Maroua, the main town in Cameroon's far-north region, late on Saturday, Colonel Didier Badjeck, Cameroon Defence Ministry spokesperson, said on Sunday.

He declined to say how many soldiers had been dispatched by Nigeria's northeastern neighbour.

"In the coming days, they will be deployed to the war zone on the border with Nigeria so that they can join our defence forces to crush and prevent incursions of Boko Haram into Cameroonian territory," Badjeck said.

The deployment came as Boko Haram fighters kidnapped at least 60 people in a new attack in northern Cameroon in which some people were killed, police said on Sunday.

The fighters "burst into two villages in the Tourou area ... They torched houses and left with around 60 people. Most of them were women and children," a police officer cited by AFP news agency said.

He said the cross-border attack had "left some people dead" without giving an exact toll, adding that the Cameroon army had "launched an operation" in the wake of the assault.

Blood campaign

The kidnapping was the biggest in Cameroon by the fighters who have staged a series of attacks in the country in recent months and escalated their bloody campaign in their stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.

Cameroon's communication and information minister told Al Jazeera the attack took place in a village with no government troops on the ground.

Issa Tchiroma, speaking from the capital Yaounde, said: "They [Boko Haram] attacked a village and burnt to ashes 80 residences.

"They killed three people, and many people including children and women were taken hostage."

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/01/chadian-troops-join-war-against-boko-haram-201511815165034154.html

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Libyan army announces ceasefire after UN talks

January 19th, 2015

BENGHAZI: Libya’s army announced a ceasefire on Sunday, joining an Islamist-backed militia alliance in declaring a truce that the UN hailed as a “significant” step towards ending months of violence.

“We declare a ceasefire from midnight on Sunday,” the army said, stressing however that it would continue to pursue “terrorists”, as UN-brokered peace talks resume in Geneva next week.

The army also said it would monitor the situation on the ground “to prevent any change in front lines or transportation of weapons and ammunition,” which it would consider a violation of the truce.

Soldiers “have been given the right to defend themselves if they come under fire,” the statement added.

The UN’s Libya mission welcomed the ceasefire as a “significant contribution” to the country’s peace process.

Libyan armed forces spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mesmari said the army was “engaged in pursuing its duty to protect the Libyan people”.

He said the military would “ensure the security and stability of the country and combat terrorism” in Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157932/libyan-army-announces-ceasefire-after-un-talks

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Mideast

 

Eight Israeli Arab Men Are Charged With Aiding Islamic State

By ISABEL KERSHNER

JAN. 18, 2015

JERUSALEM — In a tale of would-be jihadists, a band of men trained for battle by slaughtering sheep and riding horses at a farm in the Galilee region of northern Israel with hopes of joining the Islamic State group in Syria, according to the Israeli Shin Bet internal security agency and court documents released Sunday.

The men, seven Arab citizens of Israel, most arrested in November and December and residents of Galilee, have been charged with membership and activity in an illegal organization, support for a terrorist organization and efforts to contact a foreign agent — namely the Islamic State, the extremist group that has captured large parts of Syria and Iraq. The group, which aims to reinstate a caliphate and is notorious for its beheadings, has been officially outlawed in Israel since September.

Lawyers representing several of the men said that they were being held for their beliefs and that they did not present any real security threat to Israel.

The disclosures came after an Israeli court lifted an order that had kept the case under wraps. An eighth Israeli Arab from the Negev desert in southern Israel, who recently completed medical studies in Jordan, has also been charged with supporting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, and was intending to go fight in Syria, according to the authorities.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/middleeast/israeli-arab-men-charged-with-aiding-isis.html

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Political bickering stalls Gaza rebuilding

18 Jan 2015

Gaza City - Inside the el-Sheikh Radwan warehouse in Gaza City, thousands of bags of cement are piled high on wooden pallets.

Outside, a handful of residents wait with horse-drawn carts, hoping their names are on a list of people approved to buy cement to fix their homes. But lately, not much cement has been moving, warehouse manager Sami Abu Obaid told Al Jazeera.

"The process is slow, but we're not sure why exactly," he said in a recent interview, noting the Palestinian government must send lists of names vetted by the United Nations to the warehouse before it can dole out cement. Thousands of people have been approved to buy cement, but Obaid said there have been delays in receiving information on how much each person should get.

"Some people get one package and some get 200, depending on the level of reconstruction," Obaid noted. Nearby, at a larger warehouse in Shujayea, a black market has even developed out front, with people selling their cement at inflated rates to others who are desperate to buy.

The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people throughout Gaza need cement to repair their homes, with the damage ranging from minor to catastrophic. In Shujayea alone, entire neighbourhood blocks levelled in the 2014 war remain strewn with the rubble of fallen homes.

"There's really no reconstruction. It's really depressing," resident Eman Almanassra told Al Jazeera. "[It feels like] there's no hope for reconstruction; it will take years."

Many residents in the war-ravaged territory blame the sluggish pace of reconstruction on the ongoing political bickering between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority - which, along with the failure of donor countries to deliver much of the $5.4bn in aid pledged for Gaza at the Cairo conference last October, has undeniably stalled progress.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian unity government said it would need control over Gaza's border crossings to properly facilitate reconstruction, prompting a furious Hamas official to accuse the government of "dragging their feet" and forsaking Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson Taher al-Nono has accused Israel, which enables the transfer of construction materials into Gaza, of deliberately slowing down the process.

"The cement coming from the Israeli side, the quantity is not enough to fix the houses," Nono told Al Jazeera, noting hundreds more trucks should be allowed to get across the border every day.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/01/political-bickering-stalls-gaza-rebuilding-2015116131738490549.html

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Yemeni army, Houthi fighters clash in capital

Jan 19, 2015

The Yemeni army and Houthi fighters waged artillery and gunbattles near the presidential palace in Sanaa on Monday in the most intense clashes since the Shi'ite Muslim movement took control of the capital in September.

Widely viewed as Shi'ite Iran's ally in its regional struggle for influence with Saudi Arabia, the Houthis - now part of the Yemeni government - said they would "escalate the situation" if their demands for a fair stake in a new constitution were not honored.

The street battles marked a new low in the fortunes of the Arabian Peninsula state, plagued by tribal divisions, a separatist challenge in the south and a threat from the regional wing of al Qaeda, which claimed a deadly Jan. 7 attack in Paris on a French satirical journal known for mocking Islam.

A senior leader of the Houthi group said a ceasefire agreement was reached shortly before noon and went into force. But residents said sounds of gunfire would still be heard near President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's residence.

The fighting began in the early morning, with gunfire and explosions reverberating across Sanaa and close to the presidential palace and the residence of the national security chief. It was not immediately clear whether Hadi was in the palace.

Residents said army gunners were shelling a housing compound used by as a Houthi base and smoke was rising from the compound.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/19/us-yemen-clashes-idUSKBN0KS08K20150119

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3,000 in Turkey linked to IS

18 January 2015

ISTANBUL: Around 3,000 people in Turkey are believed to be linked to the Islamic State group, a Turkish intelligence report said on Saturday, warning of possible attacks by extremists.

The report called for enhanced surveillance of the 3,000 people, including identifying their rank within the extremist group or whether they were active within it, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.

A “red alert” had also been sent to security units warning of possible attacks on the embassies of Western countries by IS militants following last week’s deadly attacks in France, the report said.

Security at the diplomatic missions had been increased to the maximum level, the report said, adding that NATO facilities and Western nationals were also potential targets.

And it warned of possible bomb attacks “anywhere and anytime” in Turkey by “sleeping cells.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/691161

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Israel kills son of Hezbollah’s late army chief

January 19, 2015

BEIRUT - An Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed five members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement including the son of group’s late military leader Imad Moughniyah, sources close to Hezbollah said, in an attack that has the potential to trigger reprisals.

Israel’s military declined to comment, but Israel’s Ynet news Web site quoted an Israeli military source as saying the attack had targeted “terrorists who intended to attack Israel”.

The missile strike hit Jihad Moughniyah’s convoy in the Syrian province of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Lebanese sources said.

The strike comes three days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said he considered frequent Israeli strikes in Syria as a major aggression, and that Syria and its allies had the right to respond.

Hezbollah has been fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria’s nearly four-year-old civil war.

The Hezbollah-run al-Manar news channel did not mention Moughniyah but said Hezbollah had confirmed that a group of its fighters were killed when they were checking an area in Quneitra.

It said Hezbollah would announce the names of the dead later on Sunday.

Quneitra has seen heavy fighting between forces loyal to Assad and rebels including fighters linked to al Qaeda.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jan-2015/israel-kills-son-of-hezbollah-s-late-army-chief

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Yemen's journalists: First casualty in war

19 Jan 2015

Yemen is increasingly becoming a hostile place for journalists, Yemeni journalists and media pundits have told Al Jazeera.

Several journalists, including Al Jazeera bureau chief Saeed Thabet, have received death threats and - in some cases - been forced to resign from their jobs.

This past weekend, Thabet said he was worried for his life after receiving a phone call from someone threatening to kill him if he did not stop his "anti-Houthi" media coverage.

"The caller said that he was from Ansar Allah and told me that they would kill me very soon and could come to my house," said Thabet, who is also the undersecretary of the Yemen Journalists Syndicate (YSJ), an umbrella organisation for hundreds of journalists in Yemen.

Yemeni journalists are the latest victims in a cycle of violence that has gripped the nation since the Houthi takeover of the capital last September and their subsequent attempts to expand their influence into other provinces. Analysts say this has spurred some Sunni tribes to ally with al-Qaeda fighters to stop the Houthis' advance.

On Monday, the latest round of violence broke out around the presidential palace when clashes erupted between Houthi fighters and presidential guards on the southern side of Yemen's capital. The clashes took place two days after the group's abduction of of the president's chief of staff, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/01/yemen-journalists-first-casualty-war-20151195253811169.html

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Israel lobbies to cut ICC funding

January 19, 2015

JERUSALEM - Israel is lobbying member-states of the International Criminal Court to cut funding for the tribunal in response to its launch of an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, officials said on Sunday.

ICC prosecutors said on Friday they would examine "in full independence and impartiality" crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year. This allows the court to delve into the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza in July-August 2014 that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.

The decision came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the absence of peace talks and against strong opposition from Israel and the United States, requested ICC membership, which comes into effect on April 1. Israel, which like the United States does not belong to the ICC, hopes to dent funding for the court that is drawn from the 122 member-states in accordance with the size of their economies, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday.

"We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding it," he told Israel Radio. "This body represents no one. It is a political body," he said. "There are a quite a few countries - I've already taken telephone calls about this - that also think there is no justification for this body's existence." He said he would raise the matter with visiting Canadian counterpart John Baird on Sunday.

Another Israeli official told Reuters that a similar request was sent to Germany, traditionally one of the court's strongest supporters, and would also be made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is separately visiting Jerusalem and whose nation is the largest contributor to the ICC. Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist group by Israel and the West, on Saturday welcomed the ICC inquiry and said it was prepared to provide material for complaints against the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, Canada's top diplomat denounced Sunday the International Criminal Court for opening a preliminary probe into possible war crimes by Israel, which counts on his country as one of its staunchest allies.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jan-2015/israel-lobbies-to-cut-icc-funding

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Turkish PM says Israeli 'provocations' radicalizing Muslim world

January 17, 2015

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of terrorism and said Israeli "provocations" such as the bombardment of Gaza were contributing to radicalization in the Muslim world.

In a Reuters interview, Davutoglu said peace in the Middle East and the eradication of extremist groups would be virtually impossible without the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He also warned the international community against focusing solely on fighting Islamic State militants in its efforts to end the conflict in Syria, saying the "brutality" of President Bashar al-Assad was the root cause of the problem.

Turkey, an EU candidate nation and member of the NATO military alliance, is a key Western ally in the fight against Islamic jihadists. But its leaders have become increasingly concerned about what they see as rising Islamophobia in Europe and increasingly outspoken in their criticism of Israel.

"(Netanyahu) himself killed, his army killed children in the playground. They killed our citizens and an American citizen in international waters. This is terrorism," Davutoglu said, referring to a 2010 Israeli assault on a Turkish boat attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

"Nobody can argue about Israeli aggression in Jerusalem in the al-Aqsa mosque," he added. "These provocations create frustration in the Muslim world and are becoming one of the reasons why these radical trends are emerging," he said.

"If we want to establish peace and order in the Middle East, eliminating all the extremist forces, we have to solve the Palestinian question."

Davutoglu on Thursday compared Netanyahu to the Islamist militants who killed 17 people in Paris last week, saying both had committed crimes against humanity.

Netanyahu has called for an international condemnation of Davutoglu's remarks and those of President Tayyip Erdogan, after he criticized the Israeli prime minister's attendance with other world leaders at a solidarity march in Paris.

Once-good relations between Israel and Turkey have declined markedly over the past five years, with U.S.-efforts to revive the soured ties failing to make headway. There was no immediate reaction in Israel to Davutoglu's latest comments.

Full report at:

http://news.yahoo.com/turkish-pm-says-israeli-provocations-radicalize-muslim-world-031029158.html

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France ‘100 percent’ happy with Turkey on security: Envoy

January 19 2015

France is more than pleased with Turkey’s cooperation on security against extremist threats, according to French Envoy to Ankara Laurent Bili.

“I think there is some unfair criticism toward Turkey’s cooperation in the field of security,” he said. “We are 100 percent satisfied with the cooperation with the Turkish Interior Ministry and the police.”

What is the current mood in France after the killings?

We are still in big grief; it was a big shock. At the same time, French citizens feel proud to be French; we could have fallen to the easy reaction of hatred but all these people walking the streets of Paris on Sunday [Jan. 11] sent a message of dignity, of unity and of refusal of any intolerance, racism and Islamophobia.  I think it was a great message.

Also, we feel proud and comforted by the number of messages we received from the entire world.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was one of the leaders to get in touch with the president [François Hollande]. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu [offered] to present his condolences in Paris and proposed a trip before knowing about the Sunday march.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/france-100-percent-happy-with-turkey-on-security-envoy.aspx?pageID=517&nID=77103&NewsCatID=351

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Tehran, Moscow ink deal to build 2 more nuclear plants in Iran: Salehi

Jan 19, 2015

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says Tehran and Moscow have signed an agreement for the construction of two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic, Press TV reports.

“We have signed an agreement with Russia to build two more nuclear power plants in [the southern Iranian city of] Bushehr,” Salehi told Press TV on Monday, adding that the construction of both power plants will probably begin “next year.”

“We are expecting our second nuclear power plant to go online in a matter of eight years,” he said, adding that “our third nuclear power plant will be operational two years later.”

The AEOI head said that the nuclear power plants will “produce electricity without polluting the environment.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/19/393757/Iran-Russia-sign-deal-on-new-Nplants

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Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks useful, serious: EU

Jan 19, 2015

The European Union (EU) has described as “serious and useful” the latest round of the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Negotiators from Tehran and the P5+1 - France, Britain, the US, Russia and China, plus Germany - met with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi for a day of talks as part of “ongoing diplomatic efforts to find a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue,” the EU said in a statement on Sunday.

“They had serious and useful meetings chaired by EU political director Helga Schmid,” read the statement, adding that the two sides “decided to meet again in early February.”

The political directors of Iran and the P5+1 states wrapped up their talks on the Iranian nuclear program in Geneva, Switzerland, as the two sides are making intensive efforts to narrow their differences and ink a comprehensive deal.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is a senior negotiator of his country, said Sunday that representatives of Iran and the six countries conducted “very useful” negotiations in Geneva.

“The meeting was very useful. We had detailed discussions. The talks will soon be resumed,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/19/393746/IranP51-talks-useful-serious-EU

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India

 

3 Muslims Burnt To Death, 14 Arrested For Arson in Bihar's Muzaffarpur

Jan 19, 2015

Muzaffarnagar DM Anupam Kumar, speaking to TOI said, "14 people have been arrested in connection with the arson. The situation in the village is under control."

The district administration has announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the kin of those who were killed in the clashes.

Besides, Rs 1 lakh has been given to the people owning the 20 houses that were torched by the mob.

The govt has also given Rs 42,000 each to 57 families that lived in the 20 houses.

A relief camp has been set up by the district administration for those affected by the violence.

Security in the village has been increased and additional troops have been deployed.

Three people were killed, with two being roasted alive, and more than 20 houses of a particular community were set ablaze during a clash at Bhelwara Roopnath near Azizpur chowk under Saraiya police station of Muzaffarpur district on Sunday.

Several poeple were injured in the clash.

Senior police officials are camping at the village.

According to police sources, trouble between the members of rival communities had been brewing for the last four-five days after a Sahni boy, Bhartendu Kumar, eloped with a girl belonging to minority community.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/14-arrested-for-arson-in-Bihars-Muzaffarpur-after-3-people-killed-in-clashes/articleshow/45936872.cms

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India Does Not Need To Be Hawkish On Pakistan: Mos Home

Jan 19, 2015

NEW DELHI: India may be pounding Pakistan heavily on the border in retaliation to its neighbour's continued ceasefire violations, but minister of state (MoS) for home Kiren Rijiju feels India does not need to be hawkish on Pakistan and must let go of its obsession with the immediate neighbour.

Speaking at an event in the capital, Rijiju said India should retain its image of a soft state as that is its strength. He, however, qualified his statement with the caveat that it should be firm in defending itself.

The minister was speaking at the second RV Raju Memorial Lecture organized by National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Speaking after senior journalist Shekhar Gupta, who delivered the lecture titled 'Pakistan and Neighbourhood--A Hawkish Attitude', Rijiju said, "We are a natural soft power. We don't need to be hawkish (vis a vis neighbourhood). We should not tinker with our international image of being a soft power."

Speaking on Pakistan, Rijiju said, "I think Indians and Pakistanis should not be obsessed with each other. If we need to be a superpower, we need to let go of our Pakistan obsession."

He, however, said that "our apparatus does not need to be soft" and that India should be firm in defending itself.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-does-not-need-to-be-hawkish-on-Pakistan-Kiren-Rijiju-says/articleshow/45939344.cms

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BJP Encouraging Conversions to Consolidate Hindu Votes: Subhashini Ali

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

January 19, 2015

'Both BJP and MIM are indulging in making provocative statements to strengthen their vote banks'

People voted the BJP to power for providing jobs and better living conditions and not for ‘converting’ Muslims to Hinduism. The party was carrying on the conversion bogey only to consolidate the Hindu votes, said former MP Subhashini Ali.

Addressing Muslim women here on Sunday, she blamed the BJP and the Majlis leaders for indulging in making provocative statements to strengthen their vote banks. But none of the parties did anything for the communities whose cause they claimed to champion. “Their love is only limited to pocketing the community votes,” she alleged.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bjp-encouraging-conversions-to-consolidate-hindu-votes-subhashini-ali/article6800784.ece

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No terror during Obama India trip, US warns Pak

Jan 19, 2015

WASHINGTON: Ahead of President Barack Obama's India visit, the US has asked Pakistan to ensure that there is no cross-border terror incident during the trip and subtly warned of "consequences" if any such attack is traced back to the country.

Obama will travel to New Delhi later this week to attend the Republic Day parade on January 26, the first US president to do so. 

The US and Indian security agencies are taking extra care for Obama as he will be on an open air platform at Rajpath for more than two hours, witnessing the parade.

The warning has been issued keeping the track record of Pakistan-based militant groups that have carried out attacks in India coinciding with high-profile visits from the US. Militants had shot dead 36 Sikhs in March 20, 2000, in Anantnag district in Kashmir, coinciding with the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton to India.

The US forces in Afghanistan are also keeping a close eye on the activities of the terrorist groups in the region.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-terror-during-Obama-India-trip-US-warns-Pak/articleshow/45935445.cms

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2 top Pak terrorists killed in N Kashmir encounter

M Saleem Pandit

Jan 19, 2015

SRINAGAR: Security forces shot dead two top Pakistani terrorists on Sunday during an encounter at Saidpura village near Sopore in Baramulla district in north Kashmir.

A joint operation was launched by Rashtriya Rifles unit of the army and SOG based on police inputs that two terrorists were holed up in Saidpura village near Sopore, said a defence spokesperson. He added that the militants were killed and weapons including two AK-47 rifles, one pistol, ammunition, two UBGL and six rounds of UBGL recovered.

The slain terrorists were identified as Kari Assadullah, divisional commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ramzan of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Both had infiltrated into India from PoK in 2013.

The duo opened fire on the security forces but were eventually killed in the ensuing encounter by the army and police.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-top-Pak-terrorists-killed-in-N-Kashmir-encounter/articleshow/45934663.cms

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Modi inquires about Saudi king’s health

19 January 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Saturday, and inquired about the health of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

The crown prince “reassured” Modi about the health of King Abdullah, thanking him for his noble gestures and get-well message, said the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Indian premier also conveyed his best wishes to Crown Prince Salman for discharge of his current duties and national responsibilities.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/691741

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Displaced Kashmiri Pandits protest govt ‘apathy’

January 19, 2015

Distressed over the long-wait of 25 years to go back ‘home’, displaced Kashmiri Pandits today staged a protest here demanding immediate steps for their rehabilitation and accused both state and central governments of doing nothing to facilitate their return to the Valley.

Wearing black badges and bands as a mark of the protest at Jantar Mantar, the Kashmiri Pandits also asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring a ‘white paper’ on what they have done so far for their rehabilitation.

“It has been 25 years in exile and soon it will become a once upon a time story. Neither the state government nor the central government has paid any attention to our grievances.

“We demand a ‘white paper’ be issued by the state and central governments on the action taken to rehabilitate and bring back Kashmiri Pandits who had left their homes in wake of militancy in 1990,” Ravinder Pandita, Head of All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee, said.

January 19 marks the beginning of the exodus of the community from Kashmir in the wake of militancy there.

As per official figure, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country out of which around 40,000 families are residing in Jammu and 19,000 families are in Delhi.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/displaced-kashmiri-pandits-protest-govt-apathy/

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Europe

 

Force out preachers of hate, British govt tells mosques

January 19th , 2015

Taking an unprecedented step, the British government has written to every mosque in the United Kingdom, calling upon Muslim leaders to do more to force out those preaching extremism, said a report published on The Telegraph.

On behalf of the government, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has written to 1,100 imams and Muslim leaders across the country, urging them to condemn Al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Twelve people were shot dead — including a Muslim cop Ahmed Merabet — when two militants had stormed into the offices of France's satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in reaction to disrespectful cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) published by the magazine.

The letters, which were sent last Friday, said that Whitehall was unable to defeat extremist ideology alone and that Muslim leaders have “a responsibility” to prevent young men and women from being radicalised.

It also urged imams to explain to young people what it meant to be British and said that mosques which would identify hate preachers within their midst can receive free advice to force them out.

This initiative by the British government has come at a time when religious tension between communities in Britain is running high.

In the letter, Pickles and Lord Ahmad, the communities minister, said that imam must declare “more clearly than ever before” that Muslims should feel proud calling themselves British.

“We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1158024/force-out-preachers-of-hate-british-govt-tells-mosques

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'Wave of Islamisation' sweeping Western Europe, Benjamin Netanyahu says

By Robert Tait

18 Jan 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu triggered a potential new row with Europe on Sunday by claiming that “a wave of Islamisation” was sweeping the continent as police in Germany banned an anti-Muslim group from holding a mass rally amid a reported jihadist death threat against its leader.

The comments by Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, were made as he disclosed Israel’s plans to expand trade with the Far East because of perceived rising hostility in Western Europe, the country’s biggest export market.

They risked being interpreted as a vindication of populist European anti-Islamist protest groups and came as the biggest such movement, Germany’s Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident) was forced to call off Monday’s planned demonstration in Dresden.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/11353553/Wave-of-Islamisation-sweeping-Western-Europe-Benjamin-Netanyahu-says.html

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Belgium asks Greece to extradite terrorist suspect

19 Jan 2015

Belgian prosecutors have asked for the extradition of a person detained in Greece over a possible link with a foiled Islamist plot to attack Belgian police, officials said.

Greek and Belgian officials had said earlier there was no connection between the detention of more than half a dozen people on Saturday in Athens and events last week in Belgium, where police carried out deadly raids.

"Further analysis of the elements of our investigation gave us enough reasons to ask for the extradition of one of the persons that were arrested yesterday by the Greek authorities," the Belgian federal prosecutors' office said in a statement.

In Greece, police confirmed they had received the extradition request late on Sunday.

"The request is for a man that Greek police detained since Saturday, about 30 years old, probably Moroccan. An arrest warrant will be issued tomorrow in co-ordination with the Greek prosecutor," a senior Greek police official told Reuters.

On Thursday, police killed two gunmen during raids in the east Belgian town of Verviers.

Police subsequently carried out a series of arrests throughout the country and Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for the prosecutors' office, said on Belgian television further searches had taken place in the Brussels area on Sunday.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/11354322/Belgium-asks-Greece-to-extradite-terrorist-suspect.html

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German police ban anti-Islamic Pegida rally in Dresden citing terror threat

18 Jan 2015

German police banned a planned rally by the anti-Islamic Pegida movement and other public open-air gatherings in the eastern city of Dresden on Monday, citing a terrorist threat.

Dresden police said on Sunday they had received information from federal and state counterparts indicating a "concrete threat" against the right-wing populist group "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident".

There had been calls for would-be "assassins to mingle among the protesters ... and to murder an individual member of the organising team of the Pegida demonstrations", police said in a notice on the 24-hour ban.

This was consistent with "an Arabic-language Tweet that called the Pegida demonstrations an enemy of Islam", it said.

Top-circulation daily Bild said online that the threat targeted Pegida's most prominent leader Lutz Bachmann.

The Pegida marches – which have voiced anger against Islam and "criminal asylum seekers" and vented a host of other grievances – began in Dresden in October with several hundred supporters and have since steadily grown.

They drew a record 25,000 people last Monday, in the wake of the attacks by radical Islamists in Paris in which 17 people were killed.

Also last Monday, some 100,000 Germans marched in nationwide counter-demonstrations against Pegida.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11353639/German-police-ban-anti-Islamic-Pegida-rally-in-Dresden-citing-terror-threat.html

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Europe on high terror alert

January 19, 2015

BRUSSELS - Europe remained on high alert Sunday as the suspected mastermind of a jihadist cell in Belgium remained at large and anti-Islamist rallies were blocked by nervous authorities in Germany and France.

Amid the heightened tensions, the second gunman in the Charlie Hebdo magazine attack was given a secretive burial in an unmarked grave near Paris late on Saturday, designed to ensure it did not become “a pilgrimage site” for radicals.

Meanwhile, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, considered the brains behind the cell plotting to kill Belgian police, was still on the run days after the group was busted by intelligence services.

DNA tests showed the 27-year-old was not among suspects arrested in Athens and is still at large, Belgium’s Justice Minister Koen Geens told VRT television.

German police banned a rally by the anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement and other open-air gatherings planned for Monday in the eastern city of Dresden, saying there was a “concrete threat” of an attack against its leadership. Also on Sunday, a French court prevented a rally by anti-Islamist groups in Paris on the grounds that they were promoting Islamophobia.

Cherif Kouachi, one of two brothers who killed 12 people in the attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7, was buried in a cemetery in Gennevilliers, a day after the funeral of his older brother Said in the northeastern city of Reims. Cherif’s family, including his widow, kept away from the funeral, the mayor’s office said.

The brothers were shot dead by police after a three-day manhunt following their attack on Charlie Hebdo, which had enraged many Muslims around the world with its repeated publication of blasphemous cartoons.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jan-2015/europe-on-high-terror-alert

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South Asia

 

Officials confirm ISIL present in Afghanistan

18 Jan 2015

A senior Afghan army general has told Al Jazeera that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has been active in Afghanistan.

A Ministry of Interior source also confirmed ISIL's existence in the country.

On Sunday, Lieutenant-General Murad Ali Murad, commander of Afghan army's ground forces, told Al Jazeera that "elements under the ISIL flag" have been trying recruit fighters in Afghanistan.

"There have been similar reports on the issue, but they were never confirmed by any high-level official," Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said.

"Taliban said that all Mujahideen [self-declared holy warriors] fight under one flag, rejecting the claims."

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2015/01/afghan-officials-confirm-isil-presence-201511815245847478.html

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Afghanistan blast kills several officers

18 Jan 2015

At least four police officers were killed after a suicide bomber detonated a car laden with explosives next to a police convoy in Afghanistan's Helmand province, a spokesman for the local governor told Al Jazeera.

The convoy was targeted while traveling on the Herat-Kandahar highway, said Omar Zwak on Sunday, adding that eleven other officers were also injured in the blast.

Police spokesman Colonel Farid Ahmad Obaid confirmed the attack, which took place in Lashkargah, Helmand's provincial capital.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2015/01/afghanistan-suicide-blast-kills-several-officers-201511810311287873.html

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Bangladesh police arrest four suspected Islamic State members

19 January 2015

Bangladeshi police arrested four suspected members of Islamic State in the capital, Dhaka, on Monday, including a regional coordinator for the militant group who told police they had been trained in Pakistan.

Reports of the growing influence of Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, have raised alarm bells across South Asia, though it remains unclear whether militants organizing under the Islamic State name in the region are acting on their own or as part of a centralized initiative coming out of the Middle East.

"We arrested them in the city early on Monday, carrying a huge number of leaflets related to militancy for training, a laptop and other materials," Shaikh Nazmul Alam, deputy police commissioner with Dhaka's detective and criminal intelligence division, told reporters.

The suspected coordinator, whom police identified as Mohammad Sakhawatul Kabir, told police that he and the other three men had received training in Pakistan, Alam said. The Pakistan army was not immediately available for comment. Alam said Kabir told police while under interrogation that the cell he ran from Dhaka was planning to collect funds and weapons for attacks on Bangladesh government targets. "The aim of the attacks was to establish a caliphate state in Bangladesh," Alam said.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-bangladesh-police-arrest-four-suspected-islamic-state-members-2053925

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US drone strike kills unknown number of people in Afghanistan

Jan 19, 2015

An unknown number of people have been killed in the latest US assassination drone attack in eastern Afghanistan.

According to Afghan officials on Monday, the people were killed after the US assassination drones targeted the eastern province of Nuristan in three separate attacks.

At least three people were killed in similar attacks in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

On January 11, at least eight people were also killed and three others wounded due to US drone strikes in the Lal Pur district of Nangarhar Province.

The US carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/19/393763/US-drone-kills-people-in-Afghanistan-

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No respite in Bangladesh violence; death toll rises to 27

January 19th , 2015

DHAKA: An 18-year-old man died after unidentified attackers hurled fire bombs at the vehicle in which he was travelling early on Sunday in Southern Barisal, lifting to 27 the death toll from violence in Bangladesh’s deepening political crisis since last year’s disputed elections.

Bangladesh’s government ruled out military deployment to establish order after the latest violence surrounding a standoff between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

The violence has worsened steadily since Jan 5, when protests erupted over last year’s election, which was boycotted by the BNP.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157931/no-respite-in-bangladesh-violence-death-toll-rises-to-27

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Bangladesh ends confinement of opposition leader Zia

January 19th , 2015

DHAKA: Bangladesh Monday ended its confinement of opposition leader Khaleda Zia after a surge in political violence left 27 people dead, but her party vowed to continue a nationwide transport blockade.

Zia had been barred from leaving her office for the last 16 days to prevent her from spearheading protests aimed at toppling her arch-rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Police stationed outside Zia's office in Dhaka's upmarket Gulshan district were stood down Monday, while two police vans and a water cannon parked outside were removed.

“We've withdrawn the additional security from her office after midnight, “local police chief Rafiqul Islam told AFP, adding that the former two-time premier was now free to leave.

Read: Bangladesh showdown as opposition leader locked in office

The siege at her office sparked a renewed upsurge in political unrest around the country that left 27 people dead and hundreds injured.

Zia's opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) confirmed the security had been removed but vowed Monday to push ahead with the transport blockade which she called during her confinement.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1158014/bangladesh-ends-confinement-of-opposition-leader-zia

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Afghan refugees in Dir given ultimatum

January 19, 2015

PESHAWAR - Pakistan has ordered Afghan refugees to leave the country within three days, who are residing in Lower Dir district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

Pakistan released notification for Afghan refugees present in Lower Dir district of the KP province, giving three-day deadline to leave the country, political administration of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) said on Sunday.

Strict action would be taken against violators of the notification, while the administration asked locals for not providing houses on rent to the Afghan refugees following the orders.

“All Afghan immigrants residing illegally in Kurram Agency should return to Afghanistan within three days or face action,” said an announcement made by political administration through loud speakers in mosques.

Vehicles fitted with loud speakers also roamed along streets, making this announcement.

Those Afghan immigrants running shops and other business in Kurram should sell it and return to their own country, added an announcement.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in the ongoing search operation throughout the province rounded up 604 suspects and 125 illegal Afghan refuges and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition.

As per details, during the last two days the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in the operation conducted in different parts of the province recovered 113 arms of different kinds and 3034 rounds. During the operation, 1657 houses and 543 hotels were checked and 96 cases were registered against violators of laws. During snap checking on 133 check points, 443 suspects were held and recovered 16 arms of different kinds and 150 rounds. Police during action arrested a total of 125 Afghans from different parts. Security inspections of 1392 educational institutions were also carried out and various institutions were advised to further beef up security.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jan-2015/afghan-refugees-in-dir-given-ultimatum

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Bomb attack on police bus

January 19, 2015

At least 13 policemen and nine others were injured in two arson attacks in the capital last night. Six of them, including a cop, sustained burn injuries.

According to police, miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at a bus carrying around 30 policemen near Matsya Bhaban intersection around 8:15pm.

"The bus was returning to Rajarbagh Police Lines from Shahbagh. When it was crossing the bend in front of Ramna Chinese Restaurant, a petrol bomb flew in through a window behind the driver. The seats instantly caught fire. The driver panicked and went over the central reservation and fell on its side," Constable Bodiar Rahman, who received injuries from the crash, told The Daily Star at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

Driver Morshed received minor burns and Sub-Inspector Azad and constables Shamim, Likhon, Bakhtiar and Shipon were hurt while escaping, according to DMCH sources.

With head-injury, Shamim was later shifted to Square Hospital.

Assistant Commissioner Shiblee Noman of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said seven more injured policemen were taking treatment at Rajarbagh Police Lines Hospital.

Visiting the injured at the DMCH late last night, DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said not just the attackers but those who are giving them orders will also be brought to book.

In another incident, five passengers were burnt and four more injured after blockaders torched a bus in Mohammadpur.

Witnesses said two petrol bombs were hurled at the bus in Beribadh area around 9:15pm.

Abu Taher, 80, and his son Abu Bakar, Nurjahan, Arman and Belal suffered four to 25 percent burns, said DMCH doctors.

Nurjahan's daughter Ritu and son Rifat and Taher's other son Sujan were injured in the incident.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/bomb-attack-on-police-bus-60421

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Hasan shot 2 Hindu men dead in Kishoreganj

January 19, 2015

A prosecution witness yesterday narrated how war crimes accused fugitive Syed Hasan Ali shot dead her father-in-law and a man from a neighbouring village and had the bodies buried with death threats while Razakars accompanying him desecrated pictures of Hindu deities at Araiura village of Kishoreganj during the Liberation War on October 8, 1971.

During the attack on their house by Razakars, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation army, one introduced himself as “Hasan Daroga”, the razakar commander of Tarail Thana, said the septuagenarian, Rekha Rani Ghosh.

“Razakar Hasan was wearing a khaki dress and had a white tupi (cap). He had a sharp-pointed beard. He was restless,” she told International Crimes Tribunal-1.

The Razakars caught her father-in-law Kamini Kumar Ghosh, husband Nripendra Ranjan Ghosh and two sisters-in-law hiding inside and brought them to the open yard, added Rekha.

“There were portraits of many goddesses in our room. Hasan Razakar ordered other Razakars to bring the portraits down (from the walls)...Razakars threw the portraits before my father-in-law and tread on those.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/hasan-shot-2-hindu-men-dead-in-kishoreganj-60641

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia’s Shariah laws at ‘extreme limits’, Muslim says in plea to reclaim centre

January 19, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Claiming the country’s interpretation and enforcement of Islamic laws are edging towards extremism, a Malaysian Muslim pleaded today with others of his religion to take their faith towards the path of moderation as espoused in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran.

In an open letter, Noor Azrie Petra Noor Azman of Aura Merdeka, an online non-governmental group championing open discourse among Malaysians, said the system of law based on Islam and the sunnah that Malaysia follows keenly is slowly becoming contradictory and nearing the “extreme limits”, citing as example the controversial ban by some state Islamic authorities on non-Muslims in using the word “Allah” to call their respective divine beings.

“Allah never said His name is exclusive for Muslims in the Quran nor in the Qudsi Hadith,” he said, referring to the teachings of Islam as passed on by its most famous prophet.

He also called out the tendency for some religious enforcers to carry out raids on nightclubs and even homes to “shame or disgrace” Muslims in their mistaken zeal for their religion, which he said has given Islam a bad name worldwide.

“To confiscate [the] religious rights of a person like the Gospels of the Christians is another law that is extreme,” he said, possibly alluding to the seizure of several hundred Bibles in the Malay and indigenous languages in the past, the most recent case being last year by officials from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) from the Petaling Jaya office of a Bible distributor.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysias-shariah-laws-at-extreme-limits-muslim-says-in-plea-to-reclaim-cen

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Malaysia on alert over extremist preaching

Jeremy Grant in Kuala Lumpur

January 19, 2015

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Malaysian police are monitoring religious schools for signs they may have become “breeding grounds” for Islamist extremists, in a sign that a clampdown in Europe in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders has prompted a state of heightened alert in the moderate Muslim nation.

The move came as Malaysia’s monarch, who rarely speaks in public, expressed concern over the threat of religious extremism in the country, saying he was worried about young Malaysians being “deceived” into joining jihadist movements abroad in the name of Islam.

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Malaysia is a majority Muslim nation whose success in managing its multi-ethnic population under the banner of moderate Islam has made it an important Southeast Asian ally for the US. Prime Minister Najib Razak has condemned the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying “we must fight extremism with moderation”.

Full report at:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/efaebcd0-9f80-11e4-ba25-00144feab7de.html#axzz3PGCDPNHu

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Indonesia Says Diplomatic Relations Will Not Suffer Because of Executions

Jan 19, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia said its execution of the citizens of Brazil and the Netherlands over the weekend were unlikely to damage diplomatic relations with the two countries.

“No, it won’t,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said on Sunday. “We try to maintain relations with countries we consider our friends.”

Brazil and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors after the Indonesian government ignored their pleas for clemency and proceeded on Sunday with the execution of six

prisoners convicted of drug offenses.

It were the first executions under Joko Widodo’s presidency.

“It’s common for countries to recall their ambassadors for consultations. It’s their right to do so, and we respect this right,” Armanatha said.

Five foreigners and an Indonesian were killed by firing squad shortly after midnight, the Attorney General’s Office said. The foreigners were from Nigeria, Malawi, Vietnam, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Brazil recalled its ambassador in Jakarta for consultations and said the executions will affect its relations with Indonesia.

“The use of the death penalty, which the world society increasingly condemns, severely affects relations between our countries,” the Brazilian presidency said in a statement

published by the country’s official news agency.

The Netherlands, a former colonial power in Indonesia, also recalled its ambassador and condemned the execution of its citizen, Ang Kiem Soei.

“It is a cruel and inhumane punishment that amounts to an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.

Before the execution, the lawyer for Soei tweeted that Soei expressed gratitude towards his government for  its unsuccessful efforts. He stated that he would stand before the firing squad without a blindfold.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/indonesia-says-diplomatic-relations-will-suffer-executions/

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Australia Pursues Plea to Spare Drug Smugglers on Indonesia’s Death Row

Jan 19, 2015

Sydney. Canberra is pursuing efforts to save two convicted Australians from the firing squad in Indonesia, Foreign Minister Julia Bishop said on Monday after Jakarta executed six drug offenders.

“The prime minister [Tony Abbott] has written again to President [Joko] Widodo,” Bishop said. “The Australian government will continue to make representations at the highest level.”

Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia and expressed fury on Sunday after Jakarta put to death two of their citizens along with four other drug offenders from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia.

The six were the first people executed under President Joko Widodo, who took office in October and has voiced strong support for capital punishment.

Joko’s stance has raised fears for other foreigners sentenced to death, particularly two Australians who were part of the “Bali Nine” group caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.

One of the pair, Myuran Sukumaran, had his clemency appeal rejected last month but authorities say he will be executed with fellow Australian Andrew Chan as they committed their crime together.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/australia-pursues-plea-spare-drug-smugglers-indonesias-death-row/

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Bali Murder Accused Wins US Estate Funds

Jan 19, 2015

A US judge on Friday ruled that a Chicago woman who is being tried in Indonesia for the murder of her mother in Bali should be allowed access to a trust in her alleged victim’s name to pay her legal bills.

The woman, Heather Mack, and her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, could face the death penalty if found guilty of murdering Sheila von Wiese-Mack, whose battered body was found in a bloody suitcase outside a luxury hotel in August.

Mack filed a lawsuit in Chicago on Thursday seeking to transfer $150,000 out of her mother’s nearly $1.6 million trust fund to pay her legal expenses.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen in Chicago ruled after a hearing on Friday that Mack is entitled to trust fund money and he called for another hearing next week to discuss the amount and conditions, said Blanca Jara, spokeswoman for the court.

Mack is the sole beneficiary of the trust, administered by William Wiese, the dead woman’s brother, said her attorney, Anthony Scifo.

Wiese has an “affirmative duty” to act for her benefit, Scifo said before the hearing. “He has not provided her with one cent,” he said.

Cohen said he wants to make sure that Mack’s lawyer in Indonesia is qualified and also said he would appoint a retired judge as temporary trustee to oversee payments from von Wiese-Mack’s assets, Jara said.

Trials for Mack and Schaefer began on Wednesday last week.

Neither entered a plea in their initial appearance, and the two are due back in court this week.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/bali-murder-accused-wins-us-estate-funds/

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Australian, Indonesian Journalists Receive Award

Jan 19, 2015

Jakarta. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the winners of 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Journalism Award on Friday.

The award commemorates the career of Elizabeth O’Neill who died in the service of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Indonesia on March 7, 2007.

“I am pleased to announce Australian journalist Latika Bourke and Indonesian journalist Aiman Witjaksono as the recipients of this year’s prestigious Elizabeth O’Neill Journalism Award,” Bishop said in a press release.

Bourke, a national political reporter for Fairfax Media, and Aiman, an executive producer and news anchor for Kompas TV, will spend two weeks in Indonesia and Australia, respectively, to gain a stronger understanding of contemporary issues in each country.

Recipients of the award share O’Neill’s commitment to encouraging better mutual understanding between Australians and Indonesians through accurate and informed media coverage.

Bourke will focus on the Indonesian government’s approach to Australia under the leadership of President Joko Widodo. She will also examine the development of trade and people-to-people links between the two countries, including through the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/australian-indonesian-journalists-receive-award-2/

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North America

 

Fox News Apologizes for False Claims of Muslim-Only Areas in England and France

JAN. 18, 2015

Fox News issued an unusual on-air apology on Saturday night for having allowed its anchors and guests to repeat the false claim that there are Muslim-only “no-go zones” in European countries like England and France that are not under the control of the state and are ruled according to Shariah law.

The statement was referred to as “a correction” by the Fox Report host Julie Banderas, who said that “over the course of this last week, we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France.”

“Now this applies especially to discussions of so-called no-go zones, areas where non-Muslims allegedly are not allowed in and police supposedly won’t go,” Ms. Banderas continued. “To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion that there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”

The claim that such areas existed attracted widespread attention, and a wave of online derision, last weekend when Steve Emerson, a self-described expert on Islamist terrorism, told the Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that parts of France and the entire English city of Birmingham “are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” Mr. Emerson said such areas also included parts of London, Sweden and Germany, and he claimed, “You basically have zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost, a country within a country.”

Although Mr. Emerson was shamed into issuing a public apology to the people of Britain for what he called “sloppy research that had not been fact-checked” after a campaign of ridicule from British Twitter users, the news channel’s press office initially made no apology, and argued that it was inaccurate to call this an error by a “Fox News pundit,” since he was not a member of its staff.

Ms. Pirro also issued a brief apology for not correcting Mr. Emerson last weekend.

The broader apology on Saturday, read by Ms. Banderas, came after a week of pressure from a French television host, Yann Barthès, whose comedic news program “Le Petit Journal,” found example after example of the claim being made again and again by anchors and guests on other Fox News programs.

Mr. Barthès even sent a crew to several areas of Paris identified on a map by Fox as “no-go zones” to ask residents if their neighborhoods really did resemble Iraq and Afghanistan, as a guest on “Fox & Friends” had suggested.

Though Mr. Emerson refused to identify the source of his incorrect information about autonomous, Muslim-ruled areas of Europe to a BBC interviewer, the Twitter feed of his Investigative Project on Terrorism appears to offer some clues.

On Jan. 7, hours after the deadly attack on the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Mr. Emerson and the Fox News host Sean Hannity had a lengthy discussion of how, they said, Islamic extremism was rampant in parts of France outside of state control. " ‘No-go zone,’ ” Mr. Hannity asserted as a matter of fact, “means no non-Muslims, no police, no fire, their own court system. So basically these countries have allowed Muslims to take over parts of their country, entire portions, towns.”

Two days later, when France’s ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, took issue with Mr. Emerson’s claims on Twitter, his organization cited a French government list of disadvantaged neighborhoods, known as “Sensitive Urban Zones,” and a report on France from Russian state television, which is not known for its objective assessment of living conditions in the West.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/europe/fox-news-apologizes-for-false-claims-of-muslim-only-areas-in-england-and-france.html?_r=0

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Rebuttal to Pope: Cameron says there is right to cause offence about someone’s religion

January 19th, 2015

WASHINGTON: British Prime Minister David Cameron defended the right to speech that gives offense to others’ religious beliefs, in a rebuttal to Pope Francis who said there should be limits.

In an interview that aired on Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Cameron said the West must show that its values, like free speech, are stronger than those of Islamist extremists pursuing a “poisonous death cult narrative.”

“I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone’s religion. I’m a Christian. If someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive but in a free society I don’t have a right to wreak my vengeance upon them,” Cameron said.

“We have to accept that newspapers, magazines can publish things that are offensive to some as long as it’s within the law,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157936/cameron-says-there-is-right-to-cause-offence-about-someones-religion

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Qatari held as 'enemy combatant' in US freed

18 Jan 2015

A Qatari citizen who was held in the United States since 2001 and declared an "enemy combatant" has been released and returned home.

Ali bin Kahlah al-Marri, who is a US resident, was arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks and initially held on charges including credit card fraud.

The government later argued that he was a "sleeper agent" for al-Qaeda and he was held in solitary confinement for six years after being declared an "enemy combatant" and put in military custody.

His lawyer Andrew J Savage told Al Jazeera that al-Marri had been held under "extreme circumstances" from June 2003 until October 2004 without counsel or access to anyone outside the high-security facility where he was being held.

He "experienced enhanced interrogation during that time including dry-boarding", the lawyer said. Dry-boarding is a torture method that induces the first stages of asphyxiation by stuffing the detainees’ airways with rags, then taping shut his mouth and nose.

During the George W Bush era, the designation "enemy combatant" allowed the US to hold “terror suspects” at length without criminal charges.

In 2009, al-Marri pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organisation.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2015/01/qatari-enemy-combatant-us-al-marri-201511852430561595.html

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US lawmakers unveil toned down sanctions bill against Iran

January 19th , 2015

WASHINGTON: Supporters of Iran sanctions in the US Senate have unveiled a toned-down bill aimed at gaining enough votes to override a presidential veto.

President Barack Obama has argued forcefully against any new measures against the Islamic Republic, saying Iran was already chafing under existing sanctions and imposing new ones could torpedo ongoing talks on an agreement to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, a goal it denies having.

On Thursday, the Senate banking committee will discuss and vote on the re-jigged bill proposed by Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Robert Menedez, two senators who have sponsored previous sanctions bills.

Their long-awaited bill was made public on Friday but has not been formally introduced in the Senate.

It would gradually impose sanctions against Iran if, by July 1, no final deal is reached in the talks under way between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

July 1 is the current deadline for the international negotiations,at a stalemate after two previous deadlines passed without a final agreement.

The calendar proposed by Kirk and Menendez would kick in a few days later, and escalate over several months.

If there were no deal by July 6, sanctions that had been frozen as part of an interim agreement would be reinstated. They would be followed on Aug 3 by new sanctions on the petroleum industry, and on Sept 7 by new restrictions on countries that currently import Iranian oil.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1157935/us-lawmakers-unveil-toned-down-sanctions-bill-against-iran

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-crucifies-17-men,-throws--gay--men-off-tower/d/101109

 

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