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Islamists Sweep Kuwait Polls As Women Lose Out

  • New Age Islam News Bureau

    4 Feb 2012
  • Islamists sweep Kuwait polls as women lose out
  • Mortar fire kills 217 in Syrian 'massacre': claims rights group, govt. denies
  • Kuwait: ‘Policeman Forced Me to Dress like Woman To Fulfill His Urges’
  • Kashmiris not against India’s integrity: Kashmiri Separatist Geelani
  • Africa: The Next Fight in Egypt and Tunisia Will Be Among Islamists
  • Talking peace? Taliban leader Mullah Omar 'sent letter' to Obama
  • India: Two Minor Muslim Girls rescued from flesh trade
  • India: Congress raps Mani Shankar Aiyar for talking to Hafiz Saeed on TV show
  • 13/7 accused Haroon got training in Pak, fought in Afghanistan
  • India to vote against Syria's Assad in UNSC
  • Not allowing Taslima's book grave injustice: Mahasweta Devi
  • Shun politics of destruction: Bangladesh PM to Khaleda
  • Two LeT terrorists killed in Kashmir
  • Ethiopian Convert from Islam Dodges Dangers in Kenya
  • German Misunderstanders of Islam plead guilty to smuggling jihad bomb instructions into Britain
  • Pakistan: Passage of Women Commission Bill lauded
  • Pakistan hints at ending NATO blockade “within a week”
  • Give India-Pakistan peace a chance: Mani Shankar Aiyar
  • Pakistan PM to visit Qatar to talk Afghan peace
  • Food crisis moving towards Pakistan
  • Manila Says 3 Top Islamic Terrorists Killed
  • Gunmen attack police station in eastern Cairo: security
  • Deadly clashes as anger with Egypt military boils over
  • Syria Violence Kills At Least 20: Activists
  • 4 killed in Egypt's anti-military violence
  • Hundred Detainees In Bahrain On Hunger Strike
  • Civilian deaths in Afghan war up for fifth straight year: UN
  • Bangladesh: Journalist protests Minister’s remark
  • War trial needed to resist religious bigotry: Bangladesh Law Minister
  • Bangladesh Student’s murder: JU teachers stage hunger strike
  • BSF men’s children in Bangladesh
  • Malaysia: 10 nabbed over derogatory posters of Chief Minister and National Laureate
  • Malaysia: 60 Muslims in Rembau arrested for gambling
  • “Borders and Bridges” lecture series explores the Muslim World
  • Is Europe setting up clash between Muslims and the West?
  • The new Turkish delight: More Muslim, more modern
  • Libya enjoys political flowering ahead of elections
  • Iran Threatens to Strike Back Against Sanctions, Attack
  • Iran begins naval exercises near Gulf strait
  • Show of force: Iran begins war games near Hormuz
  • Saudi King and IMF chief analyze global economic challenges
  • Hafiz allowance boosts sales in Makkah
  • Anger at graft boosts Kuwait Islamists
  • Afghan civilian deaths rise for fifth year, says UN
  • New World Bank vice president to visit Indonesia
  • Monitors Extol Professionalism of Kuwait Election Organizers
  • Jakarta: Another Lion Air pilot arrested for drug use
  • Enough for 4 N-Bombs; Iran Sites ‘Vulnerable’
  • NIA terror case against 2 Pakistanis
  • Malaysian PM launches NS volunteer brigade
  • Pakistan hopes to treble Indonesia crude palm oil imports
  • Americans in Pakistan told to avoid Efroze drugs

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Kuwaitis headed to the polls on Thursday for the fourth time in six years in a snap parliamentary election in which opposition candidates expect to expand their influence and push for change in the oil-exporting Gulf Arab state.





Islamists Sweep Kuwait Polls As Women Lose Out

4 February 2012

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's Islamist-led opposition has won a landslide majority in Kuwait's snap polls by securing 34 seats in the 50-member parliament, with women and liberals the big losers, results showed Friday.

Sunni Islamists, including Salafists, took 23 seats compared with just nine in the dissolved parliament, while liberals claimed only two places against five previously, according the official results.

And no women were elected, with the four female MPs of the previous parliament all losing their seats.

Voters punished pro-government MPs during Thursday's parliamentary election, reducing them to a small minority, the results showed.

Only two of 13 former MPs who the public prosecutor questioned over corruption charges were re-elected, and the rest either lost or did not contest the poll.

Following the announcement of the results, hundreds of opposition supporters gathered at the campaign tents of candidates they backed to celebrate the outcome.

Speaking after his victory, new opposition MP Obaid al-Wasmi warned all "corruption files will be opened," including claims that hundreds of millions of public funds were stolen.

"I tell the decision-makers that the Kuwait of tomorrow will not be the same as of the Kuwait of yesterday," said the outspoken independent opposition figure.

"The law will be applied to all, and those who do not want the law to be applied to them should leave Kuwait," the professor of law told cheering supporters.

The Sunni Islamists consist of Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which won all four seats they contested compared with two and one, respectively, in the old parliament.

Independent Islamists who represent tribes garnered nine seats.

Overall, the opposition scored strongly in the two tribal-dominated constituencies, winning 18 of the 20 available seats. Kuwait is divided into five electoral districts, with each electing 10 lawmakers.

Minority Shiites who form about 30 percent of the native population saw their representation reduced to seven MPs from nine, with four of them from Islamist groups.

Under Kuwaiti law, the opposition, a loose formation of Islamists, nationalists and independents, will not be asked to form the new cabinet because the premier must be a member of the ruling family appointed by the ruler.

But it will have enough strength to vote the prime minister of any minister out of office. The new parliament must hold its first session within two weeks, according to the constitution.

Political parties are banned in Kuwait but several political groups operate freely.

The snap election was called after the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state dissolved parliament following youth-led protests and bitter disputes between the opposition MPs and the government.

The protests also led to the resignation of the former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who was later replaced by another senior member of the ruling family.

The vote followed a fierce campaign amid heightened sectarian and tribal tensions that impacted on the results, with hardliners making gains and moderates losing.

The nationalist Popular Action Bloc, headed by veteran opposition MP Ahmad al-Saadun, boosted its strength to five members from four with several supporters.

Saadun is expected to become speaker of the new parliament.

Opposition candidates contested the election on the platform of fighting corruption, calling for fundamental political reforms and implementing projects.

Ahead of the results, Islamist MP Waleed al-Tabtabai had said the opposition plans to submit a series of reformist bills, especially to fight corruption and reform the election law.

OPEC member Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political crises over the past six years, leading to the resignation of seven governments and dissolution of parliament on four occasions. (AFP)


Mortar fire kills 217 in Syrian 'massacre': claims rights group, govt. denies

4 February 2012

NICOSIA: Mortar fire killed 217 people and left hundreds more injured in a "massacre" in the central Syrian city of Homs overnight Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The rights group said the mortar fire had hit the Al Khalidiya district of Homs, which has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"It's a real massacre," the observatory's director Rami Abderrahman told AFP, calling for the "immediate intervention" of the Arab League to end the killing.

The Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya television channels showed images of dozens of bodies on the ground.

The Syrian Observatory also reported that two civilians were killed in the Damascus suburb of Rastan late Friday, while eight army deserters were shot dead in various regions of Syria.

The violence broke out after thousands of people across Syria defied the government crackdown to mark the 30th anniversary of a notorious 1982 massacre in the central city of Hama that killed thousands.

News of the latest deaths came as a diplomat in New York said members of the UN Security Council would meet Saturday morning for a vote on a resolution condemning the violent repression in Syria.

The text is the same as a draft resolution sent to the council's 15 members on Thursday.

It highlights the UN body's support for an Arab League plan for a democratic transition while leaving out explicit references to calls for Assad to step down, the diplomat said Friday.

The Homs violence ended an already bloody day in Syria which, by the Syrian rights group's count, left 150 people dead.

At least 35 people were reported killed across the country in other incidents on Friday, among them 16 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based group said 14 soldiers were also killed in clashes with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and that five army deserters also lost their lives.

In addition, one person died of wounds sustained on Thursday, and the bodies of three other people were either found or returned to their families.

Amid growing concern that Syria is sliding into all-out civil war, an officer with the FSA claimed the regular army "is in a pitiful state and getting close to collapsing."

Major Maher Nouaimi, based in Turkey, told AFP by telephone that "even though the army has huge military capabilities, soldiers no longer have the will to fight or are ready to do so."

He said there was growing discontent among officers and the rank and file against commanders, who are largely drawn from Assad's Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Most conscripts in the military are from Syria's majority Sunni Muslim community. (AFP)


Kuwait: ‘Policeman Forced Me to Dress like Woman to Fulfill His Urges’

February 04, 2012

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3: A 20-year-old youth Adel, who claims to have been wrongly accused of cross-dressing, narrated his woes to Al-Rai daily.

Adel, who recently came out of prison after serving a six-month term, was born male but due to a hormonal imbalance, he has some feminine qualities. He claims that he didn’t actually cross-dress and that a policeman forced him to dress like a woman to fulfill his own urges.

Adel said the policeman, a lieutenant, stopped him at a checkpoint in Hawalli area and while checking his driver’s license, asked him why his voice was so soft. When he told the reason, the lieutenant reportedly called his friends and soon seven officers arrived for a ‘closer inspection.’ They reportedly asked him to remove his cap and when he refused, they pushed him to the ground. He said he was injured as a result. The officers allegedly then checked his car and found an underwear belonging to his mother in the vehicle.

He said they inspected the garment in full public view and took him to the investigations department.

Adel claimed that an officer took him to a compound in Salmiya and asked him to take off his clothes and wear women’s garments. He said when he refused to do so, the officer got angry and referred him to the Criminal Investigation Department. Adel alleged that he was raped and repeatedly harassed by security men. He maintains that he was wrongly imprisoned because he didn’t give in to their wishes.

When asked if he voted, Adel said he didn’t because none of the candidates deserved his vote.


Kashmiris not against India’s integrity: Kashmiri Separatist Geelani


February 04, 2012

Srinagar, Feb 3: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani Friday said that Kashmiris were not against India’s integrity but want it to resolve the Kashmir issue according to the wishes and aspirations of people.

“We want India and Pakistan to prosper and are not against anybody, but both the countries should realize that peace cannot prevail till Kashmir issue is resolved,” Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar quoted Geelani as having said while addressing members of civil society in New Delhi.

He said that Chairman of Kashmir Committee Ram Jethmalani had organized a special gathering of various retired officials, army officers and others at his Akbar Road residence to discuss various aspects of Kashmir situation. “Geelani Sahib was the special invitee,” Akbar said.

Referring to the statement of the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that Kashmir is about “broken promises,” Geelani said, “We have been demanding that broken promises should be fulfilled. Kashmiris should be allowed to decide their own fate and a referendum should be held. Whatever be the outcome of it will be acceptable to Hurriyat.”

Geelani said that people of Kashmir were not against peace and they have been yearning for it for the past 65 years. “We are not violence mongers, nor are we fanatics, neither terrorists. We have been demanding our birthright which was promised to us in 1947. India should implement resolutions passed in United Nations and allow people to shape their own destiny,” he said. “We have never been averse to talks. We know war and violence are not the solutions. Kashmiris since 2008 have been staging peaceful protests but they have been dealt with force and crushed.”

The Hurriyat (G) Chairman urged the members of Indian civil society to raise their voice against “oppression” in Kashmir. “In past 22 years more than one lakh Kashmiris have died, there are 30,000 widows, 50,000 orphans, nearly 8000 youth were subjected to custodial disappearance, 5000 unmarked graves have surfaced in different parts of the Valley and what not. We hope Indian civil society takes a note of sufferings of Kashmiris and intervene,” he said.

Geelani maintained that Kashmiris were not against any religion or minorities. “History stands testimony to the fact that Kashmir has been an abode of communal harmony. People who propagate that we are against Amarnath Yatra just want to create hatred for Kashmiris. It is a misinformation campaign and we deplore it.”

Geelani alleged that Government has “choked the political space” in Kashmir. “Many leaders and activists of our party are languishing in various jails. I was allowed to offer Friday prayers just twice in 2011. I remained under house arrest for almost one complete year. Police and Army call the shots and they are virtually ruling the State,” he added.

Earlier, Chairman of the Kashmir Committee, Ram Jethmalani, said, “Kashmiri leaders and India will have to give up rigidity to resolve the Kashmir issue once for all. Both the parties have to soften their stand to reach on some consensus.”

Another member of the Kashmir Committee, Madhu Kishwar, said, “We appreciate Geelani Sahib for remaining firm on his stand as he has never indulged in double-speak. Minorities have always reposed faith in him, but he will have to show some flexibility so that talks are initiated for the resolution of Kashmir issue.”


Africa: The Next Fight in Egypt and Tunisia Will Be Among Islamists



Islamist movements did not start the protests that have so far unseated three Arab dictators.

The uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia succeeded precisely because they avoided the divisions - of ideology, class and, in Egypt, religion - that have traditionally fractured and weakened the opposition in the Arab world.

Yet Islamist movements were more successful than any other parties in the recent parliamentary elections in Egypt and Tunisia, prompting some observers to accuse them of "stealing the revolutions".

The protests that drove political changes in 2011 hoisted slogans with universal appeal - calling for freedom, dignity, social justice - more than they proffered specifically Islamic slogans.

They were not Islamist, anti-Islamist or non-Islamist protests; Islamists participated alongside secularists, liberals and leftists and there were striking images of Muslims and Christians guarding each other's prayers in Tahrir Square.

Neither Islamist movements nor other existing political parties can claim credit for these youth-led, spontaneously swelling street movements.

Full Report At:


Talking peace? Taliban leader Mullah Omar 'sent letter' to Obama

Sat Feb 04 2012

Washington : Current and former US officials tell The Associated Press that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar wrote to President Barack Obama last year indicating an interest in talks key to ending the war in Afghanistan.

The previously undisclosed communication was considered authentic by people who saw it, but sceptical administration officials say they cannot determine if it actually came from Omar.

Full Report At:


India: Two Minor Muslim Girls rescued from flesh trade

4 February 2012

MUMBAI: Feb. 04 12, Two minor girls forced into prostitution were rescued by the Nalasopara police. Two pimps including a woman have been arrested.

Acting on a tip-off the police disguised as customers and approached a residential apartment in Nalasopara (west). Ishaque Mola (40) and Seema Shaikh (26) escorted the policemen disguised as customers to a room where two minor girls were waiting. The customers were asked to make their choices before the rates would be worked out.

A police team raided the flat and arrested Mola and Shaikh. The girls, aged 14 and 15, told the police that they were brought from West Bengal to Mumbai by Shaikh who had promised to get them jobs in the city. The girls said that they came from poor families and coming to the city was a dream. The girls were provided with food and clothing but not allowed to venture out or speak to their families and neighbours. The girls said that Shaikh had given few hundred rupees to their families with the assurance that lot of cash would be send to them in the coming months.

While Shaikh's job was to track down young girls and bring them to Nalasopara, Mola, the kingpin used to go around getting clients. The police have not ruled out the possibility of minor girls being the prime target.


India: Congress raps Mani Shankar Aiyar for talking to Hafiz Saeed on TV show

Feb 4, 2012

NEW DELHI:Feb 4, 2012, Congress frowned upon Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar for appearing on a television show with 26/11 main accused and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, advising that situations where leaders have to interact with enemies of the country are best avoided.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said, "Propriety requires that such situation be avoided. I am sure Aiyar was not endorsing his actions but one should avoid public interaction with a man who is involved in actions against humanity and India."

The public disapproval was Congress's way of indicating that it did not appreciate the articulate parliamentarian "interacting" on a chat show in Pakistan with Saeed, who also heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa - LeT's overtly religious wing -- and is the motivating force behind anti-India elements across the border.

Although Aiyar took on Saeed, saying the Lashkar chief should be arrested and produced before a terrorism court, the very appearance in the show rankled the MP's party.

Singhvi's comments came a day after Aiyar appeared on the TV show in which the host suddenly introduced Saeed through a phone link while the MP was in the studio in Islamabad with another panelist.

Full Report At:


13/7 accused Haroon got training in Pak, fought in Afghanistan

4 February 2012

Mumbai: Terming the arrested 13/7 accused Haroon Naik as "a very, very important member of Indian Mujahideen", Maharashtra ATS on Friday said he had undergone rigorous terror training in Pakistan and fought alongside al Qaeda in Afghanistan against "enemies" in the name of jihad.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad was on Wednesday granted custody of jailed IM operative Naik in the blasts case as he was suspected of having participated in the conspiracy and provided financial aid to carry out the terror strikes last year that claimed 27 lives.

The 35-year-old Naik, who is in the "upper echelon" of the home-grown terror outfit, had been earlier nabbed from the Mumbai international airport on charges of possessing fake currency notes on August 22 last year and since then was lodged in jail, ATS chief Rakesh Maria said.

Full Report At:


India to vote against Syria's Assad in UNSC

NN | Feb 3, 2012

NEW DELHI: After holding out for months, India will vote for a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Syria. The vote could happen as early as Friday afternoon, or Monday morning.

The new resolution was in danger of being vetoed by Russia again, and supported by the Chinese. Among the P-5, it was France leading the charge against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Sources said there are no references to prescriptions of regime change in the language of the resolution that makes it acceptable to opinions across the spectrum. So while there is nothing that smells of endorsing regime change, the new resolution will focus on cessation of violence and a peaceful negotiated settlement.

Full Report At:


Not allowing Taslima's book grave injustice: Mahasweta Devi


4 February 2012

Magsaysay Award winner Mahasweta Devi said here on Friday that not allowing controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen's book to be released at the scheduled venue at the 36 Kolkata International Book Fair was a “grave injustice.”

 “For a long time I have seen that Taslima writes a book and then faces protests…. Taslima Nasreen does not do anything more than write books,” Mahasweta Devi said, adding there was a need for public opinion to be mobilised against these incidents.

 “We can never accept that someone writes a book and is punished for writing the book,” she added.

Full Report At:


Shun politics of destruction: Bangladesh PM to Khaleda

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked opposition leader Khaleda Zia on Saturday to eschew the path of destruction to avoid rejection by the people.

“Shun politics of destruction…come to the path of democracy, or else, people will reject you (Khaleda),” she warned while addressing the reunion of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).

Hasina urged the BNP chairperson to refrain from protecting the war criminals, now under Full Report At:


Two LeT terrorists killed in Kashmir


SRINAGAR: Feb 4, 2012, Two separatist terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, Army sources said.

"On specific information about the presence of some terrorists, troops of the counter insurgency Rashtriya Rifles and police surrounded a house in Dura (Litter) village of Pulwama district late Friday," Lieutenant Colonel J S Brar, spokesman of the Army's Srinagar based 15th corps, said.

Full Report At:


Ethiopian Convert from Islam Dodges Dangers in Kenya

By Compass Direct News

February 1, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya – A Christian convert from Islam who fled hostilities in his native Ethiopia has faced attempted murder and ongoing death threats in Kenya.

Somali Muslim extremists in Kenya kidnapped and tried to kill Barack Hussein Kedir in July 2010, and most recently Kenyan-born Islamic extremists in contact with their co-religionists in Ethiopia sent a death threat to his cell phone on Dec. 3, the Christian told Compass. Since then, Hussein has reported the threatening text message to police, and his wife has fled the country with their two children.

"Although I have been experiencing all these countless problems, suffering persecution and merciless harassment both in my own country and outside of the country, I have never given up or lost my hope in serving the Lord," Hussein said. "Muslims have tried to murder me several times, even here in Kenya."

Born to Muslim community leaders in Arsi Negelle district in southern Ethiopia, Hussein had been a zealous Islamic youth coordinator who once harassed Christians before his conversion – a long process that led his father to shoot him in the leg for his commitment to Christ, he said.

Full Report At:


German Misunderstanders of Islam plead guilty to smuggling jihad bomb instructions into Britain

4 February 2012

Still more converts to Islam misunderstand their new, peaceful religion. And yet, despite the frequency of such instances, no one, anywhere, is calling upon Muslims to institute instruction classes for converts to Islam to help safeguard them from this curious misunderstanding. "German converts plead guilty to smuggling bomb instructions into Britain," by Duncan Gardham for the Telegraph, February 2:

Two German Islamic converts have pleaded guilty attempting to smuggle the same bomb-making instructions used by the London Stock Exchange bombers into Britain.

Christian Emde, 28, and Robert Baum, 24, from Solingen in Western Germany were stopped as they entered the country on a ferry to Dover in July.

Sources told the Daily Telegraph the men were on a watch list because they were active in extremist circles in Germany.

Full Report At:


Pakistan: Passage of Women Commission Bill lauded

4 February 2012

ISLAMABAD, Feb 3 (APP): Human rights activists on Friday lauded the unanimous passage of National Commission on Women bill by the Senate, terming it as a landmark achievement of government towards women emancipation. The Women Commission Bill, with complete administrative and financial autonomy, has already been passed by the National Assembly and will go a long way for empowering women of all segments of the society. Talking to APP, Executive Director, Women Organization for Rights and Development (WORD), Aqsa Khan said, “We acknowledge the sensitivity of government towards women issues as it is playing a very supportive role and taking practical measures for women empowerment.”

Aqsa said the services of women parliamentarians must be acknowledged who made tireless efforts for passage of pro-women bills including the passage of National Commission on Women Bill.  “It is a praiseworthy step” she said.

The National Commission on Women has strong mandate to support, review, develop legislations besides playing an active role in passage of legislations and overseeing implementation of international commitments.

The commission also ensures women access to social, economic and legal rights and extends support to women victims of violence.

Aqsa said that the commission is already hosting National Implementation Watch Committee Secretariat for implementation of anti-sexual harassment act and remained very supportive for drafting domestic violence bill.

“We recommend to continue support for passage of domestic violence bill as well as other pending legislations. We also expect that the commission will also draft home based women workers bill to redress their woes who are playing vibrant role in informal sector for economic development,” Aqsa said.      

She said women rights organizations also recommend that separate units like NIWC should be set up for institutional development for implementation of all women related legislations.

Director Gender Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University also hailed the passage of national commission on women bill which has been given an autonomous status.

After getting financial autonomy, the commission will be able to serve better as a watch dog body and support women related policies in effective way.         

Mufti Abdul Malik hailing passage of National Commission bill said that Islam preaches peace, equality and tolerance and safeguards women rights.

After getting autonomous status, the Commission has been entrusted upon a great responsibility to support, review and develop legislations, besides playing an active role for passage of women related legislations and overseeing implementation of international commitments.

Full Report At:



Pakistan hints at ending NATO blockade “within a week”

Feb 3, 2012

Islamabad, Feb 3 (ANI): Pakistan has hinted at ending the NATO blockade possibly “within a week”, which lasted for over two months in protest against the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said reporters that parliament, tasked with adopting the review, would “hopefully” meet next week.

“I cannot pre-empt what the parliament is going to decide but I would assume that should not be so much of a problem,” The News quoted her, as saying.

“I’m going to hopefully ensure and push it very hard that it is no later than within a week… first half of February is probable,” she added.

Full Report At:


Give India-Pakistan peace a chance: Mani Shankar Aiyar

3 FEB, 2012

NEW DELHI: Indian lawmaker Mani Shankar Aiyar has said peace must be given a chance to prosper between India and Pakistan.

"No state has suffered as much from terrorism as Pakistan itself. I do believe that a joint strategy to counter terrorism will enable both India and Pakistan to overcome what is, in effect, a joint threat to our people," The Daily Times quoted Aiyar, as saying. "Let us give peace a chance; we have nothing to lose but our chains, and we have a world to gain," he added.

Full Report At:


Pakistan PM to visit Qatar to talk Afghan peace

4 February 2012

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's prime minister will explain his country's stance on the issue of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban when he travels next week to Qatar to meet the Gulf state's leaders, a government spokesman said Saturday.

Last month, the Afghan Taliban announced they would set up a political office in Qatar, a major development in a peace process that has already been marked by setbacks and mistrust among the central players.

Full Report At:


Food crisis moving towards Pakistan

February 04, 2012

KARACHI – The increasing food crisis has affected millions of people in Africa and now it is rapidly moving towards South-East Asian countries including Pakistan. The global food crisis has affected hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing a surge of socio-political unrest in many countries as families struggle to find ways to survive against soaring food and fuel prices. Currently, many regions in Africa and Asia are experiencing a food crisis that is contributing to hunger, malnutrition and starvation. The increase in population is not only causing food crisis but natural disasters, pest and plant diseases, urbanisation, increasing prices of fuel and fertilizers, shortage of water are the real causes.”

These views were expressed by experts, while speaking at an inaugural ceremony of one-day seminar on “World Food Crisis”: Role of Scientists and Progressive Farmers” jointly organised by Department of Biochemistry, Department of Botany and Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Karachi on Friday.

Full Report At:


Manila Says 3 Top Islamic Terrorists Killed

Search Fails To Find Europeans

February 04, 2012

MANILA, Feb 2, (Agencies): The Philippines said it killed three of Southeast Asia’s top Islamic militants in a US-backed airstrike on Thursday, including a Malaysian bomb maker with a $5-million bounty on his head.

The Philippine army, aided by US advisers, launched a pre-dawn bombing raid on a remote southern island in which 15 members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah organisations died, military chiefs said.

“This is a big victory. There were three senior leaders (killed). This will have a very big impact on the capability of the terrorists,” regional military commander Major General Noel Coballes told reporters in a teleconference.

Planes bombed the outskirts of a village on Jolo island where intelligence sources had informed the military that about 30 militant figures were based, Coballes said, adding no ground troops were initially deployed.

Among those the military said it killed was Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir, alias Marwan, a Malaysian who is accused of being a senior member of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and behind multiple bomb attacks in the Philippines.

Full Report At:


Gunmen attack police station in eastern Cairo: security

4 February 2012

CAIRO: Gunmen torched a police station in eastern Cairo on Friday and freed detainees, security officials told AFP, amid nationwide unrest following football-related violence that left scores dead.

Full Report At:


Deadly clashes as anger with Egypt military boils over

4 February 2012

CAIRO: A second day of clashes with Egyptian police left five more people dead on Friday as anger against the ruling military boiled over amid fury at the recent deaths of 74 people in football-related violence.

Marchers took to the streets across the country to demand that the generals cede power immediately after a night of violence in several cities.

Two protesters died in Cairo of tear gas inhalation after being rushed to hospital unconscious from outside the interior ministry, where clashes raged into Friday night.

Another two protesters died in violence in the northeast canal city of Suez, according to a security source.

Full Report At:


Syria Violence Kills At Least 20: Activists

February 04, 2012

BEIRUT, Feb 3, (Agencies): Deadly clashes erupted between government troops and rebels in suburbs of the Syrian capital and villages in the country’s south Friday in fresh violence that killed at least 20 people, including nine soldiers, activists said.

President Bashar Assad is trying to crush the 11-month-old uprising against his rule with a sweeping crackdown. Human Rights Watch said in a new report released Friday that in its bid to snuff out the revolt, the regime has detained and tortured children as young as 13.

With the violence in Syria growing increasingly chaotic, diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to find a solution to the crisis have gained pace. In New York, a senior State Department official said Friday the US is “cautiously optimistic” of strong support for a new UN Security Council resolution condemning the bloodshed in Syria and calling for a political transition in the country.

Full Report At:


4 killed in Egypt's anti-military violence


Riot police clashed with anti-military protesters in different parts of Egypt today for the second straight day, leaving at least four people dead and over 1,000 injured in the latest unrest sparked by the worst soccer violence in the country that claimed 74 lives this week.

Rock-throwing protesters in Cairo clashed with the security forces for the second straight day that left at least four people dead and more than 1000 injured nationwide, officials said.

BBC reported at least four people have been killed in the in Egypt. The unrest has now spread across the country, and two people were shot dead in Suez as a crowd of hundreds attempted to overrun a police station.

Full Report At:


Hundred Detainees In Bahrain On Hunger Strike

February 04, 2012

A top Bahraini interior ministry official said on Wednesday that some 100 jailed activists were still on a hunger strike after nearly three days, but denied claims that tear gas was used against inmates.

“Today, the number of prisoners on hunger strike has dropped to around 100. Yesterday there were 180,” Major General Ibrahim al-Ghaith told AFP.

Full Report At:


Civilian deaths in Afghan war up for fifth straight year: UN

Sat Feb 04 2012

Kabul : More than 3,000 civilians were killed in the war in Afghanistan in 2011, the fifth year in a row the number has risen, the United Nations said on Saturday in a report likely to revive tension between the Afghan government and its Western backers.

Civilian deaths undermine support both in Afghanistan and the United States for the US-led war, and are one of the biggest causes of friction between President Hamid Karzai and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Full Report At:


Bangladesh: Journalist protests Minister’s remark

Syed Abul Maksud

February 04, 2012

Eminent columnist Syed Abul Maksud staged a sit-in programme in front of Jatiya Press Club in the city Saturday morning to protest LGRD minister’s remark on road accidents.

“Mere accidents” is what LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam termed road crash fatalities in his speech in the parliament on Thursday, earning flaks from different quarters, including ruling party lawmaker Tarana Halim.

Criticising the media for describing those as “killings”, Ashraf, also general secretary of the ruling Awami League, said the media spoke of so many things that were not correct. “Accident is accident,” he said a day after the death of nine-year-old Sidratul Muntaha Paloma in a road accident.

A bus crushed Paloma, a class-II student of the Ibrahimpur branch of Monipur High School and College, while she was crossing the road with her mother at Mirpur-14 on way to her school.

To protest Syed Ashraf’s remark, Abul Maksud held the sit-in programme for nearly an hour from around 11:00am near the JPC gate.

He termed Ashraf's remark as cruel perception and demanded withdrawal of his statement.

Maksud said, “Truth had gone far away from the politics of Bangladesh quite earlier. Now I see no sign of mercy, pity and sympathy.”

“The minister’s remark is a disgrace to the souls of 17,000 to 18,000 people who lost their lives in different road accidents over the last three years,” he opined.

He also threatened to launch a tougher movement against the government if proper steps are not taken to stop road accidents.

“All road accidents are not mere accidents,” he said.

He blamed unabated mismanagement of the communications sector, corruption, tendency to defy traffic rules, reckless driving and, in some cases, lack of punishment of offenders for frequent recurrence of such events.

On Friday, film star and Nirapad Sarak Chai Chairman Ilias Kanchan also protested and condemned Ashraf's comment over road accidents.

In a statement, Ilias Kanchan said the comments made a mockery of the deceased, injured and victims of road accidents.


War trial needed to resist religious bigotry: Bangladesh Law Minister

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said on Saturday that holding trial for war crimes is needed to resist religious bigotry, extremism, militancy and increasing terrorism spreading across the world.

“The international communities should extend their supports for holding the trial of crimes against humanity in Bangladesh in order to establish democracy and rule of law in this country as well as many other countries of the world,” he said.

No evil force can prevent the trial as the incumbent government does not believe in the culture of impunity, the minister said while speaking at a seminar at Dhaka Reporters Unity.

‘Sammilita Tarun Peshajibi Samonnay Parishad’ organised the seminar titled ‘Quick Implementation of War Crimes Trial and Present Perspective’.

Religious bigotry, extremism, militancy and terrorism are affecting many countries as the perpetrators are instigating and provoking such crimes, the law minister said.

The people who were involved in killing 30 lakh people and violating two lakh women of Bangladesh, and many other crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War are being brought to justice, he said.

Some of the accused are now in the custody for trial and many others will be brought to the book in future as the investigation agency is carrying out probe into their role during the Liberation War, the minister said.

The perpetrators cannot share state powers, he insisted.


Bangladesh Student’s murder: JU teachers stage hunger strike

Zubair Ahmed

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A section of Jahangirnagar University teachers started a five-hour hunger strike on the campus Saturday morning to realise seven demands including making the probe report of Zubair murder public.

Zubair Ahmed, a fourth-year student of the English department, succumbed to the wounds he had suffered in an attack by a group of Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on January 9.

Over 100 university teachers began the hunger strike in front of the Registrar Building around 11:00am as part of their five-day agitation programme that began on Wednesday.

The agitating teachers were singing inspirational songs in protest against the authorities’ decision to postpone the fifth convocation of the university which was earlier scheduled for February 7.

The seven-point demand includes removal of the proctorial body and ensuring punishment of the former proctor, Prof Arzu Miah, for his alleged attack on Prof AA Mamun, president of JU teachers association.

The JU authorities on Wednesday postponed the convocation and are yet to announce fresh date for it.

“The authorities were compelled to postpone the convocation as an uncongenial atmosphere is prevailing on the campus due to the ongoing agitation by a group of teachers,” JU Registrar Abu Bakkar Siddiqui told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Prof Nasim Akter Hossain, a spokesman of the demonstrating teachers, said during a human chain programme on the campus on Thursday, that the authorities were trying to shrug off their responsibilities in the current unrest situation.

“The administration postponed the convocation as they are afraid of the teachers’ agitation,” she said.


BSF men’s children in Bangladesh

Saturday, February 4, 2012

BGB personnel receive a 23-member delegation of school-going children of BSF officials at no man’s land Saturday on their arrival in Bangladesh on a 4-day visit. Photo: Star

Star Online Report

Responding to an invitation of Bangladesh border guards, a 23-member delegation of schoolchildren of the Border Security Force (BSF) members arrived in Bangladesh Saturday on a four-day education tour.

The delegation, led by 36 BSF Commanding Officer Col AK Sinha, received a guard of Full Report At:



Malaysia: 10 nabbed over derogatory posters of Chief Minister and National Laureate


Saturday February 4, 2012

PETALING JAYA: Police have arrested 10 people in connection with derogatory posters of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk S. Ambiga and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said that were put up at several bus stops in Taman Tun Dr Ismail near here.

"We have recorded their statements and are taking the necessary action on this matter," Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said Saturday.

He added that all 10 men have been released on bail.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng had urged the police to quickly identify the culprits and initiate necessary action against them. (Taman Tun falls under the Segambut parliamentary constituency.)

Full Report At:


Malaysia: 60 Muslims in Rembau arrested for gambling

Saturday February 4, 2012

REMBAU: Sixty Muslims who patronised a computerised gambling premises near Taboh Naning, here, were detained in a raid early Saturday.

Negri Sembilan Islamic Religious Affairs Department operations unit chief Ahmad Zaki Hamzah said 41 computers and RM6,000 in cash were also seized in the raid.

He said those detained were aged between 20 and 60.

"They were taken to the Rembau district police headquarters to have their statements recorded. They were then released on bail and will have to return on a specified date to help in investigation," he said after the raid.

Full Report At:


“Borders and Bridges” lecture series explores the Muslim World

February 3, 2012

BOONE – “Borders and Bridges: What Divides Us, What Unites Us” is the theme of the University Forum Distinguished Lecture Series this spring at Appalachian State University.

Barbara Martinez Jitner

Reza Aslan

Speakers include filmmaker and human rights activist Barbara Martinez Jitner, whose mission is to bring the untold stories of Latina women to television and film, and author Reza Aslan, who addresses the topic of Islam, the Middle East, and Muslim Americans with authority, wit, and an infectious optimism.

Barbara Martinez Jitner will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. in Farthing Auditorium. Reza Aslan will speak on Tuesday, April 17, at 8 p.m. in Powers Hall in the Broyhill Events Center. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Presentations of the University Forum Distinguished Lecture Series are sponsored by the University Forum Committee and the University College. Additional support for the series has been provided by the Joan Askew Vail Endowment.

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Is Europe setting up clash between Muslims and the West?

By Mohammed Ayoob

February 3, 2012

(CNN) -- Europe and the Muslim world seem to be on a collision course that could have major political, economic and ideological ramifications. January 23, 2012, may well come to be remembered as the crucial date when Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis, which many of us believed discredited beyond repair, was reaffirmed.

Political scientist Huntington wrote in 1993 that cultural divisions preclude a defining global civilization, and the West and the Muslim world would never share the same values.

Last month, Europe took two different actions that nonetheless sent the same message to the Muslim world: You are not our equals and are doomed to be judged by standards different from those by which we judge ourselves. Future historians might call January 23 the day when Europe irreversibly alienated not one, but both, pivotal powers -- Iran and Turkey -- that in all probability will dominate the political landscape of the Middle East for Full Report At:


The new Turkish delight: More Muslim, more modern

4 February 2012

TESEV, probably the most prominent think tank in Turkey, launched a survey report titled, “The Perception of Turkey in The Middle East, 2010.” This is the second report of its kind trying to measure Turkey’s popularity in the Arab world. Through face-to-face or telephone interviews with 2,267 people in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq (and also Iran), TESEV researchers found out that the Turkish ascendancy in the Middle East is not a myth.

“The region is highly aware of Turkey,” the report concluded, “and this awareness ranges from knowledge of Turkish products and TV series through to the upbeat view of Turkey’s policies toward the region.”

“Put simply,” it added, “the Arabs like Turkey.”

Full Report At:


Libya enjoys political flowering ahead of elections

By Mahmoud Habboush

Fri Feb 3, 2012 12:51pm EST

GHARYAN, Libya (Reuters) - As explosions reverberated from the hills near Gharyan, a group met in a college auditorium to hear how one party wants to ensure democracy takes root in Libya.

"A nation without democracy means nothing," Sedeg Karim, leader of the fledgling Democratic National Party (DNP), told the men, mostly middle-aged professionals.

While Libya's interim rulers struggle to maintain control after a nine-month civil war culminated in the capture and killing of Muammar Gaddafi, the country is experiencing something of a political awakening.

Dozens of new parties have sprung up after a four-decade ban, offering a vibrant mix of democratic, Islamist, free market and nationalist agendas and providing an alternative to established political movements like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Full Report At:


Iran Threatens to Strike Back Against Sanctions, Attack

February 03, 2012

Iranian women walk in front of the pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic (R) and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during the anniversary ceremony of Iran's Islamic Revolution at the Behesht Zahra cemetery, south of Tehran, February 1, 2012.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Friday that Iran will retaliate against Western-backed oil sanctions and threats of attack, as media reports say U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fears Israel could strike Iran in the next few months.

A report Thursday in The Washington Post, later backed by other news outlets, said Panetta worries Israel could attack Iran as early as April to stop Tehran's progress on a possible nuclear bomb.  Iran insists its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

Full Report At:


Iran begins naval exercises near Gulf strait

Ali Akbar Dareini

Sat, 02/04/2012

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard began naval maneuvers Saturday in the latest show of force near the strateg Strait of Hormuz, the critical Gulf oil tanker route that Tehran has threatened to close in retaliation for tougher Western sanctions.

Plans for new Iranian war games in the Gulf have been in the works for weeks. But they got under way following stern warnings by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about any possible U.S. or Israeli attacks against Tehran's nuclear facilities.

The month-long maneuvers also come after Western forces boosted their naval presence in the Gulf led by the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

Iran has so far made no attempts to disrupt shipping through the strait, the route for one-fifth the world's crude oil. The U.S. and allies have said they would respond swiftly to any attempts at a blockade.

Full Report At:


Show of force: Iran begins war games near Hormuz


Feb 4, 2012

TEHRAN: Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard began naval maneuvers Saturday in the latest show of force near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the critical Gulf oil tanker route that Tehran has threatened to close in retaliation for tougher Western sanctions.

Plans for new Iranian war games in the Gulf have been in the works for weeks. But they got under way following stern warnings by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, about any possible US or Israeli attacks against Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

The month-long maneuvers also come after Western forces boosted their naval presence in the Gulf led by the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

Iran has so far made no attempts to disrupt shipping through the strait, the route for one-fifth the world’s crude oil. The US and allies have said they would respond swiftly to any attempts at a blockade.

Full Report At:                                          --------

Saudi King and IMF chief analyze global economic challenges


Feb 4, 2012

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah discussed world economic developments and matters related to the International Monetary Fund with its Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday.

This is her maiden visit to the Kingdom ever since she became the IMF chief in July last year.

Recently, the IMF urged member states to contribute $500 billion in new lending resources to tackle the European debt crisis to avoid a 1930s-style global depression.

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Hafiz allowance boosts sales in Makkah

Saturday February 4, 2012

MAKKAH: The decision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to pay a monthly allowance of SR2,000 to unemployed Saudi men and women for a year has created an economic boom in Makkah unusual in the holy city at this time of year when there are no foreign Umrah pilgrims or visitors.

Many beneficiaries consider the financial allowance a cushion to lean on until they are employed either by the government or the private sector.

Arab News asked a number of young men and women what this subsidy meant to them, if it was enough to get them through a whole month and what jobs they were looking for whether in the public or private sectors.

Full Report At:


Anger at graft boosts Kuwait Islamists


Feb 4, 2012

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Islamist-led opposition made significant gains in a snap election, while women candidates did not win a single seat in the Gulf state’s fourth Parliament in six years, official results of the ballot showed on Friday.

The country’s ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, called the vote in December after dissolving the chamber in response to a deepening political deadlock that has stymied reform and held up vital development projects in the key oil-exporting country.

Riding a wave of frustration at the political impasse as well as perceived corruption, opposition candidates took as many as two thirds of the assembly’s 50 seats, eroding slightly the position of Shiite parliamentarians, who on the whole had sided with the previous government.

That could give the opposition an upper hand, even though the 15 appointed Cabinet ministers, drawn mainly from the ranks of the ruling Al-Sabah family, can vote in the Parliament, providing a bloc that has typically been used to dilute opposition or swing a majority in the assembly. “There’s obviously more traction now for the opposition groups. You have kind of a momentum,” said Shahin Shamsabadi, an adviser at the Risk Advisory Group.

Full Report At:


Afghan civilian deaths rise for fifth year, says UN

Saturday February 4, 2012

Funerals for victims of suicide attacks have become a frequent sight in Afghanistan

The number of civilians killed and injured in the Afghan conflict has risen for the fifth year in a row, a UN report reveals.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) documented 3,021 civilian deaths in 2011 compared with 2,790 in 2010 and 2,412 in 2009.

Most deaths were caused by insurgents, the report found.

It said improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were being used more widely and suicide attacks had become deadlier.

However, it also said that civilian deaths from air strikes in support of the Afghan government rose in 2011.

Full Report At:


New World Bank vice president to visit Indonesia

Sat, 02/04/2012

The World Bank’s newly appointed Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Pamela Cox, will visit Indonesia next week to meet with government counterparts and opinion makers in the country to get a better sense about the challenges and aspirations of emerging middle-income countries.

“This is my first country visit since I assumed my new position as the World Bank’s regional vice president for East Asia and the Pacific,” Cox said in a press statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

“The East Asia Pacific region has emerged as a global economic engine with Indonesia as one of its strongest performers –its macroeconomic success is one of the bright spots in the world and it is now investment grade. I look forward to meeting our counterparts to listen and learn how the World Bank can continue to support Indonesia as it meets its challenges and development goals," she said.

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Monitors Extol Professionalism Of Kuwait Election Organizers

‘Security Forces Played Important Role’

February 04, 2012

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3, (KUNA): Arab teams who participated in monitoring Kuwait parliamentary elections lauded the high professionalism of organizers and civil society.

In a press conference held at the Kuwaiti Trans-parency Society, Chairman of the Arab NGO Network for Development Ziad Abdel-Samad hailed the elections as real success.

There was noticeable cooperation and coordination between ministries of justice and interior and all election commission members, Abdel-Samad said.

He added that the security forces have played an important role in protecting polling stations and ballot boxes.

Polling stations heads have taken all measures to help voters and ensure the secrecy of the balloting, Abdel-Samad said.

Full Report At:


Jakarta: Another Lion Air pilot arrested for drug use

Sat, 02/04/2012

The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) arrested early on Saturday a Lion Air pilot, identified as S.S., at a hotel room in Surabaya, East Java, for allegedly using crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu.

“Yes, it is true. I have received the report on the pilot this morning,” BNN deputy Ins. Gen. Thomas Tommy Sagiman said, as quoted by

S.S. was caught in his hotel room with 0.04 grams of crystal meth in his possession. A urine test indicated that he had also consumed the drug.

The arrest was the third such case within the last two months.

Earlier this month, a Lion Air pilot, identified as A, was caught with crystal methamphetamine in his possession in a karaoke bar in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Late last year, another Lion Air pilot Muhammad Nasri and two co-pilots were arrested at a drugs party in Tangerang, Banten.

Lion Air director for general affairs Edward Sirait could not be reached for comment. (swd)


Enough For 4 N-Bombs; Iran Sites ‘Vulnerable’

Baghdad To Seek Sanction Waivers

February 04, 2012

JERUSALEM, Feb 2, (Agencies): Iran has enough radioactive material to produce four nuclear bombs, Israel’s chief of military intelligence, General Aviv Kochavi, asserted at a security conference on Thursday.

“Today international intelligence agencies are in agreement with Israel that Iran has close to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which is enough to produce four bombs,” he told the annual Herzliya conference.

“Iran is very actively pursuing its efforts to develop its nuclear capacities, and we have evidence that they are seeking nuclear weapons,” he said.

Full Report At:


NIA terror case against 2 Pakistanis

Aman Sharma

February 04, 2012

THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency ( NIA) has lodged a terror- funding case against two Pakistani nationals for pumping in ` 80 crores into Jammu and Kashmir for terror activities.

The NIA said both the accused work for the Hizbul Mujahedeen — the terror outfit that the NIA believes is also behind the Delhi High Court bomb blasts of September 7 that killed 15 people. This is the first such case registered by the NIA regarding cross- border terror funding into J& K from Pakistan.

According to the FIR, a charitable organisation run by Hizbul- Mujahdeen in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir ( PoK), the Jammu & Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust ( JKART), is being used as a front to channel terror funds into J& K to various terror outfits to perpetrate violence.

Full Report At:


Malaysia PM launches NS volunteer brigade

Saturday February 4, 2012

PEKAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the National Service (NS) Volunteer Brigade Saturday, giving former NS trainees the opportunity to serve society.

With about 650,000 former trainees, Najib said, the brigade has the capability to emerge as a leading voluntary body in the country.

"The brigade can be mobilised during a disaster such as flood, landslide, or fire as well as for other voluntary activities such as landscaping," he said at the launch of the brigade in Dara Chini, near here.

Present were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

Najib said he hoped that the setting up of the brigade would not only allow former NS trainees to get involved in voluntary activities but also help build their capacity in their career and life.

"The Government allocates a huge sum for the NS training programme, about RM650mil annually. During the three-month training programme, the Government spends an average of RM8,002 for each trainee.

"We regard this as an investment to create a pool of back-up (leaders) who possess a strong character," he said.

The NS programme, which started in 2004, is a three-pronged strategy, namely to instill patriotism, nurture unity and national integration, and inculcate noble values among the young people based on the five pillars of the Rukun Negara (National Principles).

Najib said the Government would also set up the 1Malaysia Corps to galvanise the efforts of various youth volunteer bodies, including the NS Volunteer Brigade, Rela, Civil Defence Department and Rakan Muda, in realising the 1Malaysia vision.

"We are working on this and will make an announcement soon," he said, expressing confidence that the 1Malaysia Corps would emerge as a major volunteerism movement in the country. - Bernama


Pakistan hopes to treble Indonesia crude palm oil imports

4 February 2012

JAKARTA: Pakistan hopes to more than treble crude palm oil buys from Indonesia this year after signing a trade deal on Friday that cut import duties imposed by Islamabad.

The preferential trade agreement (PTA) approved in September but formally signed on Friday, will result in Pakistan lowering its duty by 15 per cent on crude palm oil from the world’s top producer.

The deal is expected to raise Indonesian palm oil exports market share in Pakistan and compete on the same level with rival Malaysia that has received lower duties since 2007. Currently, Pakistan applies 9,500 to 10,800 Pakistani rupees per tonne on Indonesian palm oil products.

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Americans in Pakistan told to avoid Efroze drugs

February 04, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in Islamabad has urged its employees and US nationals living in Pakistan not to purchase/consume Efroze Pharma products until WHO advises the manufacturer has addressed all the health concerns, Geo News reported.

Earlier, according to reliable reports, independent professional analysis had identified Efroze’s Isotab (isosorbide mononitrate) 20 mg tablets as having been contaminated with a drug called pyrimethamine, a common anti-malarial drug also manufactured by the same.

The harmful drug contamination has caused around 120 deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations in Pakistan.

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