New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 10 Jan 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Jeddah: More scholars join calls for stopping supplications against non-Muslims

Pope asks Pakistan to scrap blasphemy law

Abu Dhabi: All Women have right to choose dress code, says Hilary Clinton

No place for radicals in RSS: Bhagwat

RSS misused Lord Ram name for gain: Digvijay Singh

Protest is a fundamental right: Kashmir interlocutors

Class VI Muslim boy is a scientist, invented machine

Oasis of Inter-faith harmony in the desert called Pakistan

Malegaon Radio Centre will be operational in March

Muslim boys to be released after receipt of official copy of Asimanand confession: Rakesh Maria

Iran human rights activist jailed for 11 years

Taseer’s murder deepens fears of Pakistani Christians

Taseer killer 'influenced' by 2 clerics

Pak Assassin Says He Acted Alone: Cops

Bilawal Bhutto vows to protect minorities after Taseer killing

Pak summons Indian envoy for Samjhauta probe update

Enemy within? Purohit wanted RSS leader Indresh Kumar dead

Ajmer Dargah seeks govt help to stop Pak 'donations'

Youths picked up for Hyderabad blast still live in fear

'Probe Swami Aseemanand's role in Malegaon blast'

Pak govt divided on lifting onion export ban to India

'Malegaon picked as 80% of its population is Muslim'

Kerala cleric demands fresh probe into all bomb attacks

Residents of Makkah district complain of rising crime

Iran says it has arrested spy ring linked to Israel

Will Saudi banks have enough resources to deploy in 2011?

Biden in Kabul for talks with Karzai

Clinton seeks Arab help in enforcing Iran sanctions

Gaza farmer killed by Israeli soldiers

Iran scientist’s ‘killer trained in Israel’: report

JKLF to move HC over summer deaths

India will take revenge for China incursion in Ladakh in summer: Farooq

Fake passport case: Bhatkal suspects' links being probed

‘J&K local administration did not heed Army advice'

VHP demands law for Ayodhya land transfer

Pakistan’s release of militant raises questions

India has every right to ties with Afghanistan: Biden

Pak probe unearths massive NATO container liquor and arms smuggling scam

Israel launches twin air strikes on Gaza: Army

Rabbani denies Afghanistan to hold peace jirga with Pakistan

FIA includes PM’s family friend Sukhera in Hajj probe

Sudanese VP briefs Sultan on vote

Palestinians say they’ll go to UN for recognition

US citizen said held in Iran is safe in Turkey

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/jeddah--more-scholars-join-calls-for-stopping-supplications-against-non-muslims/d/3914

 

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Jeddah: More scholars join calls for stopping supplications against non-Muslims

By GALAL FAKKAR

Jan 11, 2011

JEDDAH: The number of religious scholars calling for a stop in supplications against non-Muslims has increased with renowned Saudi scholar Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Fouzan Al-Fouzan joining them.

“These supplications are an aggression against non-Muslims,” said Al-Fouzan, who is also a member of the Saudi Human Rights Commission. “This is against the spirit of Islam. The imams should instead pray to Allah to guide them toward the path of righteousness,” said Al-Fouzan, while describing supplications against non-Muslims as unjust.

Supplications against non-Muslims are often made by some imams of mosques following the second Friday sermon. This is especially the case following developments in volatile regions across the world when passions run high.

The practice has, however, been deemed wrong by numerous scholars. Al-Fouzan said the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to pray to Allah to guide people and show them the road to monotheism and righteousness. “The Prophet used to say he was not sent to people (with the message of Islam) as a preacher of curse but as a man of mercy,” Al-Fouzan said.

He also said he believes people should be called toward Islam through righteous conduct and firm faith, not by cursing or malediction. “We should not generalize our praying to Allah against all non-Muslims including Jews and Christians but should only focus our prayer on those who have done us injustice,” he said.

Other leading Saudi scholars have previously issued fatwas asking people not to supplicate against non-Muslims. Sheikh Salman Al-Oudah and Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nasser Al-Barak consider it haram to supplicate against non-Muslims.

Al-Oudah has ruled that supplicating for the destruction and total annihilation of non-Muslims is totally against Islamic law, which calls for all people, regardless of faith, to be treated fairly and properly, unless they are transgressors.

Saad Al-Din Hilali, professor of comparative Fiqh at Azhar University in Egypt, also supports scholars who consider supplicating against non-Muslims as haram. “We should pray to Allah to guide non-believers to Islam. We should only make supplications against them if they attack us,” he said.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article232536.ece

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Pope asks Pakistan to scrap blasphemy law

Jan 11 2011

Vatican City : Pope Benedict XVI on Monday called on Pakistan to scrap a blasphemy law after the murder of the governor of Punjab, saying the legislation was a pretext for "acts of injustice and violence".

"I once more encourage the leaders of that country to take the necessary steps to abrogate that law," he said.

"The tragic murder of the governor of Punjab shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction."

The pope, who was speaking at a traditional New Year's meeting with foreign ambassadors to the Vatican, said the anti-blasphemy legislation was an example of "norms prejudicing the right to religious freedom."

More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi on Sunday against the controversial reform of the blasphemy law that was behind the shooting of Punjab governor Salman Taseer last week.

Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country's increasingly powerful conservative religious base.

Controversy over the law flared when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a bill in November calling for an end the death penalty for blasphemy, after Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi was sentenced to hang.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/735657/

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Abu Dhabi: All Women have right to choose dress code, says Hilary Clinton

11 January 2011

Nissar Hoath

All women, including Muslims, have every right to choose their dress code and no dictation with regard to this is acceptable, Hillary Clinton told Zayed University students in the Capital.

“I’m in favour of women having the right to choose what they want to wear. I’m against women being forced to choose a particular code of dress,” she said. “I believe strongly that each woman should have the opportunity to choose (what they wear).”

The US Secretary of State said there was a big shift towards women’s development issues in the region. “There has been tremendous change and progress in the entire region as a whole towards women’s development — whether government positions or in business and diplomatic career,” she told the girl students during an interview on MBC1’s Kalam Nawaem (Sweet or Soft Talk).

“Women’s voices should be heard and should be respected,” she said.

The US Secretary of State felt women were far advanced in the Muslim world, particularly in the GCC region. “We have seen more women involved in local politics, elected to parliaments and I have seen many of them as diplomats and ambassadors to the US from the region, particularly from Bahrain and Oman,” she added. Clinton said today’s women do not just sit at home. “They are multi-taskers and have great influence in changing society as mothers, sisters and wives.”

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/January/theuae_January249.xml&section=theuae

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No place for radicals in RSS: Bhagwat

Jan 10, 2011

SURAT: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said that there is no place for radicals in the organsiation.

Speaking at a rally in the city, Mohan Bhagwat said, "RSS has always asked members with extremist views to leave."

The RSS chief also trained his guns at the Congress on the question of saffron terror and said that the ruling party was indulging in diversionary tactics.

"The Congress is deliberately linking the RSS to terror. They are trying to divert attention. That's why they have coined the term Hindu terror," he said

Bhagwat accused the Congress of trying to hide its own failures saying the party is getting desperate in view of recent electoral setbacks.

"Govt is fighting for its survival. It is losing its votebank. The Congress is facing electoral setbacks and in desperation it’s trying to divide the people," Mohan Bhagwat said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-place-for-radicals-in-RSS-Bhagwat/articleshow/7252558.cms#ixzz1AhPr1yH0

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RSS misused Lord Ram name for gain: Digvijay Singh

Jan 11, 2011

NEW DELHI – Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Friday said that the RSS did not believe in the godhead of Lord Ram but it viewed Lord Ram as an adarsh purush. “The RSS does not believe in Shri Ram as god but as an ideal man. Even Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Hindu Mahasabha) and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (former RSS head) always held that Shri Ram was not god though in Sanatan Dharma Ram is god. These people have misused the name of Ram for political gains. The RSS should stop playing with Hindu religion,” Mr Singh said. He further said that the BJP and the RSS must introspect that whether they should support those who have been instigating communal violence and hatred “which has led to right-wing terror activities by the activists of the RSS”.

“Mahatma Gandhi was not killed by Nathuram Godse but by the ideology inculcated by extreme fanatic thinking which unfortunately still prevails.” Mr Singh also accused the BJP of trying to interfere into investigations. “The BJP and the RSS should not interfere in the ongoing investigations and let the agencies do their job. They are trying to level allegations on the CBI and NIA now in the same manner in which they have done it against the Maharashtra ATS. They are regularly levelling allegations against the agencies,” he said.

Asked whether the RSS should be banned in the wake of the alleged involvement of its leaders in the terrorist activities, he said: “Banning an organisation does not help.” To a question on whether he feels that banning SIMI was also not required, he said, “This is something the government of India should look into.”

... Banning is not the answer.” “You banned SIMI. Those people started some other organisation. LeT was banned in Pakistan. The same people started some other organisation. The RSS has more than 150 wings. How many will you ban? It has to be a continuos fight against communalism.”

Mr Singh, at the same time, made it clear that he was not equating the LeT with any other organisation.

http://dailymailnews.com/0111/11/FrontPage/index.php?id=6

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Protest is a fundamental right: Kashmir interlocutors

New Age Islam News Bureau

Jammu/New Delhi: The team of Kashmir interlocutors has submitted their report to the Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday. According to the report, the interlocutors have impressed upon the right to protest in the Valley and submitted a plan for the restoration of peace there. The team comprising Dilip Padgaonkar, Mrs Radha Kumar and Economist M M Ansari have called the demonstrations the basic dream of the citizens and have advocated that it should not be taken away. It has also been said that people cannot be prevented from protesting to express their resentment. According to a senior official, the report has put emphasis on the respect and dignity of the citizens of the state. It said that until the citizens are treated with respect and dignity, things will not improve. It is noted that the Centre had formed a three member team of interlocutors after more than 100 Kashmiris were killed during the police action to control the widespread protests last winter. The team had been entrusted the task of exploring the ways to restoration of peace in the valley within one year.The team had been advised to visit the different parts of the state and meet people in  all walks of life to know their views and suggestions. They had met the political leaders, Hurriyat leaders and many jailed separatist leaders.

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Class VI Muslim boy is a scientist, invented machine

New Age Islam News Bureau

Ranchi: A Class VI student belonging to a poor Muslim family in Ranchi, Jharkhand has become a scientist. His father Kalim Ansari, a tailor by profession, said that Javed would always try to do something new. And in course of his quest, he invented a rice filter machine. With this small machine dirty rice grains can be cleaned.  The small machine can filter three kilograms of rice per hour. Asked how he got the motivation for this invention, Sajid said he got the idea seeing the flour grinding machine. It is only a beginning and he is trying to do something big. He is a student of Class VI in the Guru Nanak School in Ranchi. He is getting free education on the recommendations of the former Governor Syed Sibt-e-Razi. To build the machine, Sajid used two transformers of 220 volts, the tape that is used to hang I-Card, two CD cassettes, two lids of big bottles, a wooden box, a small fan to dust the rice bran, two small iron rods and a pulley. The machine runs on electricity.

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Oasis of Inter-faith harmony in the desert called Pakistan

New Age Islam News Bureau

Mansehra: There is a place in Pakistan, a country known for discriminatory attitude towards minorities especially Christians,  where the foundations of interfaith harmony are getting stronger. The place is called Mansehra where Pakistani Christians had established Gulshan Markaz in 2009. The Centre has been serving as platform for dialogue on day to day affairs and religious issues. The Centre had arranged for Iftar and dinner for both Muslims and Christians last Ramzan and both the Muslims and Christians celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ together. The Director of the Centre devoted to the study of Islam and Christianity, Haroon Nasir said that people belonging to different religions and organizations were constantly working towards communal harmony and interfaith understanding. Before the establishment of Pakistan the La Vella Hill was a centre for Interfaith Dialogue. In 1968, a Christian Study Centre was established which taught the art of living a peaceful life to the followers ofdifferent religions. According to Mr Nasir, after the violence and arson in a Christian majority village in Punjab in 1998, this centre started a programme ‘Social Harmony’ which was very successful.

Another international council of religions, WCR is also active on this front. WCR provides a medium for strengthening communal harmony by teaching Muslim religious leaders and Christian pastors to abstain from provocative speeches. The religious leaders promote the spirit of benefitting from each other’s beliefs instead of claiming supremacy over each other. According to Mr Nasir, these efforts have now been extended to the educational institutions where students learn about the beliefs of the other religious communities.

Punjab University and Peshawar University have recently started inviting Christian religious leaders in order to enlighten their students about the Christian beliefs. Mr Nasir said that he had also been invited to become a member of the Islamic Department of Hazara University and Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre. The efforts have also been going on outside the educational institutions as well. Akash Christian Society has been rendering medical services. In Mansehra, all the staff of the Christian Hospital is Christian but the majority of the patients there are Muslims.

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Malegaon Radio Centre will be operational in March

New Age Islam News Bureau

Malegaon: The Radio Centre for promoting Hindu Muslim unity and communal harmony in Malegaon will be operational from March 2011, according to the Chairperson of SPS College of Medicine and Art Sampada Heere. She said that the people of Malegaon were blessed with intelligence and talent and so there was a need to exploit it. The people of this powerloom town will have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and there problems will be aired too. She assured that the Radio Centre would only air cultural programme and political programme would not be presented.

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Muslim boys to be released after receipt of official copy of Asimanand confession: Rakesh Maria

New Age Islam News Bureau

Mumbai: After the RSS leader Asimanand’s confession about his involvement alongwith Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and other accomplices in the Malegaon blasts before the District Magistrate, there is no question of further detention of Muslim youth of Malegaon for the last five months. Today the MLA of Awhad met the state Home Minister R R Patil with the all party delegate and demanded a ban on terrorist organizations.It also demanded justice for the innocent Muslim youth of Malegaon and their immediate release. During the meet, representatives of Jamat Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema, Raza Academy, Jamiat Ahle Hadith and other prominent personalities were present alingwith Jitendra Awhad.

Mr Jitendra very strongly demanded that the innocent youth should be released. He said that there was an urgent need to bring a change in the attitude of the investigative agencies as in every blast, the victims are the Muslims and it is they who are arrested as the suspect. If this is not done, the injustices to them cannot be done away with and it will lead to many problems.

After the meeting with the delegation, the Home Ministry dispatched a letter to the CBI on this issue. The all party delegation also met ATS Chief Rakesh Maria who assured them of justice and said that they had not yet received the official copy of Asimananda’s confession. After they receive the copy, they would register cases against people nominated by Asimanand and start the process of releasing the arrested Muslim youth, Mr Maria said.

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Iran human rights activist jailed for 11 years

11 January 2011

TEHRAN - An Iranian human rights lawyer who has worked with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, has been jailed for 11 years for actions deemed “detrimental to national security,” the activist’s lawyer said on Monday.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has worked to defend people accused of political crimes, was arrested in September and charged with undermining national security.

“My client has been handed an 11-year compulsory prison term, banned from practising law for 20 years and given a 20-year ban on leaving the country,” Mahnaz Parakand, Sotoudeh’s attorney, told Reuters by telephone.

She was convicted of taking “hostile actions,” involvement in propaganda activities and colluding against national security, said the lawyer.

Sotoudeh was also found guilty of being a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a banned rights association founded by Nobel laureate Ebadi, Parakand said.

The United States condemned the conviction, calling it part of a “systematic attempt” by Iranian authorities to silence anti-government and human rights activists in Iran.

“The United States strongly condemns the unjust and harsh verdict against human rights activist and respected lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in Iran, and calls for her immediate release,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement. “We are dismayed by her continued detention and loss of the right to practice law.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/January/middleeast_January160.xml&section=middleeast

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Taseer’s murder deepens fears of Pakistani Christians

Jan 11 2011

ITTANWALI: To understand why Pakistani Christians feel so threatened by growing religious extremism in their country, speak to the uniformed police guard at the jail where a Christian woman is on death row, accused of blasphemy.

Aasia Bibi was sentenced to hang in November for insulting the Prophet Mohammad, under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. Last week, an outspoken liberal politician was killed by his own bodyguard for campaigning for her release.

The assassin has since been hailed as a hero by many in this Muslim majority country where a harsh, often unforgiving, brand of Islam is growing in strength.

Prison guard Ansaar Jameel, at the Sheikhpura prison where Bibi is held, summed up widespread sentiment after the killing of Punjab province governor Salman Taseer: “What happened was justified.”

Taseer’s death — and the lionising of his killer — have struck more fear than ever in the mostly Catholic and Protestant Christian community accounting for about two per cent of the population of 170 million.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/10/taseers-murder-deepens-fears-of-pakistani-christians.html

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Taseer killer 'influenced' by 2 clerics

By AZHAR MASOOD

Jan 11, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The assassin of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer Monday confessed that he was encouraged to kill him after attending a “religious gathering.”

Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the bodyguard, behind Pakistan's most high-profile political assassination in three years confessed that he acted alone in the shooting of Taseer, police said.

"He has recorded his confessional statement for the murder in which he said that he killed Salman Taseer on his own and there was no involvement of any organization," senior police official Haroon Joya said.

The slaying of Taseer nearly a week ago shocked many around the world, but tens of thousands of Pakistanis have expressed support for 26-year-old Qadri, who said he killed the governor for criticizing laws that carry the death penalty for insulting Islam.

Qadri told a judge Monday in written testimony that he decided to kill Taseer after he attended a gathering on Dec. 31 organized by Shahab-e-Islam, a small group that operated in his neighborhood in Rawalpindi, just outside Islamabad. He said speeches given by a cleric leading the group, Qari Hanif, and another member, Ishtiaq Shah, played a major role in his decision.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article232407.ece

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Pak Assassin Says He Acted Alone: Cops

Jan 10, 2011

Islamabad: The bodyguard behind Pakistan's most high-profile political assassination in three years has confessed that he acted alone in the shooting of governor Salman Taseer, police said.

Police commando Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who was led away smiling on Tuesday after gunning down his boss outside an Islamabad coffee shop, has said he killed because the governor wanted to reform controversial blasphemy laws.

"He has recorded his confessional statement for the murder... in which he said that he killed Salman Taseer on his own and there was no involvement of any Islamic or militant organisation," senior police official Haroon Joya said.

Members of the main ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), to which Punjab provincial governor Taseer belonged, suggested that his killing was part of a wider plot, and slammed security failures that led to his death.

http://www.asianage.com/international/pak-assassin-says-he-acted-alone-cops-681

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Bilawal Bhutto vows to protect minorities after Taseer killing

Jan 11 2011

LONDON: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), on Monday condemned the killing of Salman Taseer for seeking changes to blasphemy laws, and called those celebrating his death “the real blasphemers”.

Bilawal, the son of former premier Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007, also pledged to defend the country’s minorities — increasingly under siege from powerful religious lobbies and often targets of extremist violence.

“To the Christian and other minority communities in Pakistan, we will defend you,” he said at a memorial ceremony in London for Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province who was killed by his own security guard last week.

“Those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit will have to go through me first.”

Taseer, a leading politician in the ruling PPP, had spoken out in defence of a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death under blasphemy laws which critics say are misused, often to settle personal scores.

The man who confessed to his killing has been celebrated as a hero by some in Pakistan, and up to 50,000 people joined a rally organised by religious parties in Karachi on Sunday to oppose any changes in the blasphemy laws.

Bilawal condemned all those who justified violence in the name of Islam, through suicide attacks and murder.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/11/bilawal-condemns-killing-of-taseer.html

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Pak summons Indian envoy for Samjhauta probe update

Jan 11, 2011

NEW DELHI: Promptly reacting to indications suggesting the involvement of Hindutva radicals in the February 2007 attack on Samjhauta Express carrying its nationals, Pakistan on Monday formally asked India to provide a report of the probe by National Investigation Agency.

According to agency reports, Indian deputy high commissioner in Islamabad G V Srinivas was called in by Afrasiab, director-general (South Asia) in the Pakistan foreign office, and formally asked to provide information on the investigation "at the earliest".

Authorities here expect that Pakistan will push the demand when foreign secrtaries of the two countries meet in Thimphu on February 6-7.

There is also a strong fear that Samjhauta Express investigation will now become the perfect cover for Pakistan's delay in prosecuting the accused for 26/11. Every time India asks Pakistan to bring the accused to justice in the 26/11 case, Pakistan can be expected to hit back with their own demand on Samjhauta.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-summons-Indian-envoy-for-Samjhauta-probe-update/articleshow/7255371.cms#ixzz1AhP6avNV

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Enemy within? Purohit wanted RSS leader Indresh Kumar dead

Jan 10, 2011

NEW DELHI: A section within the Hindu fringe group behind the series of blasts across India was deeply suspicious of senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, who allegedly played a key role in those violent actions, and they had wanted to eliminate him. Kumar is under the scanner for his possible links to the blasts in Mecca Masjid, Malegaon, Ajmer and Samjhauta Express.

Sources familiar with investigations into right-wing terror acts said from the very initial interrogation of Lt Col Srikant Purohit and others, it was clear that there were deep divisions within the fringe group. Though Kumar was an important player behind the series of bomb blasts, "he wasn't acceptable to many within the group", an investigator said.

He said Purohit told them Dr R P Singh, a Delhi-based endocrinologist and a key member of this group, had told him that Kumar and one Subedar Singh, based in Nepal, were both ISI agents and were involved in the fake Indian currency racket. "He (Purohit) seemed convinced about this claim," a source involved in investigating the fringe group's activities said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Enemy-within-Purohit-wanted-RSS-leader-Indresh-Kumar-dead/articleshow/7254915.cms#ixzz1AhNm207O

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Ajmer Dargah seeks govt help to stop Pak 'donations'

Kshitiz Gaur

Jan 11, 2011

AJMER: The Ajmer Dargah committee has approached the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi as well as the Indian embassy in Islamabad to stop collection of funds in the name of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti by some Pakistan-based trusts. "I have spoken to the embassy officials of the two countries in this regard," said Ahmed Raza, nazim (administrator) of the committee, on Monday.

Several Pakistani trusts are known to seek donations from the followers of the Khwaja in Pakistan. Requests seeking donations also appear on certain TV channels. In a specific instance, the Ajmer Dargah administration was intrigued by an ongoing 24x7 telecast on QTV seeking donation from viewers in the name of Khwaja. "We have details of an Islamabad-based trust which advertises that devotees could contact them for donations. It's being advertised regularly on QTV in India. This is wrong," Raza said.

According to the Dargah Act 1955, the right to take monetary contribution in the name of Khwaja rests with the Dargah committee of Ajmer.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ajmer-Dargah-seeks-govt-help-to-stop-Pak-donations/articleshow/7256942.cms#ixzz1AhOi5LMN

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Youths picked up for Hyderabad blast still live in fear

Jan 11, 2011

HYDERABAD/MUMBAI: Most young Muslims arrested by the Hyderabad city police following the bomb blast in the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, and acquitted by the courts later, are having difficulty in putting their lives back on track. The case is no different for those arrested for the Malegaon blasts in Mumbai.

Syed Imran Khan, an engineering student at the time of his arrest, who lost an academic year to incarceration, said he still fears that he is being followed by cops. "My parents believe that I have become paranoid. It could be true. But I think that my psyche has been greatly wounded because of torture by the policemen. One senior police officer even beat me with his shoes when I pleaded innocence," Khan said.

Now that it has become clear that it was Swami Aseemanand and his Hindutva cohorts who carried out the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid that killed nine people and left 58 injured in May 2006, there are demands that the government apologize for the massive mishandling of the investigation.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Youths-picked-up-for-Hyderabad-blast-still-live-in-fear/articleshow/7256955.cms#ixzz1AhOUq74Y

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'Probe Swami Aseemanand's role in Malegaon blast'

Sanjeev Shivadekar

Jan 11, 2011

MUMBAI: Maharashtra home minister R R Patil wants the CBI to examine Swami Aseemanand's confession on his involvement in the 2006 Malegaon blast. He has also directed the ATS to track down people and organizations involved in the terror strike.

Aseemanand, arrested for the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad, recently confessed that he was involved in the Malegaon terror strike. The CBI took over the Malegaon blast probe from the ATS and submitted an additional chargesheet in February 2010.

"Aseemanand's confession should be examined," Patil told reporters on Monday. He, however, made it clear that the government was making no effort to target RSS. He was speaking after meeting representatives from various organisations demanding a crackdown on terror. Scotching rumours that the groups he had met demanded a ban on RSS, Patil said: "There was no specific demand from any delegation for a ban on RSS. People who met me today were asking for a ban on all organizations linked to terror."

He said he had asked ATS to probe if an individual was behind the Malegaon incident. "If the terror act was carried out at the behest of an organisation then we will recommend the Union government ban them." Among those who met Patil and minorities affairs minister Arif Naseem Khan was a delegation from Malegaon. It demanded that those arrested in connection with the 2006 Malegaon blast case be freed.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Probe-Swami-Aseemanands-role-in-Malegaon-blast/articleshow/7256938.cms#ixzz1AhOuTe7S

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Pak govt divided on lifting onion export ban to India

Jan 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government today appeared divided over resuming onion exports to India with the agriculture ministry not averse to lifting the ban but the commerce ministry has some reservations.

A meeting was held in the commerce ministry on the issue and there was no decision.

Official sources said commerce minister Maqdoom Amin Fahim was out of the country and was expected back tomorrow after which there could be a meeting to review the issue.

Earlier the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had agreed to the move to continue onion exports to India because there was adequate production of onion in the country despite the floods that devastated agricultural lands across Pakistan last year, an official said.

Sources in the Indian High Commission confirmed that there has been no movement of onion consignment since the ban was imposed by Pakistani authorities last week.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-govt-divided-on-lifting-onion-export-ban-to-India/articleshow/7253491.cms#ixzz1AhPlVpfa

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'Malegaon picked as 80% of its population is Muslim'

Jan 10, 2011

Why the confession

"When I was in Chanchalguda jail in Hyderabad, one of my co-inmates was Kaleem. During my interaction with Kaleem I learnt that he was previously arrested in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case and he had to spend about one-and- a-half years in prison. During my stay in jail, Kaleem helped me and served me by bringing water, food for me. I was very moved by Kaleem's good conduct and my conscience asked me to do prayaschit (penance) by making a confessional statement so that real culprits can be punished and no innocent has to suffer"

On possible death penalty

"I know I can be sentenced to death but I still want to make the confession"

On when he bit the terror bullet

"In March 2006, Pragya Thakur, Sunil Joshi, Bharat Riteshwar and I decided to give a befitting reply to the Sankatmochan blasts"

Bombs for bombs

"I told everybody, bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye"

Justifying terror targets

"I suggested that 80% of people of Malegaon were Muslims and we should explode the first bomb in Malegaon itself...during Partition, Nizam of Hyderabad had wanted to go with Pakistan so Hyderabad was a fair target. I said since Hindus also throng Ajmer Sharif Dargah we should explode a bomb in Ajmer which would deter Hindus from going there. I also suggested the Aligarh Muslim University as a terror target"

Why Samjhauta

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Malegaon-picked-as-80-of-its-population-is-Muslim/articleshow/7238779.cms#ixzz1AhPQBJZO

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Kerala cleric demands fresh probe into all bomb attacks

By ASHRAF PADANNA

Jan 11, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sheikh Abu Backr Ahmad alias Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar, the general secretary of All India Sunni Jam’iyathul Ulema and head of Kerala-based Jamia Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya, has demanded reinvestigation into all blasts occurred in India in the wake of the disclosure by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary Swami Aseemanand that the right-wing outfit was behind several blasts that were earlier blamed on Muslims.

"The blasts are a stain on the secular fabric of the country and they were used by vested interests to keep the religious minorities under clouds and many were tortured by investigating agencies. These innocent people should be granted enough compensation," Aboobacker Musliyar said while addressing the valedictory function of the 33rd annual conference of the Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya Sunday. “Islam values secularism and democratic principles. The political culture rejecting moral values will only lead the country to anarchism.”

Several religious scholars from abroad, including the grand mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa, and prominent Indian leaders addressed the three-day conference held on the sprawling campus of the Markaz institutions at Karanthur in the northern district of Kerala. The Jamia received accreditation from Al-Azhar University two years back.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article232417.ece

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Residents of Makkah district complain of rising crime

By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA

Jan 11, 2011

MAKKAH: Residents of one of Makkah’s oldest and densely populated districts, Al-Hindawiyah, which is also known as Al-Quraniyah, complain that the district is neglected by the authorities and is now a haven for illegal foreigners.

Locals say the area is replete with deserted homes that are used by criminal elements for unethical purposes. “The streets are badly asphalted, the supply of water is constantly disrupted and the district is a haven for squatters,” said one local resident.

The most serious problem facing the district, according to Saudi resident Hassan Al-Saad, is the presence of illegal foreigners. “There’s a large number of them. These people influence Saudi youths in the district with their unethical habits. Some local women are also influenced by this,” he said.

Al-Saad said that, in addition to their improper behavior, these illegal foreigners sell unhealthy food.

“The streets are very narrow and overcrowded, especially at the peak hours in the morning and afternoon when schools open and close. There are also not enough parking in the district. The security patrols and traffic police should increase their presence,” he added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article232541.ece

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Iran says it has arrested spy ring linked to Israel

11 January 2011

TEHRAN - Iran has arrested a “network of spies” linked to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service which it blames for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in 2010, Iran’s state television reported on Monday.

Tensions are running high between Iran and Israel, which has not ruled out military strikes on the Islamic Republic if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve a row over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Iran has vowed to retaliate for any strikes with missile strikes on Israel and US targets in the Gulf.

“The Intelligence Ministry ... has identified and arrested members of a spy and terrorist network linked to the Zionist regime,” state television quoted a statement issued by the ministry as saying. Iran does not recognise the state of Israel.

“The network of spies and terrorists linked to ... Mossad was destroyed. The network was behind the assassination of Masoud Ali-Mohammadi.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/January/middleeast_January161.xml&section=middleeast

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Will Saudi banks have enough resources to deploy in 2011?

Jan 10, 2011

JEDDAH: After more than two years of global financial crisis, the Saudi banking sector has emerged almost unscathed. But like many banking systems, during the turbulent period, both investment and loan portfolios of Saudi banks were implicated. As a result, all Saudi banks have taken steps to reinforce their fundamentals by allocating provisions and cutting costs, while reaching out to customers, according to the Saudi Banking Sector Review titled "From Recuperation to Moderate Growth" by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) released on Saturday.

Meanwhile, following a sharp deceleration in lending, attributed to bank's cautiousness and slower demand for credit, a pickup in lending was resumed since the Q4, 2009. The Kingdom's number one source of domestic financing, banking sector, has managed to rebound on an aggregate level, but showed stronger growth rates with regards to consumer lending. Corporate sector demand for funding has expanded by 2.6 percent in Q3, 2010, marking the third quarter of consecutive growth since its pick-up in Q4, 2009, yet it is far away from the 2008's 30 percent average growth rate. Consumer lending rebounded from the -0.5 percent in Q2, 2009's, surging by 9.2 percent in Q2, 2010, and setting the highest pace since Q4, 2006. Real estate finance took the spotlight growing in double digits for the past four quarters. The momentum is expected to have carried through the rest of 2010 and to continue into 2011, the NCB report said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article232381.ece

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Biden in Kabul for talks with Karzai

By PATRICIA ZENGERLE

Jan 11, 2011

KABUL: US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Afghanistan on Monday on a trip for talks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and visit with US troops.

Biden is to check on US efforts to begin a gradual withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in July, a timetable that has drawn criticism from some Republicans in the US Congress who fear abandoning a key ally.

Biden's trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

"The primary purpose of the trip is to assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security beginning in 2011, and to demonstrate our commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan," a White House official said.

Karzai and his Western backers want Afghan security forces to assume security responsibility by the end of 2014.

Upon landing at Kabul's airport aboard Air Force Two, Biden flew a helicopter to the US Embassy in Kabul for talks with Gen. David Petraeus, chief of US forces in Afghanistan, and US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

Biden will also meet US service members and civilian personnel, and tour an Afghan National Army Training Center.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article232462.ece

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Clinton seeks Arab help in enforcing Iran sanctions

By K.T. ABDURABB

Jan 11, 2011

ABU DHABI: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that sanctions have slowed Iran's efforts to develop atomic weapons and accused the country of trying to foment new conflict in the Middle East to distract attention from its nuclear ambitions.

On the first stop of a three-nation tour of the Gulf, Clinton said the Arab world in particular should act to sharpen enforcement of the sanctions and reject attempts to stoke tensions in the Middle East. She said Arab states had a special role to play in helping restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks by promoting a broader Arab-Israeli settlement.

"The most recent analysis is that the sanctions have been working. They have made it much more difficult for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions," she told a television talk show. "Their program, from our best estimate, has been slowed down. So we have time, but not a lot of time."

If Iran succeeds in developing an atomic bomb, it will plunge the Mideast into a disastrous nuclear arms race, she said. "It is first and foremost in the interest of the region to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan canceled a meeting with Clinton following a report that he had broken his arm. The UAE's state news agency WAM said Sheikh Khalifa "fractured his arm this morning while undertaking his daily exercise."

Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed forces, received Clinton and the accompanying delegation in the afternoon.

— With input from agencies

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article232518.ece

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Gaza farmer killed by Israeli soldiers

By HISHAM ABU TAHA

Jan 11, 2011

GAZA CITY: Palestinian medics said on Monday that a 65-year-old Palestinian farmer was killed as a result of unprovoked firing by Israeli troops near the border fence.

A Health Ministry official in Gaza city told reporters that Shabban Qarmott died on Monday afternoon after he sustained wounds from shots near Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses said the Israeli soldiers in one of the watchtowers near the Erez crossing opened heavy gunfire toward the civilian properties seriously wounding the old man.

He was immediately taken to Kamal Edwan hospital in the nearby Beit Lahiya refugee camp, where he died.

The cross-border violence has become an almost daily occurrence, though both Hamas and Israel have said they are trying to avoid further escalation.

Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, said on Sunday it was urging smaller militant groups to cease the rocket fire.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article232512.ece

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Iran scientist’s ‘killer trained in Israel’: report

Jan 11, 2011

This undated file photo released by the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency shows nuclear physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, who was killed after a bomb blast in front of his house, in northern Tehran's Qeytariyeh neighborhood, Iran, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. – Photo by AP

TEHRAN: The alleged killer of a top nuclear scientist who was murdered last year said he was trained in Israel by the Mossad spy agency, state-television reported on its website on Monday.

Majid Jamali Fash, identified in the report as “a member of Mossad terrorist network and the main element” behind last year’s assassination of nuclear scientist Masoud Ali Mohammadi, said he was trained by Israeli military officers at a base near Tel Aviv.

“On a trip to Tel Aviv, I got acquainted with several senior Israeli officers in a base on a highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There, I learned different things such as tailing, stalking and planting bombs under vehicles,” Fash was quoted as saying on the website.

He did not say when he had made the trip to Israel.

Fash said he was briefed about Ali Mohammadi and “practised bombing in a base near Tel Aviv several times.” “I was given a very precise model of Dr Ali Mohammadi’s house and its whereabouts to be very well acquainted with the real situation of his assassination.” The report said that the details of his interview will be released on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/11/iran-scientists-killer-trained-in-israel-report.html

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JKLF to move HC over summer deaths

Jan 11, 2011

SRINAGAR: Setting an example for other separatists, Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front factional leader Yasin Malik said on Monday that he will file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court for extensive investigations into the killing of 112 people during last summer's violence across the Valley.

"I hope the court admits the PIL. I am the first Kashmiri separatist in last 63 years to approach an Indian court for a probe into police violence. This seems the only way to bypass the institutional bias of the police during investigations," Malik said.

Meanwhile, hawkish Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a statewide shutdown on January 15 against the arrests of youth and human rights violations. "I urge people to observe a complete bandh on Jan 15," Geelani said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/JKLF-to-move-HC-over-summer-deaths-/articleshow/7256840.cms#ixzz1AhP0yAyc

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India will take revenge for China incursion in Ladakh in summer: Farooq Abdullah

Jan 10, 2011

SRINAGAR: Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has threatened China of revenge in Leh during summer amid reports of "incursions" into Indian territory in J&K's Ladakh region. Abdullah said China had "betrayed the concept of friendship".

Farooq Abdullah told reporters in Jammu on Sunday that India will show its strength during summer as there is extreme cold this time in Leh.

"China has betrayed the concept of friendship despite the fact that the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had promised friendship during his visit to India," Abdullah said on the sidelines of a function in Jammu on Sunday night.

"Those hopes have been belied by the incursion of Chinese troops into the border area of Leh," the minister said, replying to a question on reports of incursion by Chinese troops and halting of work at Demchok, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in October last year.

Farooq suggested that India should not demilitarize its borders touching China and said that prime ministerial level talks between the two countries late year has not yielded results, even though talks between prime minister of China Wen Jiabeo and PM Manmohan Singh were held in congenial atmosphere.

"We already had a bitter experience with our neighbouring country China and I think India should not lower its guard from the borders touching China and simultaneously vigil should also be intensified," said Farooq.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-will-take-revenge-for-China-incursion-in-Ladakh-in-summer-Farooq-Abdullah/articleshow/7254900.cms#ixzz1AhPcKjj0

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Fake passport case: Bhatkal suspects' links being probed

Jan 10, 2011

Karwar: Six persons who were arrested by the Uttara Kannada police at Bhatkal on the charges of possessing 32 fake passports are being questioned whether any terror group had taken their help to carry out attacks against India.

On a tip-off from Central intelligence agencies, the District Criminal Investigation Bureau (DCIB) arrested Mohammad Yunus Ali, Sajjid Ahmad, Mohammmad Saddiq, Mohammad Yusuf Misba, Yunus Saleem Misba, and Mohammad Gous Meera. All are residents of Bhatkal and returned from Malaysia on Saturday. Two other accused, Muhammad Saleem of Bangalore and Ashish Agarwal of Mumbai, are missing.

Sources said the six persons were taken into custody by the Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpur in August last on the charges of possessing fake passports. They also faced charges of drawing about Rs. 200 crore from a bank there in a fraudulent name. They were kept in a Malaysian jail for more than four months. It is alleged a major part of the money was transferred to the UAE and India through Bangladesh.

Alleged mastermind

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/11/stories/2011011164201300.htm

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‘J&K local administration did not heed Army advice'

Jan 11, 2011

NEW DELHI: Chief of the Army Staff General V.K. Singh on Monday said the local administration in Jammu and Kashmir had disregarded the Centre's advice, leading to Chinese security forces allegedly threatening Indian construction workers last year.

The Foreign Office, however, denied reports of alleged Chinese troop intrusion in the Demchok area of Leh district.

‘Reports baseless'

“The government has seen media reports alleging intrusion. These reports are baseless and do not conform to facts. They are, therefore, not a cause for concern. It will be recollected that there are differences in perception, between India and China, on the Line of Actual Control [LAC] in this area,” a Foreign Office statement said.

General Singh said the local people had disregarded advice given by the Army and the Ministry of External Affairs not to engage in construction in the area till the border dispute was settled.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/11/stories/2011011164661700.htm

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VHP demands law for Ayodhya land transfer

Jan 11, 2011

RAMNATHI (GOA): The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has passed a resolution demanding that the Centre pass a law to hand over the entire 70 acres of land at Ayodhya for the construction of a Ram temple.

The resolution — adopted at the end of a three-day conclave of the VHP's board of trustees and governing council here — said: “The Centre should respect Hindu sentiments and help in the creation of a huge Ram temple.”

VHP international president Ashok Singhal later told PTI that the parishad was lobbying the MPs of all parties.

Several non-BJP MPs — including 37 from Tamil Nadu, 20 from Kerala, 22 from Andhra Pradesh, 21 from Karnataka, 20 from Maharashtra, 14 from Gujarat and 53 from Uttar Pradesh — are also ready to support a legislation to hand over the entire land at the disputed site for the temple, Mr. Singhal added.

Some senior Congress MPs too have promised support, he said.

The Supreme Court should decide the Ram mandir case at the earliest, Mr. Singhal said, adding that the resolution passed on Sunday should remind the Union government that the Somnath temple in Gujarat was similarly rebuilt when Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/01/11/stories/2011011158360200.htm

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Pakistan’s release of militant raises questions

January 11, 2011

He is a self-declared warrior against US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. He allegedly ran terrorist training camps there when the Taliban was in power. He was suspected of involvement in the attempted assassination of two Pakistani leaders. And today, Qari Saifullah Akhtar is free.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, the top judicial official in Akhtar’s native Punjab province, told The Associated Press he was released from four months of house arrest in early December because authorities finished questioning him in connection with the October 2007 attempted assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and found no grounds to charge him. Bhutto was killed in December the same year.

However, one US official said Akhtar has extensive ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and is someone who should not be free to walk around the streets of Pakistan or any other country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/309686/Pakistan%E2%80%99s-release-of-militant-raises-questions.html

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India has every right to ties with Afghanistan: Biden

January 11, 2011

As US Vice President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, the US reiterated that India, as a regional and emerging global power, has every right to have its own relationship with Kabul.

"We have made clear that India, as a regional and emerging global power, has every right to have its own relationship with Afghanistan," State Department spokesman Phillip J. Crowley told reporters Monday.

"And we appreciate the support to the Government of Afghanistan that India has provided," he said in response to a question about External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna's recent visit to Kabul, where he alluded to Pakistan's desire to keep India out of Afghanistan.

"As we've said many times, we have taken a regional approach" to the challenges of political extremism that affects all countries across the region," Crowley said when asked about Krishna's reported concern about threats to Indian interests in Afghanistan.

"The challenge of political extremism is not just focused on any one country. There have been attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, in India," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/309855/India-has-every-right-to-ties-with-Afghanistan-Biden.html

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Pak probe unearths massive NATO container liquor and arms smuggling scam

Jan 10 2011

Islamabad: The investigation into the NATO containers scam has confirmed the smuggling of liquor and arms in the containers supposed to carry goods for the forces based in Afghanistan.

The Supreme Court (SC) took suo moto notice of a report aired on Dunya News about liquor being smuggled in containers meant for carrying ammunition, food and other necessities for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The report also divulged the embezzlement of billions of rupees worth of customs money besides the disappearance of NATO lorries, sources told Dunya News.

Earlier, a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, had ordered the Federal Tax Mohtasib to submit the investigation report within a month. However, the Mohtasib failed to present the report in November and asked for extension of another month.

The report is likely to be presented in the apex court on Monday (today).

The Foreign Ministry requested the NATO high-ups to extend their assistance regarding the probe, the sources added.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/735713/

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Israel launches twin air strikes on Gaza: Army

Jan 10 2011

Jerusalem: Israeli warplanes launched twin air strikes on the Gaza Strip overnight in response to rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas-controlled territory, an army spokesman said today.

The strikes targeted "centres of terrorist activities, which have been hit", said the spokesman, referring to projectiles fired from Gaza over the weekend.

Israel considers the Islamist Hamas movement as the only organisation responsible for the firing of the missiles "even if it does not claim responsibility," said the spokesman.

In December 2008, Israel launched its devastating "Operation Cast Lead" into the Gaza Strip in response to rocket and mortar fire.

The 22-day war, which ended in a ceasefire on January 18, 2009, killed 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.

In its wake the number of Palestinian attacks dropped significantly, although 230 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel during 2010, according to army figures.

Right wingers in the Israeli government called on for tough military action yesterday against Gaza militants after a violent weekend on Israel's border with the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/735615/

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Rabbani denies Afghanistan to hold peace jirga with Pakistan

Jan 11, 2011

KABUL: The leader of an Afghan peace delegation to Pakistan denied on Monday that the two countries had reached an agreement to hold a peace gathering, contradicting an earlier statement from Islamabad.

A group from President Hamid Karzai’s High Council for Peace (HCP), led by former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, held high-level talks in the Pakistani capital last week.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the two neighbouring countries had reached an agreement to convene a peace jirga in the coming months, but Rabbani denied it.

“During our trip, while we were in Pakistan, there were some reports and rumours around, most of which were propaganda and were not true,” Rabbani told a press conference in Kabul.

“For example, it was said that there, we have requested the setting up of a jirga. We only said there that in the past, we had the regional peace jirga.”

However he added that talks had been held in a “sincere atmosphere” and the delegation had been given assurances by political, military and religious figures that they will “fully cooperate” with the peace process in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\01\11\story_11-1-2011_pg7_3

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FIA includes PM’s family friend Sukhera in Hajj probe

Jan 11, 2011

The Hajj Pilgrims arriving back from the Mecca. – Photo by AFP (File)

ISLAMABAD: The FIA had included Zain Sukhera, a family friend of the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, into the investigation of the Hajj Scandal. Sukera recorded his statement to the FIA on Monday, Sources told the DawnNews.

DawnNews had also obtained exclusive pictures of Sukhera taken with the President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani and his daughter.

According to the sources, Sukhera was appointed as a consultant in the ministry of Information Technology through PM’s approval in January 2010.

Sukhera was earlier alleged by the MNA Imran Shah of handing over the money to the PM’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani, after getting it from the former DG Hajj Rao Shakil (already arrested).

The matter of issuance of the diplomatic passports to Rao Shakil and his wife was still under investigation, although both were included in the Exit Control List (ECL) in 2009.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s son, Abdul Qadir Gilani told DawnNews that he had done nothing wrong and was ready to face the FIA. He further added that the accusers must come up with evidence.  – DawnNews

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/11/fia-includes-pm%E2%80%99s-family-friend-sukhera-in-hajj-probe.html

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Sudanese VP briefs Sultan on vote

By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

Jan 11, 2011

RIYADH/JUBA: Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, pledged to extend all support to Sudan during talks with the country’s vice president Ali Osman Taha who flew to Riyadh on Monday.

The talks mainly focused on the future of Saudi-Sudanese relations with special reference to a referendum in Sudan that may eventually create a new nation in Africa.

"Taha briefed Crown Prince Sultan on the latest political developments in Sudan, especially concerning the south Sudan referendum," said Osama Mahjoob Hassan, spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy, after the talks.

He said Taha also discussed with Prince Sultan the progress of "bilateral relations and ways of bolstering relations and cooperation further."

Hassan said the two leaders talked about "regional and international issues of mutual concern." Peace and stability as well as “building a better Sudan and a better Africa” were also discussed, he added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article232523.ece

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Palestinians say they’ll go to UN for recognition

Jan 11, 2011

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian foreign minister says he will seek United Nations recognition for a Palestinian state in September and is currently lobbying for votes worldwide.

The move is part of the Palestinians’ so-called Plan B of pursuing an alternative to a negotiated peace deal while talks with Israel remain stalled. Riad Malki’s announcement Sunday followed Chile’s recognition of Palestine, making it the fifth South American country to do so recently.

While a majority for Palestine in the General Assembly seems possible, recognition by the Security Council — whose decisions are legally binding — would likely face an American veto.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article232497.ece

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US citizen said held in Iran is safe in Turkey

11 January 2011

WASHINGTON - A US citizen reported by Iranian news organizations to have been detained in Iran is safe and in Turkey, the US State Department said on Monday but declined to name her or to say if she was ever in Iran.

The woman, identified as Hall Talayan by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency, has been the subject of conflicting reports over the last several days, including that she had been arrested on suspicion of spying.

US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said US diplomats had contacted the woman in Turkey by telephone.

“She is safe and did not request further assistance from us,” he told reporters. “As far as we’re concerned, this case is closed.”

Crowley said he did not have permission from the woman to disclose her name or comment further about her circumstances.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/January/middleeast_January159.xml&section=middleeast

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/jeddah--more-scholars-join-calls-for-stopping-supplications-against-non-muslims/d/3914


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