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Islamic World News ( 27 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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London: Media and politicians 'fuel rise in hate crimes against Muslims'

France: Muslim Mob Storms Mosque of Moderate Imam

Pak president Zardari sacrifices a black goat daily to ward off evil eye

South Africa websites hacked by extremists

Nothing like good or bad Taliban, Krishna tells Miliband

India being left out of Afghan matrix

Indian role in Afghanistan needs to be spelt out: US

Mohamed Ali Harrath, Islamic TV chief, is held over terror claims

Denmark urges full use of rules limiting face veil

Obama-speak: Hello, war on recession; Goodbye, war on terror

Terrorism cause of Pandits' migration from Valley: Congress

Sania Mirza's engagement called off

Pakistan's book foundation pulls out of Delhi fair

British lawyer denies Tony Blair pressure over Iraq war

Pak offers to help in talks between western alliance & Taliban

Afghanistan summit: Gordon Brown says 'tide must turn'

Iran 'executes two over post-election unrest'

‘Lashkar behind 26/11’

Rahul Bhatt’s hunch

London bridge? India, Pak ministers to meet

Hurriyat chief rejects govt's offer for talks

Court rejects Kasab's plea for Narayan Rane as 26/11 witness

Nothing like good or bad Taliban, Krishna tells Miliband

Taliban leader in IC-814 row off UN list

Did Headley try to eliminate a woman ‘friend’ in Mumbai?

Bangladesh hangs killers of independence leader Mujibur Rahman

Pak corroborates Kasab's statements, LeT behind 26/11

Bomb kills 3 children in northwest Pakistan

Not guilty, pleads Mumbai terror suspect Headley

9/11 panel faults Obama terror policy

SC strikes down UK terror laws

9 Pak schools near Army HQ to be shut

LeT is most potent of Pak-based terror groups: Expert

Headley flew PIA 7 times, named Pak father, yet went unchecked

Indonesia anti-government protests against corruption

Human Rights Watch rejects Hamas' claims on rockets

COAS asks NATO to understand Pak perspective

Saudi Arabia claims victory over Yemeni rebels

Obama approved secret operations in Yemen

Rumours about Hakimullah’s death

Taliban kill lashkar leader in Bajaur

8-year-old Somali boy whose plight drew global attention dies after surgery

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/london--media-and-politicians--fuel-rise-in-hate-crimes-against-muslims-/d/2429

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London: Media and politicians 'fuel rise in hate crimes against Muslims'

28 January 2010

Report blames 'Islamophobic, negative and unwarranted portrayals of Muslim London' for increase in attacks in the capital.

A rise in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in London is being encouraged by mainstream politicians and sections of the media, a study written by a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer, published yesterday, says.

Attacks ranging from death threats and murder to persistent low-level assaults, such as spitting and name-calling, are in part whipped up by extremists and sections of mainstream society, the study says.

The document – from the University of Exeter's European Muslim research centre – was written by Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and former special branch detective Dr Robert Lambert.

"The report provides prima facie and empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media," it says.

Lambert headed Scotland Yard's Muslim contact unit, which helped improve relations between the police and Britain's Islamic communities.

The unit won praise from even long-standing critics of the police, and Lambert was awarded an MBE.

The study mentions no newspapers or writers by name, but alleges that the book Londonistan, by the Mail writer Melanie Phillips, played a part in triggering hate crimes.

"Islamophobic, negative and unwarranted portrayals of Muslim London as Londonistan and Muslim Londoners as terrorists, sympathisers and subversives in sections of the media appear to provide the motivation for a significant number of anti-Muslim hate crimes," it says.

In his foreword, the rightwing journalist Peter Oborne writes: "The constant assault on Muslims from certain politicians, and above all in the mainstream media, has created an atmosphere where hate crimes, ranging from casual abuse to arson and even murder, are bound to occur and are even in a sense encouraged by mainstream society."

The report is based on interviews with witnesses to and victims of hate crimes, as well as police officers and former members of extremist organisations such as the British National Party.

The report cites interviews with rightwing extremists to try to prove a link between what is published in the mainstream media and the anti-Muslim views held by extremists.

It says: "An experienced BNP activist in London explains that he believes that most BNP supporters simply followed the lead set by their favourite tabloid commentators that they read every day.

"When these commentators singled out Muslims as threats to security and social cohesion, he says that it was perfectly natural for BNP supporters to adopt the same thinking."

The report says the extreme right are directing their violence more against Muslims than black or Asian Britons.

"Interviewees with long experience of extremist nationalist street violence in London are unequivocal in their assessment that Muslim Londoners are now a prime target for serious violence and intimidation in the way that Londoners from minority ethnic communities once were," it says.

"Similarly, interviewees with experience of London street gangs that have no connection or affinity with extremist nationalist politics are adamant that Muslims have become prime targets for serious attacks.

"In addition, well-informed interviewees are clear that the main perpetrators of low-level anti-Muslim hate crimes are not gangs but rather simply individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who feel licensed to abuse, assault and intimidate Muslims in terms that mirror elements of mainstream media and political comment that became commonplace during the last decade."

The report says the attacks come in part from street gangs targeting Muslims as punishment for members who have embraced Islam and left gang culture.

"Often, they know someone who has left their scene and become a devout Muslim," the document, which also drew on interviews with youth workers dealing with gangs, says.

"That is like a defection. And whether they do or don't, they say they know this or that terrorist who used to be a great person till he joined the Muslims."

The report also says gang members believe Muslims values "oppose everything these kids aspire to. Flash cars, nightclubs, expensive clothes, jewellery, drugs, alcohol, casual sex, glamour, dancing, music ...".

The study says the majority of hate crimes involve low-level incidentsand are not reported to police.

Most officers are committed to tackling anti-Muslim hate crimes seriously, but are undermined by a few colleagues who are not. But the study warns: "Anti-Muslim hate crimes have not been afforded the same priority attention [that] government and police have invested in racist hate crimes."

The report is dedicated to Yasir Abdelmouttalib, a PhD student who was left brain-damaged after a gang of youths attacked him in London, striking him over the head with a stick, as he made his way to a mosque while wearing Islamic clothing.

It cites other cases of rightwing extremists preparing hate campaigns and of serious attacks on Muslims in Britain.

These included: "Neil Lewington, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in July 2009 of a bomb plot; Terence Gavan, a violent extremist nationalist convicted in January 2010 of manufacturing nail bombs and other explosives, firearms and weapons; a gang attack in November 2009 on Muslim students at City University; the murder in September 2009 of Muslim pensioner, Ikram Syed ul-Haq; a serious assault in August 2007 on the Imam at London Central Mosque; and an arson attack in June 2009 on Greenwich Islamic Centre."

The study focuses on anti-Muslim violence in London, with its authors saying they will produce one covering the whole of the UK by this summer.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/28/hate-crimes-muslims-media-politicians

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France: Muslim Mob Storms Mosque of Moderate Imam

28 January 2010

PARIS - Tension is high in France where Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam at the Drancy mosque, who in recent days sided in favour of a law that bans the use of the full veil has been hit by serious threats. A group of some 80 people stormed the Drancy mosque yesterday evening, making threats against Chalgoumi, a great supporter of interreligious dialogue (above all between Jews and Muslims), who recently declared that he was against the use of the full veil in France. A group of 80 people, with their faces covered, stormed the mosque where some 200 worshippers were present, a council member of the Conference of Imams, chaired by Chalgoumi himself, told the France Presse agency, asking to remain anonymous.

They forced their way in and grabbed the microphones after a scuffle. At this point, they directed threats and curses against Imam, treating him as an unbeliever and an apostate and stating: we will trash his case, this Imam of the Jews... Launched in 2009, the Conference of Imams is a collective that promotes an interreligious dialogue and the promotion of open Islam. In recent days, Hassen Chalghoumi has said that he is in favour of a law that bans the use of the full veil in France, describing it as a prison for women, an instrument used for sexist domination and Muslim recruitment. The parliamentary mission, which has been studying the measures to be adopted against the full veil, has today recommended that France should solemnly declare itself in favour of the ban and has asked for the adoption of a series of measures to ban it from administration offices and public transport.

http://europenews.dk/en/node/29461

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Pak president Zardari sacrifices a black goat daily to ward off evil eye

28 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari, who is facing fresh challenges since the Supreme Court scrapped a graft amnesty that benefited him, has sacrificed hundreds of black goats to ward off the "evil eye" since he moved into the presidency in 2008.

A black goat is slaughtered almost daily to ward off the "evil eye" and protect Zardari from "black magic", the Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The President also reportedly uses only camel and goat milk due to superstitions, the report said.

However, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar brushed aside suggestions that Zardari is a superstitious man.

"It has been an old practice of Mr Zardari to offer 'sadqa' (charity). He has been doing this for a long time," Babar said.

Zardari's detractors, however, perceive his new-found religiosity as a sign of nervousness in the wake of the scrapping of the National Reconciliation Ordinance by the Supreme Court last month.

The NRO was issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to withdraw anti-corruption cases against Zardari and over 8,000 others.

The Dawn reported that hundreds of black goats had been sacrificed since Zardari moved into the presidency in September 2008.

Zardari's trusted personal servant, Bai Khan, buys the goats from Saidpur, a village in the heart of Islamabad. The animal is touched by Zardari before it is sent to his private house in Sector F-8/2 in the city to be sacrificed.

When Zardari moved into the presidency in September 2008, he was shown on state-run TV touching several black goats before they were led away by a member of his staff.

There are also reports that when Zardari moved into the President's House, a flock of black partridges were introduced there for their supposedly magical effects. However, the whole flock was electrocuted when a live wire fell on its cage.

A camel, a cow and a few goats have also been kept on the grounds of the presidency to provide milk for Zardari.

The President has also introduced the neem tree at his official residence for its antiseptic qualities.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-president-Zardari-sacrifices-a-black-goat-daily-to-ward-off-evil-eye/articleshow/5504857.cms

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South Africa websites hacked by extremists

28 January 2010

Investigations are underway after two Johannesburg-based websites were hacked this week.

It is alleged the sites were hacked by Muslim extremists.

The websites of the Gauteng Local Government and fashion magazine Marie Claire were tampered with.

Both websites were shut down after two groups, claiming to be Muslim extremists, posted offensive content.

Local Government’s Fred Mokoko said they were trying to determine who was responsible.

“We need to find our IT people, who requested that we speed up our process of launching the new website”.

http://www.eyewitnessnews.co.za/articleprog.aspx?id=31299

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Nothing like good or bad Taliban, Krishna tells Miliband

27 January 2010

LONDON: India today cautioned against accepting the "superfluous distinction" between good and bad Taliban and asserted that as a regional power  it would like to be a part of the solution in Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today met his British counterpart David Miliband here on the eve of a crucial meeting on Afghanistan convened by Britain and told him that "India would like things to get settled" in that country.

"I had a bilateral meeting with Foreign Secretary David Miliband. We had a useful exchange of views on few issues which concern both of our countries, in particular a reference to Afghanistan which happens to be in our neighbourhood," he said after the meeting.

Krishna told Miliband that al-Qaeda's propaganda of creating a distinction between the good and bad Taliban should not confuse the issues of terror.

"I drew Foreign Secretary's attention to the fact that al-Qaeda and its various manifestations and incarnations in different names and in different times should not confuse the issue on terror.

"India has seen through the games of Taliban that they were trying to create a superfluous distinction between good Taliban and a bad Taliban," he said.

Krishna said Talibanism was "terror driven" and India's assessment on the issue was "somewhat different".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nothing-like-good-or-bad-Taliban-Krishna-tells-Miliband/articleshow/5506148.cms

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India being left out of Afghan matrix

Indrani Bagch

28 January 2010

NEW DELHI: The US and UK want out of Afghanistan so they are looking for "friendly" Taliban to do deals with. Pakistan, Taliban and al-Qaida too  want the US out of Afghanistan so they can go back to doing what they were doing before the Americans invaded.

Increasingly, Hamid Karzai, sullen and soured with the US, too wants to do a deal with the Taliban. That leaves India -- with the biggest civilian assistance presence in Afghanistan -- which doesn't want the Taliban back in the saddle. But while everybody waxes eloquent about India's assistance, nobody gives it the time of day when it comes to Afghanistan's future.

At the London conference for Afghanistan starting on Thursday, the focus will be on re-energising a programme of reconciliation and reintegration of the Taliban within the establishment. Karzai supports this, while the Pakistani ISI is ready with its list of Taliban "contacts" to become the "honest" mediator between the west and Taliban, increasing their cache and their nuisance value. The new development has sparked off a debate within the MEA and PMO about India's role and aim in Afghanistan.

In a sign of how serious the west has become, on Wednesday, the UN removed five top Taliban commanders from its sanctions list to make a reconciliation easier. They include former foreign minister Abdul Wakil Muttawakil, former deputy foreign affairs minister Abdul Hakim, former deputy commerce minister Faiz Mohammad Faizan, a former official under the Taliban Shams-us-Safa and Mohammad Musa. They were under travel bans and assets freeze under UNSCR 1267.

In a recent interview, Mullah Omar's former trainer, retired brigadier from the Pakistan army Sultan Tarar, who goes by the name `Colonel Imam', clearly said Omar was "open" to talks with the west. "If a sincere message comes from the Americans, these people (the Taliban) are very big-hearted. They will listen. But if you try to divide the Taliban, you'll fail. Anyone who leaves Mullah Omar is no more Taliban. Such people are just trying to deceive," said Tarar.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-being-left-out-of-Afghan-matrix/articleshow/5506222.cms

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Indian role in Afghanistan needs to be spelt out: US

By Anwar Iqbal

28 Jan, 2010

WASHINGTON: The United States urged India on Wednesday to be transparent with Pakistan about their activities in Afghanistan.

At a briefing at the Pentagon, spokesman Geoff Morrell also discounted Indian role in training Afghan security forces.

The Pentagon press secretary said that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates had discussed the Afghan situation with Indian leaders, including the issues that concerned Pakistan, when he visited New Delhi last week.

“We did discuss Afghanistan with the government in Delhi and discussed the need for the Indian government to be as transparent as they can be with the Pakistani government about their activities in Afghanistan,” he said.

Asked if the United States would like India to train Afghan security forces, Mr Morrell said that the international community was not contemplating any such role for India.

“They clearly have contributed much in the monetary sense, financial support to the government in Afghanistan and that is greatly appreciated by us, by the Afghans and, I think, by the international community,” said the Pentagon spokesman.

“But beyond that, I think, you saw him (Secretary Gates) speak to this talk of perhaps the Indians providing training to Afghan forces. And that is not something that we, that I think, anybody is pursuing at this point.”

Secretary Gates told reporters in New Delhi last week that India and Pakistan had deep suspicious about each other’s activities in Afghanistan and stressed the need for “full transparency”.

Pakistan complains that India is using its influence in Afghanistan to stir trouble in Balochistan and had also provided weapons and financial assistance to the militants in Fata.

Islamabad also sees India’s strong presence in Afghanistan as a threat to its own security, fearing that New Delhi is trying to bring pressure on Pakistan from both its eastern and western borders.

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

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Mohamed Ali Harrath, Islamic TV chief, is held over terror claims

By Jonathan Clayton & Dominic Kennedy

28 January 2010

The head of the Islam Channel, Britain’s most popular Muslim television station, has been arrested in South Africa and faces deportation to Tunisia over terrorism allegations. The Times disclosed more than a year ago that Mohamed Ali Harrath, a Scotland Yard adviser against Islamic extremism, was wanted by Interpol because of his alleged activities in his homeland. His arrest on Sunday after a flight from London is being blamed by supporters on a security clampdown by the South African authorities in the run-up to this summer’s World Cup.

Harrath, 46, is the force behind the Islam Channel, which is watched by 59 per cent of British Muslims and beamed by satellite to 132 countries. He has been fêted by politicians, with the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, the minister Shahid Malik and the Tory frontbencher Dominic Grieve attending his annual festival. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave him a platform to address thousands in Trafalgar Square in (...)

http://europenews.dk/en/node/29457

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Denmark urges full use of rules limiting face veil

28 January 2010

COPENHAGEN -- Denmark's government says face-covering Muslim veils don't belong in Danish society but no ban is needed because their use can be limited with existing rules.

The center-right government says the burqa - an all-covering dress - and the niqab face veil are "diametrically opposed" to the values on which Danish society is built.

It calls for the full use of existing rules that allow schools and both public and private employers to demand that students, teachers and workers show their faces.

Thursday's statement follows months of discussion about whether Denmark should introduce a ban on burqas and niqabs - a discussion that is also taking place in France.

A government-commissioned report says only two or three women in Denmark wear burqas and up to 200 use niqabs.

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1103ap_eu_denmark_burqa.html

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Obama-speak: Hello, war on recession; Goodbye, war on terror

Chidanand Rajghatta

28 January 2010

WASHINGTON: Amid talk of fading allure and promises not kept, a feisty President Barack Obama, bruised by economic, political, and foreign policy crises in his first year in office, asserted that he was not a quitter and pledged he would deliver on the change he vowed to bring about in his rousing presidential campaign.

In his first state of the union address on Wednesday that was largely devoted to domestic issues, Obama also signaled to the international community that Washington intended to ease its way out of Iraq and Afghanistan while securing itself at home through better homeland security and preventing terrorists from getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction.

Only a few minutes and a bare 800 words of his 70-minute/7000-word address were devoted to foreign policy as the first African-American President in US history battled the perception that he has lost

his way in Washington. In sharp contrast to the many Bush speeches, he mentioned the word terror or terrorists only twice in his speech; there were nearly 50 references to jobs and economy, a clear indication of where the Obama administration’s emphasis will be in the remaining three years of its term.

As has now become the norm, the President invoked the growth of China and India to gee up the home constituency on the economic front, where a continuing slow-down and job loss has bedeviled his first year in office.

"Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse," he said, referring to the enervating political gridlock in the capital that he blames for stymieing some of his initiatives. "Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations -- they're not standing still."

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obama-speak-Hello-war-on-recession-Goodbye-war-on-terror/articleshow/5510000.cms

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Terrorism cause of Pandits' migration from Valley: Congress

28 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Congress on Wednesday ascribed the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley to a long spell of terrorism in Jammu and  Kashmir.

The reiteration of the party position on the sensitive issue came after a group of Kashmiri Pandits staged an angry demonstration outside the Congress headquarters protesting the alleged remarks by a party leader that the `fear psychosis' created by Jagmohan as governor in the 1990s was also one of the reasons for the exodus.

During the course of a television debate, party spokesman and MP Manish Tiwari had said that Jagmohan's role was one of the factors behind the migration of the community from Kashmir Valley.

Incensed by his remarks, the demonstrators burnt Tiwari's effigy outside the AICC office deploring his views.

Later, another party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters that the remarks had been torn out of context. "One cannot pluck out one phrase from a 45-minute discussion without context," Singhvi explained.

He said Congress had always held that terrorism was one of the reasons for the departure of the Pandits from the Valley.

Referring to Tiwari's remarks, he said, "He certainly never suggested that terrorism was not the cause of the Pandits' exodus."

When contacted Tiwari said it was not his intention to suggest that the terrorists and separatists did not create the condition compelling the migration of the Pandits from the Valley in 1990-91.

"Being a victim of terror myself, I fully understand and identify with their anguish," he said referring to his father's killing by the Punjab militants.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Terrorism-cause-of-Pandits-migration-from-Valley-Congress/articleshow/5506288.cms

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Sania Mirza's engagement called off

Prajwal Hegde

28 January 2010

BANGALORE: Sania Mirza hasn't had the best of starts to the 2010 season - on and off court. A broken service game is one thing, but a broken Sania

engagement or a broken heart, is quite another.

Earlier in the week, the 23-year-old's father Imran, who coaches Sania and manages her career, called off his daughter's engagement to Mohammed Sohrab Mirza. Sania was formally engaged to the fellow Hyderabadi and longtime friend, now studying business in the United Kingdom, at a luxury hotel near her home last July.

The Indian star categorically refused to get into the why and what of the matter, but confirmed her engagement was off. "We were friends for half a decade, but found ourselves incompatible during our engagement period. I wish Sohrab the best in life," she said.

Even before the two got engaged, questions were doing the rounds about whether Mohammed could cope with the demands of being life-partner to a widely-travelled, hugely-popular athlete. Sania, who has been struggling with the differences for the last couple of months, hasn't taken the break-up well as her results on court show. However, she's doing what she always does at a time of crisis - surround herself with family and friends.

As it stands, Sania will have to turn her focus to the courts, and in time might find comfort there. She flies out to Kuala Lumpur late on Friday, where she leads India's challenge in the Fed Cup Asia Oceania Group II competition, starting February 2.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/tennis/top-stories/Sania-Mirzas-engagement-called-off/articleshow/5506727.cms

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Pakistan's book foundation pulls out of Delhi fair

28 January 201

NEW DELHI: The National Book Foundation of Pakistan has pulled out of the 19th New Delhi World Book Fair, a few days after the country's chief election commissioner and a parliamentary delegation cancelled their visits to India to protest the snubbing of Pakistani cricketers at the IPL auction.

"There is a slight disappointment as the National Book Foundation of Pakistan pulled out of the fair yesterday. However, there are other private publishers from Pakistan who are still part of the fair," said Nuzhat Hassan, director of the National Book Trust (NBT), which is organising the fair.

She, however, did not specify any particular reason for the pull out.

A total of 1,200 Indian and foreign publishers are participating in the fair, being held Jan 30-Feb 7 in the capital.

Amongst the many highlights of this biennial fair is the theme pavilion this time which focuses on books written on sports in India in view of the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to take place in Delhi Oct 3-14.

Titled "Reading our Common Wealth: An International Rights Exhibition of Books on Sports in India", the theme pavilion will offer 700 titles published by 75 publishers across the country in different genres of sports.

Hassan said: "We sent out a special request to all publishers in India to bring their books on sports for the fair. We have got a good response and hope that people benefit from this effort".

"Another highlight of the festival is a special International Rights catalogue with bibliographic and copyright details of 550 titles. The idea is to exchange copyrights about books on sports among publishers so that a wider understanding about sporting culture can be arrived at," Hassan told reporters at a press meet here.

There will also be talks by sports personalities like Milkha Singh and Zafar Iqbal in the fair. Thirty-three other programmes, which include seminars, book launches and quizzes, are also a part of the itinerary.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Pakistans-book-foundation-pulls-out-of-Delhi-fair/articleshow/5508888.cms

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British lawyer denies Tony Blair pressure over Iraq war

28 January 2010

LONDON: The British government lawyer who approved the 2003 invasion of Iraq admitted on Wednesday he had doubted the legal case for war -- but denied that Tony Blair's aides pressured him into changing his mind.

Giving evidence to the public inquiry into the war, former attorney general Peter Goldsmith said he had decided it was lawful just one month before the March 2003 invasion, following discussions with US and British officials.

He acknowledged he had amended his legal opinion in that period, but dismissed as "complete and utter nonsense" reports that this was after strong-arm tactics by aides to former prime minister Blair.

Goldsmith said the armed forces had requested that he give a simple 'yes' or 'no' on whether the war would be legal, amid concerns over possible prosecutions.

Their fears weighed on his mind, but "the consequences for the government did not", he said.

Blair is due to make his long-awaited appearance at the inquiry in London on Friday, where the legal arguments are likely to take centre stage following the declaration this week by two ex-government lawyers that the war was illegal.

There has been persistent speculation over whether Goldsmith was pressured into giving his approval, which was necessary for Blair to take Britain into the conflict alongside then US president George W. Bush.

Goldsmith said that in 2002 he had made clear to ministers, including Blair, that war would not be justified by self-defence because "I didn't see any evidence of an imminent threat" to Britain from Iraq.

Any action would therefore have to be based on United Nations declarations, such as resolution 1441 passed in November 2002, which gave Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a final chance to give up weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Goldsmith said he initially questioned this resolution as a basis for military action, saying it was "not crystal clear" and there was a "plausible" case for suggesting that a further UN resolution was needed to authorise force.

However, on February 27 he told Blair that, after talks with British and US officials about the 1441 negotiations and after examining the UN material, he believed that no such action was necessary.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/British-lawyer-denies-Tony-Blair-pressure-over-Iraq-war/articleshow/5507097.cms

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Pak offers to help in talks between western alliance & Taliban

28 January 2010

LONDON: Pakistan has offered to mediate in reconciliation talks between the Western Alliance and Taliban, if the country is "asked to do so", its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Qureshi, who is here to attend a major international conference on way forward in Afghanistan, claimed Pakistan is uniquely placed to help in talks, which he said may aid in facilitating reintegration of the strife-torn nation.

"Pakistan is perhaps better placed than any other country in the world to support Afghan reintegration and reconciliation. Why? We speak the same language, we have common tribes, a common religion, we have a commonality of history, culture and tradition," Qureshi claimed.

"But it (Pakistani mediation) depends on whether we are asked to do so. If asked, the government of Pakistan would be happy to facilitate," the Pakistan Foreign Minister was quoted as saying by British newspaper 'The Guardian'.

Qureshi's offer comes amidst reports that Pakistan, particularly its intelligence agencies, are maintaining links with Taliban, who operate from the lawless tribal region between Afganistan and Pakistan.

The London conference is expected to give a nod for starting negotiations with moderate elements of Taliban. In the run-up to the conference, the UN has announced removing the names of five top Taliban commanders from the sanctions list.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-offers-to-help-in-talks-between-western-alliance-Taliban/articleshow/5509539.cms

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Afghanistan summit: Gordon Brown says 'tide must turn'

28 January 2010

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said mid-2011 should be the deadline for "turning the tide" in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a 70-nation London summit on the future of Afghanistan, he said the nations faced "a decisive time".

Before the talks began, President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan could need foreign support for its security forces for up to 15 years.

He later announced plans to reintegrate some Taliban fighters into society.

The Taliban have ruled out talks until foreign forces leave Afghanistan.

Foreign ministers from around the world are expected to give renewed momentum to nation-building in Afghanistan during the one-day summit.

"We must reach out to all our countrymen, especially our disenchanted brothers who are not part of al-Qaeda or other terrorist networks," Mr Karzai told the meeting.

Opening the conference, Mr Brown said it marked the "beginning of the transition process".

"By the middle of next year, we have to turn the tide in the fight against the insurgency," he said.

Pledging support for the expansion of the Afghan security forces, Mr Brown said: "We will agree today that the Afghan National Army will number 134,000 by October 2010, and 171,600 by October 2011.

"And similarly today we will commit to supporting a police reform plan, with Afghan national police numbers reaching 109,000 by October this year, and 134,000 by October 2011."

This would bring Afghan national security forces to 300,000, a presence far bigger than the coalition forces, Mr Brown said.

'Financially able'

The talks are being hosted by the UK, UN and the Afghan government.

In his address, Mr Karzai reiterated a long-standing call for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to "kindly play a role to guide peace and assist the process".

Karzai pledges to tackle corruption

Senior Taliban figures have good contacts with Saudi Arabia and have been engaged in a series of secret peace talks there over the years since they lost power in Afghanistan in 2001.

BBC international development correspondent David Lyon says that in calling for Saudi involvement in an Afghan loya jirga (tribal council) in the spring, the first major tribal meeting for eight years, Mr Karzai is signalling that there may be a wider peace deal involving more key Taliban figures.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8484212.stm

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Iran 'executes two over post-election unrest'

28 January 2010

Thousands of opposition supporters were detained at post-election protests

Iran has executed two men arrested during the period of widespread unrest that erupted after June's disputed presidential election, reports say.

They had been convicted of being "enemies of God", members of armed groups and trying to topple the Islamic establishment, Isna news agency said.

The executions are believed to be the first related to last year's protests.

Millions demanded a re-run of June's poll at the largest demonstrations in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Opposition groups said it had been rigged to ensure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a charge the government denied.

At least 30 protesters have been killed in clashes since the elections, although the opposition says more than 70 have died. Thousands have been detained and some 200 activists remain behind bars.

Last month, eight people were killed in clashes at demonstrations on Ashura, one of the holiest days in the Shia Muslim calendar.

"Following the riots and anti-revolutionary measures in recent months, particularly on the day of Ashura, a Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court branch considered the cases of a number of accused and handed down death sentences against 11 of those," Isna said, quoting a statement from the Tehran prosecutor's office.

"The sentences against two of these people... were carried out today at dawn and the accused were hanged," the semi-official agency said, adding the sentences had been confirmed by an appeal court.

It named them as Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.

"The sentences for the other nine of the accused in recent months' riots are at the appeal stage... upon confirmation, measures will be undertaken to implement the sentences," Isna added.

'Show trial'

There has been no independent confirmation of the executions or the names, but opposition groups had previously said Mr Ali-Zamani was sentenced to death in October.

He and one other person were believed to have been convicted for ties with the Kingdom Assembly of Iran (Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran), a banned monarchist group.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8484478.stm

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 ‘Lashkar behind 26/11’

January 28, 2010

All the seven terrorists arrested in Pakistan for their involvement in the Mumbai attacks belonged to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and there is “sufficient incriminating evidence against them,” investigators have said.

Pakistani investigators in a report to an anti-terrorism court also corroborated the statement made by Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman arrested in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. The report states that there is “sufficient incriminating evidence on record against those arrested for orchestrating the Mumbai attacks.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/pakistan/Lashkar-behind-26-11/Article1-502495.aspx

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Rahul Bhatt’s hunch

28 January 2010

London: Rahul Bhatt, son of film director Mahesh Bhatt, is “convinced” that Pakistani-American LeT operative, David Headley was working for the FBI when he was in Mumbai before the 26/11 terror attacks.

“I’m convinced Headley was working for the Americans, for the FBI. I’d nicknamed him agent Headley,” Mr. Rahul Bhatt said in an interview to U.K.’s Channel 4.

“It was the Americans’ deepest wish to infiltrate Al-Qaeda. And David did exactly that for them. I had a hunch then and I have a hunch now that he was an American agent of some sort,” he said.

“You know, he even begged me to stop calling him ‘Agent Headley’ in public. Now I know why,” he was quoted as saying.

“He was a great guy. He was charming, had a great sense of humour and was caring, sensitive and very well-informed.

“I feel hurt. I liked hanging out with him because he could teach me things about my areas of interest, be it guns, intelligence, spy-craft,” he said.

“I feel hurt, because it’s a sort of rape when you have a close friend who ... [does not finish sentence]. I have stopped trusting people,” he said.

Mr. Bhatt became friendly with Headley during his stay in India as a surveillance scout for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Mr. Rahul Bhatt and his associate Vilas Varak were trainers at the gym Moksh in Mumbai and met Headley during his visits there.

“Hey guys, so sorry to see what has happened in Mumbai. We should go over there and kick their…” the email sent to Rahul by Headley on December 11, 2008, read.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/28/stories/2010012854341000.htm

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London bridge? India, Pak ministers to meet

ASHIS RAY

28 January 2010

LONDON: External affairs minister S M Krishna and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were expected to meet at a dinner on Wednesday night scheduled to be hosted by British foreign secretary David Miliband on the eve of Thursday's 60-nation Afghanistan Conference. This was revealed by a senior Indian diplomat.

The meeting hadn't taken place at the time of going to press. Earlier in the day, replying to a question at a media conference, Krishna said, "I'll be delighted to meet the Pakistani foreign minister," adding, "I'll be only too willing."

It wasn't clear whether the two ministers would actually retreat to corner or another room to hold a dialogue or whether this will be formal or informal. The two, however, would come face to face for the first time since September 9, 2009, when they met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Pakistan has been keen on a resumption of peace process. But India has restricted exchange to co-operation on the 26/11 terrorist attack.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/London-bridge-India-Pak-ministers-to-meet/articleshow/5507238.cms

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Hurriyat chief rejects govt's offer for talks

28 January 2010

SRINAGAR: Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday rejected J&K government's fresh offer for talks saying "human rights  violations and the dialogue process can't go hand in hand".

He maintained there was no scope of joining talks "unless people see some change in ground realities".

He said Hurriyat would return to the talks table only if its six conditions were met. The Hurriyat has sought inclusion of Pakistan in the talks, unconditional release of political prisoners, revocation of draconian laws, withdrawal of troops, free cross-LoC trade and resumption of India-Pakistan peace process as prerequisites for the talks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hurriyat-chief-rejects-govts-offer-for-talks/articleshow/5507219.cms

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Court rejects Kasab's plea for Narayan Rane as 26/11 witness

27 January 2010

MUMBAI: Seeking to delay the 26/11 trial, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab today sought to call Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane as a defence  witness but the special court rejected the plea terming his request as "irrelevant" and concluded the recording of evidence.

Special court judge M L Tahaliyani adjourned the case to February 20 for arguments.

Kasab made the request through his lawyer K P Pawar, who pleaded that Revenue Minister Rane be examined as defence witness as he had made a public statement that some local elements had helped the 26/11 terrorists. Soon after the carnage, Rane said he knew some politicians who had provided monetary and logistical support to terrorists.

However, when Solapur-based Purushottam Barde filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking an inquiry into his statement, Rane, in an affidavit said that he had simply referred to N N Vohra committee's report on criminalisation of politics and not talked about individuals.

Pawar contended that since Kasab was charged with participating in the conspiracy, Rane's evidence would throw light on people involved in planning and executing the attacks.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam opposed Kasab's plea saying Rane's deposition was not relevant to the case.

The judge felt that Rane's deposition would not help Kasab in any way and would be a waste of time.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Court-rejects-Kasabs-plea-for-Narayan-Rane-as-26/11-witness/articleshow/5506171.cms

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Taliban leader in IC-814 row off UN list

Chidanand Rajghatta

28 January 2010

WASHINGTON: Get ready to say hello to the medieval folks who shielded the Kandahar hijackers and blew up the Bamiyan Buddha. The US and its  allies are preparing ground to accommodate the so-called "good" or "reconcilable" Taliban in the power structure in Afghanistan.

In concerted moves, the Obama administration and key US allies Japan, Germany, UK are pooling together a $500 million fund to "reintegrate" (euphemism for buy) Taliban elements who forswear terrorism and opposition to the Karzai government.

Meanwhile, moving lock step with the US and its allies, the United Nations on Tuesday removed five senior Taliban leaders, including former foreign minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, from a sanctions list that subjected them to a travel ban and assets freeze.

Both developments have the consent of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. They will be presented and discussed in greater detail in London on Thursday at a day-long conference of 60 nations to examine the next steps in Afghanistan. India's external affairs minister S M Krishna is expected to attend, as will US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and many of her counterparts.

The emerging rehabilitation of the Taliban is a serious issue for New Delhi. India does not differentiate between good and bad Taliban, a sentiment that is now coursing through the US amid growing public disenchantment with the complex war in Afghanistan.

India has good reason to remember Muttawakil. He was the Taliban foreign minister at the time of the 1999 IC-814 hijacking, and according to several accounts at that time, he facilitated (or at least failed to stop) the escape of five Pakistani hijackers, including the brother and brother-in-law of the ISI stooge Masood Azhar, into Pakistan.

He also defended the blowing up a few months later of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan during the Taliban's rule, saying it was against the tenets of Islam.

But according to the US, he is a much chastened man after a stint under US custody and years of house arrest. In fact, the revised resume of Muttawakil claims he tried to warn US about 9/11, disapproved the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha, and opposed Taliban's alliance with al-Qaida.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Taliban-leader-in-IC-814-row-off-UN-list/articleshow/5507048.cms

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Did Headley try to eliminate a woman ‘friend’ in Mumbai?

28 January 2010

Mumbai: Did Pakistani-American terror suspect David Headley try to eliminate his woman ‘friend’ — a former woman hotel executive — who could provide vital evidence to investigators?

Piecing together material and circumstantial evidence collected during the probe, security agencies have raised this question after finding that the Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who were behind the 26/11 attacks had planted an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) below the bakery at Hotel Oberoi. The woman’s family ran the bakery.

Official sources said on Wednesday that the IED might have been kept there at the instruction of Headley as he possibly wanted no crucial evidence about his presence in Mumbai.

The sources said the woman had told the probe team about the places frequented by Headley and his association with various people, including Rahul Bhatt and other socialites, who were questioned by the National Investigation Agency.

The woman’s identity was not revealed.

Friendship downplayed

The mother of the 30-year-old woman sought to downplay her alleged friendship with Headley, while the sources said the executive had accompanied him to various dinners and late-night parties.

The statement of the woman had since been recorded by the NIA, which has registered cases against Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for allegedly conspiring to wage a war against the country and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. — PTI

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/28/stories/2010012854321000.htm

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Bangladesh hangs killers of independence leader Mujibur Rahman

28 January 2010

DHAKA: Bangladesh on Thursday executed the five killers of the nation's founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose assassination in a 1975  coup reverberates to this day.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the men's final attempt to challenge their sentences for killing Mujib, as he was widely known. The president rejected last-minute appeals for clemency from two of the men.

"All five of the killers have now been executed," deputy law minister Kamrul Islam told reporters at the prison at around 1:00am, adding that the convicts had all been hanged.

Nearly a thousand people gathered outside the prison in Old Dhaka. Dozens of ruling Awami League supporters were present, holding banners with slogans saying: "Justice at last" and "Do not bury them in Bangladeshi soil".

Coffins for the five had been taken into the jail Wednesday evening. The prison was surrounded by heavily armed Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) troops and police.

The families of the convicts had been called during the day by the prison authorities. Mahsuza Pasha, sister of one of the convicts -- Bazlul Huda -- said she had said goodbye to her brother, a former army officer.

"My brother is a martyr," she said. "We haven't been given justice. I was allowed to see my brother one last time today."

Mujib led Bangladesh to independence in 1971 during a bloody war against Pakistan.

He was gunned down at his home, along with his wife and three sons, in a military coup on August 15, 1975. His daughter, the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was abroad at the time.

A total of 20 people, including domestic staff, were killed when the group of officers stormed his house, but the murder charges that were brought only related to Mujib's death.

The case was first heard in 1996 when Hasina became premier for the first time and removed a legal barrier enacted by the post-Mujib government to protect the accused men.

In 1998, 15 men were found guilty and sentenced to death.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-hangs-killers-of-independence-leader-Mujibur-Rahman/articleshow/5506731.cms

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Pak corroborates Kasab's statements, LeT behind 26/11

27 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani investigators have corroborated the statement made by Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman arrested in Mumbai, even as they concluded that almost all the terrorists involved in the 26/11 attack belonged to LeT and there is "sufficient evidence" to prosecute them. ( Watch Video )

The report - which was presented to the anti-terror court conducting the trial of seven accused, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi - states that there is "sufficient incriminating evidence on record against those arrested for orchestrating the Mumbai attacks."

The report further said that evidence collected by Pakistani investigators had corroborated the statement made by Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone attacker arrested in Mumbai.

Pakistani prosecutors and investigators have also categorically stated in the report that almost all the accused belong to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and that the attacks in November 2008 were masterminded by Lakhvi, Dawn News reported on Wednesday.

The report, a copy of which was accessed by the channel, said: "The joint investigation team headed by the Director of the Special Investigation Group of the Federal Investigation Agency has scrutinised the entire evidence collected during the inquiry."

It also collected evidence "during the investigation and has unanimously agreed that substantial incriminating evidence is available on the record directly connecting all the accused persons with the commission of the offence."

The 61-page report, which was compiled by a team of experts led by FIA officials, was presented to the anti-terror court in Rawalpindi in July last year.

It contains the photographs of all the accused, including those who are still at large and have been declared "proclaimed offenders." Those who are still at large include crew members of the Al-Fauz and Hussaini, the two boats used by the ten terrorists who attacked India's financial hub.

The report also contains a list of 150 documents and items of evidence, including proof and information provided by India. Investigators had also corroborated Kasab's statement about his family and his native village of Faridkot in Pakistan's Punjab province by collecting records from his school and local voters' list.

The report concluded that all the accused should be convicted because there is sufficient incriminating evidence against them. Diplomatic sources said that the report made public by the news channel did not contain any information that was not included in the dossiers provided by Islamabad to New Delhi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-corroborates-Kasabs-statements-LeT-behind-26/11/articleshow/5506143.cms

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Bomb kills 3 children in northwest Pakistan

27 January 2010

PESHAWAR: Three children were killed when a bomb exploded today in a village in northwest Pakistan, a police official said, blaming Islamist  militants for planting the device in the restive area.

The timed bomb went off in a remote village in mountainous Dir district, where Pakistan's military last year embarked on an offensive to drive out Taliban militants who had taken over pockets of the area.

"Three children were killed on the spot. Apparently it is an act of terrorism. The militants want to create fear and terrify the residents," district police chief Raoof Khan told AFP.

He said the three boys -- two brothers and their cousin aged between eight and twelve -- were killed as they grazed their families' goats in the area, about 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of regional capital Peshawar.

In a similar incident earlier this month in northwest Tank district, one boy was killed and five other children wounded when the youngsters mistook a mine for a football and began playing with it, causing it to explode.

It was unclear in that incident if the bomb was planted by militants or unexploded ordnance inadvertently imported from Afghanistan as scrap metal.

More than 2,900 people have been killed since July 2007 in attacks across Pakistan, most blamed on the Taliban, and suicide blasts and other attacks are increasingly targeting civilians, with children often the victims.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Bomb-kills-3-children-in-northwest-Pakistan/articleshow/5505660.cms

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Not guilty, pleads Mumbai terror suspect Headley

28 January 2010

Terror suspect David Headley, who changed his name to hide his Pakistani origin, has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including scouting targets for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people.

Son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley, who changed his name from Daood Sayed Gilani in 2006 to hide his Pakistani origin before travelling to India, entered his plea before US Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in Chicago federal court Wednesday.

Headley also denied that he provided material support to the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the Nov 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks and for a plot to attack a Danish newspaper.

Prosecutors and his lawyer have both said Headley is cooperating with the government.

"He knows the seriousness and the gravity of the charges against him," Headley's defence lawyer John Theis told reporters after the hearing.

Theis said he may report on progress toward "an ultimate disposition" of the case at a hearing set for Feb 23 before US District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

Headley, who was arrested by US authorities Oct 3 last year, entered a plea of not guilty to the same charges last month.

The US Justice Department Jan 14 announced the unsealing of a fresh indictment against Headley and three other men.

Also named in the indictment were Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed and Ilyas Kashmiri, who prosecutors called "an allegedly influential terrorist organisation leader" in Pakistan with ties to Al Qaeda.

Headley, who is accused of conspiring to bomb public places in India, resulting in the deaths of US nationals, faces a possible death sentence if convicted. Prosecutors said he made five trips to Mumbai from 2006 to 2008, taking photographs and making videotapes of the targets later attacked.

Headley was remanded to federal custody Wednesday.

Rana faces two counts of providing material support to terrorism and one count of providing material support to the LeT. He pleaded not guilty before the US court Jan 25 and is being held without bail. The other two defendants remain at large, the prosecutors said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/232225/Not-guilty-pleads-Mumbai-terror-suspect-Headley.html

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9/11 panel faults Obama terror policy

S Rajagopalan | Washington

US President Barack Obama’s handling of the challenge of terrorism has come under criticism from the top guns of the bipartisan commission that went into the 9/11 terror strikes and came up with voluminous recommendations.

At a Congressional hearing, Thomas Kean, the former Republican chairman of the commission, commented that Obama did not devote enough attention to fighting terrorism last year because he was distracted by legislative battles over healthcare and climate change.

Concurring with him, Lee Hamilton, the panel’s former Democratic vice-chairman, said: “We have been concerned that our sense of urgency on terrorism has been low. We must reject complacency and recognize we still face a serious threat from organizations like Al-Qaeda. This is not a reason for panic but for a concerted, comprehensive effort.”

They termed the abortive bid to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day “a wake-up call”, suggesting it was time the Obama administration got its act together on the counter-terrorism front. Both of them called upon Obama to step in and resolve the turf battles between the various intelligence agencies.

“In a way, this Christmas Day bomber did us a favour because everyone (was) talking about healthcare, cap-and-trade….and I think everyone from the president on down got a little distracted and things got a little off track,” Kean said.

The two leaders stressed that the failure to detect and thwart terrorist attacks at the Fort Hood army base in Texas and aboard the Northwest flight over Detroit underscore continued tensions among components of the intelligence community.

“The intelligence community is relatively new to the president,” said Hamilton, noting: “My impression is his instincts are probably good but he is still kind of feeling his way. I do not think he has a firm grasp yet of the intelligence community. Therefore, I’m pretty strong in my thought that he has to step in pretty hard here or some of these tensions that have surfaced will be exacerbated.”

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/232183/9/11-panel-faults-Obama-terror-policy.html

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SC strikes down UK terror laws

28 January 2010

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the Government overstepped its power when it froze the bank accounts of five terrorist suspects without a vote in Parliament. The court also ruled that the suspects’ names should be made public, after a challenge by media groups. They had initially been granted anonymity and identified only by their initials.

The five men had their assets frozen by the Treasury in 2006 and 2007 and have had to apply for permission even to buy groceries and other essentials. They are accused by the Government of offences including meeting al-Qaida leaders and supporting the terrorist groups in Pakistan, but they have not been charged or convicted by any court.

The court said on Wednesday that the Treasury did not have the power to make orders that ‘interfere so profoundly with individuals’ fundamental rights without parliamentary scrutiny’. The lead justice, Lord Phillips, said the ruling “upholds the supremacy of Parliament in deciding whether or not measures should be imposed that affect the fundamental rights of those in this country”.

The decision is the latest in a series of rulings undermining tough anti-terror measures introduced by British Government after the Septem-ber 11, 2001 attacks.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/232178/SC-strikes-down-UK-terror-laws.html

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9 Pak schools near Army HQ to be shut

28 January 2010

Islamabad, Jan. 27: Nine schools near the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, near here, will be closed for security reasons, officials said, reports our Pakistan correspondent.

The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) had given a deadline of April 10 to the private schools near the GHQ to close down their campuses otherwise they would be forcibly evicted. RCB chief executive officer Adil Rafiq said that they would close down all private schools in cantonment's residential areas due to several reasons, including security threats.

"We cannot afford any school near the GHQ due to the law and order situation," Mr Rafiq said. He said that the RCB enforces orders of higher authorities.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/9-pak-schools-near-army-hq-to-be-shut.aspx

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LeT is most potent of Pak-based terror groups: Expert

Jan 28, 2010

Washington : Outlawed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which has been responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, is the most potent Pakistan-based terror groups, chief of an eminent American think-tank has said.

Unlike the other Pakistan-based terrorist outfits, LeT has been successful in recruiting professionals and highly educated individuals from urban centres in Pakistan, Steve Coll, president of the New America Foundation told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.

"Perhaps the most potent of these groups in the Pakistan-Afghan region is Lashkar-e-Toiba. It's an India-focused group, but along with splinters like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and various cells that spin off from those, they've been able to recruit very talented operatives from educated classes in urban centres.

I think this makes them distinctive in comparison to the Afghan Taliban for example," Coll said in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

The powerful House Armed Services Committee had convened a hearing on "Al Qaeda in 2010: How should the US respond?" Appearing before the Congressional committee, Coll said LeT's ranks include scores of volunteer doctors and post-graduate professionals.

"One of these sub-networks did find the time and space to reform and plot an attempt of the Mumbai type. It could create far more destructive effects than is typically available to these single operators in small groups that al-Qaeda has been organising," he said.

"In my own judgement, I think Mumbai is actually the most serious warning in the succession of plots, along with the 2006 attempted planes bombing conspiracy in Britain, simply because of its scale and what it tells you about the geographical space and the time and unmolested time that the Mumbai organisers had to carry off a very creative and complicated attack," Coll said.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/let-is-most-potent-of-pakbased-terror-groups-expert/572456/

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Headley flew PIA 7 times, named Pak father, yet went unchecked

Ritu Sarin

Jan 28, 2010

New Delhi : In his flights to and from India, Lashkar-e-Toiba suspect David Coleman Headley flew Pakistan International Airlines seven times, mentioned his Pakistani father’s name — Syed Akhtar Geelani — in his passport and yet never raised a red flag in Indian immigration.

Top Intelligence sources have confirmed this to The Indian Express adding that as a cover, he used fake references, false entries, a quick switch of hotels — from the most expensive in Mumbai to backpacker haunts in Delhi — a shell office, shopping sprees in malls and bookstores.

His PIA flights assume significance given that their passenger manifests are routinely put through rigorous scrutiny and checks. In fact, these flights are timed in off-peak hours to facilitate careful inspection. Incidentally, Headley’s passport had his “American name,” instead of his original name Daood Geelani but it did mention his father’s name as Syed Akhtar Geelani.

The multi-agency probe into the nine visits made by Headley (between September 2006 and March 2009) and the single visit of his associate, Tahawwur Rana (November 2008) has uncovered a sinister modus operandi as the duo went about setting the stage for the Mumbai attacks.

In the case of visas of Rana and his wife Samraz, it is now confirmed that the permits were issued “under the discretion of the Consul General,” and applied for on October 22, 2008.

In the afternoon of October 31, sources said, Rana put in a request for the unstamped visas to be returned to him but curiously by the same evening, the visas were issued.

And it was only after the FBI moved in that the Indian Consulate discovered that details of the “sponsors” given in Rana’s visa application were mostly inaccurate.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/headley-flew-pia-7-times-named-pak-father-yet-went-unchecked/572352/

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Indonesia anti-government protests against corruption

28 January 2010

Thousands of Indonesian demonstrators have taken to the streets in anti-government protests.

Protesters say President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has not delivered on his promise to eradicate corruption during the first 100 days of his second term.

Correspondents say Mr Yudhoyono still has strong support, but his popularity has fallen slightly in recent polls.

The protesters' main complaint centres on the arrest of two officials from the anti-corruption commission.

Many are also angry at the government's bail-out of one particular bank, Bank Century, during the financial crisis.

Difficult times

President Yudhoyono was voted in with an overwhelming majority last year, but 100 days into his second term, he is now facing one of his most difficult times in office.

In several cities across the country, people have come out to mark the anniversary with street protests. Numbers range from 1,000 to 5,000 people, according to the BBC correspondent in Jakarta, Karishma Vaswani.

Two corruption scandals have dogged Mr Yudhoyono's administration in recent months.

First there was the anti-corruption commission saga, which began in November and saw two officials of the powerful agency detained by the police.

Many Indonesians saw the arrests as an attempt to unfairly target one of the few institutions people think of as credible.

The other scandal involves Bank Century, a small Indonesian lender that was bailed out by the Indonesian central bank at the height of the financial crisis last year.

Allegations of misconduct have been levelled at the two people in charge of handling the bail-out - Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Vice-President Boediono, two key members of President Yudhoyono's new cabinet.

A parliamentary investigation is under way to determine whether the two officials misused their powers to save Bank Century.

After the bail-out many of the bank's wealthy clients allegedly donated money to the president's election campaign.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8484822.stm

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Human Rights Watch rejects Hamas' claims on rockets

28 January 2010

Human Rights Watch has rejected claims by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that it did not target civilians during the war in Gaza a year ago.

Hamas said that the hundreds of missiles launched at Israel during an offensive on the Gaza Strip were targeted at the Israeli military.

But Human Rights Watch said the claim Hamas rockets only accidentally harmed civilians was "belied by the facts".

A UN-backed report accused both Hamas and Israel of committing war crimes.

Israel launched a 22-day offensive against the Gaza Strip in December 2008, bombing Palestinian cities before sending in ground troops.

Hamas launched its highly inaccurate Qassam rockets in increased numbers at Israeli towns near the Gaza border, before agreeing to a ceasefire.

Palestinians and rights groups say more than 1,400 Gazans died conflict but Israel puts the figure at 1,166. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed.

'War crime'

"Hamas' claim that rockets were intended to hit Israeli military targets and only accidentally harmed civilians is belied by the facts," the New York based group said.

"Civilians were the target, deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime."

A former international war crimes prosecutor, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, investigated the offensive and said crimes had been committed on both sides.

The UN General Assembly demanded that both sides launch independent investigations into their behaviour during the offensive, called Operation Cast Lead by the Israeli Defence Force.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8484947.stm

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COAS asks Nato to understand Pak perspective

January 28, 2010

BRUSSELS: Top officers from NATO, Russia and Pakistan gave unanimous backing on Wednesday to the new international strategy in Afghanistan, the head of the alliance’s military committee said.

“There was a feeling in the room that we are getting it right,” Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters after talks in Brussels with chiefs of military staff from more than 60 countries. Di Paola said Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov and his Pakistani counterpart Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had underlined that NATO’S success in defeating the insurgency would have important repercussions for their nations. “We have a greater interest than you that you succeed, that’s what he said,” Makarov had told the meeting of top brass at the Nato headquarters, Di Paola said.

General Kayani “said much the same thing as Nikolai: “We have an even greater interest than you to have a peaceful, stable Afghanistan,” he said. Di Paola said the Pakistani general was “incredibly in tune” with the approach of US General Stanley McChrystal, who also attended, to put the protection of the Afghan civilians at the heart of the international strategy.

Kayani also spoke of “the same comprehensive approach to the problem of the northwest tribal area,” where the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters have rear bases across the border in Pakistan, Di Paola said. “That made me believe that the tide is turning, and so we will see at the end of this year the light on the horizon,” the Italian admiral said.

General Kayani stressed on Nato to realise Pakistan’s strategy and perspective on region’s security situation and called for enhancement of Pakistan’s role in finding a solution to the Afghanistan problem.

Addressing the two-day session of the Nato’s Military Committee here on Wednesday, General Kayani said in order to win the war on terror, confidence between Nato and Pakistani forces is needed, along with cooperation in intelligence sectors. Nato and Pakistan can only defeat their common enemy if both sides have confidence on each other. Sharing of intelligence can play a vital role, the army chief said.

Full report at: http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26924

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Saudi Arabia claims victory over Yemeni rebels

January 28, 2010

KHOBA, Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia declared victory over Yemeni rebels on Wednesday following a truce offer from the insurgents, who said they had withdrawn from Saudi territory.

The world’s top oil exporter was drawn into a conflict raging between Yemen’s government and the rebels along the border in November, when Riyadh launched a military assault against the insurgents after they seized some Saudi territory.

“We achieved a clear victory,” Saudi Assistant Minister of Defence Prince Khaled bin Sultan told reporters, adding that the rebels had been forced from Saudi land. “We cleansed the area... Withdrawal was not an option for them.”

Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi made the ceasefire offer on Monday, two days ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of Western powers, Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey in London to discuss ways to stabilise Yemen as it grapples with problems on several fronts, including a growing threat from al-Qaeda.

Western powers and Yemen’s neighbours fear the growing chaos in the impoverished Arab country could allow al-Qaeda to strengthen its operations there, spreading instability across the region and beyond.

According to a draft document from the conference later on Wednesday obtained by Reuters, the major powers committed to supporting Yemen’s government and said Yemen recognised the urgent need for political and economic reforms.

Yemen, also struggling to contain simmering separatist sentiment in the south, has been fighting the northern rebels onand off since 2004 but the conflict intensified last summer when the government launched Operation Scorched Earth.

Full report at: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221218

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Rumours about Hakimullah’s death

January 28, 2010

PESHAWAR: After several days of silence, rumours were once again circulating on Wednesday that chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakimullah Mahsud had died of fatal injuries that he had suffered in a drone attack in Shaktoi village of South Waziristan on January 14.

However, sources close to Hakimullah Mahsud denied such reports and claimed he was in good health. There were rumours that the TTP leader, after suffering injuries, was under treatment at the house of his second father-in-law in Mamozai village of Upper Orakzai Agency.

Some reports said a doctor was taken from a private hospital in Hangu district to Mamozai village in Orakzai for treating the dreaded militant commander. Other reports from Orakzai said the house Hakimullah was staying in was shelled by the Pakistan army gunship helicopters on Tuesday.

A Taliban commander, who is considered very close to Hakimullah, denied reports about his death. “If you trust me, I can assure you he is safe and sound. I have spoken to him three hours ago and he was quite well,” claimed the militant commander, but wished not to be named.

He admitted that Hakimullah was present in Shaktoi but left the house minutes ago when it came under attack by the US drone. He claimed the TTP leader had not suffered even a minor injury in the attack. Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, when reached by phone, said: “We are also hearing the reports, which have not been confirmed so far.”

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221117

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Taliban kill lashkar leader in Bajaur

28 January 2010

KHAR: Taliban fighters have killed a pro-government lashkar leader in Bajaur Agency, officials said on Wednesday. The body of Malik Manaris Khan, 47, was found riddled with bullets in Salarzai town, about 20 kilometers northeast of Khar. “He was kidnapped on Monday along with two other tribesmen. Today (Wednesday), we found his body,” said Naseeb Shah, a local administrative official, blaming the Taliban for the abductions. “He was leading an anti-Taliban lashkar in his village,” Shah said. It was the latest in a string of such killings in Bajaur, where anti-Taliban lashkar are particularly strong, angering the insurgents. Salarzai and surrounding areas also came under fire from military helicopters, with shelling targeting suspected Taliban hideouts beginning on Tuesday and continuing on Wednesday morning. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\01\28\story_28-1-2010_pg7_8

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8-year-old Somali boy whose plight drew global attention dies after reconstructive surgery

By Malkhadir M. Muhumed

NAIROBI, Kenya — Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, the 8-year-old boy whose bullet-shattered face personified the brutal conflict in Somalia and drew offers of aid from around the world, has died in Kenya days after a reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Peter Nthumba said Ahmed died late Wednesday of intestinal bleeding that may have been caused by an ulcer or stress. Nthumba operated on the boy, whose face was almost entirely blown off in September when a bullet hit him in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Relatives and well-wishers said they were shocked by the sudden death of Ahmed, a cheerful child who liked playing with a toy helicopter and spent time reading the Qur'an in his hospital bed. Doctors said he had not show any sign of ailment before the operation, which had gone well.

His heartbroken mother, Safi Mohamed Shidane, said that she had not expected her son's life would end.

"I was hoping to pick up a healthy son, who can breathe through his nose like others," said the distraught mother as tears ran down her cheeks. "But God said otherwise. It is God's will. Today I'm collecting his body."

When a U.S.-based aid group - Healing the Children of Minnesota - flew Ahmed to Kenya in October, the plan was to take him overseas. The group already had contacted hospitals in the U.S., Britain, Italy and Mexico.

But the group, funded mainly by contributions from Somali immigrants, eventually opted for Ahmed to be operated on at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. The group has helped 56 other Somali war victims, mostly children, get medical care, said Abdi Gaal, its executive director.

Ahmed's plight drew attention to the brutal conflict in Somalia, whose capital sees near-daily bloodshed as a powerful insurgent group with links to al-Qaida tries to overthrow the fragile government.

Last year, his mother told The Associated Press that a barrage of bullets poured out from the presidential palace and struck her son as they walked home from a Mogadishu market. The bullet tore through his cheekbones, nose and mouth.

Full report at: Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/london--media-and-politicians--fuel-rise-in-hate-crimes-against-muslims-/d/2429


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