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Islamic World News ( 28 Apr 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Migrant domestic workers in Arab nations are dying – its time to act

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 Apr 2012


 ‘Respect Qur’an’ Training for NATO Forces
•  Russia Muslims Reject Shariah Courts
•  German Muslims Disavow Gender Inequity
•  Burqa-clad Criminals Worry US Muslims
•  Moscow: Muslim Lawyer Flees Amid Sharia Law Threats
•  Review of training material that espouse the view ‘US at War with Islam’
•  Imam of Mecca Grand Mosque: Kidnapping of Diplomat un-Islamic
•  Muslims revive old pilgrimage route via Jerusalem
•  Glasgow Imams Counter Homosexuality Vote
•  India: Decision to permit research on Rushdie's book condemned
•  Pak students raise concern over inclusion of Salman Rushdie works
•  United States Talks Fail as Pakistanis Seek Apology
•  Norwegian general faces uphill task as UN monitor
•  Some Clashes Seen in Malaysia’s Capital as Activists March
•  Gujarat court acquits 109 in riots case
•  Israel ex-security chief says leadership 'misleading public' on Iran
•  Govt aid for Muslim sects creating divide: J&K Separatist Leader Mirwaiz
•  Peace in Kashmir is fake, says separatist leader Geelani
•  For Obama, bin Laden's killing becomes campaign tool
•  Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US pact on passage for Taliban militants
•  After a decade of War on Terror, core al Qaeda incapable of another 9/11
•  Top Al Qaeda man resurfaces
•  Four ‘militants’ killed, 7 arrested in Turbat
•  Gunmen kill 2 guards in attack on Afghan governor
' US alignment with Pak is a Cold War notion'

 Regan Admin knowingly ignored Zia's lies on n-weapons: report
•  Businessmen may get India, Pak multi-entry visas
•  ISI claims it tipped off CIA on Osama hideout
•  Syria violence has reached 'intolerable stage', says Ban Ki-moon
•  26/11 brains must be brought to justice, UN chief says
•  No silver bullet to destroy al Qaeda: Panetta
•  Syria troops kill 10 as rebels launch sea raid – reports
•  Clashes in Bahrain as Police block protest march
•  Kazakhstan condemns 'evil' foreign journalists over riots
•  Wrangling hampers Libyan drive to try Qaddafi son
•  Eight killed in Lyari operation
•  Somali Convicted in U.S. Court on Piracy Charges
•  Malaysian Democracy Activists Prepare for Showdown
•  Sri Lanka Muslims Strike Against Intolerance
•  Mali Youth Group Warns Against Inaction Against Rebels
Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Noble Qur'an, the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are being trained


Migrant domestic workers in Arab nations are dying – it's time to act
Layla Maghribi
 28 April 2012
The suicide of an Ethiopian domestic worker in Lebanon highlights the abuse of migrants given no rights or safeguards
The Lebanese Anti-Racism Movement is organising a "die-in" this Saturday in Beirut and London, with protesters lying in front of the Lebanese embassy to highlight the maltreatment of migrant domestic workers.
While several local organisations have been working tirelessly for some years to bring attention to the plight of migrant workers, the aim of this protest is to push the Lebanese government into measureable positive action.
The recent suicide of an Ethiopian domestic worker, Alem Dechasa, who had suffered a very public beating from her employer in front of the Ethiopian consulate that she had been trying to escape to, was the latest case to generate public outcry and a call for action.
Support for migrant domestic workers has also come from several international organisations. In 2010 Human Rights Watch criticised the Lebanese judiciary's failure to hold abusive employers accountable and last year the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) adoption of a convention on domestic workers set the first international labour standards for such workers. But the convention's efficacy is only guaranteed once member states ratify it – none has yet done so.
With migrant domestic workers in Lebanon dying at a rate of more than one a week – often by throwing themselves from balconies – it is no wonder that countries such as Ethiopia ban their citizens from seeking work there. Nevertheless, for the desperate and impoverished, blanket bans are ineffective, if not harmful.
Dechasa's case sadly demonstrates that prohibition only leads to those desperate enough to take up domestic work becoming invisible and unprotected. The roots of the issue lie in the cultural, economic and legislative frameworks of the countries that allow these abuses to continue.
Endemic racism and a belief that migrant workers are grateful to be employed enable an attitude that treats migrant workers as second-class citizens. Compounding this is the fact that migrants are indeed desperate to work, which perpetuates exploitative conditions and empowers countries such as Saudi Arabia to ban Indonesian and Filipina maids from working in the kingdom after their countries imposed certain hiring conditions.
Exclusion of migrant domestic workers from the host country's legislative safeguards – labour laws and occupational health and safety provisions – leaves the workers defenceless and entirely dependent on individual employers' interpretations of decent living and working conditions.
The common kafala (sponsorship) system of hiring these workers ties them to one employer for the duration of their contract, making it difficult to change jobs. In an alarming throwback to "Victorian-era slavery" the UK has recently announced plans to adopt a similar form of bonded labour demonstrating the international culpability towards the plight of migrant domestic workers. This system, along with often exorbitant fees paid to recruitment agents, encourages an unfortunate interpretation of kafala as a form of "ownership", most sinisterly illustrated by the confiscation of the workers' passports. Under the kafala system an unscrupulous employer can largely ignore any previously agreed contractual terms relating to working hours, pay or living conditions, safe in the knowledge that no authority will demand otherwise.
Ratification of the ILO's convention would be a simple and effective way of granting domestic workers the necessary rights and safeguards, as well as helping to clean up certain countries' tarnished image. The reluctance may relate to the convention's requirement that countries inspect and monitor the treatment of migrant domestic workers within the private sanctuary of people's homes – a highly sensitive and controversial idea in the Arab region.
Nevertheless, some Arab countries, such as Jordan, have enacted national laws while others are in the process of doing so. Meanwhile, any alternative immigration scheme in which national labour laws are extended to cover migrant domestic workers and ensure their protection and access to legal recourse would be welcomed.
Either way, there is a genuine need to raise awareness and develop a more humane view of migrant domestic workers in Arab countries, recognising them as real workers and not servants.

‘Respect Qur’an’ Training for NATO Forces
Apr 28 2012
CAIRO – Seeking to avoid new desecrations of the Noble Qur’an, the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are being trained on how to respect the Muslim holy book.
"It's probably a little too simplistic to suggest that it's a simple matter of do's and don'ts," Lt. Col. George Robinson, a senior officer in the Marine Corps' language and culture training programs, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, March 8.
"It's more a matter of why is the Qur’an an important."
A new training program was launched last week for the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan on how to respect the Noble Qur’an.
The refresher training aims to prevent any desecration of the Muslim holy book by foreign troops in the Asian Muslim country.
Under the training, soldiers are advised not to throw the Muslim holy book.
It also asks soldiers to be cautious when dealing with Arabic texts, assuming “material is sacred if there is any doubt over its religious significance."
The training came after Afghan laborers found charred copies of the Noble Qur’an while collecting rubbish at Bagram airbase in Kabul last month.
The burning sparked deadly protests across Afghanistan, which left at least 30 people dead.
US President Barack Obama and NATO commanders have apologized for the Qur’an burning, describing it as a “mistake”.
A NATO investigation found that five US soldiers were responsible for the burning, but said the incident was not deliberate and was the result of “miscommunication”.
Similar incidents of Qur’an desecration in the past have caused deep divisions and resentment among Afghans towards the tens of thousands of foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Seven foreign UN workers were killed during protests that raged across Afghanistan for three days in April 2011 after a US pastor burned the Qur’an in Florida.
Muslims consider the Qur’an the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence. Desecration is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.
But experts cast doubts that the training would prevent future desecration of the Muslim holy book by foreign troops.
"It makes culture into a set of arbitrary rules. You don't understand why," said Montgomery McFate, an anthropologist who has worked closely with the US Defense Department.
"The Bible is not considered itself a holy object, and unless you'd grown up in a religious tradition where that was true, you wouldn't understand the way that Muslims feel about the Qur’an."
US troops were engulfed in several incidents of desecrating the Muslim holy book in the past years.
In 2005, Newsweek reported that a copy of the Noble Qur’an was flushed down a toilet in the infamous Guantanamo Bay.
In 2008, a US soldier was found using the Noble Qur’an as a training target.
Rochelle Davis, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, opines that cultural training could help prevent similar desecrations.
"Over the past decade we have created a military that is the strongest, most powerful military in the world, but we haven't been able to achieve what we wanted to achieve in Iraq and Afghan," she said.
"Culture and interacting with the populations has been one of the ways that they think it can happen."

Russia Muslims Reject Shariah Courts
 April 28, 2012
MOSCOW – A call by a Chechen lawyer for creating Shariah courts in Russia is inviting a strong opposition from Muslim religious leaders in the European country.
"According to the Constitution, religion is separated from the state in Russia,” Talgat Tajuddin, the head of the Central Spiritual Muslim Board, told Interfax news agency.
“Our country has its own judicial system and Muslims use it as equal citizens of Russia.”
Chechen lawyer Dagir Hasavov has earlier called for creating Shari`ah courts in Russia.
In an interview with REN-TV, the lawyer argued that Muslims can not resort to secular courts.
“You think that we come here to Russia as if it was some alien place to us. But we think that we are at home here. Maybe you are aliens here and we are at home,” he said.
“And we will impose the rules that suit us, whether you want it or not. Any attempts to stop us will end in blood,” the lawyer said.
But Russian Muslim leaders rejected the lawyer’s argument.
Tajuddin said muftis already intervene to settle disputes between Muslims and non-Muslim Russians.
He said Muslims contact their religious bodies if they have questions about religion, family, or inheritance issues.
"Unlike 30-40 years ago," Muslims can freely practice their religion in Russia today, Tajuddin said.
The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.
Islam is Russia's second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.
‘Unfit’ Courts
The Moscow Muslim Board also rejected the call, saying that Shari`ah courts do not fit secular countries as Russia.
"Russia is a secular state and our theologian ancestors found a way to unite the religious and secular legal systems,” chairman Albir Krganov told Interfax.
“For example, the Central Spiritual Muslim Board has had the institution of qadis, who answer people's questions about faith, for more than a century.”
Krganov argued that Shari`ah courts better fit religious countries as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The Muslim leader said that Shari`ah courts have negative perceptions among Russians.
“We all remember when people were publicly executed in the Caucasus in the name of religion, despite the fact that they had absolutely no right to do that.”
Mikhail Fedotov, the head of Russia’s Presidential Council on Human Rights, described the lawyer’s call for Shari`ah courts in Russia as “unacceptable”.
No civil state can have two coexisting court systems as it would undermine the rule of law, he told Interfax.
However, Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for Russia's Orthodox Church, said Russian Muslims should not be deprived of their customs and that Shari`ah courts could be established under the law.

German Muslims Disavow Gender Inequity
April 28, 2012
CAIRO – Clearing misconceptions about their faith, Muslim participants at an annual German conference on Muslim integration have reiterated that Islam exhorts followers to promote racial and gender equality.
“At the conference, we've realized that no matter how religious a woman or a couple is – equality is more a social problem that needs to be looked at separately from religion,” Gönül Halat-Mec, a family lawyer and member of the German Islam Conference (DIK), told Deutsche Welle on Sunday, April 22.
Germany hosted an annual government-sponsored conference on Thursday to discuss integration of German Muslims into the society.
The key topic of the event, attended by delegates from Muslim groups and federal and state governments, was equality between men and women.
Halat-Mec said gender inequality has nothing to do with Islam.
“What we've worked out in the Islam conference is that many issues are not linked to religion or Islam, but are rather rooted in traditional patriarchal structures of society.
“And that depends on the social situation of the women – are they working, are they independent?”
The issue of gender equality was thoroughly discussed in the conference’s groups “Equality between men and women” and “Integration of Muslims into the job market”.
During the discussions, participants found that inequality sometimes occurred in non-Muslim families.
“That's no different from the situation we have in non-Muslim families or couples,” Halat-Mec said.
The conference, which concluded Thursday, was marred by remarks by Volker Kauder, head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, who said that Islam does not belong to Germany.
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Muslim Integration
Participants also tackled issue such as forced marriage and the influence of Islamist groups on young people.
“Domestic violence and forced marriage have nothing to do with religion and must not be tolerated,” Halat-Mec, a founding member of FRAINFRA (Frankfurt Initiative of Progressive Women), told Deutsche Welle.
“These are human rights violations.”
The family lawyer said it was “important that this has also been backed by the Muslim organizations in Germany.”
Halat-Mec opines that coherence in German society could be achieved through more integration between the society and its Muslim community to avoid misconceptions.
The government as well as society must send the right signals and make clear that "you're here with your religion – but your religion is not a hindrance in this country,” she said.
“We are working towards better education opportunities for you. We do want to work on more integration between the society of the majority and the Muslim society.
“Prejudices can be reduced that way.”
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
Last week, Volker Kauder, head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, infuriated the Muslim minority by saying that Islam does not belong to the European country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.
Germany’s daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.
According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer "a Germany without Islam."

Burqa-clad Criminals Worry US Muslims
April 28, 2012
PHILADELPHIA – A new series of crimes involving men dressed in Muslim full face veil is sending shock waves among Philadelphia Muslim minority, resulting in increasing concerns of rising Islamophobia and stigmatizing of the religious minority in the US Northeastern County.
"It just makes me sad that they would portray our religion in this manner," Keziah Ridgeway, a teacher at the Al-Aqsa Academy in Philadelphia, told NewsWorks on Friday, April 27.
"You can't see the face and so you don't know who's coming into your store. It's really just going to make it hard for Muslim women, whether you cover your face or you cover your head," Ridgeway said.
"It's just going to be something wherein people, when they see someone who looks like me, or they see another Muslim woman, they're going to think negative thoughts."
The attacks started last March when two suspects dressed in female Muslim clothing robbed a Sovereign Bank branch office at 8310 Stenton Avenue.
The same suspects are believed to have hit a Wells Fargo Bank located at 700 Adams Avenue on April 4.
Full Report At:

Moscow: Muslim Lawyer Flees Amid Sharia Law Threats
April 28, 2012
A Muslim lawyer has gone into hiding amid threats and a barrage of criticism after he publicly demanded the creation of Sharia courts in the country.
Dagir Khasavov canceled an interview with Ekho Moskvy and went to an undisclosed safe house Thursday after armed men thought to be from Chechnya appeared at the station's premises on Novy Arbat, Khasavov's son Arslan wrote on his blog.
He said the men had identified themselves as members of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov's security service.
Kadyrov issued an angry statement earlier this week in which he accused Khasavov, who hails from Chechnya, of provoking Muslims and damaging Islam.
Arslan Khasavov said Friday that his family was being threatened.
"We receive threats, although not from serious people," he told the Rapsi news agency. He refused to elaborate. Khasavov did not confirm a report by the BBC's Russian Service that his father had left the country.
The Investigative Committee said Friday that it is looking into whether Khasavov's comments violate Article 282 of the Criminal Code, which bans inciting national or religious hatred.
Full Report At:

Review of training material that espouse the view ‘US at War with Islam’
Apr 28 2012
WASHINGTON – America’s top military officer has ordered a review of training materials for US troops that espouse the view that the United States is at war with Islam, The New York Times reported Thursday, April 26.
“Our concern is there are some unprofessional things being taught to students in professional military educational curriculum,” Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.
The review, which was first reported by, was ordered after a complaint from a soldier who had recently completed an elective course entitled "Perspectives on Islam and Islamite Radicalism" at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia
"A student who finished the course last month brought this to his attention, that some materials in that course were inflammatory," Kirby said.
Full Report At:

Imam of Mecca Grand Mosque: Kidnapping of Diplomat un-Islamic
Apr 28, 2012
Imam and Khatib at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid said yesterday that resorting to kidnapping diplomats is against Islamic law.
“Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told two messengers of Musailimah, a bitter enemy of the Prophet (pbuh), that he would not kill them because he is not killer of messengers,” Bin Humaid said while delivering the Friday congregational sermon at the Grand Mosque.
This Islamic precedent showed that no envoy or consul of a country should be harmed as the official comes under the category of messengers.
The sheikh was referring to the abduction of Saudi diplomat Abdullah Al-Khalidi in Aden about a month ago.
“The Kingdom refuses to submit to any form of extortion particularly if it is by any terror act or criminal band,” Bin Humaid said, adding that the Kingdom will not make any bargain on its law, administration and policies and it will not surrender any of its citizens to unidentified people of doubtful reputation.
The sheikh said any gang that resorts to kidnapping people are far removed from religious rules. “They are not following the teachings of Islam, which they claim to adhere to,” he said.
Full Report At:

Muslims revive old pilgrimage route via Jerusalem
Apr 28 2012
JERUSALEM –  After decades of shying away from an ancient pilgrimage route, Muslims are visiting Jerusalem to pray at Islam's third-holiest site, the revered Al-Aqsa mosque.
In doing so, they find themselves caught in a disagreement between some leading Muslim clerics, who oppose such pilgrimages, and Palestinian leaders who encourage them as evidence of the city's Muslim credentials.
Palestinians say the only Arab visitors have been officials from Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel. Recent trips here by a top Egyptian cleric and a Jordanian prince sparked angry backlashes in their home countries.
The vast majority of the pilgrims are from non-Arab countries like South Africa, Malaysia and India, where the stigma of visiting Israeli-controlled areas isn't as powerful.
"Jerusalem is a beautiful place," said Ali Akbar, 51, a Shiite Muslim who was visiting recently with a group of 40 pilgrims from Mumbai, India. "All Muslims should try to come to Jerusalem and pray and seek the blessings of Allah, the almighty," Akbar said.
Full Report At:

Glasgow Imams Counter Homosexuality Vote
Apr 28 2012
CAIRO – As the Scottish council elections near closer, Glasgow imams are launching a campaign to dissuade Muslim voters from supporting any candidate or party that promotes legalization of gay marriages.
"Religious people only advise," Bashir Maan, the former Glasgow Labour councilor and spokesman for the Council of Glasgow Imams, told Herald Scotland on Sunday, April 22.
"But as this [homosexuality] is considered as a grave sin in our religion we have got to do everything possible to try to oppose it."
Scottish voters are due to vote on May 3, in the country’s local election.
But the issue of gay marriage dominated the ballot after the Scottish National Party (SNP) government started an analysis for about 50,000 responses to its consultation on whether to allow same-sex couples to have full religious marriages, rather than just civil partnerships.
Full Report At:

India: Decision to permit research on Rushdie's book condemned
Apr 28 2012
Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Educational Society has criticised the decision of the Human Resource Development Ministry to grant permission for conducting research on Salman Rushdie's controversial book "The Satanic Verses".
The Society in a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the book contained many objectionable references to the holy Quran and Prophet Hazrat Mohammad.
The letter written by the Society's president, Ibrahim Quereshi, said that the book had evoked resentment among Muslims all over the world.
Quereshi said though Prof Prabha Parmar, who was given permission for conducting research, has withdrawn from the work in the wake of protests from Muslims, attempts should be made to identify the officials responsible for giving permission for the research.

Pak students raise concern over inclusion of Salman Rushdie works
Apr 28, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The proposed inclusion of two famous works of India-born Booker Prize winner author Salman Rushdie in the additional courses for MPhil and PhD at the University of Peshawar has raised the ire of students and teachers.
The students are planning protests at the university campus and elsewhere in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa province over the inclusion of two of the Rushdie's works 'Midnight's Children' and 'Shame' by the department of English and Applied Linguistics.
The department's faculty board had approved these books in the curriculum for additional courses for MPhil and PhD.
A proposal was submitted to the dean of the faculty of arts and humanities for approval by the Academic Council of the university, The News reported today.
The Academic Council, which met recently with the acting vice-chancellor Qibla Ayaz in the chair, approved the proposal "without even discussing it", the report said.
Full Report At:

United States Talks Fail as Pakistanis Seek Apology
Apr 28 2012
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The latest high-level talks on ending a diplomatic deadlock between the United States and Pakistan ended in failure on Friday over Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike. The White House, angered by the recent spectacular Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, refuses to apologize.
The Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, left the Pakistani capital Friday night with no agreement after two days of discussions aimed at patching up the damage caused by the American airstrikes last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghanistan border.
Full Report At:

Norwegian general faces uphill task as UN monitor
 April 28, 2012
Robert Mood, the Norwegian general heading the Syria ceasefire observer mission, appears the archetypal cool Nordic head who will use an image of impartiality to bridge what he has called an “abyss of suspicion”.
Mood is a veteran of Middle East truces and knows Syria well. The 54-year-old general weighs his words carefully and listens attentively. He once warned against peacekeepers’ acting like “an elephant in a glass house”.
His job may be doomed, given mistrust in Syria. But he may have the chance to achieve more than Sudanese general Mohammed Al Dabi, who quit a failed Arab League mission in February.
“He (Mood) is a very firm and very clear in his statements, he’s very difficult to misunderstand, said Kjell Inge Bjerga, researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, who has worked with Mood.
Full Report At:

Some Clashes Seen in Malaysia’s Capital as Activists March
Apr 28 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Thousands of people, many wearing canary-yellow shirts, took to the streets of central Kuala Lumpur on Saturday under a sweltering tropical sun to call for free and fair elections and march to a site where police officers had set up barricades.
Police estimated that between 25,000 to 30,000 people had assembled on the streets Saturday, and activists said that they planned to walk to Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square.
A court order banning anyone from entering the historic site was issued on Friday, prompting organizers of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, a group of 84 nongovernment organizations, to declare that they would gather near the square but did not intend to break through the barricades.
Police, however, began firing tear gas and chemical-laced water at some demonstrators who reportedly broke through the barriers in various parts of the capital, The Associated Press reported. As part of the court order, anyone entering the square will face a fine of 2,000 ringgit, or about $650; six months in jail; or both.
Full Report At:

Gujarat court acquits 109 in riots case
April 28, 2012
A Fast Track court in Visnagar of Mehsana district on Friday acquitted 109 people accused of killing two minorities during the riots following the Godhra train fire in 2002.
Additional District and Sessions Judge KB Magnani acquitted the 109 due to benefit of doubt as enough evidence could not be proved against them.
Nearly 1,500 strong mob out to avenge the Godhra killings had attacked a retired teacher Mohammad Sheikh and one Abdul Mansuri on March 1, 2002 in Umta village in Visnagar taluka of Mehsana district.
Full Report At:

Israel ex-security chief says leadership 'misleading public' on Iran
28 April 2012
The former head of Israel's domestic intelligence agency has accused the country's leadership of "misleading" the public on the merits of a possible military strike on Iran.
Yuval Diskin said an attack might speed up any attempt by Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb.
The comment follows remarks by other leading figures contradicting the prime minister and defence chief's views on the subject.
Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak have repeatedly said Iran must be prevented from building nuclear weapons and have not ruled out military action to disrupt its nuclear programme.
Mr Diskin, who stepped down as Shin Bet chief last year after six years, said he had "no faith in the current leadership" of Mr Netanyahu and Mr Barak, according to Israeli media reports.
Full Report At:

Govt aid for Muslim sects creating divide: J&K Separatist Leader Mirwaiz
April 28, 2012
SRINAGAR: Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday warned the Centre and its agencies against dividing Kashmiri Muslims on sectarian lines and asked the people to give "a befitting reply to all such elements and foil their nefarious designs".
The top cleric's comments came two days after TOI reported that the Centre is wading into the sectarian divide within Kashmir. The Mirwaiz asked the people to be mature enough to understand what is happening around them and accused the Centre of "funding selective group of bureaucrats to create wedge between Muslims in Kashmir'' at Srinagar's Jamia Masjid.
Mirwaiz said he had been watching several bureaucrats, who were taking part in Islamic functions across the Valley. "What business does state information department have to issue press releases regarding Islamic functions in Kashmir?" he asked.

Peace in Kashmir is fake, says separatist leader Geelani
April 28, 2012
HYDERABAD: Jammu and Kashmir may be calm since last year after three summers of unrest, but separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani insists that the peace is fake. He says the state's problem is not of development but of official terrorism and cultural aggression.
"The peace is fake. They have named the silence created at gun point as peace. As far as the ground situation is concerned, there is simmering lava against state terrorism and excesses by the government, army and police," Geelani, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G) said.
Geelani was here to attend the first conference of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF).
Full Report At:

For Obama, bin Laden's killing becomes campaign tool
Apr 28, 2012
WASHINGTON: The killing of Osama bin Laden, first presented as a moment of American unity by President Barack Obama, has become something else: a political weapon.
Obama's re-election campaign is portraying his risky decision to go after America's top enemy as a defining difference with his Republican presidential opponent, suggesting Mitt Romney might not have had the guts to order a mission that put lives and perhaps a presidency at stake.
Obama himself is opening up on the raid again, and opening the secretive White House Situation Room as an interview stage, to hail the one-year anniversary.
The broader goal for Obama, whether through campaign web videos or the trappings of the White House, is not to just to remind voters of an enormous victory on his watch. It is to maximize a political narrative that he has the courage to make tough calls that his opponent might not.
Full Report At:

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US pact on passage for Taliban militants
April 28, 2012
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US on Friday agreed to explore ways to arrange safe passage for Taliban militants wanting to join the Afghan reconciliation process as the three countries resumed contacts to facilitate the endgame in the war-torn nation.
Senior officials of the three countries decided to form two new sub-groups to push the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
One sub-group, comprising officials from permanent missions at the United Nations, will coordinate activities at the world body while the second will examine the issue of safe passage for Afghan Taliban militants who give up violence.
“We really welcome this initiative of the safe passage,” Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin said.

After a decade of War on Terror, core al Qaeda incapable of another 9/11
April 28, 2012
WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda’s core organisation is likely incapable of carrying out another mass-casualty attack on the scale of September 11, 2001, US intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Friday.
US government experts also believe that the likelihood of an attack using chemical, biological, atomic or radiological weapons over the next year was not high, said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of US National Intelligence.
Cardillo and other US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described these assessments on a conference call with journalists billed as an opportunity for government experts to voice their assessments of al Qaeda’s potency a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid.
Cardillo said the al Qaeda “core” organisation that bin Laden created has suffered strategic setbacks due to the outbreak of “Arab Spring” protests and rebellions in Islamic countries, which have not spread great sympathy for al Qaeda’s hardline and violent brand of Islam.
Full Report At:

Top Al Qaeda man resurfaces
April 28, 2012
US counterterrorism officials are concerned about Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen because of increased intelligence chatter in the past several months. And in recent weeks, the group’s top bomb maker once thought to be dead, has resurfaced.
While the intelligence community sees no credible or specific threat related to the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, counterterrorism officials remain anxious about the Yemen group plotting attacks.
The group, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has been a major threat since 2009, when one of its adherents tried to bring down a jetliner over Detroit on December 25. In the past six months, counterterrorism officials have seen an uptick in intelligence about potential threats from the group, according to an intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
Full Report At:

Four ‘militants’ killed, 7 arrested in Turbat
 April 28, 2012
QUETTA: Four suspected militants were killed and seven rounded up by security forces on Friday morning during a search operation in Gaybun area near Turbat.
Shamim Ahmed, a local Levies official, told Daily Times that the Frontier Corps (FC) had launched a siege and search operation in the Gaybun area, 30km from Turbat. “Security forces tried to arrest the militants during a search operation but they opened fire,” said an FC spokespman. “In retaliatory fire, four militants were killed, and security forces arrested seven men,” he said. The spokesman said a large cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the site, adding that the arrested men were being interrogated.
Full Report At:\04\28\story_28-4-2012_pg7_13

Gunmen kill 2 guards in attack on Afghan governor
Apr 28 2012
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan –  Two Taliban militants hiding small guns in their shoes slipped into a provincial governor's compound in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, setting off a fierce gunbattle that left two security guards and both attackers dead.
Kandahar Gov. Tooryalai Wesa said the two men made it through a pair of security checks without their weapons being detected. A guard at the last check — at the reception room for the governor's office — noticed something suspicious and stopped them.
The attackers then pulled out the guns, shot the guards and took their weapons, Wesa said.
The ensuing gunbattle with security forces lasted about 30 minutes, said Parwiz Najib, a spokesman for the governor. One other guard was wounded in the attack.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.
Najib had initially said the two attackers were wearing suicide vests. Wesa later said the men had explosives but not suicide vests.
He said he was in his office meeting with constituents when he heard shooting out in the reception room.
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'US alignment with Pak is a Cold War notion'
April 28, 2012
Noting that Pakistan has always backed the Taliban to gain strategic depth against India, an influential US Congressman has said that Washington's alignment with Islamabad is an obsolete Cold War notion that does not fit today's geopolitics.
In a statement, Congressman Dana
Rohrabacher, argued that in a regional context, it has been a mistake to support Pakistan which "has always backed the Taliban as its vanguard for the conquest of Afghanistan, a strategy to gain strategic depth against India."
Rohrabacher is chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
"The Pakistan alignment is an obsolete Cold War notion that does not fit today's geopolitics," he said.
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Regan Admin knowingly ignored Zia's lies on n-weapons: report
 Apr 28 2012
Washington : The Regan administration repeatedly ignored the warning of the US intelligence community that the then Pakistani military ruler General Zia ul-Haq was consistently lying to them on the country's nuclear programme, latest declassified information have revealed.
The Regan administration knowingly decided to ignore Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme as it wanted to get
Islamabad's help in supporting the Afghan Mujahedeen against the Russians, reveal the new declassified documents released by the National Security Archive (NSA) today.
Top levels of the US government let relations with a friendly government supersede nonproliferation goals as long as there was no public controversy that could "embarrass" the President the documents show, NSA said in a statement after it released the documents.
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Businessmen may get India, Pak multi-entry visas
April 28, 2012
NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan are considering issuing multiple-entry and non-reporting visas for each other's businessmen provided they are underwritten by the respective industry chambers. The issue will figure in the meeting of home secretaries likely to take place in Islamabad on May 24-25.
Under the new regime, there may be a provision to give one-year multiple-entry visas to those businessmen whose credentials are certified by industry chambers on the both sides. The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for signing the new visa pact which will also allow businessmen to visit five cities instead of three at present.
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ISI claims it tipped off CIA on Osama hideout
 Apr 28 2012
Washington : Stung by lingering suspicions that it was complicit in sheltering Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's spy agency has claimed credit for helping US intelligence agencies locate the high-walled hideout of the terror mastermind.
"The lead and the information actually came from US," a senior official of the Inter-Services Intelligence told Washington Post, in what the paper said was a push for recognition ahead of the anniversary of the stealth raid that killed bin Laden.
The official said it was ISI which had provided CIA with a cellphone number that eventually led to an al-Qaeda courier Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, the paper said.
"Any hit on al-Qaeda anywhere in the world as happened with our help," the official said.
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Syria violence has reached 'intolerable stage', says Ban Ki-moon
 28 April 2012
UN secretary general condemns crackdown on protests and tells regime to live up to its promise of ceasefire
Security agents in Damascus collected the remains of 10 people killed in a suicide bombing on Friday, as activists reported incidents of Syrian troops firing on protesters.
he UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon said President Bashar al-Assad's continued crackdown on protests had reached an "intolerable stage", and that the UN would try to speed up the deployment of up to 300 monitors to Syria. Only 15 are there now. "The government of Syria must live up to its promises to the world," he said.
Tens of thousands of people marched into streets across Syria in what has now become a weekly anti-regime protest after Friday prayers. Amateur video from Homs, where the presence of UN observers helped halt weeks of artillery attacks, showed rows of men lining up in a main street, holding each other by the shoulders as they sang and danced.
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26/11 brains must be brought to justice, UN chief says
April 28, 2012
NEW DELHI: Without naming Pakistan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that terrorism has "unfortunately'' become a trans-border crime and expressed hope that the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks would be brought to justice at the earliest. Government sources said that terrorism was one of the main issues discussed in Ban's extended meeting with foreign minister S M Krishna and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Sources said that Krishna sought to keep the focus on terrorism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region during his talks with Ban. Later, in an interaction with journalists, the secretary general said that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstances.
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No silver bullet to destroy al Qaeda: Panetta
WASHINGTON — Killing Osama bin Laden was not a “silver bullet” that destroyed Al Qaeda, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Friday, but he asserted that his death weakened the terrorist group and made the United States more safe.
In comments ahead of the first anniversary of the raid last May by United States Navy SEALs on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Mr. Panetta said that the Bin Laden operation, along with other killings of Qaeda leaders, “has prevented them from having the command and control capability to be able to put together an attack similar to 9/11.”
Mr. Panetta’s remarks were among the first in a series of recollections about the Bin Laden raid by senior Obama administration officials in a tight election year. The officials are highlighting the operation as an example of President Obama’s national security experience in contrast to that of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Mr. Obama’s expected Republican opponent.
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Syria troops kill 10 as rebels launch sea raid – reports
Apr 28 2012
Syrian troops have killed 10 people north of Damascus, activists say.
Civilians are said to be among the dead in the incident, after army defectors took refuge in the village of Bakha.
Separately, authorities say gunmen in inflatable dinghies attacked a military unit on the Mediterranean coast, with deaths on both sides.
The violence comes after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that Syria's government was "in contravention" of a UN and Arab League-backed peace plan.
In another development, Lebanese officials say the country's navy has seized weapons destined for Syrian rebels.
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Clashes in Bahrain as Police block protest march
Apr 28, 2012
DUBAI: Protesters trying to march to the heart of Bahrain's capital clashed with riot police on Friday, witnesses said, hours after a massive show of force by the mainstream Shi'ite Muslim opposition.
They said dozens of youths threw stones at police who used teargas and stun grenades to block the planned march to the Pearl roundabout, the centre of an uprising last year which the government suppressed with the help of troops from neighbours, including Saudi Arabia.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Bahrain, where the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family rules over a majority Shi'ite Muslim population, has been in turmoil since an uprising erupted last year demanding reforms after successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
The protests escalated ahead of last week's Formula One Grand Prix, drawing criticism of Bahrain from some governments, rights groups and media watchdogs who say police use excessive force and the government should find a political solution.
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Kazakhstan condemns 'evil' foreign journalists over riots
 28 April 2012
AP reporter among correspondents named in indictment accusing 37 residents of inciting and participating in mass unrest
Prosecutors in Kazakhstan have described foreign correspondents as "evil" in an indictment accusing 37 residents of an oil town of inciting and participating in mass unrest.
The incident, which led to at least 16 deaths, in Zhanaozen in December occurred after a seven-month occupation of the main square by oil workers demanding higher salaries.
Among the correspondents named this week was an AP reporter who spoke by telephone to residents in Zhanaozen. He was not charged.
One of the defendants, Roza Tuletayeva, told AP she had seen at least five people killed when police opened fire on the crowd. At the time, officials were still denying reports of gunfire and insisting there were no deaths.
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Wrangling hampers Libyan drive to try Qaddafi son
 April 28, 2012
TRIPOLI: Putting the son of fallen leader Muammar Qaddafi on trial on their own soil is a matter of national pride for Libya’s leaders, but the lack of a properly functioning state is making it hard for them to convince the outside world they are up to the task.
Libya is standing firm on trying Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, once the heir apparent to his father’s one-man rule. But so is the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, which indicted him in June for crimes against humanity stemming from the crackdown on last year’s revolt.
On Monday Libya will outline to ICC judges in the Hague how it intends to try Seif Al-Islam. If the court concludes that Libya cannot or will not try him, and is not cooperating with its own case, it can refer Tripoli to the UN Security Council.
Pressure is mounting on Tripoli to hand Seif Al-Islam to the ICC as human rights groups question whether its justice system can meet the standards of international law. Libya has filed several appeals, requesting more time to make the case that it can try Saif-al Islam itself.
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Eight killed in Lyari operation
 April 28, 2012
KARACHI: A gun battle between police and gangsters in Lyari left eight people dead, including two security personnel, as law enforcement agencies failed to regain control of the area on Friday.
Gangsters used rockets, hand grenades and other sophisticated weaponry against police and Frontier Constabulary seeking access into Lyari, while Rangers stayed out of the town. Sindh Inspector General (IG) Mushtaq Shah, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Akhtar Gorchani and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Nabeel Gabol reached the area. The gangsters also attacked Gabol with hand grenades near Mira Naka area of the town. The PPP leader narrowly escaped the attack.
The Sindh IG said police was facing intense resistance as gangsters used highly sophisticated weapons. He said, “We don’t have problems. More contingents of security personnel will be there to combat terrorists. Such retaliation by the gangsters proves their association with outlawed terrorist organisations.
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Somali Convicted in U.S. Court on Piracy Charges
Apr 28 2012
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Somali man was convicted on Friday in a U.S. court for serving as a ransom negotiator for Somali pirates and his role in the death of four Americans later killed by pirates, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Mohammad Saaili Shibin, 50, was brought to the United States in April to face federal charges over the pirating of an American yacht in February off the coast of Somalia and taking hostage two American couples aboard who were later killed.
Shibin was also accused of researching over the Internet who the hostages were to try to determine how much money to demand and the identity of their family members so he could contact them about a ransom.
The four slain Americans were Jean and Scott Adam of California and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle from Seattle.
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Malaysian Democracy Activists Prepare for Showdown
Apr 28 2012
KUALA LUMPUR — Activists demanding changes to Malaysia’s election regulations said they would gather near Independence Square in central Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, after the site was barricaded and a court order was issued banning anyone from entering.
The most recent demonstration held by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, in July, drew tens of thousands of people and was broken up by police officers using tear gas and water cannons, a tactic that was condemned by rights groups. More than 1,600 people were arrested.
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Sri Lanka Muslims Strike Against Intolerance
Apr 28 2012
CAIRO – Angered by a recent decision by the Sri Lankan government to relocate a Muslim mosque, the religious minority called for a strike on Friday, April 27, uniting to preserve their depleting rights in the Buddhist-majority country.
Muslims were “deeply worried over the recent incident took place in Dambulla in which a gang stormed the Jumma Mosque of Dambulla and damaged the place on 20 April, Friday,” Sheikh M. M. A. Mubarak, general secretary, All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama, told The Hindu.
“Muslims along with peace loving citizens of Sri Lanka are fretful if this incident would negatively impact the reconciliation that has started to sprout among communities since recently.”
Many public services have shut down, but Muslim-led demonstrations have somehow been halted by the military.
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Mali Youth Group Warns Against Inaction Against Rebels
Apr 28 2012
Nearly one month after northern Mali fell to Tuareg rebels and Islamic groups, youth activists say the country's failure to act combined with a push by the armed groups to win people's favor is creating a dangerous and irreversible situation. They say beyond the physical division of Mali, the continued occupation threatens to permanently divide a people.
Members of a new youth coalition say unless the Malian state takes concrete steps immediately to show people in the north that they have not been forgotten, the fallout from the occupation will be dangerous and long-lasting.
It’s just short of a month since Tuareg rebels and allied Islamic groups took over Mali’s three northern regions - Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.  While political leaders and the military junta have said that no job is more urgent than resolving the situation in the north, this resident of Timbuktu said even if leaders are working on the problem behind the scenes, the people are seeing no concrete signs, so they are left to conclude that they have been abandoned.
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