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Islamic World News ( 18 Aug 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Minorities denied flood relief in Pakistan

U.S. Assures Israel That Iran Threat Is Not Imminent

Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts

8 million Pakistanis need help

Nationwide terror alert over LeT threat

US urges Pak to accept Indian aid; hardliners blame India, US for floods

Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Talks, Officials Say

Newsweek lists King Abdullah among top 10 world leaders

Minorities denied flood relief in Pakistan

Pope urges 'concrete support' for Pakistan flood victims

Australia's 'Ramadan lounge' Muslim Tourist Plans

Bahrain arrests more Shia activists as poll nears

Maths just a child’s play for 13-year-old prodigy

Muslims pray at Pentagon’s Sept. 11 crash site

Insurgents kill 5 govt employees around Iraq

All cafes ordered shut in Chechnya during Ramadan

Makkah dawa center guides 1,300 expats to Islam

Muslim American serves New York’s homeless while fasting

Fear paralyzes US Muslim 'leaders'

Women’s College staff feel marginalized

27 freed, 13 killed in raid on secret Taliban prison

Most New Yorkers against ground zero mosque: Poll

Terror-mongers raise funds under aid garb

As Pak battles flood, militants strike

“Awqaf” Quran Contest Kicked Off in Yemen

India sends home to Pak two men who helped hijack IC-814 to Kandahar

Iran tells West to stay out of woman's stoning case

Two former Gitmo detainees may enter Bahraini Politics

Terrorists kill two anti-Taliban fighters in Peshawar

Asiya Andrabi a hypocrite’

Students from Kashmir pelt politicos with tough queries

NATO strike in Afghanistan kills Taliban commander

Egypt's Islamic Art Museum Reopens after Restoration

Yemen to deport 150 Ethiopians

SR400m raised for Pakistan; OIC chief calls for setting up of emergency fund

Karzai says Afghanistan needs Russia's support

Jeddah City FC: Giving Saudi grass-roots football the kick it needs

King to host 2,000 Palestinian Haj pilgrims

attacker to stay in Israeli jail

Goodbye Iraq: Last US combat brigade heads home

Talks with US only if sanctions are dropped: Iran

US official ‘explains’ Iran sanctions to Lebanon

New US ambassador to Iraq arrives in Baghdad

Shaikh Mohammed receives educational leaders

Russia summit calls for joint strategy against terrorism

Militant’ doctor gunned down in Karachi

Afghan protesters block highway over civilian killings

Afghanistan recruits Iraq-style Militia Force

Babri Mosque trial to begin from 23rd

Pakistan, Russia back Afghanistan at rare summit

Pakistan violates ceasefire, targets 3 Indian posts along LoC in Poonch

Iran's first nuclear plant: A history of delays

Kerala parties step up efforts to woo Muslims

4-nation pact to fight terrorism

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/minorities-denied-flood-relief-in-pakistan/d/3310

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Minorities denied flood relief in Pakistan

Imtiaz Ahmad

IN THE DARK UN has pointed out that Pak has no relief plans for flood victims

I: Earlier this week, members of Pakistan's Ahmadiyya community, who were caught up in the raging floods around the Central Punjab town of Muzaffargarh, were not rescued from their homes because rescuers felt that Muslims must be given priority.

Ahmadiyyas are ostracized by Pakistan's mainstream Muslim community who consider them to be non-believers.

In 1973, this community was officially declared a minority. Since then the discrimination against them has been severe.

The Ahmadiyyas complained to the government that not only were their community members not rescued but in some instances ejected from relief camps when their identity was disclosed. This has been refuted by the provincial Punjab government but eye witnesses have attested to this. As the waters recede and people flock to relief camps and look for help, Pakistan's power politics have come into play whereby chosen areas are being helped at the expense of others which are being completely ignored. Hamir Soomro, a landlord from Shikarpur, one of the most badly affected districts in Sindh, says that his area is not receiving government help, which is instead going to Khairpur, the constituency of the province's Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah.

The UN says that the government suffers from a “image deficit“ problem. “In plain words, they don't trust the ability of the government to deliver,“ says Mian Nawaz Sharif, opposition leader.

Earlier this week, Sharif met with Prime Minister Gilani and both agreed to the formation of a “clean commission“ comprising people of integrity, to oversee distribution of funds for for flood relief. The idea did not go down well with President Zardari whose office has blocked the move on grounds that the government is fully in control.

But the UN and donor agencies dont think so. They have pointed out that the government has no relief plan and is also unable to make an estimate of what is needed where. As a result, the situation has turned dire in many neglected or inaccessible areas.

In Kohistan, , there are reports the five children died of starvation because help had not arrived.

Members of the Sikh community, who arrived in Gurdwaras in Lahore also complained of government apathy.

They said members of their community were abandoned in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and had to arrange rescue for themselves.

Hindustan Times

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U.S. Assures Israel That Iran Threat Is Not Imminent

By MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID E. SANGER

20 August 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year — and perhaps longer — for Iran to complete what one senior official called a “dash” for a nuclear weapon, according to American officials.

Administration officials said they believe the assessment has dimmed the prospect that Israel would pre-emptively strike against the country’s nuclear facilities within the next year, as Israeli officials have suggested in thinly veiled threats.

For years, Israeli and American officials have debated whether Iran is on an inexorable drive toward a nuclear bomb and, if so, how long it would take to produce one. A critical question has been the time it would take Tehran to convert existing stocks of low-enriched uranium into weapons-grade material, a process commonly known as “breakout.”

Israeli intelligence officials had argued that Iran could complete such a race for the bomb in months, while American intelligence agencies have come to believe in the past year that the timeline is longer.

“We think that they have roughly a year dash time,” said Gary Samore, President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues, referring to how long it would take the Iranians to convert nuclear material into a working weapon. “A year is a very long period of time.”

American officials said the United States believed international inspectors would detect an Iranian move toward breakout within weeks, leaving a considerable amount of time for the United States and Israel to consider military strikes.

The American assessments are based on intelligence collected over the past year, as well as reports from international inspectors. It is unclear whether the problems that Iran has had enriching uranium are the result of poor centrifuge design, difficulty obtaining components or accelerated Western efforts to sabotage the nuclear program.

American officials said new intelligence information was being fed into a long-delayed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program.

Now, American and Israeli officials believe breakout is unlikely anytime soon. For one thing, Iran, which claims it is interested in enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes, would be forced to build nuclear bombs from a limited supply of nuclear material, currently enough for two weapons. Second, such a decision would require kicking out international weapons inspectors, eliminating any ambiguity about Iran’s nuclear plans.

Even if Iran were to choose this path, American officials said it would probably take Iran some time to reconfigure its nuclear facilities to produce weapons-grade uranium and ramp up work on designing a nuclear warhead.

Israeli officials have indicated that if they saw a race for the bomb under way, they would probably take military action and encourage the United States to join the effort. A spokesman for Israel’s embassy in Washington declined to comment for this article. In interviews, Israeli officials said their assessments were coming into line with the American view, but they remain suspicious that Iran has a secret enrichment site yet to be discovered.

American officials said, in contrast to a year ago, that Iran’s nuclear program was not currently the central focus of discussions between top leaders in Washington and Jerusalem. During the last visit to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in early July, the Iranian program was relatively low on the agenda, according to one senior administration official.

To block Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United States and the European Union recently imposed harsh economic sanctions aimed at choking off Iran’s energy supplies and prohibiting foreign banks from doing business with financial institutions inside the country.

Several officials said they believed the mounting cost of the economic sanctions, especially those affecting Iran’s ability to import gasoline and develop its oil fields, has created fissures among Iran’s political elite and forced a debate about the costs of developing nuclear weapons.

“The argument is over how far to push the program, how close to a weapon they can get without paying an even higher price,” said the senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because American assessments on these debates are classified. “And we’re beginning to see a lot of divisions inside the leadership on that question.”

Nuclear experts agree that the hardest element of producing a weapon is obtaining weapons-grade material. And for Iran that quest, which stretches back more than 20 years, has not been going well, by most accounts.

For most of this year, Iran has added relatively few centrifuges — the machines that spin uranium at supersonic speed, enriching it — to its main plant at Natanz. Only about half of those installed are operating, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. So far, Iran has produced about 5,730 pounds, enough, with considerable additional enrichment, to produce roughly two weapons.

The public explanation by American officials is that the centrifuges are inefficient and subject to regular breakdowns. And while Iranian officials have talked about installing more advanced models that would be more efficient and reliable, only a few have been installed.

“Either they don’t have the machines, or they have real questions about their technical competence,” Mr. Samore said.

Some of Iran’s enrichment problems appear to have external origins. Sanctions have made it more difficult for Iran to obtain precision parts and specialty metals. Moreover, the United States, Israel and Europe have for years engaged in covert attempts to disrupt the enrichment process by sabotaging the centrifuges. Officials concede there are potential vulnerabilities in their assessments. Chief among them is whether Iran has hidden another enrichment center somewhere in the tunnels it has dug throughout the country, including some near Natanz.

Last September, Iran acknowledged to inspectors that it had spent years building such a hidden facility near the city of Qum, buried in a mountain near a major military base. The admission came just days before Western leaders revealed the existence of the facility. But after detailed surveys, and interviews with defectors, officials say they have no evidence a second such facility is under construction.

The current draft of the intelligence report also describes considerable division in Iran about whether the goal of the nuclear program should be to walk right up to the threshold of building an actual bomb — which would mean having highly enriched uranium on hand, along with a workable weapons design — or simply to keep enough low-enriched uranium on hand to preserve Tehran’s options for building a weapon later.

Even as American and Israeli officials agree that the date that Iran is likely to have a nuclear weapon has been pushed into the future, that does not mean that Israel has abandoned the idea of a possible military strike.

American officials said that Israel was particularly concerned that, over time, Iran’s supreme leader could order that nuclear materials be dispersed to secret locations around the country, making it less likely that an Israeli military strike would significantly cripple the program.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/world/middleeast/20policy.html?hp

 

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Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts

20 August 2010

NEW YORK – “President Obama is a Muslim." "He's not an American citizen." "He wasn't even born here."

None of this is true. But to surprising levels, it is believed.

Blame it on the media, or on human nature. All presidents deal with image problems — that they're too weak or too belligerent, too far left or far right. But Obama also faces questions over documented facts, in part because some people identify more with the rumormongers than the debunkers.

"Trust and distrust — that explains almost all of it," says Nicholas DiFonzo, professor of psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an expert on rumor and gossip research. "We are in such a highly polarized political environment. Our country is sorting itself into more closely knit, opposing factions each year" — factions, DiFonzo suggests, that in turn become "echo chambers" for factoids that aren't fact at all.

Nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is just 34 percent, down from 48 percent in March of last year.

The White House even felt compelled to respond with a terse knockdown from spokesman Bill Burton: "The president is obviously a Christian. He prays every day."

Obama is the Christian son of a Kenyan Muslim father and a Kansas mother. Born in Hawaii, he lived from ages 6 to 10 in predominantly Muslim Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. His full name, Barack Hussein Obama, sounds Muslim to many.

Confusion about Obama's religion was common, and sometimes encouraged, during the 2008 campaign. An Associated Press photograph that circulated on the Internet, and was posted on The Drudge Report, showed Obama dressed in traditional local garments — a white turban and a wraparound white robe — during a visit to Kenya in 2006. Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton may have contributed through her response to a question, during a "60 Minutes" interview, about whether he was a Muslim. "There's nothing to base that on," she said. "As far as I know."

Others have helped keep rumors about Obama's religion and birth alive. Conservative commentators including radio talk show host Michael Savage have repeated debunked claims that Obama attended a radical Muslim madrassa in Indonesia. Rush Limbaugh has facetiously referred to "Imam Obama" in recent days, and last year praised a woman who at a Delaware town hall meeting questioned Obama's citizenship. Lou Dobbs gave significant air time to such "birther" claims on CNN — despite his own insistence that he believed Obama was born in the U.S.

The new survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, is based on interviews conducted before the controversy over whether Muslims should be permitted to construct a mosque near the World Trade Center site. Obama has said he believes Muslims have the right to build an Islamic center there, though he's also said he won't take a position on whether they should actually build it.

We have never been without misperceptions, but they are speeded and multiplied in the Internet age. Last month, right-wing bloggers — citing unnamed sources within the Laredo Police Department in Texas — reported that the Mexican drug cartel Zetas had captured two Laredo ranches. The story was picked up by author-pundit Michelle Malkin and other conservatives.

Inquiries from local media and the liberal Web site Talking Points Memo turned up different news: The raids never happened.

"The Internet has made it worse," says Lori Robertson, managing editor of the website FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan project run under the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. "Any of these rumors are more rampant, and there's more stuff about them — blogs writing about conspiracy theories. People are exposed to it more."

Robertson says her organization has been asked hundreds of times about Obama's religion, even after FactCheck published an explanatory article in early 2008 called "Sliming Obama." It focused on the chain e-mail that many believe helped spread the lie.

Despite what the e-mail claimed, FactCheck.org has noted that Obama was sworn into office as a U.S. senator using the Bible instead of the Quran; a photograph was posted to prove it. FactCheck also posted videos of Obama reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the Senate, in an attempt to counter claims that he refused.

Still, the questions about Obama's faith didn't stop.

"Did Obama order creation of a postage stamp to honor a Muslim holiday?" FactCheck.org's answer: "The first class stamp honoring Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha was first issued eight years ago. Obama has followed Bush's practice of reaching out to Muslims on Ramadan."

Superstitions and myths are timeless and universal, and so are the people who exploit them, whether Holocaust deniers, race supremacists or conspiracy theorists.

Misinformation in the mass media age was captured by the author-columnist Walter Lippman in his classic "Public Opinion," published in 1922. Finding that world events were driven by a tiny minority manipulating the rest, Lippman noted "the comparatively meager time available in each day for paying attention to public affairs, the distortion arising because events have to be compressed into very short messages, the difficulty of making a small vocabulary express a complicated world."

The problem wasn't only with the media, but with the public.

"People, he wrote, "live in the same world, but think and feel in different ones." Lippman believed many "suffer from anemia, from lack of appetite and curiosity for the human scene."

And so millions have thought that the country was overrun with communists, that John F. Kennedy was taking orders from the pope, that AIDS spreads through casual contact, that Saddam Hussein or even the George W. Bush administration helped plan the Sept. 11 attacks. In the 1990s, when the government was running a surplus under the Clinton administration, a poll showed substantial numbers of people thought it was running a deficit.

DiFonzo was stunned when he heard one of those rumors stated as fact in his upper-level social psychology class last year. A student raised her hand and insisted, "But George Bush was behind the bombings of Sept 11."

"She was serious," DiFonzo said, adding that he believes she accepted the rumor because other people in her life gave her the impression that it was plausible.

"This isn't a partisan thing," he said. "It's not a characteristic of Democrats or of Republicans. It's a human characteristic. It's a place that we happen to be at in our culture today. What seems outlandish is often based on what we think may be plausible."

Times of India

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8 million Pakistanis need help

20 August 2010

 ISLAMABAD - The number of Pakistani flood victims in need urgent humanitarian relief has risen from six million to eight million, the United Nations said on Thursday.

“Since it’s an evolving situation, things are unfolding. Our estimate has gone up and now eight million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” U.N. humanitarian operations spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said. 

Over four million left homeless

More than four million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, the United Nations said on Thursday, making the critical task of securing greater amounts of aid more urgent.

The U.N. had earlier said that two million people had lost their homes in the worst floods in Pakistan’s history.

Aid agencies have been pushing for more funding as they try to tackle major problems such as food supplies, lack of clean water and shelter and outbreaks of disease.

The economic costs of the floods are expected to run into the billions of dollars, stepping up pressure on Pakistan’s government just after it had made progress in stabilising the country through security offensives against Taliban insurgents.

Floods have ruined crops over an estimated area of more than 1.6 million acres, hammering the mainstay agriculture industry.

Flood victims are turning on each other as aid is handed out. The elderly sometimes take food from children as anger rises over the government’s perceived sluggish response to the crisis. In the small town of Alipur in the agricultural heartland Punjab province, troops and police with batons charged flood victims trying to grab food unloaded from a helicopter.

Villages were totally submerged and in many places people were stranded either on rooftops or high ground. Some waved empty pots and pans at a military helicopter, wondering, like millions of others, when food supplies will arrive.

Aninda Mitra, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst for Pakistan, doubts the disaster will have short-term implications on sovereign ratings.

“I think even the most conservative donor will clearly understand the human implications of this disaster,” he said.

“But in the long term, to what extent the economy can bounce back and recover is going to be quite crucial and that is something we are interested in getting an assessment on.”

The Asian Development Bank said it would extend a $2 billion assistance package for emergency rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Hundreds of villages are isolated, highways and bridges have been cut in half and hundreds of thousands of cattle — the livelihoods of many villagers — have drowned.

Only a small minority of the 6 million Pakistanis desperate for food and clean water have received help after floods that have killed up to 1,600 people.

“According to rough estimates, over 4 million people in Sindh and Punjab still do not have a roof on their head,” said U.N. spokesman Maurizio Giuliano, referring to southern and central provinces worst hit by the flood. “This situation is of high concern”.

Fears are rising for possible epidemics.

The armed forces have raised their profile by leading rescue efforts, but analysts don’t expect the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its history, to try to stage a coup.

Juan Miranda, ADB Director General for its Central and West Asia department, said it was hard to quantify damages.

“But what is clear is that this disaster is like no other in living memory — and that our response must also be unprecedented, equal to the need, and fast.”

More Aid, Hardship on The Ground

The United States sees nuclear-armed Pakistan as crucial to stabilising neighbouring Afghanistan, a top priority for President Barack Obama. Pakistan is manoeuvring for more leverage there through Afghan militant groups to counter the influence of rival and fellow nuclear-armed India.

A senior official of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said the floods had not damaged the country’s nuclear power plants.

Neither have the floods changed the dynamics of the struggle between the army and militants. Neither side has indicated a change in strategy.

Aid funding has improved, with nearly half the $459 million needed to fund initial relief efforts secured after days of lobbying donors. But the situation on the ground remained grim.

“The response of donors to this crisis is getting better and better but it is still inadequate,” Giuliano told.

Child trafficking is a big business in Pakistan. Giuliano expressed concern that since the floods have made millions homeless, children were at an even greater risk.

“You may have families who take drastic measures because they need to survive,” he said. “So even though we don’t have any suggestion that it is happening already, this can be a concern.”

NEW DELHI: The Centre has sounded a nationwide alert, asking states and Union Territories to step up vigil following 'general' intelligence inputs that the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) may try to strike during the upcoming festive season.

The focus of the alert is on Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat and Thiruvananthapuram.

"Although there is no specific input, the states and UTs have been alerted taking in view the general information as the festival period - ongoing Ramzan and the upcoming festivals of Raksha Bandhan, Eid-ul Fitr and Onam - has always been considered vulnerable", said a senior government official.

Onam will be celebrated on August 23, Raksha Bandhan on August 24 and Eid-ul Fitr on September 13.

The official said the advisory issued by the home ministry asked all states to increase vigil and take precautionary measures at public places including markets, shopping-malls, railway stations, bus terminals, parks and movie theatres.

The home ministry also gave out list of potential targets. These include international airports, sensitive economic installations, big hotels, tourist spots and ports. The CISF, guarding Delhi Metro, big Public Sector Undertakings and airports across the country, has been sent a separate advisory.

Apprehending disturbance or some possible retaliation by terror groups in the wake of arrest of the PDP leader Abdul Naseer Madani - an accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blast case - the home ministry also asked both Karnataka and Kerala to deploy additional forces at sensitive locations across the states.

Read more: Nationwide terror alert over LeT threat - India - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nationwide-terror-alert-over-LeT-threat/articleshow/6349351.cms#ixzz0x7b813bE

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US urges Pak to accept Indian aid; hardliners blame India, US for floods

20 August 2010

Read more: US urges Pak to accept Indian aid; hardliners blame India, US for floods - US - World - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-hardliners-blame-India-US-for-floods/articleshow/6335115.cms#ixzz0x7dVaVTj

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has urged Pakistan to accept India's aid offer even as hardline elements in the flood-ravaged country have begun a vicious campaign to blame India, the United States, and Afghanistan for the calamity, a charge Washington has simply dismissed.

Amid mounting international attention and concern for Pakistan's future in the face of the tragedy, US officials on Wednesday called on Islamabad to abjure politics and accept India's help, including an initial $ 5 million offer it has sat on saying it is under consideration, even as it is begging for international aid.

"I think the priority is to use offers of assistance to help the Pakistani people, so we would encourage Government of Pakistan to accept that (Indian) offer," Frank Ruggiero, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said on Wednesday. Separately, state department spokesman P J Crowley said, "In terms of responding to a disaster, politics should play no role. You have a country (India) that's willing to help (Pakistan), and...we expect that Pakistan will accept."

Their remarks came amid a rash of reports in the Pakistani media blaming India, principally, for the massive floods, purportedly because New Delhi had deliberately diverted waters from dams in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and from the ones it "controlled in Afghanistan”. Some reports also charged that US was manipulating weather patterns over Pakistan. US officials dismissed the idea with incredulity.

"So it was the United States and India that conspired to have the monsoons come to Pakistan? I don't find that credible," Crowley said in response to a question about such reports in sections of the Pakistani media considered close to hard-line elements in its intelligence agencies and jihadists.

The inflammatory reports in a country that's been dubbed "Paranoidistan" surfaced even as Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in an interview to ABC, endorsed a purported ISI report last week that home-grown extremism and not India constituted a primary security threat to the country.

The new line, which if genuine would reverse 63 years of regarding India as the primary threat, is ostensibly aimed at extracting more aid from the US and the international community, which have repeatedly advised Islamabad to give up its India fixation, and have been reluctant to open their purse strings because of, among other things, Pakistan's hardline policies towards India.

Pakistan's recalibration, amid unabated floods and fears of extremists getting ahead of the government in providing relief, is already starting to show results. The US has increased its aid to nearly $100 million, the World Bank has sanctioned a loan of $ 900 million, and various western and Gulf/Arab countries have also bumped up their initial modest contribution to help out Pakistan from being completely washed up.

On Thursday (Friday IST), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the move to galvanize world attention and ramped up aid by delivering remarks at a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the humanitarian situation resulting from the floods in Pakistan. She is expected to announce a further increase in US commitment.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-hardliners-blame-India-US-for-floods/articleshow/6335115.cms#ixzz0x7dR8xNf

Times of India

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Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Talks, Officials Say

By MARK LANDLER

20 August 2010

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce Friday that Israel and the Palestinians will return to direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, delivering the Obama administration a small victory in its protracted effort to revive the Middle East peace process, two officials briefed on the situation said Thursday evening.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, have agreed to place a one-year time limit on the talks, these officials said.

President Obama is expected to invite both leaders to Washington in early September to start the negotiations, which will cover thorny issues like the borders of a new Palestinian state, the political status of Jerusalem, security guarantees for Israel and right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The Obama administration declined to confirm the announcement, which was first reported by Reuters, with an official cautioning that final details were still being worked out and that the timing could slip by a day or so.

But after months of grueling diplomacy by the administration’s special envoy to the region, George J. Mitchell, officials sounded a more optimistic note on Thursday.

“We think we are very, very close to a decision by the parties to enter into direct negotiations,” Philip J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said to reporters. “We think we’re well positioned to get there.”

Mrs. Clinton has been working the phone in recent days to clear the final hurdles, speaking Thursday with Jordan’s foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, and with Tony Blair, the special representative of the Quartet, the group of Middle East peacemakers comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

Late on Wednesday, she spoke with the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad.

While the details of the talks are not yet public, the one-year time limit is viewed as crucial because the Palestinians are leery of being drawn into an open-ended negotiation with Israel. Mr. Netanyahu has long said he is open to talks, but the Palestinians have been resistant, seeking assurances from the United States about the terms and conditions.

Israel has eschewed any pre-conditions to negotiations, officials said, including an extension of the government’s 10-month, partial moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, set to expire on Sept. 26. The Obama administration has pushed to restart direct talks so that the two sides would be at the negotiating table when that date arrives.

Mr. Obama held separate meetings with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas in recent weeks, which officials said helped reassure the Palestinians and began to heal a rift between Israel and the United States over American demands that Israel halt settlement construction.

The broad outlines of a peace agreement are well known and likely to be based on the borders of Israel before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with certain agreed-upon land swaps. But many analysts are skeptical that Israel and the Palestinians will be able to reach a deal, given the hardened political realities on each side.

Mr. Netanyahu is trying to hold together a right-wing coalition that will view concessions, like an extension of the settlement moratorium, with extreme suspicion. The Palestinians are deeply divided between Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority from its base in the West Bank, and Hamas, a militant Islamic group that rules Gaza and is shunned by the West for its terrorist attacks.

Some analysts believe the two sides will quickly turn to the United States to provide “bridging proposals” to help close the gap on delicate issues. Mr. Crowley stressed that the negotiation was between Israel and the Palestinians, but acknowledged the American role.

“We, the United States, have always played a special role within this effort, and we will be prepared to assist the parties going forward in moving towards a successful negotiation,” he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/world/middleeast/20mideast.html?_r=1&hp

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Newsweek lists King Abdullah among top 10 world leaders

Aug 19, 2010

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has been listed by Newsweek among the world’s most respected 10 leaders.

The list included British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

The US magazine lauded King Abdullah as a reformer “who has given the go-ahead to modernize schools, has appointed women to high office and invested in science and technology and nuclear power.”

It commended the king’s efforts to fight terrorism and extremism, adding that the Saudi leader had urged Muslims “to embrace the spirit of tolerance, moderation and balance.”

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article106200.ece

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Pope urges 'concrete support' for Pakistan flood victims

Aug 19, 2010

Castel Gandolfo (Italy), : Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday urged the international community to offer "concrete support" to flood-ravaged Pakistan.

"My thoughts at this time go to the dear people of Pakistan, recently struck by serious floods that have claimed numerous victims and left many families homeless," the pope said.

"Our brothers who are undergoing such a cruel ordeal must not lack the solidarity and concrete support of the international community," he urged during his weekly audience at his summer residence outside Rome.

The floods have affected some 20 million people and claimed at least 1,400 lives in Pakistan's worst-ever natural disaster.

The United Nations' aid coordination body said that more than 650,000 homeless families were still without basic shelter.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pope-urges-concrete-support-for-pakistan-flood-victims/662155/

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Australia's 'Ramadan lounge' Muslim Tourist Plans

August 19, 2010

After a series of tourism campaigns, Australia is taking a new tack with a "Ramadan lounge" concept designed to appeal to traveling Muslims.

With Queensland's sunny winters increasingly luring Middle Eastern tourists escaping the oppressive heat of their summer months, local officials decided to open a venue designed for Muslims observing the Ramadan month of fasting.

Tourism Queensland regional director Paul Buggy said while some hotels, shopping centers and theme parks in the state already offered Muslim prayer rooms, officials wanted to go "one step further".

The result is the Ramadan Lounge at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in the town of Surfers Paradise, where people can come three evenings a week during the Muslim holy month to break their daily fast with dates, snacks and coffee.

"It's a function room that we've converted into a comfortable lounge where we are inviting Muslims to come and break their fast," Buggy told AFP.

The lounge, which is designed to accommodate about 50 people, will be free to all and open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from sunset to about 9:00 pm until early September.

Australia's tourism numbers have dwindled after record highs in the 1990s but Buggy said there were growing numbers of Middle Eastern and North African travelers, who accounted for some 20,500 visitors to Queensland State in 2009.

"We expect that the Middle East (tourist market) is going to grow more than 12 percent yearly up to 2013," Buggy said. "It's a long-stay, high-yielding market so therefore is one of our priority markets."

http://www.iqna.ir/en/news_detail.php?ProdID=636658

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Bahrain arrests more Shia activists as poll nears

Aug 19, 2010

MANAMA - Bahraini authorities have detained four more Shia activists on security grounds, raising the stakes in the run-up to parliamentary elections after earlier arrests were criticised by rights groups.

The detentions bring to eight the number of activists and clerics arrested over the past week. The detainees include Mohammed Saeed, a board member of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights whose operations were formally suspended in 2004 but which continues to operate, Bahrain’s state news agency said.

“The organisation’s network aimed at compromising national security and harming the stability of the country,” the news agency said late on Tuesday, citing a security source.

It said the group had funded violent protests in different parts of Bahrain. Bahraini government officials either declined to comment or could not be reached.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August330.xml&section=middleeast

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Maths just a child’s play for 13-year-old prodigy

Afshan Ahmed

19 August 2010

 DUBAI — When 13-year-old Imadh Bahaudeen was pitted at a school Olympiad against a Vedic Mathematician known for his ability to solve maths problems 10-15 times faster than the conventional methods, he proved to be quicker than the expert himself — in two of the sums.

So it came as no surprise to his parents and teachers when he announced that he would be appearing for his General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in mathematics this year, rather than wait for another three years, to complete it with his peers.

What was even more evident to them was that he could nail the examination and he indeed did, receiving an A* — the highest grade that can be achieved in the British curriculum.

His mother distinctly remembers how, when he was much younger, he would ‘rattle off” times tables as it were A B C. “I do not need a calculator when Imadh’s around,” a proud Rushda Bahaudeen says.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/August/theuae_August522.xml&section=theuae

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Muslims pray at Pentagon’s Sept. 11 crash site

19 August 2010

 WASHINGTON — Americans are debating bitterly the proposed building of a mosque near the site where Arab terrorists knocked down the World Trade Center in New York, but for years Muslims have prayed quietly at the Pentagon only 80 feet (24 meters) from where another hijacked jetliner struck.

Pentagon officials say that no one in the military or the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has ever protested.

They describe the 100-seat chapel as a peaceful place where some 300 to 400 Pentagon employees come to pray each week. The chapel hosts separate weekly worship services for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Protestants, Catholics and Episcopalians.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August990.xml&section=international&col=

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Insurgents kill 5 govt employees around Iraq

Aug 19, 2010

BAGHDAD: A series of attacks and roadside bomb explosions killed five Iraqi government employees on Wednesday as insurgents maintain a steady campaign of attacks against the country’s institutions and security forces just two weeks before the formal end of the US combat role in Iraq.

Suspected Sunni militants have frequently targeted Iraq’s policemen and soldiers looking to expose the inability of the Shiite-dominated government to protect the country. The looming departure of the US military has turned Iraqi forces and government institutions into attractive targets for insurgents, exploiting security gaps and the political vacuum five months after an inconclusive election.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article106191.ece

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All cafes ordered shut in Chechnya during Ramadan

August 19, 2010

GROZNY, Russia, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The spiritual leader of the Muslim region of Chechnya has ordered that eateries shut down completely for the month of Ramadan, sparking outrage from activists and residents who say it violates Russian law.

Against the backdrop of a spreading insurgency, many fear that growing interest in radical Islam could fuel separatism in the volatile North Caucasus region where rebels are fighting to create a pan-Caucasus state governed by Islamic sharia law.

Chechnya's mufti Sultan Mirzayev said on Wednesday cafes and restaurants must stay closed even after sundown during Ramadan -- a radical move compared to other parts of the Muslim world.

"We can't have smells wafting through the streets and teasing the hungry," Mirzayev told Reuters by telephone.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE67H17B

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Makkah dawa center guides 1,300 expats to Islam

By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA

Aug 19, 2010

MAKKAH: More than 1,300 foreigners have embraced Islam thanks to the Cooperative Office for Dawa, Guidance and Enlightenment of Foreign Communities in Makkah since its establishment 19 years ago, according to the office’s chairman.

Dr. Sulaiman Al-Salloumi told Arab News on Wednesday that the office has three branches all located outside the boundaries of Makkah.

"Our office in Al-Sharaie district is mainly concerned with spreading Islam among the Chinese who work on the Makkah Metro project," he added.

Al-Salloumi said their office in Al-Taneem, which is also outside the boundaries of the holy city, is focusing on three local hospitals, which are mainly staffed by non-Muslim doctors, nurses and technicians.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article106147.ece

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Muslim American serves New York’s homeless while fasting

Aug 19, 2010

WASHINGTON: For Ramadan, New York City resident Yusef Ramelize will fast, pray and give alms to the poor. But how he helps the needy during the holy month sets him apart from other Muslims in America, or anywhere else.

Ramelize is spending part of Ramadan living on the street. For him, this is the perfect way to draw attention to his city's growing homeless population.

For the second year in a row, Ramelize is helping New Yorkers in need with his Homeless for One Week project. Ramelize first lived on the street for a week in 2009 after it became clear that people needed to understand homelessness.

"I asked myself, 'What can I do to raise awareness?' and then I decided that I was going to go homeless for a day," Ramelize said. "But then I said, 'You know what? I want to make the biggest sacrifice that I can' and I decided to come up with the idea of going homeless for a week."

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article106219.ece

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Fear paralyzes US Muslim 'leaders'

By ENVER MASUD

Aug 19, 2010

Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Muslims in the US had reason to fear the US government. Nine years on, the failure of Muslim leaders to make a concerted, united effort to expose the false account of 9/11 put forth by the US government is inexcusable.

Earlier this year, the Guardian (UK) reported:

in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the US government undertook the "preventative detention" of about 5,000 men on the basis of their birthplace and later sought a further 19,000 "voluntary interviews". Over the next year, more than 170,000 men from 24 predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea were fingerprinted and interviewed in a program of "special registration". None of these produced a single terrorism conviction.

Muslims were hauled away by the government to places unknown. They were not informed of the charges against them, had no idea when they would be released, and were not given access to lawyers. Several Muslim charities were raided, their offices shut down.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article106333.ece

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Women’s College staff feel marginalized

By OMAIMA AL-FARDAN

Aug 19, 2010

JEDDAH: Two years after becoming part of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah (KAU), the staff and students of the Women’s College feel marginalized.

According to a source close to the college, the students are frustrated at what they feel is being ignored by the administration of the university.

“The rector of KAU never met with women teachers of the college, as he often does with the university staff,” said Sana Arab, a staff member and former dean of the college.

Arab said marginalization was not the only reason why the staff of the college was calling for academic sovereignty and independence. She recalled that two women undersecretaries at the college, one for students’ affairs and the other a supervisor of the science section, were appointed in their new positions from outside.

“We do not object to the two undersecretaries personally but we wish that the positions had been filled from the staff of the college itself,” she said. The staff of the college complained against these appointments to the minister of higher education and to the rector of KAU.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article106135.ece

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27 freed, 13 killed in raid on secret Taliban prison

Aug 19, 2010

KANDAHAR: Afghan and NATO forces raided a secret prison run by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, freeing 27 inmates and killing 13 people including five prisoners, officials said on Wednesday.

The militants had been holding abducted aid workers and people affiliated with the Afghan government in the hidden cell in Helmand province, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

The joint forces carried out the operation late Tuesday in Shair Ghazi village, in the volatile Musa Qala district, Ahmadi added. “Twenty-seven prisoners were freed, eight Taliban and unfortunately five prisoners were killed during the operation,” he told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\19\story_19-8-2010_pg20_3

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Most New Yorkers against ground zero mosque: Poll

Aug 19, 2010

New York : Most New Yorkers oppose a proposed Islamic centre and a mosque near the ground zero, according to a poll on the issue that has sparked a row in the country.

A poll by the Siena Research Institute finds that 63 per cent of New Yorkers oppose the project, with 27 per cent supporting it.

A similar poll done by Siena College, two weeks, ago showed that 61 per cent opposed the mosque and 26 per cent supported it.

However, 64 per cent of New Yorkers supported the right of developers to build the mosque.

Kuwaiti-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the developer of the USD 100 million Muslim Community Centre called Cordoba House, insists that it is "a centre for all New Yorkers" and "its purpose is to interweave America's Muslim population into the mainstream society."

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/most-new-yorkers-against-ground-zero-mosque-poll/662159/

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Terror-mongers raise funds under aid garb

Aug 19, 2010

Banned militant groups like the Lashker-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, blamed for terror strikes in India, have set up camps in Karachi to raise funds to help victims of the worst-ever deluge sweeping Pakistan.

Office-bearers of the groups said the ban imposed on them has compelled them to work under different names. The work of these groups is reminiscent of their activities during the 2005 earthquake, when they had more resources than the Government itself.

The groups claim they have collected millions of rupees for the flood victims and that they are engaged in relief and rescue operations in affected areas, The Express Tribune reported.

The groups have given food and medical facilities to the survivors. Other militant groups engaged in relief operations are the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, blamed by India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Harkat-ul Mujahideen, Hizbut Tahrir and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/277133/Terror-mongers-raise-funds-under-aid-garb.html

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As Pak battles flood, militants strike

Aug 19, 2010

PESHAWAR: Islamist militants attacked police posts in Pakistan's northwest and killed two civilians active in an anti-Taliban militia, challenging a security establishment straining under a national flooding disaster, police said on Wednesday.

The attacks came as the UN said an estimated 4.6 million flood victims have yet to get any shelter, despite aid workers' attempts to distribute tents.

A group of militants first killed two members of a militia in the Adezai area of Peshawar as they headed to pray at a mosque late on Tuesday, said Liaqat Ali Khan, Peshawar police chief.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/As-Pak-battles-flood-militants-strike/articleshow/6333506.cms#ixzz0x1f889ie

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“Awqaf” Quran Contest Kicked Off in Yemen

August 19, 2010

The fourth edition of “Awqaf” Quran memorization and recitation contest started from today, August 17 in Amran province, Yemen.

According to althawra.net, organized by Endowments and Islamic Guidance Organization in Yemen, the competition is to be held on two categories of memorization and recitation of the Quran for 56 male and female participants.

Ahmad Saleh Al-Ashmuri, director of the information office of the organization said in this respect: “the contest aims to encourage the youth to learn and memorize the holy Quran and to be familiarized with prophetic tradition and to promote principles of moderation and unity among the generation.”

He further regarded the contest as a step forward to maintain Islamic identity and the unity of Islamic society and to eliminate prejudice and extravagance among the people and stressed the importance of memorization of the Quran and application of valuable teachings of the holy book in life.

http://www.iqna.ir/en/news_detail.php?ProdID=635307

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India sends home to Pak two men who helped hijack IC-814 to Kandahar

Dharmendra Rataul

Aug 19 2010

Attari border : Among the 28 Pakistanis repatriated to their country via the Attari-Wagah border today were two men who had served time in Indian jails for doing their bit to aid the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar.

Haji Iqbal Ahmad and Mohammad Asif were in jail for eight years in Maharashtra for aiding a bank robbery in Mumbai to generate funds for the hijacking of IC-814.

“Whatever we did, we have been punished for it. I am happy that I have been finally released and can go home,” said Iqbal Ahmad, adding that his years in Indian jails were “memorable”. He said his jail term had ended long ago but he could not go home because Pakistani authorities had not completed verification formalities.

They were escorted to the border by Maharashtra police constables. They had completed their jail terms in February 2008. “Since then, we had been living at the Borivli police station,” said Iqbal Ahmad.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-sends-home-to-pak-two-men-who-helped-hijack-ic814-to-kandahar/662403/

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Iran tells West to stay out of woman's stoning case

Aug 19, 2010

Tehran : Iran told Western nations on Tuesday to stay out of the case of a woman who faces death by stoning, warning it will not tolerate any interference in the matter still under examination.

"Independent nations do not allow other countries to interfere in their judicial affairs," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told in a news conference.

The official was responding to questions from reporters about the status of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death by stoning by an Iranian court.

"Western nations must not pressurise and hype it (the case) up... judicial cases have precise procedures, especially when it concerns murder."

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iran-tells-west-to-stay-out-of-womans-stoning-case/661473/

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Two former Gitmo detainees may enter Bahraini Politics

By SANDEEP SINGH GREWAL

Aug 19, 2010

MANAMA: In 2004 National Justice Movement (NJM) member Mohideen Mahmoud Khan and five other NJM members were charged by the US for being part of a sleeper cell that planned attacks on civilians and targeted sensitive locations. He has since been arrested again on suspicion of terrorism.

But that did not stop the NJM member from running in Bahrain’s 2006 parliamentary elections after the courts dropped the charges.

Khan failed to secure a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, Bahrain’s Lower House elected by citizens, but parliamentary and municipal elections are once again approaching, expected sometime before the Haj (pilgrimage) begins in November.

NJM is once again expected to run alleged terror suspects, including former Guantanamo Bay detainees, as part of its electoral campaign.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article106335.ece

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Terrorists kill two anti-Taliban fighters in Peshawar

Aug 19, 2010

PESHAWAR: Dozens of terrorists attacked a mosque and a police checkpoint in Peshawar, killing two anti-Taliban fighters, police said on Wednesday. In the first attack, 10 terrorists from Lashkar-e-Islam raided a mosque on Tuesday in Adezai village, on the outskirts of Peshawar, killing two militiamen while they were praying. An hour later, about 100 insurgents from the group fired on a police post in Sarband village, on the western edge of Peshawar, leading to a 40-minute gunfight but no injuries were reported. The two sides exchanged fire for about an hour before the terrorists retreated to Khyber, said Liaquat Ali Khan, the Peshawar police chief. Several militants were killed, but there were no police casualties, he added. “They were Mangal Bagh’s people,” Muhammad Karim Khan, a senior police official, told AFP. He said the group came from Khyber Agency before fleeing the scene of both attacks. Fahimuddin, head of the anti-Taliban militia in Adezai village, confirmed the attacks.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\19\story_19-8-2010_pg7_8

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Asiya Andrabi a hypocrite’

Aug 19, 2010

Cornered by the hardline separatist leaders for the past two months, Omar Abdullah on Wednesday labelled prominent separatist leader Asiya Andrabi as a ‘hypocrite’.

The CM chose to hit back at a time when a prominent separatist leader from Kashmir valley filed an affidavit in the court seeking an Indian passport for her son so that he can pursue higher studies. When quizzed by the media to comment on Andrabi’s move, Abdullah blatantly exposed her doublespeak.

He said, “While the children in Kashmir are not being allowed to pursue their studies and leaders like Asiya Andrabi, who made public statements that until we achieve freedom there is no harm if our children can stay at home and sacrifice their studies, are seeking an Indian passport for her son so that he can visit Malaysia for higher studies.”

“If this is an act of hypocrisy, certainly yes,” he added. “This clearly shows the difference between what they say and what they do,” said Abdullah, clarifying that Andrabi has not sent her son to Malaysia as yet but has already filed an affidavit in the court seeking an Indian passport for him.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/276971/%E2%80%98Asiya-Andrabi-a-hypocrite%E2%80%99.html

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Students from Kashmir pelt politicos with tough queries

By Aman Sharma

Aug 19, 2010

ASIMA Rashid, a student of Kashmir University, reached the Capital in the hope of getting an assurance from the political class to end the ongoing cycle of violence in the Valley.

But the 24- year- old student said neither home minister P. Chidambaram nor leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj could offer her the hope she was looking for. “ I posed a question to Chidambaram and Swaraj: How does a state justify using its armed forces against its own people who have dissenting views? I am tired of asking the same question again and again. But I only got a well- rehearsed answer that violence needs to stop first. But what about the alienation… I have experienced it all my life. Eloquent political speeches will not work. I go back to Kashmir disillusioned,” Asima said.

Full report at: Mail Today

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NATO strike in Afghanistan kills Taliban commander

August 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Aug 18 (Saba) -- A Taliban commander was killed in a NATO strike in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, whereas, Taliban gunned down a tribal chieftain and his wife in Southern Zabul province of the war-torn country. "Coalition forces conducted a precision air strike in Kandahar province Tuesday killing a Taliban commander who planned and coordinated improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against Afghan civilians, as well as Afghan and coalition forces," said NATO in a statement, issued on Wednesday and carried by state-run Pajwok Afghan News (PAN).

The commander was identified as Aqua. The statement said further that no civilians were wounded or killed in this precision strike.

Meanwhile, suspected Taliban militants shot dead a tribal chieftain and his wife in southern Zabul province on Wednesday.

Local news channels citing spokesman for provincial administration Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar said that Atta Khan Kajran and his wife were shot down in their house in Shah Joi district early morning.

http://www.sabanews.net/en/news222507.htm

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Egypt's Islamic Art Museum Reopens after Restoration

August 19, 2010

The Egyptian capital's Museum of Islamic Art -- the world's largest -- was officially reopened on Saturday after an eight-year restoration project.

However the public will still have to wait another two weeks until the start of September to be able to view its 25 galleries containing 2,500 artefacts of great artistic or historic value, chosen from some 100,000 items.

Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, who attended the official reopening after the 10-million-dollar renovation, said the project had resulted in "a great change in the way the works are exhibited, protected and lit."

Among the treasures on show are a gold-inlaid key to the Kaaba, and the oldest Islamic dinar ever found, dating back to the year 697.

Full report at:

http://www.iqna.ir/en/news_detail.php?ProdID=633488

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Yemen to deport 150 Ethiopians

August 19, 2010

TAIZ, Aug. 18 (Saba)- Security Department in Taiz province has handed over 150 Ethiopian infiltrators to Passport and Immigration Authority in Sana'a who were detained for entry into the Yemeni lands illegally.

The Immigration and Passport Authority said that they will deport the Ethiopian infiltrators who were handed over by Taiz security to implement the orders of the Ministry of Interior.

In related news, security authorities have arrested 19 Ethiopians, 15 of them in Salah districe of Taiz province and others aged between 17-20years in Saada province, and referred them to the legal procedures for entry into the Yemeni territories illegally.

http://www.sabanews.net/en/news222490.htm

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SR400m raised for Pakistan; OIC chief calls for setting up of emergency fund

Aug 19, 2010

JEDDAH: The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has stressed the pressing need for an Emergency Disaster Response Fund to deal with natural calamities in member states, as the Kingdom raised SR400 million in relief for Pakistan.

Ihsanoglu was speaking at an emergency meeting of the OIC on Wednesday to pledge support, solidarity and sympathy for Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating floods that have killed over 1,600 people and displaced thousands more.

“The OIC should consider seriously the establishment of an emergency fund to address efficiently and urgently natural disasters and catastrophes which might affect individual member states in the future, particularly in view of the phenomena of global warming and climate change,” he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article106231.ece

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Karzai says Afghanistan needs Russia's support

By DENIS DYOMKIN

Aug 19, 2010

SOCHI, Russia: Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought President Dmitry Medvedev's help for his nation on Wednesday, two decades after Moscow ended a disastrous conflict there that cost the lives of about 15,000 Soviet troops.

Russia, which analysts say is seeking to increase its influence in Afghanistan and the surrounding region, hosted Karzai and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari for talks on security and drugs.

"Let me once again thank you for your concern for Afghanistan," Karzai told Medvedev as they sat down for talks at the Russian president's summer residence near the Black Sea.

"Afghanistan will need the support of friends and from great countries like Russia," Karzai said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article106170.ece

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Jeddah City FC: Giving Saudi grass-roots football the kick it needs

Aug 19, 2010

As the dust finally settles since the World Cup final in Johannesburg a month ago, a lot of national football associations will probably still be holding inquests into why their respective teams underperformed at the premier football tournament, namely the likes of England, Italy and France.

A lot of questions will certainly be asked about the grass-roots systems in these countries. In other words, what are children being taught when they step onto a training pitch?

This can be a grueling job in a place where football is not only a passion, but also a trade practiced with panache. So imagine the need for such grass-roots level activities in a country that has the passion, but not the facilities, for football.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/article105807.ece

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King to host 2,000 Palestinian Haj pilgrims

Aug 19, 2010

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah plans to bring 2,000 Palestinians to the Kingdom to perform Haj.

The guests will include relatives of prisoners serving life sentences, released prisoners as well as relatives of martyrs, the Saudi Press Agency reported, quoting the Royal Court.

King Abdullah invites thousands of pilgrims from different countries, including leaders of Muslim communities and senior government officials, to perform Haj every year.

Palestinian Ambassador to the Kingdom Jamal Al-Shoubaki commended the king’s gesture and said all Palestinians, especially the relatives of prisoners and martyrs, would be thankful to him.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up preparations for the annual pilgrimage, which begins this year on Nov. 14.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article106144.ece

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Turkish Embassy attacker to stay in Israeli jail

Aug 19, 2010

JERUSALEM: A Tel Aviv court on Wednesday approved the detention of a Palestinian who broke into the Turkish Embassy in Israel armed with a knife, a toy gun and a gasoline can, tried to take hostages and demanded political asylum.

The seven-hour standoff ended when Turkish Embassy officials allowed Israeli police and medics to remove the attacker, Nadim Injaz, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Ramallah. Injaz emerged from the embassy limping slightly from an apparent gunshot wound.

On Wednesday, TV channels showed Injaz being brought into court in a wheelchair, flashing a victory sign and yelling “Death to Jews.” The Israeli Courts Administration said the Tel Aviv court approved holding Injaz in jail for a week to allow police to investigate.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article106201.ece

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Goodbye Iraq: Last US combat brigade heads home

19 August 2010

 KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait – As their convoy reached the barbed wire at the border crossing out of Iraq on Wednesday, the soldiers whooped and cheered. Then they scrambled out of their stifling hot armored vehicles, unfurled an American flag and posed for group photos.

For these troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq, well ahead of President Barack Obama’s Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations there.

When 18-year-old Spc. Luke Dill first rolled into Iraq as part of the U.S. invasion, his Humvee was so vulnerable to bombs that the troops lined its floor with flak jackets.

Now 25 and a staff sergeant after two tours of duty, he rode out of Iraq this week in a Stryker, an eight-wheeled behemoth encrusted with armor and add-ons to ward off grenades and other projectiles.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August341.xml&section=middleeast

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Talks with US only if sanctions are dropped: Iran

19 August 2010

 TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that any talks with arch-foe the United States would occur only if Washington drops “sanctions and threats” against Tehran.

“The respected president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and others have said that we are ready for negotiations. It is right. But not with America,” Khamenei told a gathering of senior Iranian officials, including Ahmadinejad, in a speech broadcast on state television.

“The reason is that America does not enter the field honestly as a normal negotiator. They should drop the face of a superpower, they should drop threats, they should drop sanctions and they should not set a goal for negotiations. Then we are ready.”

The United States, with whom Iran has had no diplomatic ties for more than three decades, led the world powers on June 9 in imposing new UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August337.xml&section=middleeast

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US official ‘explains’ Iran sanctions to Lebanon

19 August 2010

 BEIRUT— A senior US Treasury official on Wednesday concluded two days of talks in Lebanon with financial leaders and bankers on US and UN sanctions slapped on Iran, the US embassy said.

Stuart Levey, the undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, met officials including Finance Minister Raya al-Hassan, central bank governor Riad Salame as well as several bankers.

“This visit was to explain how our sanctions process work,” a source at the US embassy said on condition of anonymity.

The source did not give further details on the talks.

The official National News Agency said Levey left for Bahrain at the end of his Beirut visit, which followed a similar trip to the United Arab Emirates Sunday and Monday.

The UN Security Council hit Tehran with a fourth set of military and financial sanctions on June 9 in a bid to rein in Tehran’s suspect nuclear programme.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August336.xml&section=middleeast

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New US ambassador to Iraq arrives in Baghdad

19 August 2010

BAGHDAD — James Jeffrey, the new US ambassador to Iraq, arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday and presented his diplomatic credentials to the conflict-torn nation’s head of state, the US embassy said in a statement.

Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience of the Middle East, met President Jalal Talabani and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at ceremonies in the Iraqi capital, it said.

“It is a great honour for me to return to Iraq,” Jeffrey, accompanied by his wife Gudrun, was quoted as saying.

“I look forward to renewing old friendships, strengthening our ties with Iraqi leaders and deepening our civilian engagement for the long term throughout this historic land.”

Jeffrey takes up his post less than two weeks before the US military is due to end its combat mission here, with the number of American troops expected to fall to around 50,000 by the end of August as part of a long-term drawdown.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August335.xml&section=middleeast

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Shaikh Mohammed receives educational leaders

19 August 2010

 DUBAI — His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received today evening at his palace the educational leaders and veteran teachers who served the country for more than 40 years and had impact on the development of education in the UAE.

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan and Al Qatami with educational leaders.

He expressed his pleasure on meeting the teachers who exerted their utmost to lay the foundation of the education in the country.

Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of the Cabinet Affairs Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi and Minister of Education Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami were also present on the occasion.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/August/theuae_August540.xml&section=theuae

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Russia summit calls for joint strategy against terrorism

Aug 19, 2010

SOCHI: Presidents of Russia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan along with President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for collective action against the menace of terrorism and to strengthen multilateral forums to eliminate terrorist networks.

The quartet meeting, hosted by the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, also underlined the need for exploiting the potential that existed in sectors of energy, transport, trade and communication to develop the region.

At the opening of the summit, President Zardari, Russian President Medvedev, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai made statements highlighting the objectives behind the summit and the goals they wanted to achieve by coming together.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\19\story_19-8-2010_pg7_1

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‘Militant’ doctor gunned down in Karachi

By Atif Raza

Aug 19, 2010

KARACHI: A doctor allegedly belonging to the banned Harkatul Mujahideen outfit was shot dead near the AO Clinic in Nazimabad on Wednesday.

SHO Jahanzaib said the deceased Javed, son of Abdul Shakoor, was killed by unidentified gunmen on two motorcycles while he was on his way to his private clinic in a Toyota Corolla bearing registration No AHQ-177. The culprits fled the scene as the doctor died on the spot, he added.

Javed was a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal and belonged to the Okhai Memon Community.

The police shifted his body to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) for post-mortem and later handed over to his family.

The SHO informed that the deceased doctor was released from the Azizabad police station a month ago and was to report there as scheduled, defined by the home department because of his alleged involvement with the outlawed Harkatul Mujahideen.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\19\story_19-8-2010_pg7_5

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Afghan protesters block highway over civilian killings

Aug 19, 2010

JALALABAD/KABUL: Hundreds of Afghan villagers blocked a national highway and chanted slogans against the US and the Afghan government on Wednesday to protest the alleged killing and arrest of civilians in a raid by NATO forces in the eastern Nangarhar province.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that the late night operation was in pursuit of a Taliban bomb-making expert linked to at least two attacks. But Nangahar police spokesman Abdul Ghafor Khan said that two civilians had been killed when the coalition troops raided a house in Surkh Rod district, and another three people detained.

“The coalition forces went into a house and killed a father and a son. They have arrested three people. They are innocent civilians, they are farmers and are not linked to any militant group,” he said. Ghafor said that the police had contacted the interior minister and NATO to try to secure the release of those detained.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\19\story_19-8-2010_pg7_7

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Afghanistan recruits Iraq-style Militia Force

Aug 19, 2010

KABUL—The Afghan government said Wednesday it had begun recruiting thousands of militiamen to strengthen security forces against a resurgent Taliban in remote villages of the war-torn country. President Hamid Karzai last month approved the establishment of what his administration calls a “Local Police Force,” recruited from Afghan villagers in a bid to guard against Taliban attacks in their communities.

Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Munir Mangal told reporters the US-backed initiative was under way in south-central provinces Wardak and Uruzgan, both of which have been hit hard by Taliban violence. “It will expand in the rest of the country very soon,” he said. “From what we see on the ground and seeing the eagerness of the people I can tell it’ll take two months or even less,” he said, referring to the recruiting process.

Recruitment would begin in the southern, eastern and southwestern regions of the country where insurgent violence is most intense, Mangal said.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/19/FrontPage/index.php?id=12

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Babri Mosque trial to begin from 23rd

Aug 19, 2010

NEW DELHI—Eighteen years after the extremist Hindu mob including BJP, NHP and RSS demolished the 16th century Babri Mosque in the ancient temple town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, a special court in Lucknow will commence the formal trial in the case from Monday, August 23, 2010. This follows framing of charges against 23 accused by special court judge V K Tyagi on Tuesday, a court official said.

Charges against top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders, including L K Advani, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, were already dropped by the High Court few years ago. Amongst the most prominent left on the firing line are former Faizabad District Magistrate R N Srivastava and mafia don-turned-BJP MP Brij Bhushan Saran Singh. Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/19/FrontPage/index.php?id=9

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Pakistan, Russia back Afghanistan at rare summit

Aug 19, 2010

SOCHI, Russia: The presidents of Pakistan and Russia, two states with a history of difficult relations with Kabul, on Wednesday backed the Afghan government's fight against militants at a rare summit meeting.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Afghan and Pakistani counterparts Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari in the Black Sea resort of Sochi; its balmy shores a stark contrast from the battle with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Russia is still haunted by the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan which cost over 13,000 Soviet lives and ended in a humiliating pullout in 1989 and has kept a wary distance from the troubles of Nato forces in the country.

But Medvedev assured Karzai of Moscow's full backing in a region where Russia has played a major role from the so-called “Great Game” against Britain in the 19th century to the present day.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-medvedev-talks-with-afghan-pakistani-leaders-hh-11

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Pakistan violates ceasefire, targets 3 Indian posts along LoC in Poonch

Aug 19, 2010

JAMMU: Pakistani Army opened fire on three Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Krishnaghati sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir early Thursday, Army sources said.

According to the sources, Pakistani troops targeted Kranti, Ghoda and Kirpan posts of the Indian Army along the LoC in Mendhar area, about 230 km north of Jammu at around 12.30 a.m.

Soldiers guarding the posts caught in heavy firing which lasted for more than one hour. Pakistani Army also fired mortars and rockets, the sources said.

Pakistani Army had been violating the cease fire, which had come into effect in November 2003, to facilitate infiltration.

Army sources said that Pakistani Army also wanted to cause tensions on the LoC.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-violates-ceasefire-targets-3-Indian-posts-along-LoC-in-Poonch/articleshow/6334737.cms#ixzz0x1ehXGYf

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Iran's first nuclear plant: A history of delays

Aug 19, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran's first nuclear power plant, which is set to go online on Saturday after being built and fuelled by Russia, has been delayed for more than three decades.

Its long-anticipated launch comes despite Russia hardening its position on Iran's nuclear programme and backing a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions in June over Tehran's continued uranium enrichment work.

The sanctions targeting Iran's military and nuclear programmes do not affect the Bushehr plant.

The project, near the port city of Bushehr in southern Iran, was first launched by the US-backed shah of Iran in the 1970s using contractors from German company Siemens.

But it was shelved when the shah was ousted during the 1979 Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Irans-first-nuclear-plant-A-history-of-delays/articleshow/6334826.cms#ixzz0x1fAx4GR

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Kerala parties step up efforts to woo Muslims

Aug 19, 2010

Major political parties in Kerala are stepping up efforts to woo the Muslim community in the wake of Abdul Nasser Madani’s arrest, key accused in the Bangalore bombings case. With two major elections are coming up, the two main political fronts in the State are worried that the arrest could cause serious dents in their Muslim vote banks.

The CPI(M) is on an urgent damage-control exercise as it believes a section of Muslims in Kerala harbours the suspicion that the LDF Government had not sincerely tried to avert Madani’s arrest, despite dramatic moves that delayed it by eight crucial days.

The Congress, heading the Opposition UDF, has already sought to distance itself from the entire Madani arrest issue, convinced that any position it takes would have a negative impact on the front’s electoral prospects because it has taken an anti-PDP stance since Madani’s estrangement with it, before the 2006 elections.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/276979/Kerala-parties-step-up-efforts-to-woo-Muslims.html

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4-nation pact to fight terrorism

Vladimir Radyuhin

Aug 19, 2010

MOSCOW: Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan agreed to step up joint fight against terrorism and narcotics at a quadripartite summit on Wednesday.

Terrorism and drug trafficking pose a “threat to peace and stability,” they said in a joint statement adopted at their second one-day meeting, in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The four countries will intensify joint efforts in combating terrorism and narcotics in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after the summit.

The four leaders discussed undertaking joint economic projects in power generation, transport infrastructure and mining, said Mr. Lavrov. He singled out such projects as restoring the Salang tunnel in northern Afghanistan and rebuilding the country's hydropower plants.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/19/stories/2010081956661700.htm

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/minorities-denied-flood-relief-in-pakistan/d/3310


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