New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 05:44 PM

Islamic World News ( 20 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Missile destroys Gaddafi building

Bangladesh Islami Andolan holds rally against anti-fatwa verdict

15 more killed in Karachi target killings

Seven killed in Syria protests

Saudis gather to demand release of prisoners

Arab League says it wanted no-fly zone, not bombs

China expresses regret for military strike against Libya

Gaddafi vows long war

Ousting Gaddafi not immediate goal: US

52 feared dead in Pakistan coal mine accident

India regrets military action against Libya

Japan’s disaster toll rises with 18,000 deaths

Karachi hit by fresh wave of killings

Bahrain’s main opposition groups ease demands

3 Senior Yemeni Officers Back Antigovernment Protesters

Egyptians turn out in droves to taste democracy

China takes hard line on activists, many missing

US to hand over Libyan operation command to France or UK

Western powers strike Libya for second night

Arab League criticises Western strikes on Libya

Bomb terror amidst Wikileaks revelations 'strange'

Pak military to penalise generals involved in corruption

No SC tag for Dalit Muslims, Christians?

Iranian regime interested in preserving its power: Obama

Gujjars demand more quota in J&K universities

Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the line of ire for his politics

I was never in a race on vacant seat of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti

Qatar defends participation in Libya operations

Sairin: No problem with K'gau Muslims on use of 'Allah'

Brother of Al-Qaeda's Zawahri re-arrested

22 Indian fishermen held in Pakistan

Where are the Islamic relief organizations?

Has Islamic finance contributed to the public good?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Libyan soldiers in Tripoli on Monday near an administrative building hit by a missile on Sunday

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/missile-destroys-gaddafi-building/d/4317

 

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Missile destroys Gaddafi building

21 March 2011

Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim Musa said the strike had targeted an "administrative building"

A missile strike has destroyed a building in Libya's capital, Tripoli, which Western officials say was one of Col Muammar Gaddafi's command centres.

Journalists were shown the wrecked building but it was not clear if there were any casualties.

Countries including the US, UK and France are continuing strikes after the UN authorised action to protect Libyan civilians from government forces.

Col Gaddafi has been fighting a rebellion that broke out last month.

US officials have said Col Gaddafi himself is not a target of the air strikes, which they say are aimed at his armed forces and air defence systems.

A Libyan official said 64 people had been killed in strikes at the weekend, but the figure could not be verified.

'Very effective'

On Sunday night anti-aircraft fire rose over Tripoli and several explosions were heard. A BBC reporter saw a column of smoke rising from the direction of Bab al-Aziziya, where Col Gaddafi has his military base and compound.

Two allied raids on Tripoli provoked heavy barrages of anti-aircraft fire aimed at missiles and aircraft that we in the city could neither see nor hear.

The city echoed with gunfire and the sky lit up with the red glow of tracer rounds. Several loud explosions rocked the city, including one at Col Gaddafi's own residential compound.

The compound had filled up with enthusiastic supporters of Col Gaddafi only the previous day - civilians who said they were ready to die with him if necessary.

It is not known whether any of them were still in the compound when the missiles struck. Some journalists were taken to the site during the night.

A Libyan government spokesman said it was proof the allies were targeting non-military locations. The removal of Col Gaddafi is not a stated aim of the UN Security Council resolution. But this strike is a reminder that he is not safe from the allied air strikes.

Western journalists taken by Libyan officials to the compound were shown a ruined three or four-storey building. It is not clear whether Col Gaddafi was there at the time of the bombing.

An official from one of the coalition countries, who asked not to be named, told journalists the strike destroyed Col Gaddafi's "command and control capability".

Earlier at the Pentagon, US Navy Vice Adm William Gortney said the coalition had control of the air space between Tripoli and the main rebel stronghold, Benghazi in the east. "The no-fly zone is effectively in place," he said.

He added that ground forces moving on rebel positions were also open to attack.

In Misrata, a city west of Benghazi that has been under siege by government troops, residents say bombardments by pro-Gaddafi forces are continuing. A nearby air base was targeted in the first night of coalition strikes.

The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in the rebel-held city of Tobruk, says it is not clear if the allies can attack Col Gaddafi's troops operating in the centre of Misrata without harming the very civilians they have come to save.

A rebel spokesman told Reuters news agency that pro-Gaddafi forces were bringing civilians to Misrata from outlying areas to deter further allied strikes.

On Monday Britain says it had called off an air raid during the night because civilians were spotted near the target area. The UK defence ministry did not say where the planned target had been.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who supported the UN resolution, on Sunday criticised the severity of the bombardment.

Amr Moussa reiterated concerns about the safety of civilians and dismissed suggestions of disunity

"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said.

But on Monday, in a joint news conference with visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Cairo, Mr Moussa played down any differences within the coalition. "We are all united on the issue of protecting civilians," he said.

Both he and Mr Ban stressed that Arab League support was a key factor in securing Security Council backing for the UN resolution.

Qatar planes

In Benghazi, heavy gunfire and sporadic explosions were heard on Sunday night, a witness told Reuters news agency.

"Benghazi is not completely safe from attack but it is certainly under less threat than it was yesterday," he said.

The US says a Libyan government claim that armed forces were observing a ceasefire "isn't true or has been immediately violated".

The action against Col Gaddafi's military began on Saturday afternoon with French air strikes in the east. A barrage of cruise missiles, launched from US and UK ships and submarines followed.

Ghassam, a resident of Misrata, told the BBC there were about 30 snipers on rooftops

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that while the US will continue to play a part in operations against Col Gaddafi's forces, it "will not have the pre-eminent role".

Meanwhile, the build-up of forces to enforce the no-fly zone continues.

Qatar is to send four planes to join the coalition enforcing the UN-mandated no-fly zone, the US and France have said.

The move would make Qatar the first Arab country to play an active part in the campaign against Col Gaddafi, who has been battling a month-long revolt.

Other Arab countries are also preparing to join the campaign against Col Gaddafi, Adm Gortney said.

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has left the Mediterranean port of Toulon for Libya, while Denmark and Norway are each sending six planes. Spain has sent at least three planes, while Italy also has jets ready to deploy. Canada has deployed six jets to Sicily and is preparing them for action.

Col Gaddafi has ruled Libya for more than 40 years. An uprising against him began last month after the long-time leaders of neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt were toppled.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12801812

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Bangladesh Islami Andolan holds rally against fatwa verdict

21 March 2011

The Islami Andolan Bangladesh on Sunday submitted a memorandum to the chief justice, ABM Khairul Haque, demanding that the High Court verdict that declared fatwa (religious decree) illegal should be overturned.

Several hundred leaders and activists of the political party marched towards the Supreme Court to hand over the memorandum to the chief justice after a brief rally in Muktangan in the afternoon.

The party’s leaders at the rally said nobody has the jurisdiction to give verdicts against the law of Allah.

They also said that courts should stop issuing rule suo moto against the Shariah, or Islamic laws. They also shouted slogans against the court rule that had declared fatwa illegal.

A 12-member delegation of the party, led by its secretary general Maulana Yunus Ahmed, met the chief justice in his office on the Supreme Court premises and handed over the memorandum to him.

The party in the memorandum said the court would need to refrain from issuing any verdict against rules of Islam, law of Allah, considering the sentiment and creed of the 90 per cent of the Muslims of the country.

It also said the High Court’s rule issued suo moto against burka would need to be overturned immediately.

The party leaders later told reporters that the chief justice had assured them of not giving any verdict against the rule of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

A huge number of policemen were deployed in and around of Muktangan and in the Supreme Court area to stave off any untoward incidents.

Traffic on the roads near Paltan and its adjacent area came to a halt for half an hour because of the rally and the procession.

The High Court on January 1, 2001 declared all punishment meted out in the name of fatwa illegal.

The verdict came on a hearing in a rule issued suo moto earlier by the court after a newspaper had published a report on hilla marriage (in which the wife is given in marriage with another man and then divorced to be given in marriage with her former husband).

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/national/12371.html

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15 more killed in Karachi target killings

By Atif Raza

21 March 2011

KARACHI: Around 15 people, including three activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and two of Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), were killed in a wave of violence in Karachi on Sunday.

An activist of MQM was shot dead while the other was injured in an attack by unidentified armed men on the MQM’s unit office in Khamosh Colony within the limits of Gulbahar police station.

Two armed men, riding motorcycles, arrived at the site near Firdaus locality, and opened indiscriminate fire on the MQM workers. Resultantly, 45-year-old Ghulam Hussain, and Shafi, 40, were injured.

Police shifted the injured to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where Hussain succumbed to his injuries.

In another incident, activist of MQM was shot dead in Moosa Lane Lyari in the limits of Baghdadi police station. The victim was identified as Kamran Khatri, resident of Darya Abad Lyari. The victim worked in a shop of electric appliances in Saddar.

A police man was gunned down in Gulzar Hijri police lane in the jurisdiction of Mobina Town police station.

Head Constable Arshad Ali, 39, the victim, was sitting outside his house, when unidentified armed men sprayed him with bullets. Resultantly he died on the spot.

Ali was deployed at the investigation branch of Gulshan police station and was entrusted with the probe into private TV channel reporter Wali Babar’s murder.

Another activist of MQM was shot dead at Mosmiat Chowk in the jurisdiction of Mobina Town police station.

Shahzad, 28, the victim, was sitting in an auto-workshop situated near Shakeel Garden Mosmiat Chowk, when two armed men arrived at the site on motorcycles and sprayed him with bullets.

Police shifted him to the nearest private hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Police found a bullet-riddled dead body of a youth from the Maripur Road near a football ground in the jurisdiction of Kalri police station.

The victim was identified as Mohammad Rafiq, 24, resident of Garden area. Unidentified culprits kidnapped him from the Garden area and tossed his body on Maripur Road after murdering him and fled.

Separately a man was gunned down at Bara Board near Bismillah Hotel, police said. Ali Nawaz, 45, the victim was the resident of the same area, where unidentified armed men targeted him and ran away.

Two young men were shot dead when at least four motorcyclists opened indiscriminate fire at the pan shop. As a result, 26-year-old Vicky Kumar and Asghar, 27, were injured and were taken to Civil Hospital, where both succumbed to their injuries.

Police found a bullet-riddled body from Gull Chowk in the jurisdiction of Gulistan Jauhar police station. The identity of victim is yet to be ascertained.

Gunmen on two motorbikes sprayed bullets at the shops killing two and wounding three others in the limits of Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station.

Armed men arrived on two motorbikes and resorted to indiscriminate firing critically injuring Azizullah, Jamal Shah, Saifullah and their cousins Hamidullah and Wilayat Shah.

The wounded were taken to the nearby hospital where doctors pronounced the death of Aziz and Hamid and admitted rest of them with critical wounds.

A cop’s son was shot dead in Baldia town within the limits of Saeedabad police station.

The victim, 22-year-old Rasheed Hussain, was the resident of Mohajir Camp. Unidentified armed men opened fire at him near his home killing him on the spot.

Two men were shot dead near Good Luck marriage lawn in the jurisdiction of Garden police station.

One man was killed and another was injured allegedly by the firing of law enforcers in Teen Hattie area within the jurisdiction of Jamshed Quarter police station.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\21\story_21-3-2011_pg1_7

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Christian not feeling safe in Pakistan

By Nazir S Bhatti

21 March 2011

After broad day light murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer by his bodyguard in Islamabad and threatening marches by Islamists in Pakistan have created feeling of insecurity among millions of Pakistani Christians.

The undue support of lawyer fraternity to killer of Salman Taseer and slow pace of investigation in this high profile murder of a leader who was a strong man of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party have confused poor Pakistani citizens in particular.

There was murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto in Karachi but his sister Benazir Bhutto was unable to bring her brother’s killers to justice during her premiership. Benazir Bhutto was martyred in Rawalpindi and her husband being President of Pakistan from two years is unable to disclosed her wife’s killers. There is continued episode of murders in PPP leadership but non is punished. The PPP leadership also not seem serious in investigation of assassination of Salman Taseer, who acted to highlight moderate and enlighten Islam agenda and met Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, sentenced to death on accusation of blasphemy.

The PPP leadership not dared to take stand on his commitment but took U-Turn on blasphemy law repeal issue to prolong their rule in Pakistan.

What a country, Pakistan is? The Chief Minister of Punjab remains absent from funeral services of Chief Executive of his province on threats of Islamic elements who issued decree that Governor Salman Tasser is “Murtid” after commenting on blasphemy law and Muslims should not participate in funeral of Murtid. The head of Pakistan Peoples Party and President of Pakistan Asif Zardari not bothered to attend last rituals of his dedicated party leader. It seems as “Stay in Rule” is only motive of political parties and Pakistani leaders, for which humanity is on sale also.

The Pakistani Christians were surprised on silence of Federal Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti after his appointment from Pakistan Peoples Party PPP. There were always directives from President House in print and electronic media for Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti like “Go to Gojra” “Go to Sialkot to visit family of martyr Danish Robert” “Go to Lahore to help murdered housemaid Shazia” “Go to Karachi to meet raped Christian Student Nurse” which created impression that Federal Minority Ministry is run from President House not by Shahbaz Bhatti. We see a big change in statements of Shahbaz Bhatti now, he is put on helm to face blasphemy law saviors while Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani have openly announced not to amend or revise blasphemy laws.

The Prime Minister and President of Pakistan have disowned private bill submitted in national assembly secretariat by PPP leader Sherry Rehman and she is under constant life threat after murder of Salman Taseer, then what’s game of PPP to encourage Shahbaz Bhatti to issue statements to revise blasphemy laws.

Why PPP government not presented revision in blasphemy laws in draft of 18th Amendment when scraped other laws legislated by military ruler Zia-ul-Haq? Why demand of millions of Pakistani Christians was not considered who have been complaining on misuse of blasphemy laws since 1986?

After murder of Salman Taseer and threats to Sherry Rehman from extremist Muslims, common Christian in Pakistan is so fearful that he is thinking to fled from Pakistan

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/vieweditorial.php?editorialid=111

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Seven killed in Syria protests

Damascus,

21 March 2011

Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria, Xinhua reported.They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Darra town in which people demanded for reforms in Syria, Damascus Press news website reported. The

clashes erupted Sunday between the Syrian police and protesters after two young men reportedly killed by the security forces in the town. An eyewitness told Xinhua that the Syrian police had surrounded the town, to prevent people from entering it.

Dozens of protesters attacked the communication centre and the national hospital, denying the use of live bullets against the demonstrators, the website quoted a source as saying.

Al-Jazeera TV reported Sunday that the protesters also burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Darra.

A committee was formed by the interior ministry to investigate recent incidents and take the necessary measures to punish anyone who is proven responsible for having committed abuse during the incidents in Darra.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Seven-killed-in-Syria-protests/Article1-675722.aspx

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Saudis gather to demand release of prisoners

21 March 2011

RIYADH: Dozens of Saudi men gathered outside the Interior Ministry in the capital Riyadh on Sunday to demand the release of jailed relatives, amid a heavy police presence. Some were seen arguing with police but were not shouting slogans or holding protest signs. “We have seen at least three or four police vehicles taking people away,” said an activist there who declined to be named. “Security personnel have arrested around 15 people. They tried to go into the ministry and ask for the freedom of their loved ones,” he added. Dozens of men in traditional white robes and red headdresses gathered outside while a large number of police and security forces watched. Saudi Arabia has warned those seeking reforms that protests will not be tolerated, as they violate the teachings of the holy Quran. The men gathered outside the ministry two days after Saudi Arabia’s ruler, King Abdullah, offered $93 billion-worth of wage increases, jobs and construction projects, but gave no political concessions. Saudi Arabia has not seen the kind of mass uprisings that have rocked the Arab world, but dissent has built up as unrest has taken root in neighbouring Yemen, Bahrain and Oman. Saudi Arabia has a fast-growing population, and two thirds of its 25 million citizens are under 30. “It is a human rights issue and unless it is sorted out the gatherings will continue,” said a Saudi-based political analyst. “These Saudis do have issues with their relatives being held for a number of years... we need more transparency on this.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\21\story_21-3-2011_pg1_4

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Arab League says it wanted no-fly zone, not bombs

21 March 2011

CAIRO: The Arab League chief said on Sunday that Arabs did not want military strikes by Western powers that hit civilians when the League called for a no-fly zone over Libya. In comments carried by Egypt’s official state news agency, Secretary-General Amr Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world and particularly Libya. “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\21\story_21-3-2011_pg1_2

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China expresses regret for military strike against Libya

21 March 2011

China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday expressed regret over the multinational military strike against Libya, saying that it did not agree with resorting to force in international relations.

"China has noticed the latest development in Libya and regrets the military strike against Libya," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

China, as it always, does not agree with the use of force in international relations, Jiang said, when asked to comment on the strike carried out by multinational forces early Sunday.

China believes that the tenet and principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant international laws should be adhered to, and Libya's sovereignty, independence, unification and territory integrity should be respected, she said.

Full report at:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/20/c_13788512.htm

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Gaddafi vows long war

21 March 2011

TRIPOLI – An unrelenting Muammar Gaddafi vowed a "long war" after the US and European militaries blasted his forces with airstrikes and over 100 cruise missiles, hitting air defences and at least two major air bases early Sunday, shaking the Libyan capital with explosions and anti-aircraft fire. Despite the strikes, Gaddafi's troops lashed back, bombarding the rebel-held city of Misrata with artillery and tanks on Sunday, the opposition reported. The night-time barrage, mainly by US and British ships and submarines, marked the widest international military effort since the Iraq war.

The air assault came as Gaddafi's overwhelming firepower was threatening to crush the month-old rebellion against his 41-year rule. State television said 48 people were killed in the strikes. The strikes by missiles and warplanes hit one of Libya's main air bases, on Tripoli's outskirts, the opposition said. Also hit, it said, was an air force complex outside Misrata, the last rebel-held city in western Libya — which has been under siege the past week by Gaddafi forces. Those forces have been bombarding the city from the complex, which houses an air base and a military academy.

The airstrikes killed about 100 people in Libya, including Gadhafi's young adopted daughter at his Tripoli compound. The overnight attack early Sunday shook coastal cities, including Tripoli, where anti-aircraft guns could be heard firing.

Libyan TV quoted the armed forces command as saying 48 people were killed and 150 wounded in the allied assault. It said most of the casualties were children but gave no more details. Mullen told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he had seen no reports of civilian casualties as a result of the coalition's military operation. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was "deeply concerned" about civilians and called on all sides work to distinguish between civilians and fighters and allow safe access for humanitarian organizations. Despite the strikes, Gaddafi forces resumed bombarding Misrata after daylight on Sunday, said Switzerland-based Libyan activist Fathi Al Warfali.

"Misrata is the only city in western Libya not under Gaddafi's control; he is trying hard to change its position," said al-Warfali, who told The Associated Press he was in touch with residents in the city. In Benghazi, the rebel capital and first city to fall to the uprising that began Feb. 15, people said the strikes happened just in time. Libyan government tanks and troops on Saturday had reached the edges of the city in eastern Libya in fierce fighting that killed more than 120 people according to Gibreil Hewadi, a member of the rebel health committee in Benghazi. He said the dead included rebel fighters and civilians, among them women and children.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0311/21/FrontPage/index.php?id=1

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Ousting Gaddafi not immediate goal: US

21 March 2011

WASHINGTON: The immediate goal of the coalition’s intervention in Libya is to protect civilians with a no-fly zone, not to oust Moamer Gaddafi, the top American military officer said Sunday. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said initial air and sea strikes by France, the United States and Britain had stopped Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks and the aim now was to cut off logistical support. “We’re in a situation now that what we do will depend to some degree on what he does,” Mullen told Fox News Sunday. Pressed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about the endgame, he said

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\21\story_21-3-2011_pg1_3

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52 feared dead in Pakistan coal mine accident

21 March 2011

QUETTA: Rescue workers used shovels and bare hands Monday to dig out victims buried by explosions in a coal mine in southwestern Pakistan, and officials said they feared all 52 miners underground at the time of the accident were dead. The workers have recovered 24 bodies after digging through one of the mine's three wings, said Iftikhar Ahmed, a top mine inspector.

The search was slowed by the presence of poisonous methane gas, which caused Sunday's explosions, and also by the fragile state of the mine, which prevented the use of heavy machinery, he said. ``We have yet to dig out and search the remaining two wings, but there is zero percent chance we can get anybody alive,'' said Ahmed.

Ten of the dead miners they have found were charred from the explosion, while the others appeared to have been killed by falling debris or suffocation, said Ahmed. The bodies found so far were at a depth of about 2,000 feet (600 meters), but the mine continues down to 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). The mine is located in Baluchistan province, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the provincial capital, Quetta.

The mine was declared dangerous two weeks ago, but the warning was ignored, said Ahmed. The mine is owned by the state-run Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation but leased to a contractor, he said. Ghulam Rasool, a 25-year-old miner who spent all morning searching for victims, said the work was exhausting and hampered by gas fumes.

The mine's wooden support has collapsed at many points, leaving huge chunks of debris blocking the way,'' said Rasool. More than 200 people stood outside the mine entrance waiting to help or hear news from the search. Most were mine workers who have friends or relatives trapped in the mine. Seven of the dead found so far were from a single family from the Swat Valley. Ghulam Mohammad, a 30-year-old miner who was waiting his turn to join the search, said he feared for the lives of his roommates who were in the mine at the time of the accident.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/52-feared-dead-in-Pakistan-coal-mine-accident/articleshow/7748748.cms

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Libya Forces Try To Halt Rebel Move Toward Capital

By Paul Schemm And Maggie Michael

21 March 2011

Libya: AP – Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, some in helicopter gunships, pounded opposition fighters with artillery, rockets and gunfire Sunday, dramatically escalating their counteroffensive to halt the rebels’ rapid advance toward the capital.

They also battled to loosen the grip of rebels on two cities close to Tripoli. But in at least one case, their tactics appeared to lead them into a trap.

Residents said pro-Gadhafi troops punched into the city of Misrata, 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, the capital, with mortars and tanks but were pushed out five hours later by rebel forces. The rebel commanders intentionally opened the way for government tanks to enter the city, then surrounded them and attacked with anti-aircraft guns and mortars, said Abdel Fatah al-Misrati, one of the rebels.

“Our spirits are high,” al-Misrati said. “The regime is struggling and what is happening is a desperate attempt to survive and crush the opposition. But the rebels are in control of the city.”

As fighting across Libya grew more fierce, the international community appeared to be struggling to put military muscle behind its demands for Gadhafi to give up power.

A small British delegation sent to talk to the rebels headquartered in the main eastern city of Benghazi, meanwhile, was arrested by the rebels themselves, who said the group had entered the country without permission. The rebels have set up an interim governing council that is urging international airstrikes on Gadhafi’s strongholds and forces, though they strongly oppose foreign intervention on the ground.

Full report at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41938283/ns/world_news-mideast/n_africa/

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India regrets military action against Libya

Sujay Mehdudia

21 March 2011

India on Sunday regretted the U.N.-sanctioned air strikes launched by the U.S.-led forces in Libya and urged all parties to resolve their differences through peaceful means, abjuring the use of force.

“India views with grave concern the continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. It regrets the air strikes that are taking place. The measures adopted should mitigate — and not exacerbate — an already difficult situation for the people of the country,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

“Spoke to Ambassador Manimekalai in Tripoli a short while ago. She is cool and calm. Harrowing Saturday night though, with jets screaming above, she says,…” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in her tweet.

The Ministry said India hoped that the air strikes would not harm innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions and their personnel still in Libya. “India calls upon all parties to abjure the use, or the threat of use, of force and to resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue, in which the U.N. and the regional organisations should play their roles.”

Indiscriminate use of force: Russia

Vladimir Radyuhin writes from Moscow:

Russia has regretted foreign military intervention in Libya and denounced “indiscriminate” use of force by the Western nations in the North African country.

“Moscow regrets this armed action launched with reference to hastily passed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement posted on the Ministry's website.

“We are convinced that for the internal conflict in Libya to be settled credibly it is necessary to stop bloodshed and launch dialogue among Libyans themselves,” Mr. Lukashevich said.

Moscow called for a halt to “indiscriminate” use of force in Libya.

“We strongly urge the countries concerned to stop indiscriminate use of force,” the spokesman said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/21/stories/2011032163261400.htm

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Japan’s disaster toll rises with 18,000 deaths

By ERIC TALMADGE AND MARI YAMAGUCHI

21 March 2011

The toll of Japan’s triple disaster came into clearer focus Monday after police estimates showed more than 18,000 people died, the World Bank said rebuilding may cost $235 billion and more cases of radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water turned up.

Japanese officials reported progress over the weekend in their battle to gain control over a nuclear complex that began leaking radiation after suffering quake and tsunami damage, though the crisis was far from over, with a dangerous new surge in pressure reported in one of the plant’s six reactors.

The announcement by Japan’s Health Ministry late Sunday that tests had detected excess amounts of radioactive elements on canola and chrysanthemum greens marked a low moment in a day that had been peppered with bits of positive news: First, a teenager and his grandmother were found alive nine days after being trapped in their earthquake-shattered home. Then, the operator of the overheated nuclear plant said two of the six reactor units were safely cooled down.

“We consider that now we have come to a situation where we are very close to getting the situation under control,” Deputy Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said.

Still, serious problems remained at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. Pressure unexpectedly rose in a third unit’s reactor, meaning plant operators may need to deliberately release radioactive steam. That has only added to public anxiety over radiation that began leaking from the plant after a monstrous earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan on March 11 and left the plant unstable. As day broke Monday, Japan’s military resumed dousing of the complex’s troubled Unit 4.

The World Bank said in report Monday that Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic disasters, which caused up to $235 billion in damage, saying the cost to private insurers will be up to $33 billion and that the government will spend $12 billion on reconstruction in the current national budget and much more later.

The safety of food and water was of particular concern.

The government halted shipments of spinach from one area and raw milk from another near the nuclear plant after tests found iodine exceeded safety limits. Tokyo’s tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has cesium. Rain and dust are also tainted.

Early Monday , the Health Ministry advised Iitate, a village of 6,000 people about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the Fukushima plant, not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of iodine. Ministry spokesman Takayuki Matsuda said iodine three times the normal level was detected there — about one twenty-sixth of the level of a chest X-ray in one liter of water.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article324098.ece

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Karachi hit by fresh wave of killings

21 March 2011

KARACHI: Demonstrations were held in different areas of Karachi on Sunday in protest against a new wave of killings across the city, mainly on political and ethnic grounds, claiming over a dozen lives on Sunday.

The protesters turned violent at a few places where exchanges of fire between armed men and law-enforcement personnel left one person dead. Three vehicles were set on fire.

The protests began when dozens of people, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, staged a sit-in for about half an hour on Shahrah-i-Pakistan near Liaquatabad during the funeral of Shahzad Hussain, a party activists killed on Sunday. They set tyres on fire and chanted slogans against the killing and the ‘extortion mafia’.

Violence intensified when armed men opened fire near Teen Hatti Bridge, prompting law-enforcement personnel to act.

“There was a group of armed youngsters who were firing shots into the air and attacked a Rangers vehicle parked there,” Jamshed Town SSP Amir Farooqi said.

“The firing elicited retaliation from the law-enforcers that left a man dead, but it’s not yet clear whose bullet had hit him,” he added.

There was no official version from the Sindh Rangers on the incident.

Demonstrations were also held in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Burns Road and Federal B. Area.

Parts of Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Qasba Colony, Nazimabad, Lyari, Kharadar and Site areas were paralysed by incidents of intense gunfire.

A passenger coach was set on fire in Nazimabad and a truck and a bus in Safoora Goth near Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

By the time a ministerial committee of the PPP and MQM decided to meet to discuss the incidents of violence, the guns had fallen silent, although tension and fear kept the residents of the strife-hit areas indoors and business suspended.

Despite repeated attempts, the newly-appointed city police chief Saud Mirza avoided to say anything about the situation.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/21/karachi-hit-by-fresh-wave-of-killings-arson.html

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Bahrain’s main opposition groups ease demands

21 March 2011

MANAMA: Bahrain’s main opposition groups have eased conditions for talks to end a crisis that has drawn in neighbouring Gulf armies and raised tensions in the oil-exporting region.

Led by the largest Shia opposition party Wefaq, they called late on Saturday on security forces to free all those detained in the wake of a month of protests, end their crackdown and ask Gulf Arab troops to leave so talks could begin. “Prepare a healthy atmosphere for the start of political dialogue between the opposition and the government on a basis that can put our country on the track to real democracy and away from the abyss,” their statement said.

The group appeared to retreat from much more ambitious conditions for talks it set last week, including the creation of a new government not dominated by royals and the establishment of a special elected council to redraft Bahrain’s constitution. The new conditions, which also include ending sectarian rhetoric and removing forces who have surrounded a major hospital in recent days, would bring the political process back to the position it was in before the uprising began a month ago.

Bahrain forces moved on Wednesday to end weeks of mostly Shia protests that prompted the king to impose martial law and drew in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbours. The ferocity of the crackdown, in which troops and police fanned out across Bahrain, imposed a curfew and banned all public gatherings and marches, has stunned Bahrain’s majority Shias and angered the region’s non-Arab Shia power, Iran. “As political parties, we will not back down under threat and we will not come to talks with guns pointed to our heads,” said Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, a former Wefaq representative, before the bloc withdrew from parliament a few weeks ago.

More than 60 percent of Bahrainis are Shias. Most are campaigning for a constitutional monarchy, but calls by hardliners for the overthrow of the monarchy have alarmed Sunnis, who fear the unrest serves Iran, separated from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain by only a short stretch of Gulf waters.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\21\story_21-3-2011_pg4_5

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3 Senior Yemeni Officers Back Antigovernment Protesters

By LAURA KASINOF

21 March 2011

In an apparent erosion of military support for Yemen's embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, three army commanders gave their backing to protesters on Monday. The move came a day after the president fired his cabinet following the deaths of at least 45 people killed by government-linked forces.

The commanders — Gen. Mohamed Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar, who commands forces in the country's east, Brig. Ali Mohsin Saleh and Brig. Hameed Al-Qushaibi — declared their support for the protesters following the bloody clashes on Friday. The shift in support by the senior commanders was confirmed by a diplomat at the Yemeni Embassy in Washington who asked not to be identified.

Brigadier Saleh, in an appearance on Al Jazeera television on Monday, cited the suppression of peaceful protests and said the country was being pushed to the brink of civil war.

The country's formal political opposition, which for the first time on Saturday joined street protests as a group, welcomed the support of the commanders. “President Ali Abdullah Saleh will now see that change is a must,” said Mohammed Qahtan, the spokesperson for the Joint Meetings Parties, Yemen’s coalition of opposition groups.

Asked if the Joint Meetings Parties would participate in a new government that Mr. Saleh is trying to form, he said, “It is not possible that the J.M.P. will participate in the new government if Saleh is president.”

Yemen’s ambassador to Syria, Abdel-Wahhab Tawaf, also resigned on Monday, according to Al Jazeera, and the ambassador to Japan was reported to have quit as well.

“This is a replicate of the changes that have happened in Egypt,” said a high-ranking Yemeni diplomat in Europe who spoke on condition of anonymity. But, he added, “It is too early to see where the shift would lead to.”

On Sunday, President Saleh dismissed the cabinet as antigovernment demonstrations in the capital spread. “A new cabinet will be formed in the near future,” a government official said by phone, although he requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

When asked about the timing of the dismissals by President Saleh, the official replied: “This government was supposed to change a while ago; it passed its deadline. This isn’t a big surprise.”

While the implications of his announcement were unclear, Mr. Saleh, who has ruled this country for 33 years, has come under increased pressure from the United States and from officials in his own government over his handling of the protests.

In a sign of the Obama administration’s growing alarm at the government’s response, President Obama‘s top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, telephoned Mr. Saleh on Sunday to express the White House’s deep concern.

An administration official said Mr. Brennan told Mr. Saleh that “any Yemeni government, no matter what its composition, must refrain from violence against protesters and support the right of the people of Yemen to engage in peaceful assembly.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/world/middleeast/22yemen.html?hp

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Egyptians turn out in droves to taste democracy

21 March 2011

Arab League chief Amr Mussa hailed a huge turnout for a landmark referendum in Egypt on Saturday as voters seized their first taste of democracy after the ouster of veteran President Hosni Mubarak.

Queues had formed outside voting centres even before polls opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT), something unheard of in the Mubarak-era when turnout for elections was always tiny as voters assumed their ballots would make no difference.

"I am happy because it is very important that people are coming," said Mussa, as he joined hundreds of voters waiting to cast their ballots within the first hour of polling at the Kasr El-Dobara school in a posh part of Cairo.

"As I drove here, I saw lots of people heading to vote at a lot of schools," said Mussa, an Egyptian who is one of the declared candidates to stand in new presidential elections.

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"Whether the Egyptian people say yes or no, that's all right," said Mussa, a staunch opponent of the transitional military governments plans to make only limited changes to the Mubarak-era constitution before holding new elections.

"What is important is that people are coming. We need a new Egypt."

Mussa was given a hero's welcome by the queue of voters as he went in to cast his ballot, shaking their hands as they passed.

The Arab League secretary general was rushing off to Paris straight afterwards for a key meeting of Arab, African and European Governments on military action in Libya, which was to be joined by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/egyptians-turn-out-droves-taste-democracy-462

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China takes hard line on activists, many missing

21 March 2011

BEIJING: The last time the prominent Chinese lawyer Jiang Tianyong was seen or heard from, he was visiting his brother in a Beijing suburb. Police grabbed him and threw him into a waiting van, pushing aside his elderly mother who had clung on to the vehicle.

Jiang is among dozens of well-known lawyers and activists across China who have vanished, been interrogated or criminally detained for subversion in recent weeks, a crackdown that human rights groups say is on a scale and intensity not seen in many years.

Activists say China's massive security apparatus is using the government's anxiety over possible Middle East-inspired protests as a pretext for the crackdown.

"None of them will tell me anything about why he was taken away or where he has been taken to," Jiang's wife Jin Bianling said on Monday. She said that after her husband's disappearance last month, a Beijing police officer told her verbally that "the case was being handled," meaning he was under investigation. But her repeated efforts to get more details from police have been fruitless.

More than 100 people have been questioned or followed by police or placed under house arrest, the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders, or CHRD, said in a recent statement. It said Jiang and others who have disappeared for weeks were at risk of being tortured to extract confessions.

Human Rights Watch senior Asia researcher Nicholas Bequelin said the crackdown is even more serious than the one in December when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. He said it is also more extensive than when police questioned and detained activists involved in signing Charter 08, a manifesto for peaceful democratic reform that Liu co-authored, in 2008.

"There is a sense that the authorities want to put an end to the kind of open defiance of the government by rights activists, people who have been fairly active on Twitter and other social networks who were allowed for a couple of years to do that," Bequelin said.

Beijing police did not immediately respond to a fax asking whether they had any of the activists in custody.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-takes-hard-line-on-activists-many-missing/articleshow/7753923.cms

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US to hand over Libyan operation command to France or UK

21 March 2011

Washington : US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on said that his country expects to hand over the leadership of the military operations against Libyan regime to a coalition likely to be headed by either the French, the British or NATO "in a matter of days".

"I think that there are a couple of possibilities: one is British and French leadership, another is the use of the NATO machinery and I think we just have to work out the command and control that is most accommodating to all of the members of the coalition," Gates told reporters travelling with him to Russia.

Claiming a "strong and successful" start of the operation 'Operation Odyssey Dawn' in Libya, he said several Arab countries are planning to joint the military coalition. He conceded that Arab nations are reluctant to work under the command and control structure of NATO forces, so this would be kept in mind while deciding the leadership of the coalition.

"I think that there is a sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella, and so the question is if there is a way we can work out NATO's command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission and without a NATO flag and so on," Gates said. Reiterating that there would be no US boots on the ground in Libya, Gates said but it is pretty clear that the US agreed to use its unique capabilities and the breadth of those capabilities at the frontend of this process, and then it expects "in a matter of days" to be able to turn over the primary responsibility to others.

"We will continue to support the coalition. We'll be a member of the coalition. We will have a military role in the coalition, but we will not have the preeminent role," he said.

US President Barack Obama, he said, felt strongly about limiting the scale of US military involvement in this operation.

"He's more aware than almost anybody of the stress on our military. But these naval and air assets that we can bring to bear have clearly played an important role here at the frontend and we will continue to play a role, but we will be one of a number of partners beginning, I hope, in a few days," he said.

Gates said all countries probably would like to see Libya remain a unified state.

Having states in the region begin to break up because of internal differences is a formula for real instability in the future, he observed.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765200/

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Western powers strike Libya for second night

21 March 2011

TRIPOLI: Western powers launched a second wave of air strikes on Libya early on Monday after halting the advance of Muammar Qaddafi’s forces on Benghazi and targeting air defences to let their planes patrol the skies.

The UN-mandated intervention to protect civilians caught up in a one-month-old revolt against Qaddafi drew criticism from Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who questioned the need for a heavy bombardment, which he said had killed many civilians.

But the United States, carrying out the air strikes in a coalition with Britain, France, Italy and Canada among others, said the campaign was working and dismissed a ceasefire announcement by the Libyan military on Sunday evening.

Britain’s Defence Ministry said one of its submarines had again fired Tomahawk guided missiles on Sunday night as part of a second wave of attacks to enforce the UN resolution.

“We and our international partners are continuing operations in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973,” a ministry spokesman said.

Italy said it also had warplanes in the air, after US and British warships and submarines launched 110 Tomahawk missiles on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, director of the US military’s Joint Staff, told reporters there had been no new Libyan air activity or radar emissions, but a significant decrease in Libyan air surveillance, since strikes began Saturday.

Benghazi was not yet free from threat, said Gortney, but Qaddafi’s forces in the area were in distress and “suffering from isolation and confusion” after the air assaults.

Late on Sunday night, Libyan officials took Western reporters to Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, a sprawling complex that houses his private quarters as well as military barracks, anti-aircraft batteries and other installations, to see what they said was the site of a missile attack two hours earlier.

“It was a barbaric bombing,” said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, showing pieces of shrapnel that he said came from the missile. “This contradicts American and Western (statements) that it is not their target to attack this place.”

A Libyan military spokesman announced a new ceasefire on Sunday, saying that “the Libyan armed forces have issued a command to all military units to safeguard an immediate ceasefire from 9 pm this evening”.

Both before and after he spoke, heavy anti-aircraft gunfire boomed above central Tripoli.

Outside Benghazi, smouldering, shattered tanks and troop carriers from what had been Qaddafi’s advancing forces littered the main road. The charred bodies of at least 14 government soldiers lay scattered in the desert.

But with Qaddafi having vowed to fight to the death, there were fears his troops might try to force their way into cities, seeking shelter from air attacks among the civilian population.

In central Benghazi, sporadic explosions and heavy exchanges of gunfire could be heard in the streets late on Sunday evening.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/21/western-powers-strike-libya-for-second-night.html

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Arab League criticises Western strikes on Libya

20 March 2011,

Arab League on Sunday criticised Western military strikes on Libya, a week after urging the United Nations to slap a no-fly zone on the oil-rich North African state.

“What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians,” Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa told reporters.

On March 12, the Arab League urged the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone on Libya and said Moamer Kadhafi’s regime had “lost legitimacy” as it sought to snuff out a rebellion designed to oust him from power.

In the West’s biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, US warships and a British submarine fired more than 120 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya on Saturday, the US military said.

French warplanes also carried out strikes.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March1130.xml&section=international

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Bomb terror amidst Wikileaks revelations 'strange'

21 March 2011

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has questioned motives behind a spate of recent bombings, which occurred in the wake of Wikileaks revelations that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono abused his power.

Head of the commission’s Working Board, Haris Azhar, said the bomb cases were quite strange, because they happened just after Australian newspapers made headlines with allegations of graft and power abuse by Yudhoyono and those closest to him, based on US diplomatic cables from Wikileaks.

The culprits wanted to create public unrest, but had no intention to hurt victims, Haris said Monday, as reported by kompas.com.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/21/bomb-terror-amidst-wikileaks-revelations-strange.html

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Pak military to penalise generals involved in corruption

21 March 2011

Islamabad : Pakistan's military leadership has given a parliamentary panel an assurance that it will penalise generals involved in a Rs 1.8 billion corruption scandal in the National Logistics Cell, an army-run transportation company.

Public Accounts Committee chief Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, also Leader of Opposition in parliament, said he had received assurances from the "highest levels" of the military command that the "defining decision will be taken in line with the PAC's recommendations".

The Auditor General has reported that the NLC's former management, including three retired generals, illegally obtained commercial loans of Rs 4.8 billion and violated government regulations by investing billions of rupees in the stock market.

Probes by two inter-departmental panels concluded that the three retired generals and a civilian chief financial officer had violated government rules and instructions issued by former premier Shaukat Aziz.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani too ordered a separate inquiry into the matter last year after the PAC made public details of the corruption within the NLC.

The PAC has recommended administrative action against the retired generals and efforts to recover the money in the corruption scandal.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/764997/

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No SC tag for Dalit Muslims, Christians?

Subodh Ghildiyal

21 March 2011

NEW DELHI: The Centre seems tilted against the inclusion of "Dalit" Christians and Muslims in the Scheduled Castes list, arguing the need for evidence to show that converts continued to face discrimination of the same degree as before their exit from the Hindu fold.

The Union law ministry has cited a Supreme Court judgment dismissing the claim that the constitutional provision limiting the SC tag to Hindus/Sikhs was discriminatory. The UPA is learnt to favour status quo on the back of law ministry's view coupled with the opinion of the National Commission for SCs — that the touchstone of being a Dalit was if converts followed traditions and customs as before conversion and suffered the same social disabilities. The issue is before the apex court and the Centre has marshalled opinion from its key arms to finalize its stand. A senior minister who was part of recent discussion in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, suggested caution, telling TOI: "The Constitution cannot be tinkered with in a casual manner."

The issue is politically sensitive. Dalits, as articulated by NCSC, have opposed stretching the frontiers of SC list to outside Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist fold, arguing that the fresh addition would encroach on their share of 15% job quota.

The law ministry has added a strong caveat for continuing with the existing regime by quoting a 1985 SC ruling that quashed a claim that the 'constitutional order 1950, para 3' discriminated against Christians.

The Soosai vs UOI, 1985, ruling said the President of India had based his judgment on the definition of SCs on the material showing that Hindus/Sikhs "suffered from economic and social disabilities and cultural and educational backwardness so gross in character..."

The apex court said, "To prove the said clause as discriminatory in nature, it must be shown that they (converts) suffer from comparable depth of social and economic disabilities and cultural backwardness and similar level of degradation within the Christian community..."

The court noted that merely showing continuance of caste after conversion was not sufficient. "It is necessary to establish further that the disabilities and handicaps suffered from such caste membership in Hinduism continue in their oppressive severity in the new environment of a different religious community," it said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-SC-tag-for-Dalit-Muslims-Christians/articleshow/7750010.cms

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Iranian regime interested in preserving its power: Obama

21 March 2011

Washington : US President Barack Obama has said the current Iranian regime is interested in preserving its power rather than respecting the human rights of the people.

"So far, the Iranian government has responded by demonstrating that it cares far more about preserving its own power than respecting the rights of the Iranian people," Obama said as he greeted Iranians in his Nowruz message.

For nearly two years, there has been a campaign of "intimidation and abuse", he said.

"Young and old; men and women; rich and poor -- the Iranian people have been persecuted. Hundreds of prisoners of conscience are in jail. The innocent have gone missing. Journalists have been silenced. Women tortured. Children sentenced to death."

Referring to the recent human rights violation by the Iranian regime, including imprisonment of several rights activists, Obama said these choices do not demonstrate strength but show its fear.

"For it is telling when a government is so afraid of its own citizens that it won't even allow them the freedom to access information or to communicate with each other. But the future of Iran will not be shaped by fear. The future of Iran belongs to the young people - the youth who will determine their own destiny," he said.

In his Nowruz message, Obama said this is a holiday for the Iranian people to spend time with friends and family; to reflect on the extraordinary blessings that you enjoy; and to look forward to the promise of a new day.

"After all, this is a season of hope and renewal. And today, we know that this is also a season of promise across the Middle East and North Africa, even as there are also enormous challenges."

"I believe that there are certain values that are universal -- the freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765181/

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Gujjars demand more quota in J&K universities

21 March 2011

The Gujjar-Bakerwal community, a major scheduled tribe, on Sunday demanded that the number of seats reserved for them in universities and professional colleges in Jammu and Kashmir be increased in tune with their population in the State. The State government's approval of 10% reservation for them w

as not in proportion with their population, as they constitute 20% of the total population in the state, said Javaid Rahi, secretary of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation.

"Despite an approved 10% reservation for STs, government professional colleges, Jammu University and Kashmir University reserved only 6%, 5% and 3%, respectively, for them," Rahi claimed.

In a meeting organised by the frontal organisation of Gujjars, Rahi urged the government to collect data on the implementation of policies, with regard to admissions and appointments to teaching and non-teaching positions in the state's universities and colleges.

Other speakers in the meeting demanded that quota be granted for the community in the admission and recruitment in Mata Vaishno Devi University (MVDU) and Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST).

They also demanded that a guidance cell be set up in the state advisory board for the development of Gujjar and Bakerwals that will guide the community's youth in getting admissions and jobs under ST category.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jammu%20sec/Gujjars-demand-more-quota-in-J-amp-K-universities/Article1-675690.aspx

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Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the line of ire for his politics

March 20, 2011

For the first time in Delhi, a packed audience listened patiently to hard-line Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani as he demanded "freedom from India's forceful occupation" of the state in a 20-minute speech at the Tenth India Today Conclave on Saturday.

"I represent the sentiments of the majority in Jammu and Kashmir," Geelani claimed, before thundering that "the Kashmir problem is that of broken promises - India needs to fulfil its promise and give Kashmiris the right to self-determination. Kashmir has not seen the face of India's democracy... we want freedom from India's forceful occupation".

He chose to speak only after the other two speakers - a rather poetic Mohammad Arif Khan and a forceful Farooq Abdullah - had appealed to him to shun his secessionist path.

Abdullah, a former state chief minister, said: "Any solution that brings peace to the region is acceptable to me - we are not rigid even on autonomy being the only solution. We will accept everything but India will never agree on secession or division."

He also told Geelani that if he became the chief minister or Wazir-e-Azam of J&K, he should think about the welfare of all communities in the state, including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. "It is not the Valley alone which counts," Abdullah said.

Former Union minister Mohammad Arif Khan recited couplets of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to criticise the separatist leader, saying Geelani had the freedom to trash India's Constitution despite fighting elections in J&K earlier. "I wonder if anyone finds any ingredient of freedom missing in Geelani's statements,"

The hostility of the audience came out in the open as soon as the floor was thrown open for questions. Former army chief General J.J. Singh took exception to Geelani's comments on the alleged excesses by the security forces in J&K. He said he and his men had sacrificed blood fighting terrorists in the state. "Two girls were killed by terrorists in Sopore. Why were they shot? Who is now making the big houses in Kashmir?

Whose children are studying in the UK and US?" he asked Geelani. The armyman also took a swipe at the separatist leader, saying he was now asking for freedom while many years ago, he had advocated Kashmir's merger with Pakistan.

A young Kashmiri Pandit, Aditya Raj Kaul, lashed out at Geelani by calling him a mirror image of terrorist Osama bin Laden. "I was thrown out of Kashmir when I was nine months old. What do you have to say about my suffering?

Why did you get one of your own - (separatist) Abdul Gani Lone - killed?" Kaul asked, adding that "people like Geelani are only true to their masters in Pakistan".

The separatist leader replied that he was not responsible for driving Kashmiri Pandits out of the Valley and instead blamed the government for a "conspiracy" which had led to the events.

Full report at:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/132923/latest-headlines/india-today-conclave-2011-syed-ali-shah-geelani-in-the-line-of-ire-for-his-politics.html

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I was never in a race on vacant seat of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti

21 March 2011

Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC clarified that I always condemned selection on reserved minority seats in Parliament of Pakistan but demanded democratic election of Christians through Dua

PCC condemned imposition of Joint Electorate which enabled Selection of Christians on reserved seats in National assembly of Pakistan and Four provincial Assemblies in 2002, by military ruler General Parvez Mushhraf after abolishing Separate Electorate.

The Christians in Pakistan were enjoying Separate Electorate System in which Christian voters were electing their parliamentarians with their vote from 1985-2000.

The Christian elected under Separate Electorate raised voice for oppressed Christian nation which was disliked by establishment and Muslim Political parties.

To make election system for minorities transparent, The Pakistan Christian Congress PCC demanded Dual Voting system for Christian which was practiced by Muslims of Azad Kashmir that Christian may elect their representation on reserved seat and may cast their vote for Muslim parties in their respective constituencies.

To hijack Christian vote bank, the leading Muslim Political parties, establishment and few tools of Muslim parties in Christians demanded Joint Election System.

“I always preferred to reach in parliament with Christian votes instead of relying on Selection by Muslim Political Parties in Pakistan” said Nazir Bhatti

The news item appeared in section of national and international press that I am in race to replace Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti is nothing but my character assassination as I never applied for selection to any Muslim Political party for National Assembly seat nor my name is with Election Commission of Pakistan on any priority list submitted by any Muslim party.

I am struggling for equal basic democratic of poor Pakistani Christian and I have denied to join cabinet of military rulers. It is on record that secret agencies of Pakistan offered me winning seat in National Assembly of Pakistan in national general elections but I never bargained on principals. I have clearly exposed names of secret agencies high ups in meetings with me in my book “Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation” then how I can be in a race of Selection instead of power of votes.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/viewnews.php?newsid=1714

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Qatar defends participation in Libya operations

21 March 2011

An international coalition began strikes in Libya with combat jets and cruise missiles on Saturday, aiming to stop Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi from suppressing a revolt launched on February 15 against his rule.

"Qatar is participating in the military action because it is necessary for Arab states to take part," Sheikh Hamad, who is also foreign minister, told Al-Jazeera satellite channel.

"The situation is untenable in Libya... this is not a confrontation between protesters and police forces; it is an open war in which mercenaries are participating, and this must stop as soon as possible," Sheikh Hamad said.

However, he also said the operation "is not directed against the Libyan people, nor against the colonel (Kadhafi) and his sons. The important thing is to stop the bloodbath."

Qatar is the only Arab state to have promised Saturday at an emergency meeting in Paris to participate in military operations in Libya.

A United Nations diplomat said the United Arab Emirates would also participate, but this has not been confirmed.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8128/World/Region/Qatar-defends-participation-in-Libya-operations.aspx

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Sairin: No problem with K'gau Muslims on use of 'Allah'

21 March 2011

Keningau: Muslims in Keningau have no objection to the use of the word "Allah" to denote God by their Christian brethren and never saw the matter as an issue, said Assistant State Rural Development Minister, Datuk Sairin Hj Karno.

Officiating at the closing ceremony of the 1Malaysia Health Awareness Programme at the Arked Hall Keningau, Saturday, he said people here know that in Islam there is such teaching which commands its followers to respect one another, including those from different religions and backgrounds.

"In the Quran, there is a verse which says 'You with your religion, us with our religion, let us respect one another," and Muslims here has always been holding onto this principle. We even share the same great grandparents, Adam and Eve, thus there is no use bickering over matters that, in the first place, has never been an issue," he said.

Sairin, who is also Liawan Assemblyman, said people in Sabah know very well to chose the right thing by living side by side in unity and visiting each other during different religious festivities.

Meanwhile, he urged the people, especially the local leaders like JKKK Chairman and Village Heads in the district to take as priority their physical health in order to execute better governance over their respectable areas.

He said this can be achieve through regular workout and by organising outdoor activities such as gotong royong as well as attending health awareness programmes as the one held in the event.

Full report at:

http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=77415

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Brother of Al-Qaeda's Zawahri re-arrested

21 March 2011

Mohamed Al-Zawahri, brother of Al-Qaeda number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahri, has been arrested Sunday just two days following his release, says his lawyer, Mamdouh Ismail.         

The jihadist organisation member was released after the ruling military council had decided to gradually free all political detainees, who are understood to be several thousands.

Ismail told Reuters that a large number of security personnel, including plain-clothed policemen, arrested Mohamed at home in a Cairo suburb.

He also said the whereabouts of his client, who had spent ten years in prison, remain unknown.

The General Human Rights Committee, affiliated with the lawyers’ syndicate, denounced Mohamed’s detention.

“Citizen Mohamed Rabie Al-Zawahri should have been officially informed of any reason for the arrest, even if it was under the emergency law,” read a statement made by the committee.

“His attorney should have been notified of the arrest as well as his current location, which hasn’t happened up until now. His family and lawyer have no idea where he is.”

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/8145/Egypt/Politics-/Brother-of-AlQaedas-Zawahri-rearrested.aspx

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22 Indian fishermen held in Pakistan

Mar 19, 2011

At least 22 Indian fishermen have been taken into custody in Pakistan for allegedly violating the country's marine border, a media report said on Saturday.

Five boats belonging to the Indians were seized on Friday off the port city of Karachi, the Daily Times citing Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency reported.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/22-indian-fishermen-held-pakistan-466

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Where are the Islamic relief organizations?

By ABDULLAH AL AL-

21 March 2011

IT has been rooted in our minds that the international relief organizations, which are mostly Western and Christian, provide assistance to poor countries, particularly in the Islamic world, for a single reason: To spread Christianity. In contrast, Islamic relief organizations seem to exist for the benefit of the officials who use them to polish their images.

I have visited more than 30 countries, mostly African, where I visited poor areas and disaster-stricken regions. I saw with my own eyes the humanitarian touch of international relief organizations. I do not deny that some of the individuals working in these organizations may have their personal agenda, but all that is important for the victims is to get food, water and shelter. This is professionally and humanely provided to them by the relief organizations. Islamic relief and welfare organizations, which were very active before they were closed down or had their services limited after 9/11, made great efforts and provided immense help.

If we move toward welfare organizations that work with budgets from the government or under its umbrella, including the Muslim World League and the International Islamic Relief Organization affiliated to it, we will not doubt the sincerity and goodwill of the officials in charge of them. But we can register the following remarks about them:

• The great chaos in the implementation of the relief programs and the distribution of assistance as a result of a lack of followup by top officials on the performance of the branch offices. Some of the foreign offices have been subjected to waves of financial and administrative corruption. Some officials succumbed to the control of their tribes and to ideological trends prevailing in Africa.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article323869.ece

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Has Islamic finance contributed to the public good?

By MUSHTAK PARKER

21 March 2011

OXFORD: In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, one of the major criticisms has been the disconnection between banking and the real economy. One perceived manifestation is the single-minded pursuit of shareholder value and individual enrichment driven by a culture of wanton greed, instead of the traditional function of banking as financing entrepreneurial projects for the good of the real economy.

At the stately surroundings of Ditchley House in Oxford in England last week, the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC), the securities regulator and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), organized a timely roundtable on “Islamic Finance and the Public Good,” which given the faith ethos of Islamic finance should be a common feature on the conference circuit purporting to serve the industry instead of the gratuitous marketing platforms which they often offer in return for sponsorship.

The roundtable was by invitation only and gathered some of the top thinkers and market players in global Islamic finance. They included Nik Ramlah, managing director, Securities Commission Malaysia; Nazir Razak, group CEO, CIMB Group, one of Malaysia’s largest banking groups; Farhan Nizami, director, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies; Ann Pettifor, executive director, Advocacy International; Mukhtar Hussein, Global CEO, HSBC Amanah; Mohd Daud Bakar, a prominent Shariah adviser who serves on several boards; Muhammad Faiz Azmi, global head Islamic finance, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Qudeer Latif, partner Clifford Chance, LLP; David Vicary, chairman, Global Islamic Finance Group, Deloitte; Nicholas Foster, senior lecturer in Islamic commercial law, SOAS, London University; Rafe Haneef, CEO, HSBC Amanah Malaysia; Iqbal Khan, CEO, Fajr Capital; Professors Volker Nienhaus and Simon Archer of Reading University; and Professor Hashim Kamali of the International Institute of advanced Islamic studies.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article323928.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/missile-destroys-gaddafi-building/d/4317


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