New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 9 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Modi Invited to Pakistan to Showcase 'Gujarat Model'

Islam is world’s future: US scholar

Ahmadiyah bans: Legal justification for intolerance?

India is a democracy: Geelani’s diktat has no legitimacy in Kashmir

Islam no threat to democracy - Nobel Peace Prize Winner

'US-Pakistan conflict risk higher than India-Pak'

Pakistan ties in a mess, admits United States

India needs Islamic Finance for infrastructure development: Experts

Yemen unity govt. sworn in

Discrimination against minorities has become routine in Pakistan

Malaysian PM's Wife: Women traders must adapt fast to become global players

Iran has no n-weapon programme: Russia

Suicide bomber kills 4 at Afghan mosque;

Shiites blame Pakistan militants for Kabul attack

Yemen militants attack barracks, 13 killed

Syria death toll rises to 24: Rights group

Militants kidnap 16 labourers in Landikotal

Islam: Arab Spring improves West's perception

Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit Baltistan: The Unknown Lands

Has the Arab Spring Arrived In Dagestan?

Human Rights Commissioner, Malaysia, wants MPs to focus more on basic rights issues

Pak Minorities want PTI rally on Christmas postponed

Taliban confirm peace talks with Islamabad

UK supports Pakistan’s endeavour to empower women

Australia opts for ongoing ties with troublesome Pakistan

British troops may leave Afghanistan early: Report

Pakistan to redefine terms of cooperation with US, NATO: Gilani

26/11: Pak forms judicial panel to visit India

Dilip Kumar, Murli Manohar Joshi to get SIES National Eminence Award

Turkey to suspend free trade pact with Syria

UN’s chief Ban Ki-moon visits Mogadishu, warns leaders to make more political progress

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/modi-invited-to-pakistan-to-showcase--gujarat-model-/d/6106

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Modi Invited to Pakistan to Showcase 'Gujarat Model'

BS Reporter

After making a visit to China in November, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may mark yet another beginning by visiting neighbouring country, Pakistan as a delegation of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has invited the chief minister to Pakistan and share the success of Gujarat model with the industry captains there.

Impressed by Gujarat’s development, a Pakistani business delegation during its meeting with chief minister Narendra Modi at his residence in Gandhinagar called for exploring greater cooperation in trade and industry between Gujarat and Pakistan, a state government statement said. The statement further mentioned that the delegation invited Modi to visit Pakistan and address the corporate heads of Pakistan’s industries and business on the "Gujarat model" of development through video-conference to be arranged by the Karachi Chamber.

The delegation was on Gujarat visit at the Asia Colour Chemicals Mega Exhibition being held in Ahmedabad and took some time off from the exhibition and met the chief minister and held a detailed discussion as how to develop the relations between the two regions.

The delegation, including business persons like Messrs Zafar Ahmed, Asif Iqbal Hada, Aadam and Nasir, was impressed by the state government’s transparent and progressive policies, which are conducive for industrial growth, said the statement.

Looking to the long association between Gujarat and Sind regions, they urged Modi to use his good offices to start a direct flight between Ahmedabad and Karachi.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/modi-invited-to-pakistan-to-showcase-gujarat-model/458054/

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Islam is world’s future: US scholar

Sat, 10 December 2011

By Hasan Kamoonpuri - MUSCAT — Shaikh Khalid Yasin, a celebrated Islamic orator, delivered three very successful lectures on 'The True Religion of God', 'Islam and Modern Challenges' and 'Purpose of Life' at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Hall and Qurum City Amphitheatre from December 7 to 9.

Yasin, a former Christian, in Oman on an invitation from the Diwan of Royal Court. After his erudite lectures explaining the significance of Islam in one’s life and outlook, a number of non-Muslims publicly embraced Islam.

In one of his lectures, Yasin said it is the duty of every human being to try to understand who their creator is and what are his/her obligations towards the Creator. He said some powers have launched an info war with a view to tarnishing the image of Islam. But aware and awakened people know that no one should ever bow one’s head in front of Taghut (false gods) as explained in the Holy Quran.

Islam provides the best means to build connection between man and God. Those who lack this connection associate themselves with Taghut.

The American Islamic scholar and preacher, who reverted to Islam in 1965, said no divine scripture except the Holy Quran was written down completely in the life of its messenger. The Holy Quran was written down in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and there are no two versions of Quran in the world.

In response to a question, Yasin said all Muslims irrespective of their School of Thoughts believe in one and the same Quran, Prophet, Qibla (Kaba as direction for prayers) and the basic Islamic principles such as Tauheed (Oneness of God).

Yasin, Executive Director of Islamic Teaching Institute, a premier organisation dedicated to the work of Dawah, has devoted his life to dispelling misinformation and doubts about Islam.

He studied the Arabic in Madina, Saudi Arabia and Cairo, and has had many mentors and teachers who tutored him in Islamic Fiqh, Fiqh us-Seerah, Islamic History and the memorisation and recitation of the Holy Quran.

He has delivered many lectures in about 61 countries which resulted in 36,000 people embracing Islam in his presence. Yasin has founded six organisations for the work of Dawah and Islamic studies. Islam is the future of humanity, says Yasin, adding that Islam is a “Deen” (a complete way of life) and it provides solutions to all issues of mankind, whether it is banking and finance, marriage, peace, brotherhood, or other complex subjects.

The American Islamic scholar will also hold Dawah (Preaching) training courses in the Grand Mosque on December 11 and 12 from 10 to 12 noon and 4 to 8 pm.

http://main.omanobserver.om/node/74994

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Ahmadiyah bans: Legal justification for intolerance?

Ati Nurbaiti, Canberra, 12/10/2011,  As of September this year, at least 26 regencies and municipalities have passed bylaws restricting or banning the Ahmadiyah sect, 11 of them in West Java alone, according to a list from the National Commission on Violence Against Women.

Some were issued after the murderous assault on the sect in Pandeglang regency, Banten, in February 2011; including the Banten bylaw itself. The Commission has said women and children of the sect were the most vulnerable in the attacks, which according to the Setara Institute have included 342 cases of assault from 2007 to 2011. This also includes the resettlement of an entire Ahmadiyah community to an island off Lombok.

The local regulations justify other citizens and authorities into closing down Ahmadi mosques, forcing them out of their homes, or ordering them to denounce Islam if they insist on their beliefs. Unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadiyah do not believe that Muhammad is the last prophet, saying they differentiate between prophets and messengers.

However, Muslims have said this is their excuse to hide their real beliefs; that the Ahmadiyah have frequently violated the joint ministerial decree on their sect by proselytizing; and that the attacks on them would stop — if only they would drop their teachings, or declare that they are no longer Muslims.

The bylaws and the joint ministerial decree, revived in 2008, refer to the 2005 non-binding fatwa of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) which states the Ahmadiyah is deviant; and also the 1965 Law on Blasphemy, which was upheld in 2005 by the Constitutional Court in its ruling against a group of human rights advocates who wanted it annulled. The plaintiffs had said the blasphemy law was no longer relevant for a democracy since it was issued under martial law in 1965.

The movement to annul the 1965 law and those advocating an end to prosecuting minorities, pursue entirely different reasoning from groups who are sealing the Ahmadiyah mosques, often accompanied by local police.

The first argues that the state of a democratic country should not decide which Islam is “right”. The second wonders out loud why the state is leaving Muslims to take matters into their own hands, because, they say, it is evident that Ahmadiyah should be banned, based on the 1965 law, the joint ministerial decree and the MUI fatwa.

A glimpse at news reports in the wake of the Feb. 6 attacks shows that a number of these reports asserted or implied that the real victims were not the Ahmadiyah, whose three members were mobbed and killed, with helpless police officers looking on — all on display to the world thanks to YouTube.

According to the sources in the reports, such as in CyberSabili and hidayatullah.com, the real victims were the Muslims, because the Ahmadis, who insulted Islam, and blatantly defied all civilized requests to stop proselytizing, gained all the sympathy. The “victimization” of Muslims is traced to the marginalization and suppression of Islamic expression by Soeharto, apart from reports of intelligence operations against Muslim activists.

That the Ahmadiyah were not the real victims in the February assault would not necessarily be the majority view; a poll involving 3,000 respondents found most rejecting violence in the name of religion. The July poll by the Setara Institute was conducted in 47 regencies and municipalities in 10 provinces.

But if most Indonesians agreed with these respondents, it doesn’t explain all those bylaws restricting the Ahmadiyah, emerging right under the nose of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The passing of the bylaws had no difficulty, it seemed, even though the regional autonomy law states that religion should be regulated by the state. But similarly, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali and Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi have voiced their opinions that the state should ban or dissolve the Ahmadiyah instead of only restricting their activities.

So are Indonesia’s Muslims becoming increasingly intolerant? Many say tolerance is not the issue, for the Ahmadiyah has insulted Islam.

Leading lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution told a recent discussion in Canberra that he had a hard time convincing President Yudhoyono that the Ahmadiyah had constitutional rights as a minority — and thus the President may have been persuaded against an outright ban. The ministers overseeing the joint ministerial decree restricting the Ahmadiyah also have a constitutional reference; that religious freedom is limited in respect of followers of other faiths.

The International Crisis Group had recommended an independent body to work out a strategy for religious tolerance; such a body would have to deal with this legal confusion stemming from demands to “protect” the Muslim majority against “deviants”, through rulings such as a state ban on the Ahmadiyah.

Malaysia may seem tragic to many of us as its activists say ordinary citizens, including Muslims themselves, cannot speak out against increased state regulation of Islam, lest they would be considered un-Islamic.

But the incidences of Malaysians’ violence against minorities do not come anywhere close to our long list. Should we be proud of outdoing Malaysia?

The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/12/10/ahmadiyah-bans-legal-justification-intolerance.html

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India is a democracy: Geelani’s diktat has no legitimacy in Kashmir

An editorial in Pioneer, New Delhi

In calling for a ban on liquor and films in Jammu & Kashmir because the two are “anti-Islamic”, hard-line Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani seems to have forgotten that he lives in a secular country where rules are not framed or implemented by mullahs. As an individual he is free to abstain from the two ‘evils’ and even advise those who are willing to listen to his twisted opinions to keep away from liquor and movie theatres. But he cannot seek laws that make drinking and watching films a crime. Nobody is suggesting that the Kashmiri people give up everything and hang around in bars or cinemas. That would be a ridiculous suggestion, but equally ridiculous is the demand that they be banned and banished from the Valley. As for liquor and movies being “un-Islamic”, irrespective of whether or not there is any theocratic endorsement of what Mr Geelani says, it is irrelevant as far as India is concerned. For India is not an Islamic country. If the other States of India can allow people to consume liquor and watch films, so can the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. This may offend Mr Geelani’s sensitivities, but he has to learn to live with it. If he finds it to be unacceptable and far too offensive for him to live with, then he has the option to leave this country for a destination of his choice where he can live out his fantasies of Islamic purity. Others have done so before him. His absence would be felt only by those  anti-national elements in Jammu & Kashmir who use the cloak of Islam to perpetrate blood-curdling horrors and then feign piety. As far as India and the vast majority of people in Jammu & Kashmir are concerned, they would heave a sigh of relief. It would be a perfect denouement of the separatist movement that Mr Geelani leads with the help of armed thugs eager to do his bidding, which really is Pakistan’s command.

Mr Geelani has raised the two issues because National Conference president and Union Minister for Renewable Energe Farooq Abdullah recently advocated the reopening of liquor shops and cinemas in the Kashmir Valley which had been shut during the Geelani-inspired years of terrorism. Mr Farooq Abdullah believes that both are required to promote tourism and he is not wrong in his assessment. Enhanced tourism will bring prosperity to the people of Jammu & Kashmir which, in turn, will dissuade young men from joining the Hurriyat’s ranks. It is understandable why the proposal should so upset Mr Geelani. It would mean the end of his trade in separatist terror. Someone needs to tell him that there’s something called choice. If people in a democracy choose to drink liquor and watch films, it is their choice over which neither he nor the state has any control. If they choose not to do so, nobody is going to force them to change their choice.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/50638-india-is-a democracy.html?tmpl=component&print=1

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Islam no threat to democracy - Nobel Peace Prize Winner

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO Dec 9, 2011

(Reuters) - Islam and other religions do not threaten democracy, Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman said on Friday.

To the disquiet of some in the West, Islamist parties are emerging as big winners from this year's 'Arab Spring' uprisings, having won elections in Tunisia and Morocco and taken a strong lead in Egypt's multi-stage parliamentary vote.

"All the religions, they respect democracy. They respect human rights, they respect all the values that all of us carry," said Karman, 32, who will jointly receive the Nobel award on Saturday with two Liberians, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and

Leymah Gbowee.

The problem was not with religions themselves, said the Islamist journalist, but with the intolerant interpretation made by some of their followers.

"The only problem is the misunderstanding from the people who act -- Islam, Christian, Jewish or any other religion -- (as if to say) 'this is THE religion'."

Karman has been called the "Mother of the Revolution" and played a key part in protests in Yemen that led President Ali Abdullah Saleh to agree last month to step down.

She said she hoped that the ongoing uprising in Yemen would change the image of her country abroad as a terrorist haven.

"Before the revolution, Yemen's reputation was so bad ... 99 percent they talk about terrorism and (Osama) bin Laden. But ... after the revolution, you will see the real Yemen, which is peace, dreams and achievement," she said.

The three laureates were recognised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to highlight the importance of women's rights towards securing peace. They will receive the prize in Oslo on the 115th anniversary of the death of benefactor Alfred Nobel, and will share an award worth $1.5 million.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/09/uk-norway-nobel-idUKTRE7B81IO20111209

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'US-Pakistan conflict risk higher than India-Pak'

Indo-Asian News Service

Washington, December 10, 2011, A survey by the Washington based Council on Foreign Relations released

on Friday elevated the risk of US conflict with Pakistan triggered by an attack or counter-terrorism operation amid high tensions in 2011 following the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

But a severe Indo-Pak crisis that carries risk of military escalation, triggered by major terror attack was downgraded from the top to Tier Two contingencies affecting countries of strategic importance to the United States that do not involve a mutual defence treaty commitment.

The Council's Centre for Preventive Action anonymously surveyed US officials and experts to compile an annual list of the most plausible conflicts for the United States in the new year.

Besides a US conflict with Pakistan, the 2012 list elevated several contingencies to the top tier of risks: an intensified euro crisis, which could plunge the US back into recession; the threat of a cyberattack; and a Saudi instability, which would threaten global oil supplies.

Threats that remained at the top of the list from last year included a potential incident between the United States and China involving US or allied forces, internal instability in Pakistan, intensified nuclear crises with Iran or North Korea, and a spillover of drug-related violence from Mexico.

"The United States has a dismal record of forecasting instability and conflicts. Presently there is no systematic US government process linking forecasting to contingency planning. This survey is intended to meet that need," said CFR fellow for conflict prevention Micah Zenko, who conducted the survey.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/US-Pakistan-conflict-risk-higher-than-India-Pak/Article1-780364.aspx

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Pakistan ties in a mess, admits United States

IANS

WASHINGTON:  Dec 10, 2011,  US-Pakistani military-to-military relations "are a mess" after a NATO strike last month killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, said a top US military official as a think-tank rated a conflict with Pakistan as a potential threat facing the US in 2012, but downgraded the potential for military escalation between Pakistan and India.

The Pakistan-US ties became strained following the May 2 commando raid to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It worsened after the Nov 26 NATO airstrike on two Pakistan Army checkposts left two dozen soldiers dead, sparking outrage in Pakistan.

"I can absolutely say that it wasn't something that we did intentionally," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank Friday.

"Regrettably, the Pakistani military believes we did. We did not attack a Pakistan military border post intentionally. If you think we did, I'd have to ask you what in the world you'd think we would gain by doing that," he was quoted as saying by the US defence department website.

Dempsey said he has spoken with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Other senior US officials have also spoken to their Pakistani counterparts, urging restraint and patience to let an inquiry board look into the incident and present its findings, he said.

The US has invited Pakistan to participate in reviewing the incident, but Pakistan has so far declined, Pentagon officials said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland declined comment on Dempsey's "a mess" remark saying "I'm not going to comment on something I haven't seen".

"But you know where we are with Pakistan, that this relationship is complicated, but it's also essential to both the United States and Pakistan. And we are working very hard to keep open channels and to get back to work together."

Top US officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have "obviously been in constant contact" with their counterparts in Pakistan and "continuing our intensive engagement," she said.

Full Details at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pakistan-ties-in-a-mess-admits-United-States/articleshow/11059834.cms

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India needs Islamic Finance for infrastructure development: Experts

By TCN News,

New Delhi: 9 December 2011 , Islamic finance has emerged as a viable alternative world over after the financial meltdown of the West. It is growing at the rate of more than 15%. Not only Muslim countries but modern, secular and industrialized countries like UK, France, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong have become hub of Islamic finance & banking, said experts on Islamic banking and finance while urging India to open its door for the Islamic finance. They were addressing a press conference organized by Indian Centre for Islamic Finance (ICIF) on 7th Dec. at Press Club of India in New Delhi.

Mr Muddassir Siddiqui, an international expert on Islamic Finance and Shariah head of SNR Denton, Dubai said that “Our country (India) needs US$ 1 trillion to upgrade its infrastructure in order to achieve its target of an annual growth of 9.0% - 9.5, almost double in the 12th Five year plan than the 11th year plan.”

Standard & Poor’s report (released on Oct 13, 2011) ‘Will Islamic finance play a key role in funding Asia's huge infrastructure task?’ mentions that conventional lending markets being jittery the world is now looking towards alternatives to conventional finance and Islamic finance is one such alternative.

In another recent report of Standard & Poor’s entitled ‘Can India’s developing infrastructure keep pace with the Economic Growth?’– its credit analyst Raju Viswanathan talks of India’s inadequate infrastructure to be a major road block to the country’s target of achieving 9.0 – 9.5% annual growth in 2012-2017. The country's twelfth five-year plan for the period 2012-2017, targets on removing some of these roadblocks and creating a framework for private-sector participation, but it depends on the ability of India's leaders to execute these plans, it added.

Full Details at:

http://twocircles.net/2011dec09/india_needs_islamic_finance_infrastructure_development_experts.html

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Yemen unity govt. sworn in

(AFP)

SANAA — 10 December 2011, Yemen’s national unity government, led by the opposition, was sworn in on Saturday in the presence of Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, an official statement said.

The statement, carried by the official Saba news agency, said the swearing-in ceremony took place at the Republican Palace in the capital Sanaa.

The new 34-member cabinet will lead Yemen for a three-month transition period, after which President Ali Abdullah Saleh is expected to formally step down after 33 years in power.

The unity government will carry out its duties until early elections are held in February, after which Hadi will take over the presidency for an interim two-year period as stipulated by the Gulf-sponsored deal to resolve Yemen’s political crisis.

Half of the new cabinet posts were entrusted to members of the opposition Common Forum, while Saleh loyalists were appointed to the other half, a condition stipulated in the power transfer deal signed by Saleh on November 23.

The Gulf plan gave Hadi temporary authority to rule Yemen and form a unity government until February elections in which he will be the only candidate.

Once Hadi is elected, Saleh will then lose his current title of honorary president and officially be removed from power.

The Gulf plan also gave Saleh and his close relatives immunity from prosecution for crimes committed in the uprising against his rule that has left hundreds of people dead and thousands more wounded since it began in January.

However, the protesters who have thronged the streets of the capital and other Yemeni cities have rejected the immunity clause and continue to demand that the long-time dictator go on trial.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/December/middleeast_December253.xml&section=middleeast

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Discrimination against minorities has become routine in Pakistan

By Hussain Kashif

LAHORE: December 10, 2011, Deprivation of minorities has become a normal pattern in the country and in the past three decades, they have been subjected to a ‘lawful loophole’ by parliament. By reason of discriminatory acts with their representation in parliament, they have been denied of their financial rights, especially development funds worth billions of rupees as equal citizens of the country, Daily Times learnt.

According to details, no previous political and non-political governments, except Ziaul Haq’s regime, treated minorities, which constitute about 4.5 percent of the total population in Pakistan, justly as their reserved seats in the National Assembly and all four provincial assemblies were not increased as compared to the general seats fixed for Muslims, which have been increased twice in the last three decades.

During the 70s, there were only two seats fixed for minorities - one for Christians and another for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and other minorities living in Pakistan - and the same number of seats were reserved for them separately in all four provincial assemblies. During this period, the population of minorities was approximately 3.5 million, while the total population of the country was between 65 million to 80 million.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\10\story_10-12-2011_pg7_12

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Malaysian PM's Wife: Women traders must adapt fast to become global players

KUALA LUMPUR: Women entrepreneurs can be formidable global players if they can be sensitive and responsive to market demands, and in turn enhance businesses, said Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The Prime Minister’s wife said they ought to be quick at adopting new technology to speed up on the production process.

“The use of ICT (information and communications technology) as a marketing tool comes easy for working women who sometimes do not have the time to shop for family needs,” she said at the launch of the Chinese Women Entrepreneur and National Economic Transformation Plan Convention here yesterday.

Forging ahead: Rosmah (second from right) shaking hands with women entrepreneurs at the convention yesterday. With her is Heng (right).

Rosmah said as such, it was imperative for women entrepreneurs to “come out of their comfort zone” and expand their businesses to markets like the OIC countries, Asean, China, India and every other emerging market.

She said the Government had put in place opportunities for them to contribute to the economy.

Wanita MCA vice-chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie said the convention by the Malaysia China International Trade Link Association, Wanita MCA and Formosa Women Organi­sation of Malaysia was an avenue for women to learn about business opportunities.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/10/nation/10068797&sec=nation

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Iran has no n-weapon programme: Russia

VLADIMIR RADYUHIN

MOSCOW, December 9, 2011,  Russia has proof that Iran is not engaged in a nuclear weapon programme, a top Russian diplomat ha said.

“We have verified data showing that there is no reliable evidence for the existence of a military component” in Iran's nuclear programme, said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“To put it simpler, there is no proof of a military component in Iran's nuclear program,” Mr. Ryabkov told Russia-24 TV news channel on Friday.

It is essential to “clear all the remaining doubts through negotiations,” he said, adding that it was important for Iran to closely cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Russian diplomat said Iran was showing openness by inviting international inspectors to its nuclear facilities. He reiterated Russia's opposition to stiffer sanctions against Iran.

“Sanctions have gone way too far. They heavily outweigh what is being done in the sphere of talks. We must push harder on the negotiating track,” said the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2701677.ece

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Suicide bomber kills 4 at Afghan mosque; Shiites blame Pakistan militants for Kabul attack

Ahmad Jamshid / Associated Press -

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck a Sunni mosque Friday in northeastern Afghanistan, killing four people, just days after a deadly attack targeted Shiites in a rare sectarian attack in the capital.

An Islamic extremist group in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, raising already sharp tensions between the two neighboring countries.

Friday’s bomber blew himself up about 2 p.m. outside a Sunni mosque in the Ghazi Abad district of Kunar province, a hotbed of the insurgency in the east where the U.S.-led military coalition has shifted its focus after working to rout the Taliban from their strongholds in the south. Insurgents regularly cross the porous border from Pakistan to conduct attacks in Afghanistan.

The blast occurred on the last day of Ashoura, a Shiite festival marking the seventh century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, but most of the congregation is Sunni and the targets appeared to be police and government officials.

Those killed included the district police chief, his bodyguard, an employee of the Afghan intelligence service and a civilian, said Gen. Ewaz Mohammad Naziri, the provincial police chief. Five other people were wounded in the blast, he said.

“It was a brutal act against Afghan Muslims inside a mosque,” he said. “They had gathered for prayers and he entered and blew himself up.”

Mosques have frequently been attacked in Afghanistan and suicide bombings have become more common as insurgents shift tactics to destabilize the country and erode confidence in the government and security forces as U.S.-led forces prepare to withdraw by 2014.

The bombing against a Shiite shrine on Tuesday was different because it was aimed at Shiites gathered to commemorate Ashoura. At least 56 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the first major sectarian attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime a decade ago.

More than 2,000 people converged under tight security in a field west of Kabul to mark the last day of Ashoura and voice opposition to militant and terrorist groups that they say have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. Enlarged photographs of the bombing victims were hung at the site.

Full Details at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/more-than-2000-afghans-hold-rally-denounce-pakistan-for-deadly-shrine-bombing/2011/12/09/gIQAdJVXhO_story.html

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Yemen militants attack barracks, 13 killed

(AP)

 SANAA — 10 December 2011, A Yemeni military official says Al Qaeda-linked militants have attacked a military barracks in an embattled southern town, leaving two soldiers and 11 militants dead.

The official said Saturday that another 36 soldiers were injured in the base in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province.

He says that the fighting began on Friday night and continued into the morning. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Militants and the army have fought for control of Zinjibar since May. A 10-month-old uprising against authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh has caused a breakdown of authority throughout the country.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/December/middleeast_December251.xml&section=middleeast

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Syria death toll rises to 24: Rights group

AFP

NICOSIA: Dec 10, 2011, Syrian security forces opened fire on civilians in several protest flashpoints on Friday, killing at least 24 people including four children, a rights group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 civilians were killed in Homs and one outside the central city, while five died near Damascus, two in Daraa, cradle of anti-regime protests since March, four in the restive city of Hama and two in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The opposition Syrian National Council had earlier Friday warned of the dangers of a "massacre" in Homs, which activists say has been surrounded by government forces for the past two months.

The Britain-based Observatory described the city of Homs "as the capital of martyrs" and said two children, aged 10 and 12, were among the 10 people killed there by security forces on Friday.

A 14-year boy was fatally wounded in nearby Aqrab, the report said.

Five other civilians were killed near Damascus, including one in the protest hub of Douma, the Observer said, adding that a woman and child died in Daraa while four people were killed in Hama and two others, including a 15-year-old boy, died in Maaret Noman, in Idlib province.

Full Details at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-death-toll-rises-to-24-Rights-group/articleshow/11051921.cms

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Militants kidnap 16 labourers in Landikotal

LANDIKOTAL: December 10, 2011    ,  Unidentified armed militants kidnapped 16 poor labourers from the far-flung Shelman area of Landikotal on Saturday in the midnight, administration sources confirmed, adding that the poor workers were abducted by miscreants from the bank of the river Kabul at Sheen Pokh side in Loy Shelman. Efforts from various sides are under way to recover them safely through negotiations, other sources said. Some of these workers have been reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint from Gulab Huhjra and some from the truck station in Shelman while they were asleep in the midnight. They have been taken to an undisclosed destination, sources said. Some people also disclosed that the kidnappers had come from Mohmand side of the River. They are all labourers, a local said. staff report

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\10\story_10-12-2011_pg7_9

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Islam: Arab Spring improves West's perception

(ANS Amed) -

Economy more important than religion, says Gallup poll

 DUBAI -  08 DECEMBER,,  The perception of relations between the Muslim world and the West is improving, with the Arab Spring, which has swept through and shaken a significant portion of the Middle East, apparently the main contributing factor to this positive opening.

This, at least, is the conclusion suggested by figures of the Index of perceptions between the West and Islam, a poll released by the Abu Dhabi-based Gallup centre based on the study of 45 countries, including four European states and the US.

The countries that have recorded the most significant improvement in their perception of the West are Tunisia, Bahrain (both up 12 points) and Egypt (+ 8 points). All three countries have been the setting for violent and determined popular uprisings. In absolute terms, however, the rankings are led by Muslim countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali and Guinea. "The revolutionary wave of the Arab Spring seems to have given countries with Muslim majorities greater awareness of the aspirations shared with Western societies, shifting the focus away from their differences," the report says.

Four questions were put to a sample of around 45,000 people interviewed: "Do you believe that it is important for Muslim and western societies to get along?", "Do you believe that Muslim societies respect western societies?", "Do you believe that western societies respect Muslim societies?" and "Do you believe that interaction between the two is beneficial?".

The centre's director, Dalia Moghaed, who presented the report, says that "the marginality of the religious factor is interesting". The countries with the greatest tendency to see relations with the West as positive are the poorest and least educated nations, as well as those who depend on foreign aid, while the second most positive group consists of the oil-rich Gulf nations that continue to entertain solid trade relations with American and European countries, the report says. This in turn shows the significance of the economy in public opinion relations between the Muslim world and the West. Curiously, however, the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries considered the most receptive of western lifestyle and consumerism and among the most hospitable, has a majority of "no" votes (51%) to the question on the West's respect for Muslim societies.

Of the European countries analysed, Italy is in fourth and last place, behind France, Germany and the Netherlands but ahead of the US. The countries that continue to have significant prejudice and mistrust of the West are India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which occupy the last three places in the table. (ANSAmed).http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/analysis/2011/12/08/visualizza_new.html_8375651.html

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/analysis/2011/12/08/visualizza_new.html_8375651.html

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Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit Baltistan: The Unknown Lands

BRUSSELS, December 8, 2011 /PRNews

Hosted by Ms. Kristiina Ojuland and Jürgen Creutzmann, Members of the European Parliament, with the support of the Friends of Gilgit Baltistan in the European Parliament and the SADF, the European Parliament debated the situation of Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit Baltistan on Wednesday Morning.

"Human rights are universal and inviolable and therefore must be secured to the inhabitants of disputed areas," Kristiina Ojuland said. "The right of self-determination of the people of Azad Kashmir, East Turkistan and Gilgit-Baltistan may neither be ignored by the EU nor the regional major powers."

Writer and human rights defender Roy Strider pointed out that Gilgit-Baltistan is being denied even the status of an official province of Pakistan. According to European principles the power games of great countries may not overrun the principles of human rights and self-determination," Roy Strider noted. "The solution would be a referendum on the independence. People must have the possibility to take decisions on their future as well as on the use of mineral and natural resources of their homeland."

The list of speakers also included Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of South Asia Democratic Forum and former Member of the European Parliament; Mehmet Tohti, Special Representative of World Uyghur Congress to the EU; and Mumtaz Khan, Executive Director of the International Centre for Peace and Democracy.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/azad-kashmir-east-turkistan-and-gilgit-baltistan-the-unknown-lands-135247823.html

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Has the Arab Spring Arrived In Dagestan?

By: Valery Dzutsev

Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 215November 28, 2011 03:08 PM Age: 11 days

Street protests in Makhachkala, November 25 (Source: kavkaz-uzel.ru)

On November 25, Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, saw its largest protest in recent times. An estimated 2,500-3,000 people took to the streets to object to growing police abuse. Dagestani First Deputy Prime Minister Rizvan Kurbanov tried to reassure the protesters that the authorities were vigilantly protecting human rights, but did not convince them. Several Dagestani civil organizations made up of relatives of people kidnapped by the security services organized the rally. They vowed to continue the protests every Friday until the kidnappings and other police abuses stop, describing the situation in Dagestan as a civil war (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 25).

Many observers noted the striking similarity between the recent events in Makhachkala and the wave of revolutions in the Middle East. Apart from Islam-related slogans, the organizers widely used the Twitter and Facebook online services to coordinate the gathering. Magomedkhan Baisultanov of Khasavyurt in northern Dagestan told his personal story, recalling how his house was stormed by law enforcement personnel who in the process killed his daughter-in-law and wounded his son. The security services later admitted that they had made a mistake, but Baisultanov’s attempt to sue the authorities was unsuccessful. According to Baisultanov, Dagestan’s Prosecutor General Andrei Nazarov advised him to join the insurgents and take revenge against officials for his daughter-in-law’s death.

Detail Report at:

http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=38706&cHash=1188f25da158b40f6eb378822b4511d5

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Human Rights Commissioner, Malaysia, wants MPs to focus more on basic rights issues

KUALA LUMPUR:  December 10, 2011,  The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) proposed Saturday that parliamentary select committees give more focused and informed consideration to basic rights issues.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said this would bolster parliamentary democracy in the country.

"Every policy or law being formulated in the interest of the country must not only comply with the provisions in the Federal Constitution but also universal principles and human basic rights norms," he said at the inaugural Basic Human Rights Award 2011 presentation ceremony, here.

"The voice of the people must be acknowledged and accorded priority, regardless of whether they are government or opposition supporters, when drafting policies and implementing certain programmes, particularly with regard to women, children, senior citizens and the Orang Asli in the peninsula and natives in Sabah and Sarawak," he stressed.

He said Malaysia should be a forerunner among Asean nations in upholding basic human rights.

"Malaysia is lagging far behind in the aspect of human rights compared to other countries like Indonesia although we are progressing fast economically," he said.

Meanwhile, the Special Award went to Integrity School (a school of six set up within a prison for juvenile offenders based in Kajang, Kluang, Marang, Sungai Petani, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching).

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) received the award in the Organisation Category and Tijah Yok Chopil of the Semai Orang Asli, in the Individual Category.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/10/nation/20111210181530&sec=nation

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Pak Minorities want PTI rally on Christmas postponed

LAHORE: December 10, 2011, Sindh Assembly Standing Committee on Minorities Chairman and Sindh All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) President MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar requested on Thursday in an application that a public meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan to be held on December 25 be postponed to a later date.

Imran Khan had publicly announced that he would hold a rally on December 25 at the Mazaar-e-Quaid-e-Azam in Karachi.

The application was sent to the additional chief secretary, Home Department, government of Sindh, the Sindh IGP, the Karachi capital city police officer and the Karachi east deputy commissioner.

Khokhar said that Imran Khan chose this special occasion for his public meeting at the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazaar, which would create differences between the Christian minority and the majority communities of Pakistan. He claimed that Imran Khan’s meeting would prevent the Christian community in Karachi from attending mass on Christmas day, adding that this meeting would also prevent families and children from visiting Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazaar.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\10\story_10-12-2011_pg7_11

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Taliban confirm peace talks with Islamabad

(Reuters)

PESHAWAR - 10 December 2011, The deputy commander of the Pakistan Taliban, who have been waging a four-year war against the government in Islamabad, confirmed the two sides were in peace talks, a move that could further fray the US-Pakistan relationship.

“Our talks are going in the right direction,” Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban in the Bajaur tribal agency and the No. 2 commander overall, told Reuters.

“If negotiations succeed and we are able to sign a peace agreement in Bajaur, then the government and the Taliban of other areas such as Swat, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan tribal region will sign an agreement. Bajaur will be a role model for other areas.”

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle11.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/December/international_December337.xml&section=international

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UK supports Pakistan’s endeavour to empower women

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9 (APP): The United Kingdom would support Pakistan’s earnest efforts to empower women, stop violence and harness the economic potential of half of its population. This was stated by George Turkington, Head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Pakistan during his visit to a crisis centre for women (Bedari) in Chakwal district. 

Senior Gender Expert Helen Appleton and Head of Communications Victoria Francis also accompanied the head of DFID. They met the local beneficiaries and victims of domestic violence.They also provided counseling to the victims of domestic violence.

Head of DFID said that the UK will support Pakistan’s efforts to empower women by introducing legislation on land rights, marriage rights and domestic violence and get more women involved in decision making at community and federal level, so that they can demand their basic rights.

He said that over recent years, UK aid has helped Pakistan in supporting women by providing 35,096 women victims of violence with counselling, refuge, rehabilitation support and legal aid.

He said that UK aid provides monthly stipends to some 680,000 poor girls to help keep them in school and provide millions of free school text books.

He further said that UK aid has also facilitated 1.2 million micro finance loans to poor women, helping them to lift their families out of poverty.

Development of Pakistan’s social sector is one of the UK’s top priorities and UK’s aid to Pakistan could potentially more than double, averaging 350 million (Pounds) a year till 2015.

George Head of DFID said that the major portion of the aid will focus on getting more than four million children into school, recruit and train 90,000 new teachers and provide more than six million text books.

He said the UK government would provide assistance to prevent 3,600 mother’s deaths in childbirth, prevent another half a million children from becoming under-nourished and help 400,000 couples access family planning and contraceptives.

http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=169533&Itemid=2

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Australia opts for ongoing ties with troublesome Pakistan

Ben Doherty

December 10, 2011

AUSTRALIA will remain a partner with Pakistan's military, despite growing international concerns some army officers and intelligence operatives are offering support and sanctuary to terrorists, the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, has said.

Speaking to the Herald in Delhi, where he is meeting Indian military chiefs about increased naval co-operation in the Indian Ocean, Mr Smith said continued engagement with the troubled south Asian country was the only viable choice for Australia and the international community. ''In the end, you have a simple choice … the international community either continues to try to render assistance to Pakistan, or you disengage. There's only, in my view, one option, which is ongoing engagement, despite the difficulties, despite the complexities, and despite, from time to time, the frustrations.''

Full Details at:

http://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-opts-for-ongoing-ties-with-troublesome-pakistan-20111209-1onqt.html

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British troops may leave Afghanistan early: Report

PTI

LONDON: Dec 9, 2011, ,  Cash-strapped Britain may speed up the withdrawal of up to 4,000 of its troops from strife-torn Afghanistan before the end of 2013 under proposals to be considered by the cabinet next week, according to a media report on Friday.

"A sharp acceleration in troop withdrawal is one of three options to be considered by the prime minister, and is understood to be favoured by at least two senior members of the cabinet, who want to cut the costs of the decade-long military campaign," The Guardian reported.

Prime Minister David Cameron is to hold a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday, the paper said.

Under the proposal, the number of British troops in Helmand province would be cut from 9,000 to 5,000 during 2013, and almost the same number would come out the following year - leaving a few hundred in Kabul when NATO ends its combat role in 2014.

But any plans to speed up the pullout would be in defiance of NATO commanders leading the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul.

A third option to be put before Cameron involves a fudge of these two positions. This would be likely to see a further 2,500 British troops leave Afghanistan in 2013, bringing the total to 6,500.

The National Security Council meeting will run through the different scenarios amid growing international concern about the future of Afghanistan, with ISAF pushing for decisions early next year for planning and operational reasons, the report said.

Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama announced that 30,000 American troops would leave Afghanistan this year and next, leaving 68,000 - by far the largest contingent.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/British-troops-may-leave-Afghanistan-early-Report/articleshow/11048465.cms

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Pakistan to redefine terms of cooperation with US, NATO: Gilani

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday said Pakistan is reassessing its relations with the United States, NATO and ISAF to redefine terms of cooperation with them. Talking to newsmen here at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), he said there were ups and downs in Pakistan-US relations.

The Prime Minister visited PIMS to meet with patients who successfully underwent cataract surgeries conducted by a team of Chinese surgeons under a programme ‘Bright Light Tour’.

Gilani said Pakistan really wants to improve its relations with the United States.

To a question about NATO attack on Pakistani security forces, he said the matter was referred to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security to formulate recommendations to reassess relations with US, NATO and ISAF.

“We are also holding an inquiry into the incident,” he added.

The recommendations will be presented to a joint sitting of parliament, which will revisit and redefine terms of cooperation with the US and NATO forces in future, he added.

Gilani said the project of cataract surgeries was the vision of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao who announced it during his visit to Pakistan early this year to mark 60 years of Pak-China friendship.

Full Details at:

http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=169489&Itemid=2

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26/11: Pak forms judicial panel to visit India

December 09, 2011,

Islamabad/Lahore: Pakistan has issued a notification on the formation of a judicial commission that will visit India to interview key officials and witnesses linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

But lawyers for seven Pakistani suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, said they would not join the panel due to security concerns.

A gazette notification has listed the members who will represent Pakistan government in the judicial commission, sources said.

The delegation will include Khalid Qureshi, the head of the Federal Investigation Agency's Special Investigation Group, and Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry and Chaudhry Zulifqar, the two main prosecutors.

The notification further said that representatives of the defence lawyers too would be part of the commission, the sources said.

The notification was issued in response to a directive from the anti-terrorism court that is conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lakhvi, who have been charged with planning and financing the attacks in 2008 that killed 166 people.

However, Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan said today that none of the defence lawyers would go to India with the commission.

about possible security threats in India and the cost of the visit to the neighbouring country, the judge ordered the lawyers to submit their passports and furnish other details so that they could be part of the commission.

Prosecutors said all the expenses of He cited security concerns as the reason for this decision made by the lawyers.

Full Details at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/26-11-pak-forms-judicial-panel-to-visit-india_746167.html

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Dilip Kumar, Murli Manohar Joshi to get SIES National Eminence Award

Express news service

Mumbai: Dec 06 2011, Veteran actor Dilip Kumar, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, noted astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar and Sanskrit scholar Mohammad Hanif Khan Shastri will be conferred with the 14th SIES Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Award on December 9 at the Shanmukhananda Hall.

The awards, instituted by the SIES in memory of the late Seer of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati who died in 1994, are given for public leadership, community service, science and technology and Sanskrit promotion.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, a citation and a lamp. The Sankaracharya of Kanchi Sri Jayendra Saraswathi will be present on the occasion and Governor of Maharashtra K Sankaranarayanan will preside over the function.

Some of the past awardees include former Presidents Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao and A B Vajpayee.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/dilip-kumar-murli-manohar-joshi-to-get-sies-national-eminence-award/884393/

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Turkey to suspend free trade pact with Syria

(AFP)

ANKARA — 9 December 2011, Turkey is taking new economic measures against the Syrian leadership and will suspend a free trade agreement already frozen by Damascus in retaliation for sanctions by Turkey, a minister said on Friday.

“We have submitted to (cabinet’s) signature a decree drafted by the economy ministry suspending (the) free trade agreement with Syria,” Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazici was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

Damascus had announced it had suspended the free trade pact with Ankara after Turkey followed the Arab League by announcing a raft of punitive measures targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Ankara is also planning entirely to bypass Syria as a transit route for regional trade with Middle Eastern countries.

Yazici said new trade routes would be through Ro-Ro vessel shuttle between Turkey’s southern ports and Egypt’s Alexandria, Jordan’s Akaba and Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah.

He said routes through Iraq and Jordan would also be used to reach out to Gulf countries.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/December/middleeast_December217.xml&section=middleeast

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UN’s chief Ban Ki-moon visits Mogadishu, warns leaders to make more political progress

By Associated Press,

MOGADISHU, Somalia —  December 9, 2011, At the beginning of the year, armed Islamic extremists held sway over most of Mogadishu. Today, this war-scarred capital is secure enough to host the first visit by the U.N. secretary-general in nearly two decades.

Ban Ki-moon announced during a surprise visit to Mogadishu on Friday that the U.N. will reopen its political offices in this seaside capital, a city heavily scarred by war. The announcement underscored the security progress made by African Union troops in the fight against al-Shabab militants, but also of the need for the U.N. to more closely monitor the Somali government, which is funded by foreign donors.

Ban, who was wearing a dark blue bulletproof vest when he landed, said Somalia is more than just famine and corruption.

Full Details at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-arrives-in-mogadishu-in-first-top-un-visit-to-city-in-years/2011/12/09/gIQA8C6DhO_story.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/modi-invited-to-pakistan-to-showcase--gujarat-model-/d/6106


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