New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 02:04 PM

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

Muslim model upsets family by posing nude for Playboy cover

Hyderabad, India a U.S. visa fraud hub

Constitutional controls check radical Hindutva, says U.S diplomat

Vatican worries about Catholics in Pakistan

France & Italy to train Libya rebels too

US jets destroy two surface-to-air missile sites near Tripoli

Taliban kills two in Pakistan

US soldier goes on trial in slaying of 2 in Iraq

New Pak missile to deter Indian war doctrine

US unveils new terrorism alerts, scraps colours

Pakistanis happier than Indians: Gallup survey

Poor' Pak politicians are 'stinking rich' in reality

US links ISI to Haqqani militants

Pak-US talks to seek resolution of issues’

Mullen visits Pakistan amid tensions over drones

Pakistan’s convulsed fiscal deficit: former Pak Ambassador to US

Drones shatter US-Pak trust

Oscar-nominated documentary director killed in Libya

Taliban kill two for supplying livestock to Afghanistan

Taliban damage radio station in Charsadda

UK soldier dies after being injured in Afghan blast

Afghan army says ministry attacker was outsider

Fears rising over Taliban infiltrating Afghan police, army

Leaving Baghdad, Hamama win?

2 Western photojournalists killed in Libya

US rules out sending ground troops to Libya

France vows to step up airstrikes in Libya

Libya offers “verifiable” ceasefire, elections

Calls for foreign troops due to Misurata siege

Mubarak seeks to stay in Red Sea retreat

Syria removes police chief of restive city

Syrian president appoints new provincial governor

Assad faces toughest test from Syrian unrest

Syrian security forces open fire

Yemen president vows to remain amid protests

Syria’s ghosts from the past Shahab Jafry

Forces deploy in Syria's Homs city, people defiant

Anti-Syrian protest to go ahead despite ban

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-model-upsets-family-by-posing-nude-for-playboy-cover/d/4495


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Muslim model upsets family by posing nude for Playboy cover

APR, 21 2011

Sila Sahin, a 25-year-old Turkish German living in Berlin, had until now been regarded as a glowing example of how a modern Muslim girl should behave in a multicultural society.

A successful actress starring in German television soap opera Good Times, Bad Times, she pleased her many fans and made her Turkish family proud.

But her latest move has shocked some of those fans, and enraged those closest to her.

Posing provocatively on the cover of German Playboy magazine with one breast exposed, Sila Sahin seems to be sending a clear and deliberate message to her conservative Turkish family.

'I did it because I wanted to be free at last,' she said. 'These photographs are a liberation from the restrictions of my childhood.'

Her family have, unsurprisingly, reacted with horror, and her mother has cut off all contact with the actress.

'My mother is still angry. It will be even more difficult with my grandparents, my aunts and my uncles,' she said on the website devoted to her television soap.

She has, however, managed to talk to her actor father, who expressed concern over the pressure she will inevitably face from those not only within the Turkish community in Germany, but from the wider Muslim community as a whole.

Ms Sahin's declared intention was to used the controversial Playboy photoshoot as a call to action for other Turkish girls who suffer the effects of their strict backgrounds, where women's choices are often limited, husbands are chosen for the girls and chastity closely controlled.

Liberating? I did it because I wanted to be free,' said Sila Sahin of the nude Playboy photographs that offended her Turkish family

Her message to these girls? 'For too long I tried to do everything right,' she says. 'I want these photos to show young Turkish women it's okay for you to live however you choose.'

'Many of my countrymen think it's great that I can be so free. With the shoot I hoped to say to them that we do not necessarily have to live under these rules given to us.

In what is undeniably a groundbreaking move, Ms Sahin is the first Turkish woman ever to strip for the cover of Playboy.

Indeed, in the 12-page article that accompanies the revealing photographs, Ms Sahin says she feels 'like Che Guevara', adding that the semi-naked photoshoot was a bid to express her freedom.

'My upbringing was conservative,' she told Playboy. 'I was always told, you must not go out, you must not make yourself look so attractive, you mustn't have male friends.

'I have always abided by what men say. As a result I developed an extreme desire for freedom. I feel like Che Guevara. I have to do everything I want, otherwise I feel like I may as well be dead.'

And according to Ms Sahin, her friends have been impressed by the magazine spread. 'They admire my courage,' she says.

But while her friends and some fans may be impressed, Ms Sahin's family have expressed their disappointment.

And despite her outward conviction, Ms Sahin was devastated her actions should be met with such a harsh response.

In an ill-advised move, Ms Sahin only informed her parents of her Playboy spread via an interview on German television channel RTL, just one day before the nude photographs were to be published.

In an impassioned interview, as she displayed the revealing photographs, she pleaded with her mother and father to understand the reasons behind her decision to pose naked.

The emotional actress begged for clemency from her family.

'I hope you can forgive me, she said.

'Please let me come home.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1378455/Sila-Sahin-poses-Playboy-Muslim-model-upsets-family-nude-cover.html#ixzz1K4MbxkHz

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Hyderabad a U.S. visa fraud hub

APR, 21 2011

A. Srivathsan

Consular offices across India outline a growing trend of sharp practices resorted to by applicants

CHENNAI: After sifting through visa applications received by consular offices in India during 2008 and 2009, the United States Consulate in Chennai, where the country-level coordination office for Fraud Prevention Programme is located, found that the volume of fraudulent applications was on the rise. In a cable sent from Chennai ( 229319: unclassified, dated October 13, 2009), the States of Gujarat, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh were identified as hubs of such fraudulent practices. Hyderabad in particular was seen as a centre of large-scale documentation fraud. This affected visa processing not only at the Hyderabad centre but also in other offices in India, the cable said.

This cable, along with two cables ( 195313: unclassified, dated March 5, 2009 and 216420: unclassified, dated July 14, 2009) sent from New Delhi and Mumbai respectively, listed different types of fraud, described some key incidents, and named some agencies and people involved. They briefly discussed improved methods of detection and a tightened process of verification adopted by consulates. After dealing with Indian visa applications, U.S. officials in India gained enough expertise to host training sessions in “adjudication techniques and fraud prevention strategies” for officers stationed in other countries.

These cables were accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.

Consular operations in India are “amongst the busiest in the world” for the U.S. In 2008, about 7,56,000 non-immigrant and 27,000 immigrant visa applications were processed. About 3,083 cases of non-immigrant visa fraud cases were identified. Though this is small compared to the overall number of applications received, the cable noted that the number of fraudulent applications was on the rise. For instance, the number of reported cases of B1 (for business) and B2 (for pleasure) visa frauds “nearly doubled from 1,089 to 2,121” over the first six months of 2009.

Sharp practices were detected across different types of applications. In the case of the business visa, some applicants submitted “fraudulent experience letters and fake document packages, which include passport copies of false relatives, bogus financial documents, and affidavits of support.” “Many student applicants, even legitimate ones,” presented “fraudulent packages of bank statements and land documents in their interviews.”

Other instances

The Kolkata Consulate encountered some blatant cases of fraud in R1 — religious worker — visa applications. A cable ( 142989: unclassified, dated February 26, 2008) sent from this office, described how two ‘monks' — one of them was trying to use a stolen passport and the other had a forged one — were caught. Also, some Buddhist monks from the ‘Northern District' of West Bengal who applied for the R1 visa “did not belong to the monasteries as they claimed.” The cable noted that at times, sources outside India were also complicit in the fraud.

It was observed that in some instances, cooks and maintenance men tried to pass themselves off as Hindu priests. The Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) of the Mumbai Consulate identified a trend of “mix-and-match” couples where “multiple spouses pretended to be married to the same spouse” who was a legitimate H1-B (speciality occupation) visa holder in the United States, in order to obtain dependant visas. The cable noted that “these applicants were to pay upon issuance approximately $70,000 to the smuggler that arranged their documentation.” Misrepresentations of marital status such as “falsely claiming to be single by denying the applicant has a spouse and children and misrepresentations of the age of children in order to qualify as part of the family eligible to immigrate” were prevalent among applicants, particularly those from Kerala.

The cable documented that the majority of fake documents fabricating educational and employment qualifications came from Hyderabad. When 150 companies in Hyderabad were investigated, 77 per cent of them “turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect.” They encountered several fictitious companies in places such as Bangalore and Pune “staffed by Hyderabadis.” The cable said “the Hyderabadis claimed that they had opened shell companies in Bangalore because ‘everyone knows Hyderabad has fraud and Bangalore is reputable'.” Fake certificates issued by shell companies in Pune helped Hyderabadi applicants “to apply in Mumbai's consular district and avoid Chennai.”

Even special initiatives such as the Business Executive Programme (BEP) that was meant to enable “large firms with a high volume of travel to the United States to access a priority visa appointment calendar and allows for expedited processing of applicants on the day of the appointment” were not free of fraudulent practices.

Cable 195313, sent from the New Delhi Embassy, pointed out that a purported vice president of Maxwell Industries admitted during an interview at the Consulate General in Chennai that he had purchased a complete package of fraudulent supporting documents from a vendor in Hyderabad in order to benefit from the BEP programme. What surprised the consular officials was not the presence of fictitious company, but “a genuine letter of support from the regional director of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) based in New Delhi.” This letter sought to confirm that “the applicant and his fictitious company were official members of IACC's delegation to attend the Pack Expo in Chicago.” The IACC is a non-governmental, industry-led organisation that looks at ways to promote commercial relations between India and the U.S. Further investigation showed that more companies that were part of the IACC had submitted fraudulent documents.

The U.S. officials noted that “the IACC showed no accountability for its applicants” and that “several IACC applicants, including the CEO for Saravana Bhavan [a south Indian restaurant chain caught in a fraudulent visa application case] confirmed that IACC charged them to obtain an IACC BEP appointment.” The IACC was removed from the BEP programme in January 2009. However, the U.S. Mission in India acknowledged “the otherwise positive work that the IACC does on behalf of U.S.-India commercial relations and will continue to work with IACC on non-visa issues.” FPUs in consular offices use a combination of methods and tools to detect fraud. For instance, the New Delhi office verified applications from Punjab using applicants' voter identity papers. By looking up the website www.ceopunjab.nic.in, it found “who lives in the voter's house, their age and marital status and/or father's name.”

Based on this information, it detected three cases for investigation. Using online phone lists, FPUs located “phone numbers in the area in which the applicant lives and call those neighbors for information about the beneficiaries and sometimes petitioner.”

Professional verification services such as Lexis-Nexis (‘a global company that helps professionals verify identity and prevent fraud') checks were used. In addition, the Consular Consolidated Data Base (CCD) and Arrival and Departure Information System (ADIS) were deployed to check the status of applicants.

The cables noted that all fraud prevention units in India “are [now] better equipped, and most will soon have appropriate offices from which to operate.” They appreciated the cooperation of local authorities. In particular, they favourably mentioned emerging systems such as OLIVE, an online verification system for high priority educational degrees in Andhra Pradesh.

(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via Wikileaks.')

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042153301100.htm

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Constitutional controls check radical Hindutva, says U.S diplomat

APR, 21 2011

Katyayani Murti

CHENNAI: Hindu nationalism in India is kept in check by the workings of the constitutional democracy, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.

Commenting on a controversy surrounding the 2006 Rajasthan Dharma Swatantrya Act, an anti-conversion legislation, Geoff Pyatt, Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, said that “the checks and balances built into the Indian Constitution have so far successfully blunted this piece of anti-conversion legislation” ( 64917: confidential, dated May 22, 2006).

The bill prohibited conversion from one's ancestral religion to another, allegedly only when conversion was by the use of force or allurement or by fraudulent means — though the opponents of the bill contested this. But it did not have a similar bar when it came to re-conversion to one's original religion. This led critics to argue that the provisions of the bill sought to target non-Hindu religions.

At the time the cable was written, All India Catholic Council secretary general John Dayal called the bill's “eventual passage still ‘up in the air',” according to the cable. And subsequent developments proved him right.

Passed by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in an Assembly session devoid of members of the Opposition who boycotted the proceedings, the bill was returned un-signed by Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil, “based on the judgment that parts of the bill may be unconstitutional,” the cable says.

The Governor returned the bill to the State Cabinet “with a recommendation that it be sent to President [A.P.J. Abdul] Kalam.”

The Cabinet returned the bill without any amendments to the Governor, explaining what it saw as the constitutionality of the bill, and arguing that her refusal to sign the bill was unconstitutional. The Governor held on to the proposed legislation for a year before forwarding it to President Kalam, who declined to approve it. This was as expected by the Rajasthani media, which had “predicted that the bill will be referred to President Kalam, who will choose to send it back to the State Assembly,” according to the cable.

“This episode demonstrates that an active civil society, even when representing a tiny percentage of the population (Christians make up just over one tenth of one percent of Rajasthan's population), can influence policy,” Mr. Pyatt writes in the cable.

The bill's failure was “a triumph of the democratic and secular values enshrined in our Constitution,” the cable quotes Mr. Dayal as saying in a statement to the press addressed to the President.

Nonetheless, in 2008, after Pratibha Patil become the President, a revised version of the bill was passed in Rajasthan.

(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via Wikileaks.')

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042153331100.htm

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Vatican worries about Catholics in Pakistan

APR, 21 2011

Katyayani Murti

CHENNAI: The Catholic Church leadership expressed concerns about the safety of Pakistani Catholics to U.S. diplomats, describing the sizable minority as “oppressed,” according to a cable sent out by a United States Embassy in 2001 ( 2205: confidential, dated November 19, 2001).

In late-2001, as the U.S. was preparing to go to war in West Asia following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Vatican's Deputy Foreign Minister-Equivalent, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, and East Asia and Afghanistan Desk Officer Monsignor Luis Marrano De Montemayor, met U.S. Ambassador Jim Nicholson and South Asia Bureau Afghanistan Coordinator Jeffrey J. Lunstead, in part to discuss the effect U.S. military actions would have on Catholics in Pakistan.

On Pakistan's stability

A cable describing the conversation states that Archbishop Migliore “worried” about “the risk to Pakistan's stability,” expressing “concern that the Kashmir situation and Afghan military campaign could destabilize the GOP [Government of Pakistan], with repercussions for Pakistan's sizeable Catholic minority” ( 2134: confidential, dated November 2, 2001).

In response, Mr. Lunstead suggested that Pakistan's decision to join the U.S.-led coalition created the opportunity to “face down radical Islam within Pakistan, thereby also bettering conditions for Pakistan's religious minorities,” Catholics among them, the cable says.

Vatican officials were not convinced, however. As of a November 14, 2001 meeting, close to two weeks after the original exchange, Monsignor Montemayor continued to express “grave concern” for both Pakistan's “one million Catholics, which the Vatican considers oppressed,” and for the nation's “overall stability” ( 2205: confidential, dated November 19, 2001).

The Vatican representative had reason not to trust Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's government when it came to protecting Catholics, the cable says.

According to the cable, Monsignor Montemayor told Mr. Nicholson that “initially Pakistan's bishops had cautiously welcomed Musharraf's coup,” hoping that he “would ease anti-blasphemy laws,” which were “frequently employed to keep religious minorities,” including Catholics, “in check.”

However, Monsignor Montemayor alleged that, following the coup “the conditions of Pakistan's Catholics worsened,” the cable says.

As of early 2009, however, “the Pakistani Ambassador,” who is “based” outside of the country, “in Paris, maintains regular contact with the Holy See” ( 186500: confidential, dated January 9, 2009).

The cables were accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.

(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via Wikileaks.')

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042153321100.htm

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France & Italy to train Libya rebels too

APR, 21 2011

PARIS: The French and Italian governments said on Wednesday that they would join Britain in sending a small number of military liaison officers to support the ragtag rebel army in Libya, offering a diplomatic boost for the insurgent leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, as he met with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

After the meeting, Sarkozy pledged to intensify French airstrikes that started in March. The announcements came as the international community searched for a means to break a bloody battlefield deadlock that has killed hundreds in the contested cities of Misurata and Ajdabiya.

The decisions seemed to push the three countries closer toward the limits of the UNSC resolution in mid-March authorizing Nato airstrikes but specifically "excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory." But the promised deployments also seemed a tacit admission that almost five weeks of airstrikes have not been enough to disable Colonel Gaddafi's troops and prevent his loyalists from threatening rebel forces and civilians.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/France-Italy-to-train-Libya-rebels-too/articleshow/8043544.cms

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US jets destroy two surface-to-air missile sites near Tripoli

APR, 21 2011

WASHINGTON: Continuing with its supportive role to the NATO's mission in Libya, the US military jets have destroyed two surface-to-air missiles sites belonging to the Muammar Gaddafi regime, the Pentagon has said.

After April 1, when NATO took the lead of multilateral operations in Libya, US military aircraft have flown more than 800 sorties in support of Operation Unified Protector.

More than 150 of those sorties have been "suppression of enemy air defense" missions, eight of which included ordnance drops, Pentagon officials said.

The tempo of NATO operations in Libya remains high, alliance spokesman Oana Lungescu told reporters from NATO headquarters in Belgium.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-jets-destroy-two-surface-to-air-missile-sites-near-Tripoli/articleshow/8044083.cms

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Taliban kills two in Pakistan

APR, 21 2011

Taliban militants in Pakistan's troubled northwestern tribal belt yesterday killed a truck driver and his helper for supplying livestock to Afghanistan, a senior official told AFP.

The attack took place in Baizai town of Mohmand tribal district, where Pakistan's military is engaged in anti-militant border operations, as the truck was returning from selling livestock in the east Afghan province of Nangarhar.

The militants signalled for the truck to stop before opening fire, said senior administration official Maqsood Hasan

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182499

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US soldier goes on trial in slaying of 2 in Iraq

APR, 21 2011

FORT STEWART, Georgia: An Army sergeant gunned down his commanding officer and a fellow soldier after they criticized him for a series of battlefield blunders, including making a wrong turn during a patrol in Iraq and later leaving behind a squad member, prosecutors said Wednesday at a court-martial hearing.

Maj. Andy McKee, the lead prosecutor, said Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich of Minneapolis screamed “I’m going to kill you” as he sprayed 27 bullets in September 2008 at a patrol base south of Baghdad, fatally striking his squad leader and another soldier. Bozicevich could face the death penalty if convicted of killing the squad leader, Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson, and Sgt. Wesley Durbin.

Full report at:

 “He was arrogant,” the medic added. “Almost triumphant.”

http://arabnews.com/world/article368514.ece

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New Pak missile to deter Indian war doctrine

APR, 21 2011

Pakistan's new short-range nuclear-capable Hatf-9 missile is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start military doctrine that envisages quick thrusts by small integrated battle groups in the event of hostilities, experts and analysts here have claimed. The Hatf-9 or Nasr, described as a missil

e with a range of 60 km and designed to carry "nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy", was tested for the first time at an undisclosed location on Tuesday.

The missile will be deployed with a mobile multi-barrel launch system that has "shoot and scoot attributes", or the ability to fire at a target and immediately relocate to another position to avoid enemy counter-fire.

The new system is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start doctrine, for which the Indian army has created integrated battle groups comprising infantry and mechanised elements that could be quickly mobilised and used for launching rapid thrusts into Pakistani territory in the event of hostilities, claimed an analyst who did not want to be named.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/pakistan/New-Pak-missile-to-deter-Indian-war-doctrine/Article1-687719.aspx

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US unveils new terrorism alerts, scraps colours

APR, 21 2011

The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled a new warning system to alert Americans about specific terrorism threats, formally pushing the much-ridiculed colour-coded warnings into the trash bin. The new alerts will warn of either an "imminent threat" or an "elevated threat" with a summary of th

e potential threat as well as an expiration date. They could be extended, but unlike the old system there will not be an over-arching warning.

"The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly over the past ten years," homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

In February she warned the terrorism threat was at its greatest since 2001.

Several attacks have been either disrupted or uncovered in the past few years, including an attempt by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen last year to detonate toner cartridges packed with explosives aboard US-bound cargo planes.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/US-unveils-new-terrorism-alerts-scraps-colours/Article1-687773.aspx

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Pakistanis happier than Indians: Gallup survey

APR, 21 2011

WASHINGTON: India has ranked 71st in happiness with only 17% people describing themselves as "thriving" in a new study of well-being that gives Denmark the top spot among 124 countries surveyed.

With Danes ranked the most contented people on the planet with a whopping 72% of residents considering themselves "thriving," Sweden and Canada followed close behind, each at 69% in Gallup's 2010 Global Wellbeing Survey.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistanis-happier-than-Indians-Gallup-survey/articleshow/8044349.cms

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Poor' Pak politicians are 'stinking rich' in reality

APR, 21 2011

Islamabad : The assets returns filed by members of the Pakistan Parliament’s Lower House in the Election Commission of Pakistan have some unbelievably absurd details.

A majority of them have not shown even a mentionable chunk of the total wealth that they possess in reality, The Nation reports.

While Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s net assets stand at over 194 million rupees, what raises eyebrows is that he is ‘car-less’, as he does not have any vehicle registered in his name, and that the value of his posh residence in Multan is measured at a paltry amount of 6.3 million rupees.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/779212/

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US links ISI to Haqqani militants

APR, 21 2011

Islamabad : The highest ranking officer in the United States armed forces accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of having ties with terrorists as he arrived for security talks today.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks after touching down in Islamabad for discussions with Pakistan's top general to address concerns over official links with militants in the region.

In an interview with the country's independent Geo TV network, Mullen said: "ISI has a long standing relationship with Haqqani network, that does not mean everybody in ISI but it is there."

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/779152/

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Pak-US talks to seek resolution of issues’

APR, 21 2011

WASHINGTON: Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will begin a series of meetings with senior US officials on today, during which the two sides will focus on “strategic convergences” and resolve recent grievances to keep the strategic partnership on track, Islamabad’s ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani said.

The envoy said that neither side wanted to jeopardise the critical relationship and sounded confident on approaching differences in perceptions and resolving recent issues to the satisfaction of Pakistan. Bashir will spearhead Pakistani delegation in two rounds of meetings of a steering group. The meetings will be held at the State Department and the Pakistani embassy.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\04\21\story_21-4-2011_pg7_27

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Mullen visits Pakistan amid tensions over drones

APR, 21 2011

ISLAMABAD: The top US military officer is visiting Pakistan at a time of tensions over America’s role in the region.

The US Embassy says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will spend Wednesday and Thursday meeting with Pakistani leaders.

Mullen is a frequent visitor to Pakistan, and reportedly has a good relationship with Pakistan’s army chief, Gen.

Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article367758.ece

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Pakistan’s convulsed fiscal deficit: former Pak Ambassador to US

APR, 21 2011

The Pakistan government still lacks a credible action plan to control the nation’s budget deficit. It has balked from taking tough decisions that can confront the scale of the fiscal problem and resorted instead to temporary, stopgap measures that do little to address the underlying causes.

The situation may aggravate due to a confluence of two new factors. Together they indicate that in the absence of reform the fiscal deficit could grow even larger in the foreseeable future because these developments have underlying structural characteristics.

The Governor of Pakistan’s State Bank has sounded a timely warning about the first of these trends in a Reuters interview earlier this month. The erudite governor said he was worried by a “structural shift” of incomes towards the non-tax paying or lightly taxed sectors from tax paying ones. This shift of incomes especially to the agriculture sector, he said, means that the tax to GDP ratio is “structurally destined to hover at lower levels”.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=/data/opinion/2011/April/opinion_April105.xml&section=opinion

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Drones shatter US-Pak trust

APR, 21 2011

The Pakistani military, which holds real power over matters of national security in Pakistan, is now insisting for the first time that Washington must observe strict

limits on both the use of drone strikes and on the number of US military and

intelligence personnel and contractors in the country, writes Gareth Porter

THE Pakistani military’s recent demands on the United States to curb drone strikes and reduce the number of US spies operating in Pakistan, which have raised tensions between the two countries to a new high, were a response to US military and intelligence programmes that had gone well beyond what the Pakistanis had agreed to in past years.

The military leadership had reached private agreements in the past on both the drone strikes and on US intelligence activities in Pakistan, but both had changed dramatically in ways that threatened the interests of Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/editorial/16020.html

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Oscar-nominated documentary director killed in Libya

APR, 21 2011

Tim Hetherington, an award-winning photographer and Oscar-nominated documentary film director, has been killed in Libya while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces, media reports said. Hetherington, a 41-year-old British national, was killed inside the rebel-held city of Misrata,

Xinhua reported citing local media reports.

He was working there as a photographer for the American magazine Vanity Fair.

Hetherington co-directed the documentary film "Restrepo" that was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary. The movie tells the story of a group of US soldiers stationed at an outpost in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Oscar-nominated-documentary-director-killed-in-Libya/Article1-687818.aspx

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Taliban kill two for supplying livestock to Afghanistan

APR, 21 2011

PESHAWAR: The Taliban in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern Tribal Areas on Wednesday killed a truck driver and his helper for supplying livestock to Afghanistan, a senior official said.

The attack took place in Baizai town of Mohmand Agency, where Pakistan’s military is engaged in anti-terrorists border operations, as the truck was returning from selling livestock in the east Afghan province of Nangarhar.

The terrorists signalled for the truck to stop before opening fire, said senior administration official Maqsood Hasan. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\04\21\story_21-4-2011_pg1_4

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Taliban damage radio station in Charsadda

APR, 21 2011

PESHAWAR: Unidentified terrorists damaged a private FM radio station in Charsadda by planting explosives around the building on Wednesday. As a result of the explosion, two rooms and the boundary wall of the radio station were completely destroyed. However, no loss of life was reported in the incident. According to police, the incident occurred in Umerabad area of the Police Station Parang. They added that a search operation had been launched in the area, but no arrests were made so far. In the wake of the attack, the radio station has suspended its broadcast. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\04\21\story_21-4-2011_pg7_8

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UK soldier dies after being injured in Afghan blast

APR, 21 2011

LONDON (NNI): A UK soldier has died after being evacuated back to Britain for medical treatment for injuries sustained while clearing roadside bombs in Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced Wednesday. The soldier, from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, was on an operation to clear improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Nahr-e Saraj district on Monday when one bomb detonated. The MoD said that he was taken to Camp Bastion in Helmand before being evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, central England, where he died on Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=an&nid=855

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Afghan army says ministry attacker was outsider

APR, 21 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan: The Afghan military says it has confirmed that the man who attacked the country’s Defense Ministry earlier this week was not a soldier, but an insurgent who managed to sneak past the ministry’s security.

The Taleban have claimed that the assailant who opened fire inside the ministry compound on Monday was an army officer working as a sleeper agent for the insurgency.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article367759.ece

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Fears rising over Taliban infiltrating Afghan police, army

APR, 21 2011

Kabul : The Afghan police and military are scrambling to find ways to root out insurgents lurking within their ranks.

Screening of new recruits and soldiers has been intensified following fears over Taliban infiltration in the Afghan national security forces.

Insurgents dressed in Afghan military uniforms attacked three heavily secured government locations earlier this week.

The latest attack came Monday on the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in downtown Kabul and killed two Afghan soldiers.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/779265/

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Leaving Baghdad, Hamama win?

APR, 21 2011

The red carpet closing ceremony at the fourth Gulf Film Festival ushered in the future pioneers of Arab cinema with two Emirati filmmakers winning prizes in documentary and short film sections.

Al Raheel Min Baghdad (Leaving Baghdad) bagged the first prize in the Gulf Competition (feature film) followed by Garqi Daholakan (The Quarter of Scarecrows).

Hamama by Emirati Nujoom Alghanem won the first prize in the documentary competition while Casus Belli” from Greece declared the winner of the International Competition. Emirati director Khalid Al Mahmood bagged the Gulf Competition short film award for the film Sabeel. For the Gulf Student Shorts Competition, Noura from Kuwait was the winner.

Mohammed Al Murr, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, presented trophies and cash prizes to the winners. Bassam Al Thawadi, member of the international jury, said: “This year the competition was great. The cinema of the region has improved greatly and judging these films was an enjoyable experience.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/April/theuae_April603.xml&section=theuae

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2 Western photojournalists killed in Libya

APR, 21 2011

Two Western photojournalists, including an Oscar-nominated film director, were killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Misrata while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. Two others working alongside them were wounded.

British-born Tim Hetherington, co-director of the documentary "Restrepo" about US soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed inside the only rebel-held city in western Libya, said his US-based publicist, Johanna Ramos Boyer. The city has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops.

Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, was also killed. His work appeared in major magazines and newspapers around the world, and his awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=29436

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US rules out sending ground troops to Libya

APR, 21 2011

Washington : The US has categorically ruled out sending ground troops to Libya to train the rebels fighting to dislodge the Muammar Gaddafi regime.

President Barack Obama, however, supports the decision in this regard by European allies including Italy, France and Britain, his chief spokesman told reporters.

"The President, obviously, was aware of this decision and supports it, and believes it will help the opposition," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/779192/

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France vows to step up airstrikes in Libya

APR, 21 2011

PARIS: Europe moved closer to doing in Libya what it said it wouldn’t — directly jump into the bid to overthrow leader Muammar Qaddafi.

France said Wednesday it has already sent military officers to work with Libyan rebels on the ground, in addition to stepping up airstrikes. Italy and Britain have said they’re also sending military officers.

European officials portray their assistance as an effort to fill the military gap with Qaddafi’s forces — and turn the tide without overstepping rules of the UN-sanctioned military operation to protect civilians.

The acting foreign minister of the National Transitional Council said the rebel movement’s political wing wants more, like weapons for an “official army” and forces from friendly nations if that’s what it takes to topple the Libyan leader.

“We have made no official demand, (but) all possibilities are open,” Ali Al-Issaoui said at a news conference.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article368487.ece

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Libya offers “verifiable” ceasefire, elections

APR, 21 2011

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Libya's Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi on Wednesday offered a “properly verifiable” ceasefire supervised by foreign observers to pave the way for talks which could cover “any issue” including, he implied, the future of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi.

He proposed a six-month transition period to be followed by elections under U.N. supervision as proposed by the African Union.

The British government dismissed the offer saying. “We need actions, not words from Qadhafi's regime.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042165731800.htm

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Calls for foreign troops due to Misurata siege

APR, 21 2011

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: The failure of the opposition forces to advance beyond their eastern stronghold of Ajdabiyah and their inability to break the siege over Misurata imposed by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi, have reinforced calls for the foreign forces in the combat zone. An opposition official in Misurata has appealed to Britain and France to send in their troops to liberate Libya's third largest city from pro-Qadhafi forces. AFP quoted Nuri Abdullah Abdullati, a senior member of Misurata's governing council, as saying troops should be sent on “humanitarian principles”.On Wednesday, there was heavy fighting along Misurata's Tripoli Street, which leads to the city centre from the southern outskirts. An opposition spokesman said dissident forces and Qadhafi-loyalists had split the street equally between them.With world opinion not in favour of the deployment of outside forces, there are some among the opposition supporters who are calling for a bigger Arab military role in defusing the crisis.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042165931800.htm

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Mubarak seeks to stay in Red Sea retreat

APR, 21 2011

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt : Hosni Mubarak has asked Egypt’s ruling generals to keep him in Sharm el-Sheikh despite an order to leave, army sources said, a further sign of the deposed president’s resistance to facing trial.

Army sources said on Wednesday 82-year-old Mubarak wants to remain in hospital in the Red Sea resort, where he took refuge after pro-democracy protests ousted him from power in February.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article368507.ece

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Syria removes police chief of restive city

APR, 21 2011

AMMAN: The chief of security police in the Syrian city of Banias has been dismissed, a rights group said on Wednesday, after five civilians were killed in a crackdown against pro-democracy protests there last week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing sources in Damascus, named the officer as Amjad Abbas. Security forces had sealed off the city last weeked after demonstrations against President Bashar Assad and an attack by irregular forces loyal to Assad on people guarding a mosque.

Inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, demonstrators have taken to the streets for more than a month demanding greater freedoms, undaunted by a security crackdown.

Rights groups, which say more than 200 have been killed since the unrest started a month ago, have called for independent investigations into the actions of security forces.

The latest move seemed another attempt to mollify protesters, who rejected appeals by authorities to stop demonstrating and ignored a concession by the government which approved legislation on Tuesday to end the state of emergency in force for the last 48 years.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article368059.ece

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Syrian president appoints new provincial governor

APR, 21 2011

BEIRUT — The Syrian president has appointed a new governor for a tense central province after caving in to protesters’ demands to replace its top local official.

The appointment comes on the eve of large rallies planned by Syrian anti-government activists.

Homs has seen violent confrontations as Syrian security forces cracked down on anti-government protesters over the past weeks. At least 12 protesters were killed over the weekend and several others died on Tuesday when forces fired on hundreds of people staging a sit-in.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/April/middleeast_April445.xml&section=middleeast

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Assad faces toughest test from Syrian unrest

APR, 21 2011

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad trained to be an ophthalmologist because, he said, eye surgery involves few emergencies and not much blood is spilt.

Now Assad, who abandoned his medical studies and inherited power when his father died 11 years ago, is battling a wave of protests across his tightly controlled state in which rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed.

The demonstrations for greater freedoms, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, have swept Syria for four weeks despite a fierce security crackdown and vague promises of reform, presenting Assad with the gravest challenge to his rule.

The 45-year-old, still portrayed by supporters as a youthful reformist, has responded with a characteristic mix of defiance and conciliatory gestures, seeking to show he would not bow to regional turmoil which toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/April/middleeast_April423.xml&section=middleeast

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Syrian security forces open fire

APR, 21 2011

Syrian security forces opened fire before dawn on hundreds of anti-government protesters staging a sit-in, shooting live ammunition and tear gas before chasing them through the streets for hours, witnesses said Tuesday.

There were casualties but the exact number was not immediately clear.

‘They shot at everything, there was smoke everywhere,’ an activist in the central city of Homs told The Associated Press by telephone, asking that his name not be used because he feared for his personal safety. ‘I saw people on the ground, some shot in their feet, some in the stomach.’

Hundreds of people had gathered Monday at Clock Square in the centre of Homs, bringing mattresses, food and water to the site for an Egypt-style standoff. They vowed to stay until President Bashar Assad is ousted — a brazen escalation of the monthlong uprising against the country’s authoritarian regime.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/April/middleeast_April407.xml&section=middleeast

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Yemen president vows to remain amid protests

APR, 21 2011

Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh told a group of supporters he would remain steadfast and would not accept “conspiracies or coups.”

“Those who want power or to gain the seat of power should do it by heading to the ballot box. Change and departure will be through voting under the legal framework of the constitution,” Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state for 32 years, was quoted as saying by Yemen’s official state news agency.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/April/middleeast_April439.xml&section=middleeast

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Syria’s ghosts from the past Shahab Jafry

APR, 21 2011

 Syria is not blessed, or rather cursed, with the black gold endowment that is irresistible for imperial interests, yet the late Hafez Al Assad raised it to such prominence in the Middle East political calculus that every American president from Nixon to Clinton was forced to indulge in diplomatic business with it.

George Bush turned the trend on his son and unlikely successor Bashar by openly trumpeting the neo-con call for regime change in Syria, but the latter survived to welcome a call for engagement from President Barack Obama. Indeed, survival itself is the biggest feat for whoever holds the seat of power in the ruthless politics of Baathist Damascus, and Bashar Al Assad has played his cards well since the bloodless succession of 2000.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=/data/opinion/2011/April/opinion_April100.xml&section=opinion

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Forces deploy in Syria's Homs city, people defiant

APR, 21 2011

AMMAN: Plain clothes security forces toting AK-47s deployed in Homs overnight, a witness said Thursday, as the central Syrian city defied a crackdown following the killing of 21 pro-democracy protesters this week.

Residents, fearing more attacks from gunmen loyal to President Bashar Assad known as "al-shabbiha," have organized into unarmed groups to guard neighborhoods, said the witness, who passed two security police roadblocks to reach Homs.

"The atmosphere is tense. Another day of strikes is planned tomorrow," the witness said.

The witness, a human rights campaigner who did not want to be further identified, was referring to shops that closed after 21 protesters were shot dead by security police and shabbiha forces n Monday and Tuesday, according to rights campaigners.

The protests, which intensified after a tribal leader died in custody following a demonstration in Homs 10 days ago, have been demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/Apr/21/Forces-deploy-in-Syrias-Homs-city-people-defiant.ashx#ixzz1K9SFcxfj

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Anti-Syrian protest to go ahead despite ban

APR, 21 2011

BEIRUT: Hizb Ut-Tahrir’s media official, Ahmad Qasas, told local media outlets Thursday that the party would not cancel the demonstration despite rejection by the local authorities. “We do not recognize political borders between states,” he said.

Security officials in the north have rejected requests for permits to hold two demonstrations, one against and the other in support for the Syrian regime in Tripoli Friday.

The decision came after the North Lebanon Security Council convened in Tripoli’s Serail Wednesday under Nassif Qaloush, the governor of the north, in the presence of top north Lebanon-based security officials.

The permit for the two demonstrations were rejected because it did not meet “legal conditions,” the Council said.

Full report at:

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Apr/21/Government-rejects-2-Friday-demos-in-Tripoli.ashx#ixzz1K9UWtbJn

(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-model-upsets-family-by-posing-nude-for-playboy-cover/d/4495


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