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Islamic World News ( 6 May 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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New English-Language Jihadi Publication Calls on Muslims to Hack US Drones




 

 

 

 

New English-Language Jihadi Publication Calls on Muslims to Hack US Drones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southeast Asia

Problems Will Disappear if Ahmadiya Disappear, Says West Java Governor

Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia a Complex Issue

'Chinese tsunami' hits Malaysian politics

West Java Police Forming Team to Investigate Ahmadiya Attack

Indonesian President ‘Undeserving’ of Award for Tolerance: Rights Group

Malaysian Muslims lead wellbeing index

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South Asia

Ahle Sunnat Demands Ban on Hefazat to Enlist It as A “Militant and Terrorist” Organisation

Myanmar charges 6 Muslims for sectarian violence

Sri Lanka uses anti-terror law to detain Muslim leader

Hope Seen for Afghanistan after Coalition Exits

40 Hefazat men remanded

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India

Teachers and students condemn burning of tomb and desecration of graves in Damascus

Muslims demand Change in the name of the film on Aurangzeb and its dialogues

Move to bring Bahadur Shah Zafar’s remains to Mehrauli

Tasleema Nasrin criticises Hefazat-e-Islam for demanding death for non-Muslims

Inquiry into blast in Darul Uloom Nadwa demanded

600 Pakistani pilgrims’ Ajmer visit under cloud

No Indian prisoner of war in our jails: Pak high commissioner

Waqf Board claims 323-acre prime land in Hyderabad

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Mideast

Iran Warns Syrian Rebels after Report of Shrine Desecration

Israel Allows Gazan Children to Visit Imprisoned Parents

Israel and Turkey in Talks over Deadly Flotilla Raid

Israel's critics ignore discrimination in the Arab and Muslim world

Spying for Iran: Life term for four upheld in Kuwait

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Pakistan

Two terrorists nabbed, 100kg explosives seized in Quetta

Tribal clash leaves five dead in Balochistan's Jhal Magsi area

11 dead in blast at JUI-F election rally

Taliban warn teachers against poll participation

Money laundering allegation against Sharifs: Malik comes up with documentary ‘proof’

Kayani for peaceful polls in Balochistan

PML-N, PPP united against JUI-F: Fazl

Exercise 'due caution' in India, Pakistan advises its citizens

Pakistan politicians opposing war on terror

In Quetta, fear still stalks the Hazara

China exported arms worth $11 billion in 5 years, Pakistan major buyer: Pentagon

Press freedom: Pakistan painted ‘red’ on global map

Sethi for maintaining relics at Lahore Museum

Pakistan not for liberals as they are followers of America: Munawar

Durand Line a settled issue between Pakistan, Afghanistan: FO

Elections 2013: Hazaras vow to make votes count

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Arab world

Bomb blasts in Baghdad kill 10

Dubai looking to better ties with Lebanon: Abboud

Rockets fired from Syria fall in Israel-occupied Golan

Saudi urges UN action against Israel strikes on Syria

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Africa

Four Saudis arrested over blast at Tanzania church

Libya gunmen besieging ministries demand govt. quits

Diplomat: U.S. team stopped from going to Benghazi

London's Somalia conference does not recognise Somaliland – we cannot go

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North America

Suspects reportedly assaulted Muslim student, said he resembled Tamerlan

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Europe

U.S. Hopes Russian Aid in Inquiry on Boston Bombings Signals Future Collaboration

 

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/new-english-language-jihadi-publication-calls-on-muslims-to-hack-us-drones/d/11459

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New English-Language Jihadi Publication Calls on Muslims to Hack US Drones

May 06, 2013

A new magazine set up by Islamist radicals in Afghanistan and Pakistan is appealing to Muslims of the world to collaborate in developing new methods and technology to undermine American drone operations.

Publishing under the title “Azan,” the magazine’s first edition became available on May 5, according to the SITE intelligence group. The sprawling 80-page issue, available online as a PDF, includes a lengthy section that evaluates drone strikes while making the case for a mass movement to undermine their impact.

The editorial calls for assistance against drones as a “sacred duty” of the Ummah, or the Muslim community.

“These drones can be hacked and manipulated as evidenced by the efforts of the Iraq Mujahideen. Furthermore, they can be destroyed using various technologies that the Mujahideen are working on. But the Muslims of the world must question themselves as to what role they are playing in helping these innocent Muslims with the abilities that Allah Has Given them. This is a call to anyone in the Islamic Ummah with knowledge, expertise and theories regarding anti-drone technology.”

The hacking to which the article refers is a 2009 incident in which Iraqi insurgents evidently deployed commercial software called Sky Grabber to tap into live video feeds put out by US Predator drones in Iraqi airspace.

The story, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, attributed the exploit to Iranian-backed militants. At the time, the report also suggested that drones in Afghanistan had been exploited in the same manner.

"Any opinions, thoughts, ideas and practical implementations to defeat this drone technology must be communicated to us as early as possible because these would aid the Ummah greatly in its war against the Crusader-Zionist enemy," reads the entreaty by the magazine's editors.

Azan depicts Pakistan’s Army and government as collaborators with the US in the continuing American drone campaign, though the US is shown to be the “main culprit.”

A significant portion of the magazine’s drone editorial is dedicated to describing how local spies and militants are recruited and bribed by the Pakistani Army from such locations as Miranshah Camp, and count on the assistance of other groups, such as KFP (Koast Protection Force), which is described by Azan as “an Afghan organization, whose hypocritical and beguile exploits are known.”

As to any technical insights provided, these mainly pertain to the methods by which “chips” and other call signs are left by the alleged US/Pakistani Army recruits on the homes, and sometimes the vehicles, of targeted militants.

What is perhaps most intriguing about the Jihadi publication’s analysis of the drone threat is its portrayal of Pakistan’s so-called duplicity, basing much of its ideological reasoning on quotes by an ex-Pakistan senior air force  officer, Sultan Hali, who himself has criticized his country’s deep involvement in US drone strikes.

“It is convenient to have the US as a scapegoat. You can easily say that these drone attacks are being done by the Americans. The Americans don’t really like this policy of ours and they have declared their displeasure at this many times. But still, it is in our interest that we continue to blame the Americans regarding this, because if we admit to the killing of innocent women and children alongside running the entire drone system, then the results will be disastrous. The consequences shall have to be faced by whichever political party is in power.”

Azan covers regions where Al-Qaeda operates ranging from Syria to Mali, but mostly concentrates on Pakistan.

As to whether Azan might be successful in fomenting a credible technological threat to US drone operations is unclear, though both its political analysis and what technical analysis there is of drone strikes suggests that it could pose a concern in the future.

http://rt.com/news/jihadi-publication-appeals-drone-hacking-907/

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Southeast Asia

 

Problems Will Disappear if Ahmadiya Disappear, Says West Java Governor

May 7, 2013

Just days after hard-line Islamic group members tore down the homes of an Ahmadiya community in his province; West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said violence against the beleaguered minority group would stop if the religion disappeared.

“Of course we want religious tolerance to go properly but the Ahmadiya have committed a violation by spreading a deviant belief. The problem will disappear if the belief disappears,” Ahmad told Indonesian news portal Kompas.com on Tuesday.

Early on Saturday morning, a mob of 400 hard-liners attacked an Ahmadiya community in Sukamaju village, Singaparna district, leaving dozens of houses in shambles. Some 60 police officers guarding the village were outnumbered and rendered powerless against the assailants.

The Ahmadiya community has faced years of discrimination in Indonesia, where the sect’s branch of Islam has been named “deviant” by a prominent Islamic organization.

Last month, 30 Ahmadiyah members were sealed in the Al-Misbah mosque when the Bekasi government shuttered the building.

Religious intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, where minorities find themselves targeted by members of an increasingly vocal hard-line fringe. In few places is intolerance more routine than West Java. In recent months, Christians and Ahmadiyah have found their houses of worship targeted by the government amid pressure from hard-line groups.

While he condemned the violence in Sukamaju, Ahmad said a joint decree signed by three ministers clearly stipulated that believers of “deviant” religions were not permitted to spread their teachings.

“But to bring Ahmadiyah back to Islam we should use a good way, we should not use violence,” he said.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/problems-will-disappear-if-ahmadiyah-disappear-says-west-java-governor/

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Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia a Complex Issue

May 7, 2013

In 2011, 16-year-old Evi, not her real name, left her remote village in Indonesia’s Banten province in the hope of making more money to help her family.

“My auntie introduced me to a broker who forged my travel documents so I could work,” she said. “The broker then took me to a recruitment agency in Jakarta. I just wanted to earn more money. I thought God would protect me.”

The agency arranged for Evi’s travel to Jordan and placement as a domestic worker in Amman, but she soon found she was being exploited by her employer.

“I was allowed to sleep for about two hours a day, sometimes less,” said Evi. “I had to take care of four children and clean the house. The mother and auntie of the children often beat me with sandals or punched me for no reason, and sometimes my nose bled.”

In 2012, having endured physical abuse for over a year, her employer began to withhold her pay, and Evi attempted suicide by drinking a glass of kerosene.

“My employer found me unconscious and allowed me to rest, but the next day, they made me work again,” she said.

Later, Evi ran away from her employer and roamed the streets of Amman looking for work until a local shopkeeper took her to a police station. Jordanian police then took her to the Indonesian Embassy, which arranged for her repatriation to a shelter for trafficked children in Jakarta, where she is recovering.

Experts and government officials say tens of thousands of people are vulnerable to being trafficked in Southeast Asia, with governments struggling to understand and respond collectively to the problem.

A 2012 UN Office on Drugs and Crime report on human trafficking recorded more than 10,000 cases of trafficking in persons in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific between 2007 and 2010, but it is unclear what the situation is today.

“Nobody has been able to convincingly demonstrate the scale of the problem, let alone come up with clear ways of how to address it,” Sverre Molland, a lecturer at the Australian National University in Canberra who specializes in human trafficking, told IRIN.

“After all these years, we are still debating what trafficking actually is,” he said, noting efforts to combat it were suffering from donor fatigue because of a lack of tangible results.

The 2000 UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation.” Child trafficking is defined as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation.”

Regional cooperation

Cooperation between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to tackle human trafficking has resulted in high-level initiatives and memorandums of understanding.

“The MOUs should facilitate the exchanging of information and evidence between governments,” said Sean Looney, the operations, monitoring and evaluation manager at SISHA, an anti-trafficking and exploitation NGO based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“But in practice this does not happen at all. In a lot of human trafficking cases there’s no resolution because there’s no cooperation, despite the fact that agreements are in place.”

According to Looney, cooperation is also hindered by a lack of trust between Cambodia and Thailand, and Cambodia and Vietnam, due in part to past conflicts.

Martin Reeve, a UNODC regional adviser on trafficking in Bangkok, said law enforcement agencies across the region were still developing.

“Securing a human trafficking conviction is at the best of times a difficult process,” he said. “Intelligence-led policing is immature or non-existent, so the offenders arrested are less likely to be those organizing the trafficking, and police-to-police cooperation remains weak.”

All Asean governments are part of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. And with the exception of Laos and Singapore, all have passed anti-trafficking legislation.

Yet according to Febrian Ruddyard, director of international security and disarmament at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, member countries may be hesitant to contribute funding for initiatives, both because the issue is still low priority in some countries and because the Bali Process is non-binding.

Ruddyard cited last year’s creation of a regional support office in Bangkok to implement practical arrangements to combat trafficking, and a plan to use the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia to train law enforcers across the region to better deal with human trafficking cases, as achievements of the Bali Process.

A local problem

Part of the problem lies at the local level.

Ahmed Sofian, national coordinator of ECPAT Indonesia, an NGO based in Jakarta working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children, said there was little effort made by local law enforcement officials in Indonesia to deal with trafficking.

“There are economic benefits for those living close to the brothels that children are trafficked to,” said Sofian.

“Locals will gravitate to the area to sell food or provide security, and local police officers — often on low salaries — will ask for protection money from the owners of the brothels.

“This is why it’s so difficult to eliminate trafficking,” Sofian went on.

“There’s a local economy that grows up around it, and if the local government attempts to close these brothels, the police will become angry.”

Jonhar Johan, an official at the Indonesian Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, agreed, saying local implementation was a problem.

Of Indonesia’s 497 districts, only 88 have anti-trafficking task forces.

“We need the commitment of district governments and police, but generally it is lacking,” he said. “The districts need to develop their own task forces.”

Johan also said that even when trafficking victims were identified and returned home by the authorities, they remained vulnerable to being re-trafficked.

“We offer them financial help so they can start up small businesses when they return home, but when we visit them to formalize this, we find they’ve gone,” he said.

“Many victims are poor and they see the economic gain from working abroad, so maybe they leave home again because of the money. Traffickers like these kinds of people.”

According to SISHA’s Looney, the Cambodian police’s efforts to tackle human trafficking at the district level is hamstrung by lack of funds.

“They don’t have access to basic operational costs [such as to shelter and care for victims in custody], and it’s unclear whether that’s down to ineptitude, a lack of funds, or whether funds are being siphoned off elsewhere,” he said.

Looney said SISHA was providing police in Cambodia with financial support and advising on investigations.

“Many local police officers are just looking for support so they can do their jobs. The average police officer wants to tackle the problem and help victims, but practical requirements make it difficult for them.”

Increasing complexity

Denis Nihill, the International Organization for Migration’s chief of mission to Indonesia, said that the changing nature of human trafficking made it more difficult to tackle.

“There’s been a lot of work done on the Greater Mekong Region for many years on trafficking, but it’s become more complex, as it’s now inextricably woven with labor migration, which is a much more difficult nut to crack because it is less easy to detect than trafficking linked to the sex industry.”

Nihill also pointed to the difficulties of tackling internal trafficking, which IOM’s 2011 counter trafficking report highlighted as particularly problematic in Indonesia.

“For cross-border trafficking, people must pass through the hands of several government agencies, but internally trafficked people need not come to the attention of any officials, so in many ways it’s a more alarming situation,” he said.

The US State Department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report categorizes most Asean countries as Tier 2, meaning they do not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but are making significant efforts to do so.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/human-trafficking-in-southeast-asia-a-complex-issue/

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'Chinese tsunami' hits Malaysian politics

May 7, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Chinese minority has for decades gone about its business and left leadership to a Malay-dominated regime, but in weekend polls they deserted it in what the premier called a "Chinese tsunami".

Prime Minister Najib Razak's term has since gone viral, touching off a debate over whether Sunday's bitter election battle presages a deepening divide between increasingly assertive urban Chinese and the country's majority Muslim Malays.

"Overall, the results show a trend of polarisation which worries the government," Najib said after declaring victory Monday, ruefully noting a "tsunami from the Chinese community."

Malaysia has enjoyed relative harmony among its main ethnicities for decades under the authoritarian template of the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, but the mere mention of racial tension remains a sensitive issue.

The political and economic system is built on decades-old policies that prop up Malays to prevent dominance by the Chinese, who immigrated under British colonialism and control much of the economy despite making up just a quarter of the 28-million population.

The ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has towered over Barisan and the country since independence in 1957, routinely refers to deadly 1969 racial riots as a warning against minorities threatening this status quo.

But minority Chinese and Indians increasingly reject their "second-class" status, egged on by an opposition that made its best showing ever Sunday.

"For the very first time in Malaysia's political history... the Chinese have decided to vote as a bloc and they have decided to vote the opposition," said James Chin, a lecturer with Monash University.

Chinese are angry about Barisan corruption and feel "marginalised", he said.

After an often racially divisive campaign by Barisan, which the opposition says was tainted by massive fraud, the regime largely held firm in the 222-seat parliament, retaining a solid majority as core rural Malay support held.

But several urban, Chinese-heavy seats tumbled to the three-party opposition, whose Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the alliance's big winner, gaining nine seats to end at 38.

The results were a snub to Najib, who reached out to minorities after a 2008 election setback with a much-touted racial-unity programme that is now in tatters.

It is considered imperative in Malaysia for government to project at least a facade of diversity, and Barisan's mix of 13 parties, several ethnic-based, were its claim to legitimacy.

But voters continued to desert its minority parties, which political analysts said increasingly reveals Barisan as a Malay camp under UMNO's thumb.

"We're lucky to still be in government at the federal level," said Saifuddin Abdullah, a Barisan reform voice who lost his seat Sunday, citing the " Chinese tsunami."

"There needs to be a new BN (Barisan)," he told online media, adding it was worrying that Barisan won with only a minority of the popular vote.

It held power thanks to a system of seat allocations that, critics say, unfairly favours Barisan strongholds.

But analysts said Najib faces an uphill task wooing back a Chinese community that UMNO has routinely made a bogeyman to shore up Malay support.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has for years called for reform of policies that give Malays advantages in business, education and home-buying, which he says are abused by a rich Malay elite.

Sensing the public mood, Najib also has promised some reforms.

But top opposition figure Lim Kit Siang, an ethnic Chinese who heads the DAP, said the country was set for deeper racial trouble if Najib does not fundamentally change the regime's ways.

"So long as he refuses to admit that, so long as he wants to polarise and racialise (the vote results), then they themselves are guilty of a racist outlook and they are incapable of any national reconciliation," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Chinese-tsunami-hits-Malaysian-politics/articleshow/19929554.cms

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West Java Police Forming Team to Investigate Ahmadiya Attack

May 7, 2013

Gen. Timur Pradopo, the head of the National Police, has ordered the West Java Police chief, Insp. Gen. Tubagus Anis Angkawijaya, to put together a special team to investigate a mob attack on an Ahmadiya community in the town of Tasikmalaya early on Sunday.

“There were about 200 to 250 people who came using two-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles,” spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said at the National Police headquarters on Monday.

“We regret and condemn this violence. Currently, four witnesses are being questioned by police.”

The witnesses had been very cooperative, said Boy, adding the police had yet to name any suspects.

“I don’t know what the investigation results are yet or which group is involved in the attack. Hopefully we can get some good developments soon,” he said.

The police have deployed one company of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers to watch over the location to prevent the tensions from spreading.

The Ahmadiya community in Tasikmalaya was left in shambles after hundreds of people destroyed homes and mosques in their village.

Asep Taufik Ahmad, from Singaparna subdistrict, said some 400 Islamic hard-liners stormed the village at 1 a.m. and damaged dozens of houses and mosques belonging to Ahmadiya, a sect of Islam.

“It all started with our decision to hold a Koran recital event to commemorate Isra Mi’raj [the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey]. We already informed the local police about our plan,” Asep told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.

The police tried to persuade the villagers to not go through with their plan, citing security issues.

“The police said we should cancel the event for our own safety, because a mass organization, I won’t say which one, was apparently unhappy with our activity. But we proceeded anyway because it was a religious activity,” he said.

Some 60 police officers were standing by to secure the event. However, Asep said hundreds of hard-liners came to the village early Sunday morning and broke past the police barricade.

The Tasikmalaya chapter of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) denied any involvement in the attacks.

“If there were any FPI members [involved], they acted on their personal behalf and that’s their right. But as an organization, the FPI was not involved,” the local FPI chief, Acep Sopyan, was quoted as saying by Tempo on Sunday night.

Tasikmalaya Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Wijonarko told Indonesian news portal portalkbr.com that the attackers were not only from Tasikmalaya but also from Bandung and Ciamis, also in West Java.

He said that while the attackers did not wear any identifying articles, the police believed they were members of the FPI.

Acep denied the accusation leveled against his organization by the West Java Police, and called on it to stop linking the group to the attack.

“[The accusation] is baseless and that could prompt the masses to take some actions. But don’t make FPI the scapegoat,” Acep said.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/west-java-police-forming-team-to-investigate-ahmadiyah-attack/

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Indonesian President ‘Undeserving’ of Award for Tolerance: Rights Group

May 7, 2013

An Indonesian human rights organization has blasted a US-based interfaith group’s decision to recognize President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for championing religious freedom, arguing that he has failed abjectly on that front.

The Human Rights Working Group said on Monday that there were “several reasons why SBY doesn’t deserve” the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

“On cases of [religious-based] violence and intolerance, the president has failed to uphold the law in a fair manner, both in preventing violence committed in the name of religion and in ensuring that the victims receive justice,” Muhammad Choirul Anam, the HRWG deputy director, said in the statement.

“On the other hand, law enforcement and government officials in the SBY administration have actually been involved in acts of intolerance and even criminalization of the victims.”

He added that the government had also failed to nurture a culture of tolerance and to afford protection to minority religious groups in the country.

“Another reason that SBY doesn’t deserve the award is because he has far too often remained silent on the rights abuses suffered by members of minority faiths in Indonesia,” Choirul said.

“In many cases, like that of the Ahmadiya since 2005, the president has to date never called on his officials to take firm action against perpetrators of intolerance who have clearly violated the Constitution.”

He said it was the same thing in the case of the Taman Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia Protestant churches in West Java, which continue to be sealed off by local authorities in direct violation of Supreme Court rulings ordering them to be reopened.

“The failure of law enforcement, the lack of efforts to nurture tolerance and the president’s silence on rights violations have contributed greatly to the current climate of intolerance in Indonesia,” Choirul said.

The ACF hands out the World Statesman Award annually to “heads of state who have exemplified their commitment to freedom, human rights, peace and respect for religious and ethnic diversity, and endeavor to advance these essential democratic values on the international scene.”

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/sby-undeserving-of-award-for-tolerance-rights-group/

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Malaysian Muslims lead wellbeing index

by Daud Batchelor

May 7, 2013

ACHIEVEMENT: The country has achieved commendable balance between religious observance and social development, says Daud Batchelor.

IT has always been a big question: “Which Muslims in what Muslim country are closer to achieving the ideal of Islamic wellbeing”? Whose country is doing better at applying Islamic values?

A newly formulated rating index, the Islamic Index of Wellbeing (IIW), suggests that Muslims in Malaysia lead the Muslim countries surveyed in Islamic wellbeing, just ahead of their Indonesian cousins.

These two countries were clearly ahead globally in the group of 27 out of the 51 Muslim-majority countries for which full data was available to be assessed.

Senegal, the Palestinian territories and Bangladesh came next followed by other Middle-Eastern countries, then the sub-Sahara African countries.

Ex-communist bloc Muslim countries have the lowest indices — no doubt a consequence of the severe anti-religious policies formerly applied there, including widespread persecution.

The results reflect a relative “lag” of Middle-Eastern countries in this index, given that they are traditionally considered the “heart” of the Muslim world.

The new rating method follows an objective approach applying principles derived from Islam’s revealed scripture, the Quran, and the Sunnah example and teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

This analysis identified two key fields for wellbeing — personal religious observances, or acts of worship (ibadah) and good social interactions (mu’amalah), and gives each equal weighting in calculating the index.

Personal religiosity levels were obtained from the results of interviewing 38,000 Muslims throughout the world from 2008 to 2012 as published by the respected Pew Research Center in the United States.

Gulf Arab countries and Brunei — the “oil shaykdoms” — did not participate but it would be hoped they could be represented in future surveys.

These surveys provide the key information on the percentage of Muslim citizens who perform obligatory (fardu’ayn) practises of praying five times daily, men attending the mosque at least once weekly for Friday prayers, and Muslims fasting during Ramadan.

Extensive published research over the past 10 years confirms that those who are more attached to traditional religious practices, among both Muslims and non-Muslims, generally experience higher levels of psychological wellbeing.

Five fields were assessed for determining the social interaction performance of Muslim countries.

These were: the proportion of citizens having an education at least to secondary school level; a good status given to women; good care of young children; not too much disparity in family income levels as reflected in the Gini index of income inequality; and the elimination of corruption.

From an Islamic perspective, governments are required to assist vulnerable members of society, which is reflected in the indicators used to determine the status of women, children and the poor.

Full report at:

http://muslimvillage.com/2013/05/07/38987/malaysian-muslims-lead-wellbeing-index/

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South Asia

 

Ahle Sunnat Demands Ban on Hefazat to Enlist It as A “Militant and Terrorist” Organisation

MAY 07, 2013

Sunni Islamist organisation Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at yesterday demanded that the government ban Hefazat-e Islam and enlist it as a “militant and terrorist” organisation for Sunday’s anarchy in the capital.

It also demanded stern punishment of the Qasmi madrasa-based organisation’s leaders and activists for defaming and torching the holy Quran and mosques and conducting destructive activities.

Addressing a press conference the organisation organised in Chittagong Press Club, the Ahle Sunnat leaders said Hefazat men attacked shrines and a Sunni madrasa student, Saiful Islam, in Chittagong’s Hathazari Upazila who later died on May 3.

They also urged all peace-loving Muslims to join its rally in Hathazari on May 11 and in the capital on May 25.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/ahle-sunnat-wants-ban-on-hefajat/

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Myanmar charges 6 Muslims for sectarian violence

May 07 2013

A Myanmar court has charged six Muslims with murder for their alleged role in the death of a Buddhist monk during sectarian violence that shook the country in March.

The charges filed Monday mark the latest legal action against minority Muslims in the central city of Meikthila, one of several recent flashpoints of violence that rights groups have called an organized campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Buddhist nation. Several days of rioting and violence in Meikhtila left more than 40 people dead and more than 12,000 displaced, most of them Muslim. No Buddhists have been charged yet.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/05/07/myanmar-charges-6-muslims-sectarian-violence.html

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Sri Lanka uses anti-terror law to detain Muslim leader

6 May 2013

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has detained an opposition Muslim political leader for 90 days using a tough anti-terrorism law in what the minority community said Monday was the latest in a string of attacks against them.

Azath Sally, 49, the former deputy mayor of Colombo and the leader of the Muslim National Unity Alliance, was being held under a 90-day detention order, police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena said.

“The charges are under the Prevention of Terrorism Act,” Siriwardena said, without elaborating.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka or MCSL, an umbrella organization of Muslim groups, said Sally was detained on Sunday.

“We have written to the president to release Mr. Sally immediately and make public the charges that are said to have been brought against him,” MCSL leader N.M. Ameen told AFP.

Sally has been a vocal critic of the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse and blamed the authorities for allowing an anti-Muslim campaign in the Buddhist-majority nation that culminated in an arson attack on two Muslim-owned businesses in March.

Extensive damage was caused to a clothing store and a vehicle yard, but three Buddhist monks and 14 other Buddhists arrested over the attack were later freed as police and the victims did not press charges.

The Asian Human Rights Commission condemned Sally’s arrest using the act, nearly four years after security forces crushed Tamil rebels and declared an end to the island’s decade-old ethnic war.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/450640

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Hope Seen for Afghanistan after Coalition Exits

May 6, 2013

By ALISSA J. RUBIN and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

KABUL, Afghanistan — Under Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new commander of international forces here, the American-led military coalition is no longer aiming to change Afghanistan. Its focus now is on a far narrower goal: readying Afghan forces to withstand the Taliban regardless of the country’s looming political and economic troubles.

The rest, he said in his first interview since assuming command in February, is up to the Afghans.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who says he sees the glass as “half-full,” General Dunford laid out a case for why he believes Afghan forces will step up as the coalition’s long war here moves toward an official close.

He offered a far more positive take on the prospects for this country than many longtime Western officials here, and a less critical one than many of his predecessors had offered. They had emphasized that long-term stability would require faith in the Afghan government, which could be achieved only if the rampant corruption and widespread rights abuses were reined in.

In describing his goals for the Western military endgame in Afghanistan, General Dunford kept a tight focus on definable training and security benchmarks, leaving much of the politics out. He boiled it down to three fundamental questions: Will the Afghan troops be able to assume lead responsibility for military operations? Will the Afghan security forces be able to give security to the Afghan people nationwide for the presidential elections scheduled for next April? And, will the international troops be able to transfer all authority to the Afghans at the end of 2014, when the International Security Assistance Force mission ends?

“The answer is yes,” to all three questions, General Dunford said, even while readily noting that there was much work ahead to reach that level of readiness.

Referring to the growth in size and capabilities of the Afghan Army, in particular, he said: “You can accuse me of being an optimist and I’ll plead guilty. But to those people who think this can’t happen, I would just ask them to look at the last two or three years and ask them why they can’t imagine that we’ll be on the same trajectory that we’ve been on the last two or three years,” he said referring to the growth in size and capabilities of the Afghan Army, in particular.

While he acknowledged that corruption and human rights failures posed challenges, he appeared to see them as less-corrosive threats to the military mission than some of his predecessors did.

“Over time we’ll continue to see, in fits and starts, corruption,” he said. “We’ll still see predatory behavior, and the only way it’s going to be fixed is when the Afghan people demand that it be different and when Afghan leadership demands that it be different.”

Asked whether widespread perceptions about corruption in the police force could actively help the Taliban, or at least hurt the government, he answered, “This is not something that we can impose.”

Even as a fierce debate is being waged in Washington about how many troops to dedicate to the Afghan mission beyond the end of the international military mission in 2014, General Dunford, rather than weighing in publicly by making an argument for specific troop levels, has taken the tack of laying out a clearly defined picture of the areas where the Afghan military will need long-term help.

He noted several trouble spots: air support and transportation for the Afghan forces, command and control capabilities and a continuing struggle with attrition in the Afghan Army. The army loses 2 percent to 2.9 percent of its soldiers every month, according to the Pentagon’s most recent semiannual report to Congress in December. That added up to more than 54,000 soldiers from September 2011 to September 2012, out of a total force that has hovered at barely 190,000, putting great pressure on the military’s recruiting and training operations.

He has concluded as well that plans to reduce the number of Afghan security forces — the army and police combined — to 228,000 after 2015 from the current target level of 352,000 are not realistic, given the threats in the country. “The consensus now both from the Afghans and certainly from us is that we ought to sustain that for some period time to come,” said General Dunford, referring to the 352,000 head count.

What is less clear is how such a force could be paid for. The international community, led by the United States, has agreed to pay roughly $4.1 billion in aid per year for the Afghan security forces after 2014, based on estimates of what a smaller Afghan security contingent would cost. If the Afghans want to keep a larger force, they will either have to field a cheaper army and police force or come up with more money themselves to pay for it. General Dunford suggested that the Afghans could economize, although he did not give examples of where they might find the savings.

Just months into his command, his tenure has already been marked by tensions between American officials and President Hamid Karzai, who has criticized American Special Operations and intelligence missions in Afghanistan. General Dunford’s approach to working with Mr. Karzai so far has borne out his reputation as a direct and pragmatic Marine officer: While he has not gone out of his way to forge personal trust with the Afghan leader, as some predecessors did, neither has he pushed Mr. Karzai to reform.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/world/asia/dunford-optimistic-on-post-coalition-afghanistan.html?gwh=A5F0227ED53858A661A76149A1CA5348

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40 Hefazat men remanded

MAY 07, 2013

A Dhaka court on Tuesday placed 40 Hefajat-e Islam activists on a two-day police remand for interrogation in connection with Sunday’s violence at Ramna and Shahbagh areas in the capital.

There is no leader among the 40 remanded, our court correspondent reported, identifying them as grassroots workers.

The law enforcers arrested the Hefajat men from different parts of the capital Sunday night after the deadly violence following the post-blockade rally at Shapla Chattar.

The Islamist group was demonstrating to press home its 13-point demand, which capital punishment for blasphemy and arrest and punishment of “atheist bloggers”.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/40-hefajat-men-remanded/

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India

 

Teachers and students condemn burning of tomb and desecration of graves in Damascus

New Age Islam News Bureau, May 7, 2013

Lucknow: The teachers and students of Madrasatul Waezeen, Lucknow held a protest meeting against the burning of the tomb of Jafar Tiyar and the digging the grave and desecration of the dead body of the holy companion of the prophet (pbuh) Hadhrat Hujr ibn Adi in Damascus by the rebel forces.

The participants of the meeting condemned the act of the rebels and said that the heinous and un-Islamic acts of the rebel forces should be stopped.

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Muslims demand Change in name of film on Aurangzeb and its dialogues

New Age Islam News Bureau, May 7, 2013

Maharashtra: Citizens of Khuldabad and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) presented a memorandum to the chief minister of Maharashtra through the district authorities of Khuldabad, where the great Mughal emperor’s tomb is located, demanded that the name of the film on Aurangzeb and its dialogue be changed as it hurts the sentiments of the admirers of the Mughal ruler. Reportedly the film has some references and dialogues that present the emperor in a bad light which the residents of the town find hurtful. The trailer of the film made by Yash Raj Films to be release on May 17 shows that insulting dialogues have been spoken against the Mughal emperor.

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Move to bring Bahadur Shah Zafar’s remains to Mehrauli

By Adila Matra

07 May 2013

New Delhi: VETERAN journalists Kuldip Nayar and Saeed Naqvi as well as former Justice Rajinder Sachar have come together for a common cause: to bring back the remains of India’s last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar to the place where he wished to be buried in Delhi.

“ Bahadur Shah Zafar was unfortunately forgotten or tactically removed from India’s history by the British who captured him and took him to Myanmar ( formerly Burma), where he died in colonial captivity,” said Naqvi.

Bringing back Zafar’s remains will not just create a symbol of secularism — the majority of Indian soldiers who marched to Delhi in 1857 were Hindus who did not hesitate to proclaim him as their emperor — but will also fulfil the emperor’s last wish of being buried next to Khwaja Bhaktiar Kaki’s shrine in Mehrauli in the two yards he had carved for himself. “ The idea is to look at secularism beyond the basic concept of tolerating each other to something more,” said Nayar.

Mail Today....

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Tasleema Nasrin criticises Hefazat-e-Islam for demanding death for non-Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

May 7, 2013

Dhaka: Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen severely criticised the activists of Hefazat-e-Islam organisation for demanding death for non-Muslims and atheists. She said in a blog, “Half a million Hefazat-e-Islam supporters gathered in the city yesterday, where they set fire to shops and vehicles. The supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam or the protectors of Islam want to hang atheists. The government already arrested them for their crime of being atheists. But Hefazat is not happy. They want to kill them. Their main agenda is to kill atheists. They have other agendas to make Bangladesh a stupid land of a stupid religion.”

On Monday thousands of Hefazat-e-Islam supporters went into rampage burning vehicles and shops in the capital city of Bangladesh. They demanded implementation of a new blasphemy law proposing death penalty for atheists and blasphemers.

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Inquiry into blast in Darul Uloom Nadwa demanded

New Age Islam News Bureau, May 7, 2013

Lucknow: Political parties and social organisations of Uttar Pradesh have demanded an inquiry into the bomb blast at Darul Uloom Nadwa. The state president of Socialist Front of India said that the blast was not the handiwork of any anti-social element but it seems the preplanned terrorism of some political parties in view of the forthcoming elections in 2014 so that the communal parties could reap the benefits of the communal tensions in Lucknow and its suburbs. The national president of Smart Party Shahzada Mansoor Ahmad said bomb blasts whether at a mosque, madrasa, Gurudwaras or church are a matter of concern and people perpetrating it cannot be called religious. The parties resolved that if the perpetrators were not arrested by May 11, the effigies of the ineffective law and order will be burnt before the Assembly

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600 Pakistani pilgrims’ Ajmer visit under cloud

Shoeb Khan

May 7, 2013

JAIPUR: The death of Sarabjit Singh has put paid to hopes of numerous Pakistanis who visit Ajmer's dargah sharif to observe Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti's death anniversary every year. Following threats from several right-wing groups, a delegation of 600 Pakistani pilgrims fearing retaliatory attacks like the one inside Jammu's Kot Bhalwal jail, have put their plans of reaching Ajmer from Lahore by May 11 on hold.

Pakistan high commission sources told TOI that they are reviewing the situation whereas some members of the delegation said their trip to join the 801st Urs in memory of Khwaja stands cancelled. There have been only two years in the past - both in times of conflict, in 1965 and 1971 - when Pakistani delegations could not come.

"The excitement of visiting Ajmer has reduced," said Aamir Khan, a member of the delegation. "I have no official communication but I am ready to go for the Urs on a day's notice," said Khan, of Hyderabad in Sindh province.

A leading legal luminary from Lahore, requesting anonymity, said, "The train will cross Wagah, which is Sikh dominated, and halt in Delhi, which also has sizeable Sikh population. We have heard about threats from right wing groups opposing our visit in Ajmer. It seems this is not the right time for us to visit Ajmer."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/600-Pakistani-pilgrims-Ajmer-visit-under-cloud/articleshow/19922683.cms

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No Indian Indian prisoner of war in our jails: Pak high commissioner

Shimona Kanwar

May 7, 2013

CHANDIGARH: Pakistan high commissioner Salman Bashir says there is no Indian prisoner of war (POW) in his country's jails.

"We have no POWs," said Bashir, who was in Chandigarh to visit Sanaullah Ranjay, the Pakistani prisoner assaulted in a Jammu jail last Friday. "I am saying this as we have done a proper screening of our jails and no Indian POW was found anywhere."

Bashir, who was briefed by doctors at PGIMER, said Ranjay's condition remained critical.

New Delhi has been demanding the return of at least 54 Indian soldiers believed to be languishing in various Pakistani jails. "It (India's claims about its POWs) is just a hype created by the media a day after Sarabjit Singh died in a Lahore jail," said Bashir.

However, in the same breath, Bashir expressed concern about the condition of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. "As per our list, there are over 500 prisoners in various jails of India and of them 50 have completed their sentence," he said. "In the last one year, three-four have lost their lives while serving their term."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-Indian-Indian-prisoner-of-war-in-our-jails-Pak-high-commissioner/articleshow/19924456.cms

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Waqf Board claims 323-acre prime land in Hyderabad

May 7, 2013

HYDERABAD: The AP State Waqf Board (APSWB) on Monday passed a resolution to claim 323 acre and 18 guntas of land in Jubilee Hills as Waqf property belonging to Hazrat Hakeem Shahe Baba Dargah.

The prime land claimed by the board covers localities in Jubilee Hills, Hakimpet, Tolichowki and Mehdipatnam. "Apollo Hospital land and parts of Film Nagar are located on the land that is being claimed as Waqf property," said APSWB member Syed Altaf Hyder Razvi.

The government gazette of 1982, however, says that the extent of land belonging to the Dargah is only 4,448 square meters. But the Waqf Board obtained the 'original muntakhab', through which the land had been endowed to the Dargah, from the State Archives and Research Institute. It terms the extent of land as 323 acre and 18 guntas spread on two survey numbers -- 92 and 102.

"The AP Gazette had erroneously published the extent of land in 1982. Old documents pertaining to the Dargah such as the muntakhab (number 786/4) issued around 114 years ago were obtained from the AP State Archives and Research Institute. These documents show that the attached Dargah and serai measure 323 acres and 18 guntas," said board chairman Syed Ghulam Afzal Biyabani.

The market value of the land being claimed runs into thousands of crores and is mostly under 'encroachment' by private persons and institutions.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Waqf-Board-claims-323-acre-prime-land/articleshow/19924069.cms

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Mideast

 

Iran Warns Syrian Rebels After Report of Shrine Desecration

By THOMAS ERDBRINK and HANIA MOURTADA

 May 6, 2013

TEHRAN — Iran’s Shiite leaders warned of regional sectarian conflict after reports that Syrian rebels raided a Shiite shrine in a suburb of Damascus last week, destroying the site and making off with the remains of the revered Shiite figure buried there.

It was impossible to independently verify the report, which appeared on a Facebook page on April 28. Through the course of the civil war, the Syrian government and the rebel opposition have proved adept at manipulating social media to implicate each other in atrocities, trading accusations that cannot be substantiated.

The shrine of the revered Shiite figure, Hojr Ibn Oday — also known as Hajar Ben Adi al-Kundi — in the Damascus suburb of Adra was a popular pilgrimage site before the hostilities mostly ended religious tourism in Syria. Pictures posted on Facebook seemed to show that the sanctuary had been ransacked and the remains of Mr. Oday exhumed.

The caption next to the photo reads: “This is the shrine of Hajar Ben Adi al-Kundi. It’s one of the Shiite shrines in Adra al-Balad. The heroes of the Free Syrian Army scavenged the grave and buried him in an unknown place. Praise be to God and God grant victory to the Free Syrian Army.”

The caption gives credit for the exhumation to a man named Abu Anas al-Wazir, or Abu al-Baraa, a leader of a military group called the Islam Brigade of the Free Army.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who considers himself a binding figure between Sunnis and Shiites, called the event “bitter and sad,” and blamed foreign intelligence agencies for the destruction of the shrine.

Iranian and Syrian students protested Monday in Tehran, shouting “death to America” and “death to Israel,” while pro-government speakers blamed Britain as a former colonizer for “sowing the seeds of discord between Sunnis and Shiites.”

The students shouted back, “Stop, stop the exhuming of graves.”

The Qaeda-inspired Al Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the abduction of the remains of Mr. Oday. The group’s attack was followed by a stern warning from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, who on April 30 told Sunni rebels not to target the largest Shiite sanctuary in Syria, the golden-domed shrine of Sayida Zeinab, Muhammad’s granddaughter.

Mr. Nasrallah warned of “very serious repercussions” if Syrian rebels attacked the shrine, long a main pilgrimage destination for Shiites worldwide.

Such an attack would unleash an uncontrollable conflict, Mr. Nasrallah said, invoking a fearsome precedent: the destruction of a Shiite shrine in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 2006 that contributed to years of sectarian bloodletting between Shiites and Sunni Muslims there.

Fighting has engulfed areas around the Syrian shrine, which is outside Damascus, and many Shiite fighters — Syrian as well as Iraqi and Lebanese — have rushed to defend it, according to fighters interviewed in Syria.

Sunnis in the Jordan town of Southern Mazar on Friday burned down a Shiite gathering center, close to the shrine of another revered Shiite figure, Jafar Ibn Abi Talib, Iranian news media reported.

Iranian officials blamed the United States and Israel, saying they were supporting the Syrian rebels and Sunni extremist forces in the region.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/world/middleeast/iran-warns-syrian-rebels-after-report-of-shrine-desecration.html?_r=0

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Israel Allows Gazan Children to Visit Imprisoned Parents

By FARES AKRAM

May 6, 2013

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Raghed Hilless was 6 months old when Israel arrested her father, Ahmed, for being involved with Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip. Now 5 ½, Raghed saw her father on Monday for the first time since then, one of the first young Gazans allowed to visit their parents in Israeli prisons since 2006.

“He kissed me and gave me some candies and told me to give them to my mother and grandmother,” the girl said, having crossed the border from Israel back into Gaza after the daylong journey.

Israel suspended all visits to Gaza prisoners when Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in a cross-border raid in 2006. Mr. Shalit was swapped for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011, and the next year, as part of a deal to curtail a prisoner hunger strike, Israel opened the jailhouse doors. But until Monday, only spouses and parents had been permitted to visit.

Nasser Najjar, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said 61 people from the Gaza Strip, including seven children under 8, had made the trip to visit relatives in Nafha prison, in Israel’s southern desert area. He said about 500 of the more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are from Gaza.

It was not immediately clear why Israel changed the policy on visits to allow children under 8. Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service, said lifting the ban on child visits was simply part of the 2012 agreement that ended the hunger strike. She said that the restrictions were being eased step by step, and that older children would likely also be able to visit in the future.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/world/middleeast/israel-allows-gazan-children-to-visit-imprisoned-parents.html?gwh=FB99F0B5633AFE5CD9DA712FAAE0FA66

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Israel and Turkey in Talks Over Deadly Flotilla Raid

By ISABEL KERSHNER

May 6, 2013

JERUSALEM — Talks here on Monday between Israeli and Turkish officials over compensation for a deadly Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla almost three years ago demonstrated that while relations between the two countries are improving, they will not be as warm as they once were.

The Turkish delegation, led by the under secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu, was the highest-level diplomatic mission to visit Israel since relations were frozen. But the Turks kept a low profile, and the sides put out a brief statement revealing little about the discussions other than to say that an agreement was near.

Israeli officials and analysts say they do not see a return to the intimate Israeli-Turkish alliance of past decades, when the Israeli, Turkish and American Navies carried out joint exercises in the Mediterranean and Israeli fighter jets trained in Turkey’s relatively vast airspace.

Yet bilateral trade is thriving, and in recent months Turkish exporters have started using Israel as a trade corridor, with Turkish shipping lines docking in Israeli ports, then transporting goods overland to Jordan and other Arab countries in order to bypass the bloody civil war in Syria.

“This is not so much about going back to the old alliance,” said Gallia Lindenstrauss, an expert on Turkey at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, “but about lowering the level of hostility between the two countries.”

Israeli officials view the trade corridor as an important, even strategic, development. Ms. Lindenstrauss said it showed Turkish recognition of Israel as a stable partner when much of the Middle East is in turmoil. Any improvement in the atmosphere between the leaders, she added, would be likely to contribute to increased cooperation at the unofficial level.

Turkey used to be Israel’s closest ally in the region and its most important partner in the Muslim world. But relations began to sour over Israel’s three-week offensive against the Hamas militant group controlling Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, which came after years of rocket fire by Gaza militants against southern Israel. Up to 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the campaign, hundreds of them civilians, and the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Israel of attempted genocide.

The strategic partnership plummeted further in May 2010 when eight Turks and an American of Turkish descent were killed after Israeli commandos met resistance aboard a vessel seeking to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Turkey sharply downgraded its diplomatic and military ties with Israel in September 2011, angrily expelling the Israeli ambassador after Israel refused to apologize.

President Obama brokered Turkish-Israeli reconciliation when he visited Israel in March, urging renewed cooperation between the two important American allies as the deterioration in Syria threatened to spill over and destabilize the broader region.

As part of the agreement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel officially apologized for operational mistakes that led to deaths in the raid and promised compensation and a further easing of restrictions on Gaza. Once the terms of compensation have been reached, Israel and Turkey are meant to normalize ties and send envoys to each other’s nations.

But few here expect a drastic turnaround in military cooperation.

More likely, an Israeli official said, was a sharing of assessments and intelligence on the Syrian issue, perhaps not bilaterally, but in a regional framework, with Jordan, presided over by the United States.

“The apology was not an easy decision for Israel,” said another Israeli official, who also asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. “The prime minister took the decision in order to restore the relationship and create a normalcy in relations. It is our hope that the Turks will respond in kind.”

In view of the potentially explosive situation in Syria and grave concern about the chemical weapons stockpiles there, he added, “we would like ideally to have a more open and honest conversation with the Turks about how to meet these challenges.”

At the same time, trade between the two countries peaked at $4 billion in 2011, split almost evenly between imports and exports, according to Israel’s Ministry of Economy, up from $300 million in 1997 after a Free Trade Arrangement was signed. A ministry report said private trade was not affected by the flotilla episode, although government and defense contracts had dropped off. Some Israelis note that had it not happened, there could have been even greater commercial growth.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/world/middleeast/israel-and-turkey-talk-compensation-in-flotilla-raid.html?_r=0&gwh=4686900106AEFC3FAFA54F8A98E68E77

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Israel's critics ignore discrimination in the Arab and Muslim world

May 6, 2013

The article by Zainab Choudry and Saqib Ali on Israel's supposed discrimination against Arab-American and Muslim citizens is missing a big part of the story in the Arab and Muslim world ("Don't let Israel discriminate," April 30).

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had to personally intervene to allow Jewish reporters on his plane to enter Saudi Arabia, since Jews weren't allowed. Christians in Arab lands are harassed and persecuted on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Muslim women are considered property upon marriage, and the Arab Spring in Egypt has replaced one dictator with another.

Full report at:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-israel-20130506,0,456584.story

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Spying for Iran: Life term for four upheld in Kuwait

7 May 2013

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s supreme court yesterday upheld life terms on two Iranians, a Kuwaiti and a stateless on charges of forming a ring to spy for neighboring Iran.

The court, whose rulings are final, also upheld the acquittal of two Iranians, including the only woman in the ring, and a Syrian, a statement issued by the court said.

“The court rejects the appeals of the defendants and upholds the (court of appeals) sentences,” judge Abdullah Al-Jassem said in the statement.

In May last year, the appeals court reduced death sentences against the first three to life and upheld the same term on the fourth. The court also acquitted the Syrian who was sentenced to life by the lower court.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/450662

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Pakistan

 

Two terrorists nabbed, 100kg explosives seized in Quetta

2013-05-07

QUETTA: Security forces foiled a terrorism bid as they arrested two suspects and recovered 100kg explosives from their possession during a raid here. According to details, the security forces on a secret tip off raided Kuchlak area in the suburb of Quetta. During the raid two terrorists were nabbed and over 100 kilograms of explosives, detonators, and remote control devices were seized from their possession.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\05\07\story_7-5-2013_pg7_6

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Tribal clash leaves five dead in Balochistan's Jhal Magsi area

SYED ALI SHAH

2013-05-07

QUETTA: At least five persons were killed during exchange of fire between two groups in Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan on Tuesday morning, according to Levies sources.

A Levies official Abdul Jabbar told Dawn.com that five tribesmen had died and that both groups used heavy weapons against each other in the clash that was the result of a tribal feud.

He said the bodies were shifted to Gandawah hospital for postmortem.

Levies and police reached the area and investigations into the incident went underway.

Earlier in April this year, an independent election candidate, Abdul Fateh Magsi, and three other persons from Balochistan’s Jhal Magsi area were killed by unknown assailants, prompting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the elections in the areas PB -32 constituency.

Full report at:

http://www.beta.dawn.com/news/812482/tribal-clash-leaves-five-dead-in-balochistans-jhal-magsi-area

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11 dead in blast at JUI-F election rally

May 7, 2013

HANGU: A blast during an election campaign of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) killed at least eleven people, while 35 others were injured in the area of Doaba Bazar in Hangu, Express News reported on Monday.

The members of the political party, including former MPA Mufti Syed Janan running for the PK-43 constituency were meeting with shopkeepers in the bazaar to campaign for the upcoming polls. Janan escaped the attack unhurt.

Initial reports suggest the blast was a suicide attack. Security was tightened around the blast site, and a curfew was imposed in the area.

Rescue teams reached the blast site and the injured were shifted to a nearby hospital.

Background

Attacks on the political party have increased with a deadly attack on another JUI-F rally earlier on Monday afternoon. The blast left 25 people dead and over 50 injured in the Sewak area of Kurram Agency.

The bomb was planted inside the building that was the venue for the rally of two national assembly candidates representing the JUI faction led by cleric Fazulur Rehman.

Another JUI-F candidate Haji Mohammad Hashim Shahwani escaped an assassination attempt, on April 26, when his convoy was attacked by a remote-controlled bomb in the Mach district of Kachi in Balochistan.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/545518/blast-at-jui-f-rally-in-hangu-leaves-several-injured/

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Taliban warn teachers against poll participation

2013-05-07

KOHAT: Taliban of Dara Adam Khel have told the teachers to boycott the polling process “in order to avoid punishment”.

The warning has been issued through pamphlets distributed in various schools, residences of teachers in different areas of Peshawar, like Sarband, Salman Khel, Masho Khel and some areas located in Badbher. Local found the pamphlets and informed the police, who gathered the letters for investigation and to determine who distributed them. According to the letter, TTP Dara Adam Khel has announced that “we are against those people who are working for democracy and these people are the enemies of the Islam who want to destabilise our country and Islam through democracy”.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\05\07\story_7-5-2013_pg7_4

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Money laundering allegation against Sharifs: Malik comes up with documentary ‘proof’

Zulqernain Tahir

2013-05-07

LAHORE, May 6: Senator Rehman Malik of the PPP presented the media on Monday documentary ‘proof’ of the alleged money laundering by the Sharif brothers and said he had requested the Supreme Court to look into the matter.

“There have been 40 or so scams, including the money laundering and corruption committed by the Sharif brothers. I have written to the SC registrar for investigation into the billions of rupees of corruption as there is also a confessional statement of (PML-N leader) Ishaq Dar in this regard,” the former interior minister said at a press conference.

The PML-N’s Senator Pervaiz Rashid rejected the claim and said it was a propaganda against the PML-N leadership.

Mr Malik said the chief justice should take notice of the money laundering of the Sharif brothers to the UK and Saudi Arabia. He said the PPP might move the international court in this regard. He said the Sharifs should go to the apex court against him if they were innocent. “If I fail to prove the charges against them (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif) I will quit politics,” he said.

He criticised the Election Commission (ECP) order for stopping an electronic media ad about a conversation between retired Justice Abdul Qayyum and Saifur Rehman.

“When it comes to the PPP, the ECP does not play its impartial role,” he said, adding that when the Sharifs learnt that he (Malik) was bringing more video tapes against them they used their influence to stop them.

Accompanied by Faiza Malik and Omar Sharif Bokhari, Mr Malik said Ishaq Dar in his confessional statement in 2000 had revealed that he had laundered billions of rupees abroad on the orders of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

He also provided details of fake accounts through which the Sharif brothers had laundered the money and the names of other people involved in the scam. He said the Sharifs should apologise to the nation for their ‘bad deeds’.

Rehman Malik said he had investigated the scams and if they had the courage they should prove him wrong in the court. “The Sharifs are threatening that after coming to power they will arrest me. But they cannot intimidate me,” he said.

Mr Malik said he had also written a letter to the defence ministry asking it to take action against the army officials named in the Asghar Khan case for their involvement in doling out funds to politicians in the 1990s, but to no avail. He alleged that the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad had been formed in 1990 to prevent the PPP from coming to power and now an alliance of militants had been formed for the same purpose.

Despite all odds, the PPP would win the elections and form the government, Mr Malik expressed the hope.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/money-laundering-allegation-against-sharifs-malik-comes-up-with-documentary-proof/

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Kayani for peaceful polls in Balochistan

2013-05-07

QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has called for holding peaceful elections in Balochistan here on Monday.He underlined the need for implementation on the security plan chalked out for May 11 polls in the province during a high level meeting to discuss provincial security plan for general elections here.COAS General Kayani, who is on official visit, reviewed the security measures and deployment of Army troops for polls duty in different parts of Balochistan.Commandant Southern Command, Lieutenant General Mohammad Aalam Khatak, Chief Secretary Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh, Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durani, IG FC, IG police and heads of intelligence agencies attended the meeting.“Strategy plan devised for the conduct of peaceful polls in Balochistan is apparently well coordinated and integrated,” said the army chief and stressed the need for its implementation accordingly. He urged the participants to ensure that all-out efforts were in place for holding peaceful elections in the province.Director General, Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa while briefing the media persons said that deployment of Army troops in Balochistan has been completed.“As many as 6,0000 security personnel including 7,000 Army troops were deployed on polling duty across the province, he said adding Army has been called in aid of the civil power under the article 245 of the Constitution and would provide full assistance to the provincial government in this connection.He noted that there was complete liaison between the security forces and intelligence agencies as Quick Response Force is prepared to repulse the attack in well manner. The major general said that joint patrolling of personnel of security forces in the volatile districts was in progress.Referring assistance of the Army in polls, he recalled that transportation of the ballot papers in 53 Balochistan constituencies have been carried out by military helicopters while same was transported through Army vehicles in rest of the eleven constituencies.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/kayani-for-peaceful-polls-in-balochistan/

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PML-N, PPP united against JUI-F: Fazl

May 07, 2013

MANSEHRA: The JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, on Monday claimed that the PPP and PML-N had united against his party and were fooling the nation by issuing statements against each other.

Addressing a public meeting here, Fazl said the PTI chief Imran Khan was speaking against the US to win the people’s support. He said Imran wanted to implement the Western agenda in the country in the name of a ‘new Pakistan’ but his party would block his way to the Prime Minister’s House.

He alleged that by adopting an anti-US stand, Imran wanted to implement the Zionist agenda in Pakistan.

“My party will block his way as we have been struggling for the enforcement of Shariah for the last many decades,” he added.

Fazl urged the nation to shun ethnic and regional biases, as it was prejudicial to the country’s solidarity.

“If we don’t get rid of sectarianism and ethnicity, we cannot eliminate terrorism and lawlessness in the country, as Punjabis should feel the pain of Sindhis and Sindhis should feel the pain of Muhajirs and Muhajirs should feel the pain of Baloch and Pakhtuns,” he said.

Fazl said his party wanted the enforcement of Islamic ideology in the country to end the deprivations of the people, overcome the differences of class and ethnicity and bring the country’s economy on track.

He said for the last six-and-a-half decades since independence, successive rulers, both democratic and dictatorial, plundered the country.

 Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22705-PML-N-PPP-united-against-JUI-F-Fazl

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Exercise 'due caution' in India, Pakistan advises its citizens

May 7, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday advised its citizens travelling to India to exercise "due caution" following reports that their security "may be in jeopardy".

"The government of Pakistan wishes to advise its citizens who are planning to travel to India to exercise due caution and care while travelling to various parts of India," said a statement issued by the foreign office.

The statement said there were "some disturbing reports in the Indian media which indicate that the safety and security of Pakistani visitors to India, including that of over 600 Zaireen (pilgrims) scheduled to visit Ajmer Sharif for the annual Urs this month, may be in jeopardy".

The statement did not give details about these media reports.

The advisory was issued days after a Pakistani prisoner, Sanaullah Ranjay, was severely assaulted in a jail in Jammu.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exercise-due-caution-in-India-Pakistan-advises-its-citizens/articleshow/19931795.cms

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Pakistan politicians Opposing war on terror

May 07, 2013

About the hottest issue of Pakistan’s foreign policy today – the country’s involvement in the war on terror and how to get out of it – has been the subject of two separate interviews to foreign news agencies. PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif and PTI leader Imran Khan appear to be going the whole haul in making tall claims and promises. Mian Nawaz is now all-out for negotiations with the Taliban, maintaining that “guns and bullets” were not the answer. Giving an interview to CNN-IBN on Sunday, he advocated “options of engagement” hoping that as serious issues in other countries had been solved sitting across the table, it would be possible to bring around the militants to give up the course of violence and adopt peaceful ways. Responding to a question whether he would open dialogue side by side with the war on terror, the PML-N President said that all options had to be exercised. There is no arguing that at some stage one has to have recourse to negotiations; for certainly guns and bullets are no durable solution. But as long as the terrorists are in a position of strength it would be futile to hold any kind of talks with them and hope to obtain favourable terms. In his interview with the CNN-IBN, while Mian Nawaz maintained the negotiating posture, he also called for dissociation from the US military campaign. But dissociation from the war is far too complicated to resolve in such simple ways, surely Mian Nawaz knows that? Imran Khan’s plans are too sweeping; apart from shooting down drones, he wishes to run an independent foreign policy uninfluenced by the US.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/editorials/07-May-2013/opposing-war-on-terror

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In Quetta, fear still stalks the Hazara

May 7, 2013

The snooker club which was first targeted by terrorists in the January 10 attack on the Hazara Shias of Mariabad is being reconstructed, and the crater that formed on the road outside in the second — more devastating blast — the same day has been filled up. But memories of that afternoon will take much more to fade as the community lives in perpetual fear.

The January 10 attack and the one in mid-February on the other Hazara settlement in the provincial capital — where 90 people were killed in a single blast — have not only made fear a constant companion of the community but also affected their lives in ways they least expected.

The tightening of security in the two settlements has ghettoized the community even more. With no one allowed into the two areas without identification, shopkeepers complained that their businesses were suffering as now they catered for only the Hazara community since people from other neighbourhoods and ethnicities avoid shopping here because of the restrictions.

“The increased security has in a way spelt doom for our little businesses,” Sher Mohammad told a group of visiting foreign journalists. And with many a member of the community wary of stepping outside the localities for fear of being targeted by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), limited liquidity is affecting spending power. Some months ago, the LeJ launched an SMS service in some places of the city, asking people to report to a certain mobile number as soon as they spot a Hazara who are easily recognizable because of their Mongoloid features.

Those working in government offices say their colleagues and seniors understand their predicament and allow them to skip work in case word gets around of a heightened threat on any given day. The provincial government, both Hazaras and non-Hazaras vouch, has been accommodating in this regard. That consideration, however, does not extend to those working in the private sector. With little option but to go out and work, they do so with their hearts in their mouth.

Since the two settlements are old with schools within the area, schooling has not been as much affected as higher education. Attendance of Hazara students tends to be erratic, though they have returned to their colleges; but their education under these circumstances is a concern for the community that attaches great importance to education of both boys and girls.

At the Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering & Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Hazara students and teachers flagged the ironical situation created by a security arrangement. After a bomb attack on a bus ferrying students from the community killed three students and a teacher last year right outside the university’s main gate, the bus service to the two Hazara settlements was discontinued as a security arrangement.

Consequently, the students now have to wait for the university buses at designated points well outside their colonies, exposing themselves to the risk of being attacked in ones and twos that had become a fairly regular feature last year. Though such attacks have reduced since the two big bombings this year, fear has taken permanent residence in their lives.

According to Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), many members of his community have fled the country. He puts the number at one lakh, but there is no data to substantiate this claim. “We want to leave, but that is not an easy option. Neither is moving to another city in Pakistan as Shias are targeted everywhere and we are easily recognizable,” explained Asadullah Hazara on Alamdar Road, which made it to international headlines when members of the community picketed the thoroughfare in sub- Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/in-quetta-fear-still-stalks-the-hazara/article4690118.ece

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China exported arms worth $11 billion in 5 years, Pakistan major buyer: Pentagon

 May 7, 2013

WASHINGTON: Asserting that China has signed agreements for arms exports worth USD 11 billion from 2007 to 2011, the Pentagon has said that Pakistan remains Beijing's primary customer for conventional weapons.

"From 2007 to 2011, China signed approximately USD 11 billion in agreements for conventional weapons systems worldwide, ranging from general purpose materiel to major weapons systems," the Pentagon told the Congress in its annual report on China.

In 2012 and the coming years, China's arms exports will likely increase modestly as China's domestic defence industry improves, it said, adding that Chinese defence firms are marketing and selling arms throughout the world with the bulk of their sales to Asia and the Middle East/North Africa.

In 2012, China unveiled the Yi Long tactical unmanned aerial vehicle, which will probably be marketed to developing countries, it said.

Pakistan, it said, remains its primary customer for conventional weapons. "China engages in both arms sales and defence industrial cooperation with Islamabad, including co-production of the JF-17 fighter aircraft, F-22P frigates with helicopters, K-8 jet trainers, F-7 fighter aircraft, early warning and control aircraft, tanks, air-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, and cooperation on main battle tank production," the Pentagon report said.

"We describe in this report China's bilateral military interactions with other countries, including Pakistan. China has a very longstanding historical relationship with Pakistan, and it's one that we watch and we report on in this report," deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia David Helvey told reporters during a Pentagon news conference.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/China-exported-arms-worth-11-billion-in-5-years-Pakistan-major-buyer-Pentagon/articleshow/19926116.cms

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Press freedom: Pakistan painted ‘red’ on global map

May 07, 2013

Mubashir Hassan

A recent report by Freedom House, a Washington-based organisation, has painted Pakistan ‘red’ on the global map labeling it as ‘not free’ for the journalists to report on domestic issues.

The report, which coincided with the World Press Freedom Day on May 3, has placed Pakistan at number 64 in the global index among 47 countries which have been described as ‘not free’.

Freedom House, which has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980, released its report in the presence of journalists currently visiting the US from across the globe to share experiences on new trends in journalism.

Media freedom in Pakistan during 2012, according to the report, remained constrained by official attempts to restrict critical reporting and by the high level of violence against journalists. “The constitution and other legislation, such as the Official Secrets Act, authorise the government to curb freedom of speech on subjects including the constitution itself, the armed forces, the judiciary, and religion. Harsh blasphemy laws have occasionally been used to suppress the media”, say findings of the report.

Freedom House has also shown its concern over Pakistani government’s efforts to increase internet censorship with the release of a request for proposals to build a system capable of blocking millions of URLs.

While the emergence of a vibrant private media, along with a nascent civil society has been viewed in the report as ‘the most important positive developments in Pakistan in recent years’, the lack of a more mature class of media professionals and emergence of illiberal voices have been described as the factors hampering the freedom of speech.

The presence of extremists in Swat region is threatening to smother open discussion and thwart the progress of democratic development. The mounting economic crisis will place added pressure on the industry, it said.

Pakistanis among the 47 countries which have been declared ‘not free’ including Afghanistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sri Lanka. Other countries in the region including India and Nepal are among the 58 countries labelled as ‘partly free’.

The neighbouring Afghanistan, has, however, improved its score from 74 in 2011to 67 in the preceding year. This improvement has been attributed to a continuing decrease in violence against journalists, the opening of a number of new private media outlets, that are free to criticize the government, and a decline in official censorship and prosecutions of journalists are the factors 

Of the 47 countries designated as ‘not free’, nine including North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Sudan have been given the survey’s lowest possible rating of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties.

Norwey,Sweden,Belgium,Finland,Netherlands,Denmark,Luxembourg,Switzerland,AndorraandIcelandare the top ten countries in the global index which enjoy an absolute media freedom.

The Freedom House applies one of three broad category designations to each of the countries and territories included in the index: free, partly free, and not free.

A ‘free’ country is one where there is open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life, and independent media. It has been designated green colour.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/07-May-2013/press-freedom-pakistan-painted-red-on-global-map

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Sethi for maintaining relics at Lahore Museum

May 07, 2013

Chief Minister Najam Sethi presided over a high level meeting here Monday which considered the matters pertaining to Lahore Museum and the conservation of relics and ancient items through modern methods. Addressing the meeting, Najam Sethi said that historical relics were a precious national heritage.

He said that Lahore Museum attracted a number of visitors. He said that there are relics of ancient civilizations in Lahore Museum which reflected centuries’ old civilization. He said that there should be proper arrangements for the maintenance and conservation of relics and cultural heritage and assured that necessary resources would be provided for this purpose.

The Chief Minister further directed that a complete catalogue of the relics and others ancient items should be maintained and proper planning be made for their conservation through modern methods.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/lahore/07-May-2013/sethi-for-maintaining-relics-at-lahore-museum

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Pakistan not for liberals as they are followers of America: Munawar

May 06, 2013

Jamat-e-Islami Chief Syed Munawar Hasan Monday said that Karachi was called 'Uroos-ul-bilad' (City of lights) and now the same city is under darkness and terror, JI will defeat the extortion Mafia in May 11 general election.

While addressing near the tomb of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah here in Karachi on Monday, the Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer said Pakistan is not for 'liberals'.

He said conspiracy is being raised to sabotage the election process in Karachi but we believe people will come out on May 11, to change their fate.

Munawar Hasan said, Pakistan was not made for 'liberals', actually the 'liberals' are the followers of America and the Jamaat-e-Islami will not let them to succeed the American mission in Pakistan.

He said chaos in Karachi will led Pakistan towards anarchy, Karachi is not 'mini Pakistan' only but it is also a 'mini Islam'.

“Pakistan was made for Islam and we will defend the theological boundaries of Islam,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/karachi/06-May-2013/pakistan-not-for-liberals-as-they-are-followers-of-america-munawar

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Durand Line a settled issue between Pakistan, Afghanistan: FO

2013-05-07

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday said that the Durand Line is a settled issue and opening discussions on this issue is a distraction from the more pressing issues requiring the priority attention and cooperation of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Responding to a query regarding Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent press conference in Kabul in which he said the cross-border clashes could be an attempt by Islamabad to put pressure on Kabul to accept the “Durand Line”, the disputed border which Afghans do not accept. The spokesperson of the Foreign Office Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Durand Line is a settled issues and it should not be discussed any more. Commenting on the statement of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in which the president urges Taliban to “turn and target” and “aim their weapons at” Afghanistan’s enemies, the spokesperson stated that the continuing fight against terrorism and extremism warrants Pakistan, Afghanistan and all other stakeholders work together in a spirit of cooperation and harmony. He recalled that President Karzai had in the past asked Pakistan to use its influence on the Taliban to enter into dialogue for reconciliation process, adding that Pakistan had responded positively to that call. The spokesperson added that Pakistan will continue its support for the Afghan reconciliation process rather than focusing on the negatives. Referring to President Karzai’s remarks that he had visited Pakistan 19 times, the spokesperson said that Pakistan’s leadership has also travelled to Afghanistan several times to help build trust and strengthen bilateral relations.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\05\07\story_7-5-2013_pg7_5

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Elections 2013: Hazaras vow to make votes count

May 7, 2013

QUETTA: In the city that has become the epicentre of sectarian bloodshed in Pakistan, Shia candidates are braving death threats to make themselves heard in Saturday’s election.

Shias make up around a fifth of Pakistan’s 180 million population but they are caught in a rising tide of sectarian hatred.

Quetta has been a focus for much of the violence and two devastating bombings earlier this year killed nearly 200 people from the city’s ethnic Hazara population.

Banned extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has links to al Qaeda, claimed the attacks and vowed to strike again.

The authorities stepped up security in some Hazara districts of Quetta but those running for office say the threats to their lives are so great that they are unable to move around freely to canvass for votes.

Ruquiya Hashmi, a doctor and a former soldier, faces a double challenge – as well as being Hazara she is also the first woman to stand in Quetta for the national assembly.

For the past few days she has had threatening phone calls and letters sent to her offices. She is running for Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid, but she is determined to stand up to the extremists.

“I’m lucky I’m a very brave woman. It’s very challenging being a woman, being a Hazara, but God willing I will face the challenges and I will raise my voice,” she said.

The threats mean Hashmi, an energetic 62-year-old whose husband is running for the provincial assembly, has had to abandon rallies and take her campaign door-to-door, pressing her leaflets onto voters with a bright, reassuring smile.

There is no doubt the dangers are real – on April 23 a suicide bomber blew up his car at one of the checkpoints at the entrance to a Hazara district, killing six people.

Attacks targeting politicians and political parties have killed 87 people across the country since April 11, according to an AFP tally.

Abdul Khaliq Hazara, the chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, who is running for both the national and provincial assemblies, believes he was the target – he had opened a campaign office nearby shortly before the blast.

He said not enough is being done to protect the nine Hazara candidates running for office from Quetta.

“The government promised us, police promised us, they would provide us guards. It has been two months and till now I think I have been given only one guard,” he said.

“How could I move with only one policeman to those areas where always there is the shadow of terror?”

Quetta city police chief Mir Zubair Mahmood said security had been provided to every candidate who had asked for it and that fears of attack were “to some extent” exaggerated.

Human Rights Watch says more than 400 Shias were killed in Pakistan in 2012, the worst year on record, and while attacks have declined since the atrocities in Quetta in January and February, the rhetoric of sectarianism continues unabated.

Among Quetta’s Hazaras, though, there is a determination to brave the threats and make their voices heard through the ballot box.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/545514/elections-2013-hazaras-vow-to-make-votes-count/

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Arab world

 

Bomb blasts in Baghdad kill 10

7 May 2013

BAGHDAD: Two car bombs blew up in a Baghdad suburb, the deadlier of two attacks yesterday that left at least 10 dead in the Iraqi capital.

The two parked cars exploded simultaneously in a street in Husseinya, killing five civilians and as well as a policeman at a nearby checkpoint, two police officers said. It was not clear what they were targeting. Twenty-one other people including 17 civilians were wounded, they added. Hussainya is located some 25 km outside central Baghdad.

Inside Baghdad, a bomb went off outside a restaurant at lunchtime in the southern Dora neighborhood, two other police officers said. Four customers at the restaurant were killed and 11 people wounded, they added.

Two doctors in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to release information.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/450687

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Dubai looking to better ties with Lebanon: Abboud

May 07, 2013

BEIRUT: Dubai is seeking to boost “brotherly” ties with Lebanon – the country Emiratis consider their second home – caretaker Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said Tuesday.

He was quoting Dubai deputy ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum during a meeting with him on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market Exhibition in the UAE city.

Maktoum, according to Abboud, stressed his country’s keenness on preserving “security and political stability in Lebanon, developing better relations between the two brotherly countries and enhancing brotherly ties between the Lebanese and Emiratis who consider Lebanon their Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/May-07/216187-dubai-looking-to-better-ties-with-lebanon-abboud.ashx#axzz2SFVyHEbM

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Rockets fired from Syria fall in Israel-occupied Golan

2013-05-07

JERUSALEM: Two rockets fired from Syrian territory exploded inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Monday, without causing casualties or damage, an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

The rockets exploded in a field near the ceasefire line in the southern Golan, she added.

The rocket fire was “apparently connected to the situation inside Syria,”she added, suggesting Israel was not targeted but that it was a spillover of fighting between the Syrian regime and rebels.

“The Israeli army combed the sector the rockets fell in and informed the UN forces deployed in the Golan,” the spokeswoman said.

The rocket fire came as tensions between the two countries soared after Israeli air raids on targets in the Syrian capital on Sunday.

The Golan has been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria more than two years ago.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/rockets-fired-from-syria-fall-in-israel-occupied-golan/

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Saudi urges UN action against Israel strikes on Syria

May 07, 2013

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday called for UN action to end Israeli strikes on Syria, describing the raids as a "dangerous violation" of the sovereignty of an Arab state, the official SPA news agency reported.

Israeli raids on Syrian targets near Damascus at the weekend killed at least 42 soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said.

A senior Israeli source said the raids targeted Iranian weapons destined for the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

The Saudi cabinet voiced "deep concern from the worsening situation in Syria" and urged "swift action by the UN Security Council to stop these Israeli attacks on Syrian territories and ensure they are not repeated," said SPA.

The kingdom has repeatedly voiced support to rebels in Syria battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces and severed diplomatic ties with Damascus since 2011.

But its government on Monday described Israel's raids as "flagrant attacks and a dangerous violation of the sovereignty of an Arab state, warning of its dangerous effects in the region's security and stability."

A diplomatic source in Beirut told AFP the sites targeted by Israeli warplanes were the Jamraya military facility, a nearby weapons depot and an anti-aircraft unit in Sabura, west of Damascus.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-07/216173-saudi-urges-un-action-against-israel-strikes-on-syria.ashx#axzz2SFVyHEbM]

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Africa

 

Four Saudis arrested over blast at Tanzania church

06 May 2013

Tanzanian authorities have arrested six people, including four from Saudi Arabia, in connection with an attack that killed two people and injured 30 others during a mass at a church, officials say.

Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president, called Sunday's blast, which happened in the northern town of Arusha, an "act of terrorism".

"This is an act of terrorism perpetrated by a cruel person or group who are enemies of the country," Kikwete said in a statement on Monday.

The attack on the church is one of the first such incidents to hit Tanzania.

Officials gave no indication as to who might have carried out the attack, but tensions have been high between Tanzania's Christian and Muslim communities in recent months.

Magesa Mulongo, Arusha's commissioner, confirmed six people had been arrested, two from Tanzania and four from Saudi Arabia.

"Investigations are ongoing," Mulongo said, adding that the four Saudis had arrived at Arusha airport on Saturday.

The two Tanzanians arrested were Christian, he added, but gave no further details.

The blast occurred outside Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Arusha, a town popular with tourists visiting the popular Serengeti National Park and snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro.

First ever mass

The newly built church, in the Olasti district on the outskirts of Arusha, was celebrating its first ever mass when the blast occurred. People were squeezed into the church building as well as sitting on benches outside.

Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, the Vatican's ambassador to Tanzania, was attending mass at the church but was not harmed, officials said.

Kikwete, who said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the reports of the explosion, called on people to remain calm while police investigated the attacks.

"We are ready to deal with all criminals including terrorists and their agents who are based in the country or externally," he said.

After the attack, worshippers accused the police and the government of failing to properly protect them.

'Community of Islam'

In February, a Catholic priest was shot dead outside his church on the largely Muslim archipelago of Zanzibar, the second such killing in recent months. A church was also set on fire on the island in February.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/05/20135612629964217.html

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Libya gunmen besieging ministries demand govt. quits

May 07, 2013

Gunmen in Libya’s Tripoli kept up their siege of ministries on Monday despite the adoption of a law to purge Gaddafi-era officials from their posts, with some demanding the government’s resignation.

Different groups at the justice and foreign ministries, however, failed to reach a shared position on their new demands or their reasons for pressing the siege.

“We are determined to continue our movement until the departure of (Prime Minister) Ali Zeidan,” said Osama Kaabar, a leader of the militias who had promised to lift their siege if the law was passed.

The General National Congress, under pressure from the gunmen, on Sunday passed the controversial law to exclude former Gaddafi regime officials from public posts in a move that could see the premier removed from office.

An AFP correspondent reported that armed men in vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft weapons still surrounded the foreign and justice ministries on Monday.

“The adoption of the law on political exclusion is a major step in the right direction. But we will take our time to examine certain aspects of the law,” said Kaabar who is also a vice president of the Superior Council of Libyan Tuwwar (revolutionaries). “On the other hand we are determined to bring down the government of Ali Zeidan,” he said, accusing the premier of “provoking the thuwar,” former rebels who fought Gaddafi during the 2011 uprising. Zeidan’s government launched a campaign a few weeks ago to remove the militias from the capital Tripoli. “We hope that Ali Zeidan recognises his inability (to govern),” said Kaabar, a former rebel close to Islamists.

“We reject any dialogue with the government,” he said when asked about negotiations with the government. But at the justice ministry, some of the gunmen said that they were dismantling their camps. “We are waiting for someone from the ministry to come to hand the building over to them,” Dhirar Baraou, one of the militiamen, said. Another militia leader told AFP that the protesters were “divided” over the demands, and that some were content with the adoption of the law.

Under the law passed Sunday, all those who held key posts from September 1, 1969 when Gaddafi took power, until the fall of his regime in October 2011 will be excluded from government.

The ban will remain in force for 10 years, according to the text.

The draft law had caused a stir among Libya’s political elite, as senior members of the government could be affected, among them Zeidan and GNC president Mohamed Megaryef.

Both were diplomats under Gaddafi before joining the opposition in exile.

At least four ministers and 15 lawmakers also risk loosing their jobs once the GNC’s legal commission ratifies the law, including the vice president of the national assembly Jomaa Atiga, an official said.

The gunmen, many former rebels who helped topple Gaddafi, had encircled the foreign ministry for a week and the justice ministry since Tuesday to pressure the national assembly to pass the law.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/07-May-2013/libya-gunmen-besieging-ministries-demand-govt-quits

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Diplomat: U.S. team stopped from going to Benghazi

7 May 2013

A team of U.S. Special Forces ready to head to Benghazi, Libya, after the assault on the American diplomatic mission had ended was told to stand down, according to a former top diplomat.

Gregory Hicks also told Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that if the U.S. military had flown aircraft over the Benghazi facility after it came under siege it might have prevented the second attack on the CIA annex that killed two CIA security officers.

Excerpts of the interview with the former deputy chief in Libya were released Monday in advance of Hicks’ testimony on Wednesday before the panel.

The Sept. 11, 2012, assault killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Nearly eight months later, Republicans insist that the Obama administration is guilty of a cover-up of the events despite a scathing independent report that faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the diplomatic mission.

Hicks’ comments and the hearing are likely to revive the politically charged debate in which Republican lawmakers and outside groups have faulted former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

After the first word of the attack in Benghazi, a seven-member security team, including two military personnel, flew from Tripoli to Benghazi. Upon their arrival, they learned that Stevens was missing and the situation had calmed after the first attack, according to a Pentagon timeline released last year.

Meanwhile, a second team was preparing to leave on a Libyan C-130 cargo plane from Tripoli to Benghazi when Hicks said he learned from the Libyan prime minister that Stevens was dead. The Libyan military agreed to transport additional U.S. personnel to Benghazi on its cargo plane, but Hicks complained the Special Forces were told not to make the trip.

“They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it,” Hicks told Republican committee staff. Pressed on why, he said, “I guess they just didn’t have the right authority from the right level.”

Defense officials said Monday that four members of Army Special Forces were in Tripoli on Sept. 11, 2012, as part of a regular training mission. The officials said they were trying to track down information about the Libyan cargo plane and could not verify whether or not the special forces were told not to get on the plane.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said it is normal procedure for U.S. service members to get permission to fly on another country’s military aircraft.

That flight left Tripoli after the second attack on the CIA annex that killed two security officers - Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Hicks also contended that if the U.S. military has scrambled jet fighters after the first attack that it would have prevented the mortar attack on the CIA annex around 5:15 a.m.

“I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks said, according to the excerpts.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other military leaders have said there wasn’t enough time for the military to respond as the events in Benghazi occurred too quickly.

“The fact of the matter remains, as we have repeatedly indicated, that U.S. military forces could not have arrived in time to mount a rescue of those Americans who were killed and injured that night,” said Pentagon press secretary George Little.

At the State Department on Monday, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the committee’s work appeared to have political aims rather than ensuring the protection of U.S. diplomats serving overseas.

“It certainly seems so, so far,” Ventrell replied when asked if the department believed the investigation to be driven by partisan politics. “I mean, this is not sort of a collaborative process where the committee is working directly with us and trying to establish facts that would help as we look to keep our people safe overseas in a very complex environment.”

Democrats on the committee said Monday they have been excluded from the investigation.

Ventrell said the department had not seen the full transcript of Hicks’ statements to committee investigators and could not comment until it had or until after his testimony on Wednesday. At the same time, he insisted that the department was not blocking any employee from appearing before Congress or intimidating them into silence.

“We understand this testimony’s going to go forward, and we want people to go and tell the truth,” he told reporters. “But in terms of the full context of these remarks or these sort of accusations, we don’t have the full context, so it’s hard for us to respond.”

Ventrell also pushed back against allegations from congressional Republicans and their surrogates that the independent panel appointed by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had not conducted a comprehensive or credible investigation into the Benghazi incident and were somehow involved in a cover-up.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2013/05/07/Diplomat-US-team-stopped-from-going-to-Benghazi.html

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London's Somalia conference does not recognise Somaliland – we cannot go

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo

7 May 2013

The Horn of Africa has for too long been one of the world's most troubled regions. It has been defined, for good reason, by conflict, repression, famine, terrorism and piracy.

So it is a sign of hope that 50 countries and organisations will meet in London this week to discuss how to help the new government of Somalia forge a better future for its citizens. This high-profile conference shows Somalia is getting international attention.

The new government needs support in rebuilding state institutions and its shattered economy. Britain's re-opening of its embassy last month shows security is slowly improving although recent terrorist attacks in Mogadishu show the scale of the challenge.

Somaliland wishes the conference well. Increased international attention and support for Somalia and the wider region is in everyone's interest. But with real regret, we will not be attending.

This is not because of any ill-feeling to Britain or to Somalia, who are co-hosting the conference. Britain has been one of Somaliland's staunchest friends and we are hugely grateful for its generous support. We are also now establishing relations with the new government in Somalia.

It is just that we cannot take part in a conference that does not recognise Somaliland's unique status or move forward our long fight for international recognition.

I accept that this will be confusing to those not immersed in the troubled history and politics of this region.

Somaliland is still treated officially by international organisations as an autonomous region of Somalia, but this ignores both history and reality. Our two countries were separate until 1960 when a disastrous, but voluntary, decision was made to merge with Somalia. In fact we gained our independence from the UK before Somalia did from Italy.

The union, unhappy almost from the beginning, fractured permanently when the Somali regime of Mohamed Siad Barre waged a brutal war against Somaliland in the 80s in which 50,000 civilians lost their lives. As Somalia disintegrated into chaos, Somaliland in 1991 took the opportunity again to control its own future.

Over the past two decades, we have worked hard to build a stable and democratic state. We have put in place functioning state institutions including police and armed forces. Terrorists find no safe haven within our territory nor do pirates operate off our coasts.

Since 2000, we have held five national elections, judged by international experts as free and fair, which have seen power transferred peacefully. Our government has introduced free primary education for girls and boys. Progress is being made in reducing child mortality and female genital mutilation. Foreign investment is beginning to flow back in to help strengthen our economy.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/07/london-somalia-conference-somaliland

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North America

 

Suspects reportedly assaulted Muslim student, said he resembled Tamerlan

May 06, 2013

BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is urging Massachusetts and federal law enforcement authorities to bring hate crime charges against two suspects who allegedly verbally and physically assaulted a Muslim student in Boston.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the alleged victim, a 23-year-old American citizen of Algerian heritage, was assaulted by two white males Saturday evening as he left a Boston restaurant.

The suspects reportedly told the victim "you look like Tamerlan," referring to deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. According to CAIR, the suspects also told the victim to "get out of my country."

Full report at:

http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/22174556/2013/05/06/muslim-group-suspects-assaulted-muslim-student-said-he-resembled-tamerlan

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Europe

 

U.S. Hopes Russian Aid in Inquiry on Boston Bombings Signals Future Collaboration

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

May 06, 2013

WASHINGTON — Despite years of differences on how to approach the terrorist threat, Obama administration officials said Monday that the American authorities investigating the Boston Marathon bombings were working effectively with their Russian counterparts and that they hoped the experience would usher in a new era of cooperation on counterterrorism.

Since the bombings three weeks ago, Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, and President Obama have spoken twice on the phone and pledged deeper cooperation. In a striking sign of collaboration on the investigation, Russian intelligence officials have taken the extraordinary step of sharing secret transcripts of a phone call they intercepted in which they learned that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had extremist beliefs, according to United States law enforcement officials.

“On the logistics and communications to facilitate what the F.B.I. is doing, we have seen a very cooperative Russian government, because they understand we have a common interest in getting the full details in this investigation,” said a senior United States official. Like other officials, he would not speak on the record about the continuing criminal investigation.

Relations between the countries have been strained over the sharply differing American and Russian views on Syria, whose embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, has enjoyed support from Moscow. Just days before the marathon bombings, the Obama administration banned two dozen Russian officials from traveling to the United States and froze any assets they had in the United States in response to perceived human rights violations, notably the treatment of Sergei L. Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer whose death in prison has been widely denounced in both countries.

And the cooperation on Boston stands in contrast to the experience of the United States and Russia in recent years on other counterterrorism matters, in which collaboration has often been hampered by miscommunication, sluggish bureaucracies and mistrust between intelligence services, which have prevented extensive information sharing.

In 2011, the Russian authorities provided a warning to the F.B.I. and C.I.A. that Mr. Tsarnaev had changed drastically, embraced radical Islam and planned to travel to Russia to join underground groups. Despite repeated requests from the bureau for more information, however, none was provided. Only after the bombings did Russian officials inform the F.B.I. about the phone calls and provide the transcripts.

Because the 2011 warning concerned an ethnic Chechen, American officials initially saw any possible threat as being directed at Russia, which they said may have lent less urgency to the issue. By many accounts, the Russian authorities kept close tabs on Mr. Tsarnaev when he spent six months in Dagestan, and they knew he had been trying to meet with militants, but when he returned to the United States, the Russians sent no new warning to their American counterparts.

“There was no message or implication that this was our problem,” one senior American law enforcement official said.

Thomas de Waal, an expert on the Caucasus region at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that in addition to recent strains, “we’re talking about Russian security agencies that are the heirs of the K.G.B., whose whole existence was predicated on suspicion of the U.S.”

He added, “These are two of the world’s largest security bureaucracies, each with its own internal feuds among agencies.” So it is unrealistic to expect them always to work seamlessly together against terrorism, he said.

Full report at:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/us/politics/us-says-russia-is-aiding-inquiry-into-boston-attacks.html?from=homepage

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/new-english-language-jihadi-publication-calls-on-muslims-to-hack-us-drones/d/11459

 

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