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Islamic World News ( 21 Apr 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Now, Islamic Terror Strikes Pakistan’s Top University

Lawyer files contempt plea on 26/11 judge

JEDDAH: Another child marriage victim

Gurdwara land sold to Pak's Defence Housing Authority

Quash charges against policemen in Shopian case: CBI tells HC

10-year-old raped, strangled

Delhi's Lajpat Nagar blast: Three get death sentence

Activists Claim Free Speech Victory As ‘Leaving Islam’ Ads Return to Buses

Case against Sania, Shoaib for ‘hurting’ Muslims

South Park creators warned over Muhammad depiction

‘Jewel of Muscat’ reaches Lankan port of Galle

Not responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination, says Musharraf

Quebec Burqa Ban? Province Moves to Prohibit the 'Total Veil'

Burqa bans infringe women's rights, say Indonesian clerics

India, Most Favoured Nation: Pak panel

India resigned to ‘holding pattern' with Pakistan

Taliban militants threaten to kill ‘kidnapped’ ISI men, scribe

Pakistani media spitting blood on book: Fatima

Overcome cynicism in Pakistan, says Khaleej Times

Israel releases Hamas minister; 7,500 Palestinians remain

Rockets strike Jordan near Israel border

Coolness to Israel won't warm up peace prospects

First the sorrow, now the fear

 ‘Loha Khoar - Loha Toar’ opens today

Obama to host Muslim business leaders

Tunisia's antics should give the West pause

Obama Appeases U.S. Muslims

US, India holding discussions on access to Headley

Pak inaction over captive militants to hit war on terror efforts: US

Ankara in transition seeks closure on troubled past

Somalia clashes kills 11, five headless bodies found

Iraqi testifies he was beaten by U.S. troops

The world must not forget Darfur

What's Happening With Israel?

Art lovers treated to Raza's masterpieces

Poland's snap presidential election on June 20

Chaos in Kabul continues Faryal Leghari

No peace without US withdrawal: Taliban

Iran lobbies to keep off UN security

B'desh court asks police to submit BDR mutiny report by May 19

Nigerian governors approve more than 300 executions

UN Bhutto probe team interviewed Musharraf’

Obama's Syria outreach under fire amid Scud reports

Body of soldier killed in 1982 found in Lebanon

A brewing conflict in Middle East

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/now,-islamic-terror-strikes-pakistan’s-top-university/d/2742

 

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Now, Islamic terror strikes Pakistan’s top university

Sabrina Tavernise

Apr 22, 2010

LAHORE: The professor was working in his office here on the campus of Pakistan’s largest university this month when members of an Islamic student group battered open the door, beat him with metal rods and bashed him over the head with a giant flower pot.

Iftikhar Baloch, an environmental science professor, had expelled members of the group for violent behavior. The retribution left him nearly unconscious, and it united his fellow professors, who protested with a nearly three-week strike that ended on Monday.

The attack and the anger it provoked have drawn attention to the student group, Islami Jamiat Talaba, whose morals police have for years terrorized this graceful, century-old institution by brandishing a chauvinistic form of Islam, teachers here say.

But the group has help from a surprising source — national political leaders who have given it free rein, because they sometimes make political alliances with its parent organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s oldest and most powerful religious party, they say.

The university’s plight encapsulates Pakistan’s predicament: an intolerant, aggressive minority terrorizes a more open-minded, peaceful majority, while an opportunistic political class dithers, benefiting from alliances with the aggressors.

This is the University of the Punjab, Pakistan’s premier institution of higher learning, with about 30,000 students, and a principal avenue of advancement for the swelling ranks of Pakistan’s lower and middle classes.

The battle here concerns the future direction of the country, and whether those pushing an intolerant vision of Islam will prevail against this nation’s outward-looking, educated class.

That is why the problem of Islami Jamiat Talaba is so urgent, teachers say. The rhetoric of the group is strongly anti-West, chauvinistic and intolerant of Pakistan’s religious minorities. It was a vocal Taliban supporter, until doing so became unpopular last year. Its members block music classes, ban soft drinks and beat male students for sitting near girls on the university lawn.

“It’s fascist,” said Shaista Sirajuddin, an English literature professor, of the Islamic student movement. “Every single government has averted its eyes.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Now-Islamic-terror-strikes-Pakistans-top-university/articleshow/5841852.cms

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Kazmi files contempt plea on 26/11 judge

22 APRIL 2010

Mumbai , April 21: Abbas Kazmi, the lawyer who defended Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Aamir Kasab for several months, has filed a contempt petition in the Bombay high court against special judge M.L. Tahiliyani, who is hearing the 26/11 trial.

In his petition, Mr Kazmi has stated that the HC should take suo-moto action against judge Tahiliyani.

Mr Kazmi had been appointed by Mr Tahiliyani in April 2009 after the first defence advocate, Ms Anjali Waghmare, was removed on grounds of conflict of interest. Mr Kazmi conducted a major part of the trial by examining 271 witnesses. However, matters took a different turn in November 2009 when Mr Tahiliyani fired Mr Kazmi after he refused to accept evidence given by the witnesses through affidavits.

Mr Kazmi has said in his petition that he was “hurt” by what transpired in court. “The petitioner as an officer of court was humiliated, disgraced and ordered to leave the court immediately,” Mr Kazmi’s plea before the high court states.

Mr Kazmi has argued that there has been “no other case” where a trial judge removed a defence advocate for opposing a prosecution plea.

He has also claimed that he was humiliated by the prosecutor who called him a “terrorist’s lawyer.”

http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9757:kazmi-files-contempt-plea-on-2611-judge&catid=35:india&Itemid=60

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Another child marriage victim

By WALAA HAWARI

Apr 22, 2010

JEDDAH: Shareefa is in hospital suffering from depression as well as a renal infection, said her mother in reply to Arab News’ query about her health.

The 21-year-old girl is the latest, and definitely not the last, example of the suffering resulting from child marriages in the Kingdom.

Her father married her off to an 80-year-old man when she was only 10 in return for money, depriving her of the right to a normal childhood, education and a more suitable marriage.

Shareefa then discovered by chance she had actually been divorced ten years ago after six months of marriage, despite not being notified at the time.

After suffering at her husband’s hands and living with his two other wives, children and grandchildren, who were about her age, at his house in the Jazan region for six months, the old man took her back to her family’s area in Dammam and left her in the street so she could go home.

“Many long agonizing years passed, and there was no news from him. Whenever I talked to my father about my situation, he would just ignore me,” says Shareefa, swallowing her tears.

She added that she accepted her situation as she was too young to comprehend her rights.

Her mother had tried all possible ways to stop Shareefa’s marriage, but neither the father nor the husband, who she begged to wait until she was a few years older, listened to her.

The mother also went to court to file a suit against the father for failing to register or complete any identification papers for her six other children, which resulted in them not being enrolled at school.

The father then divorced her five years ago and took all the children away where she could not reach them, including Shareefa who was already suffering.

Yet Shareefa’s life was about to get more painful after her father’s death two years ago.

“I was able to be finally reunited with my children and we started on a journey to reclaim Shareefa and my other children’s rights,” says the mother.

They then went to a court in the Eastern Province to seek Khola (an enforced divorce based on a woman’s demand), as they had finally received identification papers for Shareefa based on her father’s death certificate, only to receive more shocking news.

They discovered that Shareefa had been divorced ten years ago, but was not informed and, therefore, did not receive any divorce documents.

“Shareefa is now 21, she has lost more than 10 years of her life, her chance for an education, a decent marriage and normal life. Who is going to take responsibility for what she has gone through?” asks the heartbroken mother, adding that they are determined to push for compensation from those responsible for her daughter’s suffering.

The mother also claims that the father was taking advantage of Shareefa’s situation by promising her hand in marriage to other men and asking them to bribe her husband into divorcing her.

“Her father would then take the money and flee to another city,” says the mother.

Shareefa is now swallowing her pain and dreaming of a better life that has been ripped from her hands, despite facing a dark future devoid of any hope.

“I am struggling to maintain a home with six children on only SR800 a month” says Shareefa’s mother, pointing out that the Social Affairs Department is only providing benefits for her as her children do not have legal documentation.

The family’s lawyer Faisal Al-Otaibi is pursuing legal action against Shareefa’s husband who abandoned and divorced her without informing her 10 years ago, as well as against the court that also did not notify her.

Al-Otaibi described the family’s circumstances as desperate, from their ramshackle house to the legal battle they now face over their right to education and healthcare.

“Her legal guardian was always absent, even when he was alive. The guardian should be a responsible person, and her father wasn’t,” says Al-Otaibi.

“We are still waiting for our living conditions to get better, although Shareefa’s lost years will never come back,” says the mother.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article45891.ece

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Gurdwara land sold to Pak's Defence Housing Authority

Apr 22, 2010

Islamabad : A secret probe conducted by Pakistani authorities after the Indian government protested against the sale of a Sikh gurdwara's land to the Defence Housing Authority in Lahore has confirmed that the deal was "less than clean", according to a media report today.

The 575 kanals of land was sold by the Evacuee Trust Property Board, the body that administers the shrines and properties of Pakistan's minority communities.

The sale had triggered protests in the Indian parliament last year.

The probe by the federal ministry for minority affairs revealed that the land belonged to gurdwaras and could not be sold under The Sikh Gurdawara Act of 1925.

The inquiry also revealed that the land was sold at rates lower than those prevailing in the market.

The findings of the inquiry are being kept secret as the "confirmation of massive irregularities in the questionable deal... might land certain top guns of the ETPB in big trouble", The News daily reported.

The probe was launched after the Indian government sent a letter dated December 29, 2009 in which it asked its Pakistani counterpart to investigate the sale of land attached to gurdwaras and other Sikh shrines.

The newspaper's report contended that the inquiry resulted in ETPB Chairman Asif Hashmi's "dramatic" decision to announce his resignation during an official function in Lahore on Monday.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gurdwara-land-sold-to-paks-defence-housing-authority/609422/

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Quash charges against policemen in Shopian case: CBI tells HC

Apr 22, 2010

SRINAGAR: CBI has again approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking to dismiss criminal charges against four policemen, including then Shopian Superintendent of Police Javed Mattoo, arrested for alleged destruction of evidence in connection with death of two women.

Submitting a fresh affidavit in the High Court recently, the CBI gave details about the lie-detector test conducted on the four police officials and said "no deception was found on their part in reply to any of the questions put to them."

Besides Mattoo, the three others who continue to be suspended since July last year are Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Basgotra, Station House Officer Shafiq Ahmed and Head Constable Gazi Abdul Kareem.

"Further, no criminality could be attributed to anyone of them and as such they have been sought to be discharged from this case," the CBI affidavit said.

CBI had approached the High Court in March this year seeking an end to the monitoring of the case by the High Court as the agency had already filed a chargesheet against 13 people including doctors and lawyers.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Quash-charges-against-policemen-in-Shopian-case-CBI-tells-HC/articleshow/5844476.cms

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10-year-old raped, strangled

By Faraz Khan

April 22, 2010

KARACHI: The beauty of a 10-year-old girl turned against her when some degenerates raped her before strangling her on Wednesday noon in Taimuria police precincts. This unpleasant incident occurred in the slums of KBR Society in North Nazimabad Town.

Majority of the population in the area belongs to the lower class and such incidents have previously occurred in the locality, but they often go unreported. However, the case of ‘X’ was brought to the notice of the authorities almost five hours later, according to which the child was raped when she was alone at home.

Initially, X’s murder was shrouded in mystery as the suspects tried to mislead the police. However, police detained Shehnaz - owner of the house where the victim lived with her parents and three younger siblings - and her daughter Sonia, 13, who was later discovered to be six-month pregnant.

North Nazimabad Town Superintendent of Police (SP) Asad Raza told Daily Times, “Sonia’s pregnancy raised a number of questions. Therefore, we thought better to first detain her and her mother. Sonia has confessed that her cousin had impregnated her.”

The officer said a police team had been carrying out raids to arrest Sonia’s cousin and her other relatives because they might be involved in X’s rape and murder.

Quoting Abbasi Shaheed Hospital Medico-Legal Officer (MLO) Dr Yasmin Qamar, the officer said X was subjected to rape more than once.

The officer also said the victim’s father Yasin was in his hometown in Punjab due to wheat-threshing season.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\22\story_22-4-2010_pg12_1

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Delhi's Lajpat Nagar blast: Three get death sentence

Apr 22, 2010

NEW DELHI: Fourteen years after a blast rocked Lajpat Nagar market killing 13 people and injuring 39, a session court on Thursday awarded the death sentence to three convicts. The fourth person convicted in connection with the blast was given the life sentence.

Mohd Naushad, Mirza Khan and Ali Bhat were sentenced to death by the court today.

Earlier this month, the court had convicted six accused in the case, all belonging allegedly to a Kashmiri militant group.

The court also acquitted 4 others involved in the case due to lack of evidence against them. Out of six convicted persons, four have been held guilty for murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. The two others have been convicted for lesser offences like possession of explosives.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Delhis-Lajpat-Nagar-blast-Three-get-death-sentence/articleshow/5843924.cms

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Activists Claim Free Speech Victory As ‘Leaving Islam’ Ads Return to Buses

By Patrick

April 22, 2010

 A public transit authority in Florida has reversed a decision to take down banner advertisements on buses that offer help to Muslims wanting to leave their faith. Activists are hailing the move as a victory for free speech and religious freedom.

Not only will the ten originally planned ads appear on Miami-Dade Transit buses in coming days, but an additional 20 ads will be run at no extra cost.

 The decision came after the group initiating the ad campaign threatened a lawsuit, claiming breach of contract and violation of First Amendment rights.

 It was confirmed in an agreement signed on Wednesday, according to lawyer David Yerushalmi, whose firm prepared a federal complaint together with the Thomas More Law Center.

 The bus company pulled the ads last week less than 48 hours after they had gone up, after a controversial Islamic pressure group complained that they promoted “anti-Islam bigotry.”

 Produced by an organization called Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), the ads alluded to the difficulties faced by Muslims wanting to leave Islam.

 Under Islamic law, or shari’a, any Muslim who abandons his faith is guilty of apostasy, an offense that leading scholars have taught is punishable by death.

Full report at:

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/64527

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Case against Sania, Shoaib for ‘hurting’ Muslims

Apr 22, 2010

HYDERABAD: In fresh trouble for newly-wedded couple, Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza, who are planning to leave for Pakistan to host a wedding reception in Sialkot on April 26, a local court on Wednesday directed the police to register a case against the duo and 12 others for allegedly hurting Muslim sentiments.

Based on a Hyderabad-based Muslim organization’s complaint, the court referred the matter to the police and asked it to submit a report by May 26.

The complainant and Mazlumeen-e-Ummatay Mohammediya founder Moullim Mohsin Bin Hussain Al-Kasary approached the court and named Shoaib, his divorced wife, Ayesha Siddiqui, Sania, her father Imran Mirza, former Indian cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin and two qazis among others for allegedly playing with Muslim sentiments. The families of Sania, Ayesha and the qazis responsible for the Sania-Shoaib marriage were all made respondents in this case.

"Initially, Shoaib said he never married Ayesha, but later divorced her. There is no official divorce, but the 14 accused declared that divorce proceedings are over and got the public, particularly Muslims, confused and insulted their religious feelings," Al-Kasary alleged.

"Two government-appointed qazis misused their official position and got the divorce registered and also played with the beliefs of Muslims even as the documents carried two different names of Shoaib’s father."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Case-against-Sania-Shoaib-for-hurting-Muslims/articleshow/5841927.cms

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South Park creators warned over Muhammad depiction

April 22, 2010

Islamists have warned the creators of TV show South Park they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.

A posting on the website of the US-based group, Revolution Muslim, told Matt Stone and Trey Parker they would "probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh".

The Dutch film-maker was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 by an Islamist angered by his film about Muslim women.

A subsequent episode of the cartoon bleeped out references to Muhammad.

Drug-snorting Buddha

The posting gave details about a home Stone and Parker reportedly co-own.

It also listed the addresses of their production office in California and the New York office of South Park's broadcaster, Comedy Central.

"We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," warned the posting, written in the name of Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee.

"This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them," it added.

Full report at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8636455.stm

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‘Jewel of Muscat’ reaches Lankan port of Galle

22 April 2010

MUSCAT — The ‘Jewel of Muscat’, a traditionally-made Omani ship that is making a historic voyage from here to Singapore using ancient maritime techniques, has arrived in the Sri Lankan port of Galle where the crew was given a festive welcome. It reached Lanka after a ten-day journey from Kochi in India, its first stop after setting sail from Muscat.

The 60-foot-long vessel is expected to arrive in Singapore, one of Oman’s oldest trading partners, in June after a third halt in Malaysia. In Singapore, it will be officially handed over as a gift from the sultanate, and displayed there to promote awareness of the old trading routes between the two countries.

The welcoming party in Galle consisted of  Ahmed bin Yousuf al Harthy, Under-secretary for Diplomatic Affairs at Oman’s Foreign Ministry, Prime Minister of Galle District, the Mayor of Galle, Sheikh Humaid bin Ali Al Ma’ani, Sultanate’s Ambassador to India and non-resident Ambassador to Sri Lanka, senior officials and local dignitaries.

Hundreds of local Sri Lankan school children waving Omani flags joined a dance troupe and the Sri Lankan Naval band to celebrate the historic visit of the Jewel of Muscat to Galle.

“The arrival of the Jewel of Muscat celebrates the cultural ties that have existed for hundreds of thousands of years of antiquity and the melting pot of culture that we have all thrived in,” Ma’ani said, adding:

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/April/middleeast_April301.xml&section=middleeast&col=

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Not responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination, says Musharraf

Apr 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has said he could not be held responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination as he was neither the head of the government nor the army chief at the time of the Dec 27, 2007 incident.

Musharraf was of the view that those who headed the government at the time should be questioned about the security lapses that led to the former prime minister's killing, The News said on Wednesday in a despatch from Washington, quoting a close aide of the former president.

Shaukat Aziz was the prime minister at the time but Musharraf was all-powerful, enjoying sweeping powers that have only now been taken away from the presidency and transferred back to the prime minister's office.

A UN commission has blamed Pakistani authorities for their failure to protect Bhutto, saying security arrangements were "fatally insufficient and ineffective" and subsequent investigations into her death involved a whitewash.

In its devastating report, the three-member panel headed by Chilean Ambassador to UN Heraldo Muñoz, reached no conclusion as to the organisers and sponsors behind the attack as Bhutto left a political rally in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi.

But the 65-page report released on April 15 notes that Musharraf's government was quick to blame local Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and al-Qaida although Bhutto's foes potentially included elements from the establishment itself.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Not-responsible-for-Benazir-Bhuttos-assassination-says-Musharraf/articleshow/5841589.cms

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Quebec Burqa Ban? Province Moves to Prohibit the 'Total Veil'

April 22, 2010

Early last month, an Egyptian immigrant was banned from her French classes in Quebec. At issue was neither grades nor bad behavior but dress. Naema Ahmed, 29, refused to remove her niqab, the full veil that covers all but the eyes. The school, which helps integrate immigrants into French-speaking Quebec through language immersion, said that having Ahmed's mouth covered impeded her teacher's ability to correct pronunciation. Further, they couldn't guarantee that Ahmed's teacher would be a woman, which she requested. Ahmed was asked to either remove her veil or not return to class. She opted for the latter.

Already well acquainted with the mores of the West, Ahmed filed a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The move backfired. "There is no ambiguity about this question," Quebec's immigration minister, Yolande James, told the press. "If you want to integrate into Quebec society, here are our values. We want to see your face." Further, Quebec Premier Jean Charest took a cue from Belgium, France and the Netherlands, pushing forward a bill that bans women wearing a burqa, niqab or any sort of full-face veil from receiving or applying for government services, including non-emergency medicine and day care. In other words: The ban applies pretty much everywhere but the street itself.

"This is a symbol of affirmation and respect -- first of all, for ourselves, and also for those to whom we open our arms," Charest told reporters. "This is not about making our home less welcoming, but about stressing the values that unite us. . . . An accommodation cannot be granted unless it respects the principle of equality between men and women, and the religious neutrality of the state."

Full report at:

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/04/22/quebec-burqa-ban-province-moves-to-prohibit-the-total-veil/

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Burqa bans infringe women's rights, say Indonesian clerics

April 22, 2010

 France and Belgium will be guilty of abusing women's rights if they follow through on plans to ban the wearing of burqas in public, Indonesia's top Islamic body said Thursday.

The Ulema Council in the country with the world's biggest Muslim population, amounting to around 200 million people, said religious beliefs should be respected even if there were security concerns about the face-covering garment.

"We're clearly against the proposed ban. If it becomes law, it will mean Belgium and France are restricting the rights of Muslim women to fulfil their religious obligations," council chairman Amidhan told AFP.

"If it's for security reasons, the fears are excessive. It's unfair to consider all veiled women a threat."

Although Indonesian female Muslims do not generally wear naqibs or burqas, Muslims in other parts of the world had different interpretations of Islamic scripture and their beliefs should be respected, he said.

"Interpretation of the Koran is different in different countries. Indonesian Muslim women don't have to cover their faces with veils, unlike Muslim women in some countries in the Middle East. But we have to respect their beliefs," said Amidhan, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

Full report at:

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/38077

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India, Most Favoured Nation : Pak panel

Apr 22, 2010

Pakistan government should consider granting India the 'Most Favoured Nation' status to exploit the huge trade potential as free trade relations with it will enable the country to achieve higher and more equitable GDP growth, an official panel has recommended.

The recommendation was made by the Panel of Economists, constituted by the Planning Commission, in its final report.

The report said as a first step, trade relations between the two countries should be normalised by trading on the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.

As a second step, policymakers should address problems related to information exchange, trade facilitation, banking, non-tariff barriers, visas and communication.

The third step is to enable environment for investment has to be created so that India and Pakistan can enter into joint ventures, the Business Recorder daily reported on Tuesday.

The panel asked the government to allow the import from India of raw materials not available locally.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/250695/India-Most-Favoured-Nation--Pak-panel.html

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India resigned to ‘holding pattern' with Pakistan

Siddharth Varadarajan

April 22, 2010

New Delhi: With the Thimphu SAARC summit only a week away and India and Pakistan still unable to agree on talks about talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines will have the limited but important aim of preventing further deterioration in an already fraught relationship, Indian officials say.

“What we are really looking at is a holding pattern,” a senior official told The Hindu, using the aviation industry phrase to refer to an aircraft circling around an airport at a fixed altitude awaiting clearance to land. “It is clear that they are not ready to move forward. Nor, quite frankly, are we, until we see some movement on the issues we have raised.”

Pakistan wants nothing short of the resumption of the composite dialogue. It has refused to invite Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to make a return visit to Islamabad nearly two months after its Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir, came to Delhi, unless India accepts this condition. On its part, India says resumption will not be possible till more is done on the terrorism front but is willing to discuss “humanitarian and other issues.” Under the circumstances, said the official, the best Dr. Singh can hope for from his Bhutan meeting with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is to keep alive the idea of engagement, even if Islamabad is not in a position to deliver on terrorism or discuss the possibility of incremental steps forward.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/04/22/stories/2010042263271200.htm

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Taliban militants threaten to kill ‘kidnapped’ ISI men, scribe

Apr 22, 2010

A little-known pro-Taliban militant group that is holding two former ISI officers and a British journalist of Pakistani-origin has threatened to execute them if its demands are not met within 10 days. The group calling itself the Asian Tigers recently released a video of former ISI officials Colonel Imam alias Sultan Amir Tarar and Khalid Khwaja and journalist Asad Qureshi.

An email sent by the group to the Pakistani media demanded the release of top Afghan Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and Maulavi Kabir.

The group has also reportedly demanded US $10 million as ransom for Qureshi. The Asian Tigers said in the video that the hostages would be killed if its demands were not met within 10 days.

The group said the former ISI officials were “in Taliban custody” and described them as “enemy of Islam and Muslims”.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/250754/Taliban-militants-threaten-to-kill-%E2%80%98kidnapped%E2%80%99-ISI-men-scribe.html

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Pakistani media spitting blood on book: Fatima

Apr 22, 2010

Islamabad : Fatima Bhutto, whose book on the Bhutto dynasty was released recently, says Pakistani media is ‘spitting blood’ over the tome.

Some Pakistani critics have dismissed Fatima's book ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’ as being one-sided and full of glaring half-truths. "Pakistani media is spitting blood over it - which is to be expected..." Fatima, tweeted to a Pakistani woman politician who claimed to be reading her book.

"The good news is that they still hate me in Pakistan!" reads another tweet by Fatima, who has been actively promoting her book on the social networking website Twitter.

However, Fatima is elated that her book is doing well in India. "Thank you! Very strange that I'm slated at home but feted in India...politics, I tell you," she tweeted recently.

Fatima also celebrates the fact that her book is selling more than Jaswant Singh's book on Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

However, Fatima's memoirs are yet to beat former President Pervez Musharraf's memoirs "In The Line Of Fire".

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pakistani-media-spitting-blood-on-book-fatima/609410/

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Overcome cynicism in Pakistan

22 April 2010

 Political and law and order situation is getting messier in Pakistan. A new spate of suicide attacks in the last couple of days has unnerved the local administrations.

Coupled with this is the alarming fact that many of the attacks, from Quetta to Kohat, have been claimed by outfits considered relics of spent forces. To make the situation more complex is the United Nations report on the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, pointing fingers at many of the bigwigs in the government for their negligence. The deteriorating situation can have a cascading effect at a time when the nation is trying to restore the constitution and parliamentary democracy. This goes to prove that much remains to be done while taking the war against terrorism to its logical end, and there are many a slip between the lip and the cup.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2010/April/editorial_April37.xml&section=editorial&col=

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Israel releases Hamas minister; 7,500 Palestinians remain under detention

By MOHAMMED MAR’I

Apr 22, 2010

RAMALLAH: Israel on Wednesday released a Hamas minister after three years of imprisonment. Hamas said in a press statement that that Wasfi Kabaha, minister of state for separation wall and settlements affairs, was released from the southern Israeli prison of Negev and returned to his home in the West Bank village of Barta’a near Jenin.

“I bear an important letter from prisoners in Israeli jails that the Palestinian national unity is the shortest way to uproot the occupation,” Kabaha said after his release.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 7,500 Palestinians, including 270 under the age of 18, are currently held in 10 prisons and 3 detention camps in Israel and in the West Bank. Three of them are in jail for more than 30 years and 315 for more than 15 years.

Around 9,000 Palestinians are detained every year by Israel for either armed resistance or acts of civil disobedience.

Om Osama, Kabaha’s wife, said that the “joy will only complete if all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are released.”

Kabaha was arrested on May 2007 and was sentenced to six-month administrative.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article45901.ece

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Rockets strike Jordan near Israel border

Apr 22, 2010

AMMAN: Two military-grade rockets early on Thursday struck in and near Jordan's port of Aqaba, one slamming into a warehouse and the other splashing into the Red Sea, a Jordanian security official said.

No injuries were caused and there was only minimal damage to the warehouse, other Jordanian officials told AFP.

"The preliminary investigation determined that the explosion in the port of Aqaba on Thursday morning was due to a Katyusha rocket," the security official said, citing sources close to investigators.

"A second Katyusha rocket was found in Jordanian territorial waters" of the Red Sea, he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jordanian information minister Nabil Sharif confirmed there had been an explosion at a refrigeration warehouse in northern Aqaba "causing no casualties and minimal damage" and said an investigation had been launched.

Israeli media had reported that a Katyusha rocket splashed into the Red Sea off the Israeli resort of Eilat, less than 10 kilometres (six miles) from Aqaba, and that another had exploded on the outskirts of the Jordanian port.

Channel 10 initially said the rockets were fired from Jordan but later said it was also possible they were launched from Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Rockets-strike-Jordan-near-Israel-border/articleshow/5844557.cms

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Coolness to Israel won't warm up peace prospects

BY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

April 22, 2010

Current American relations with our once-staunch ally Israel are at their lowest ebb in the past 50 years.

The Obama administration seems as angry at the building of Jewish apartments in Jerusalem as it is intent on reaching out to Iran and Syria, Israel's mortal enemies. President Barack Obama himself, according to reports, has serially snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A new narrative abounds in Washington that Israel's intransigence with its Arab neighbors now even endangers U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East. Obama is pushing Netanyahu's Likud government to make concessions on several fronts, from supplying power and food to Gaza, to hastened departure from the West Bank.

These tensions follow the Obama administration's new outreach to the Muslim world. Obama gave his first interview as president to the Middle East newspaper Al Arabiya, in which he politely chided past U.S. policy on the Middle East.

In his June 2009 Cairo address, the president again sought to placate the Islamic world - in part by wrongly claiming that Islamic learning had sparked the European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Full report at:

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/editorials/stories/2010/04/22/coolness-to-israel-wont-warm-up-peace-prospects.html?sid=101

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First the sorrow, now the fear

By Asad Kharal

April 22, 2010

LAHORE: The mere thought of the murderer of twelve of his kin being acquitted is enough to send a ripple of fear up his spine. Fida Hussain Ghalvi’s thoughts revert to the time when 13 years ago, he and three other men had boldly testified against Malik Ishaq – the formidable founding member of the banned terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Malik Ishaq, the man who Ghalvi and other victims of his killing spree believed would never see the light of day, is all set for release from prison. Ishaq was arrested in 1997 for involvement in sectarian murders – almost all of his victims were members of the minority Shia community. Police charged Ishaq with murders of 70 people in 44 different cases but he escaped conviction in each case due to “lack of evidence” against him.

Ishaq’s associates in LJ unleashed a violent campaign when he stood trial for the deaths of 12 people at a gathering of the Ghalvi family in 1997.

“When Ishaq was arrested in 1997, he unleashed his broad network against his opponents, killing witnesses, threatening judges and intimidating police, leading nearly all of the prosecutions against him to collapse eventually,” Ghalvi told Daily Times while narrating a blow-by-blow account of LJ’s bloodthirsty hatred – and of Ishaq’s.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\22\story_22-4-2010_pg1_6

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 ‘Loha Khoar - Loha Toar’ opens today

By Ameer H Ahmad

April 22, 2010

KARACHI: Amin Rehman’s selected works titled “Loha Khoar - Loha Toar” is opening on Thursday (today) at the VM Art Gallery.

The title that literally translates into “Iron Eater - Iron Breaker” is a visual representation of the exploitation of cheap labour in South Asia used for ship-breaking.

There was a time when ship-breaking took place in the port cities of industrialised countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, due to cheap labour and less stringent environmental laws, the majority of ship-breaking is now carried out in South Asia in places like Alang, India; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Aliaga, Turkey; and at the largest ship-breaking yard in the world, which is located in Gadani, Pakistan.

In this exhibit, Rehman’s mission was to highlight the massive health hazards threatening both the workers and the environment. Improper disposal and little or no safeguard make asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dangerous vapours and fumes from burning materials a huge threat to ship-breakers, the local population and the wildlife of the area.

Rehman uses encaustic painting technique to depict ships both before and during the ship-breaking process.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\22\story_22-4-2010_pg12_5

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Obama to host Muslim business leaders

22 April 2010

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will lay a key plank of his strategy to mend ties with the Islamic world next week when he hosts a summit to boost economic development in Muslim nations.

In a step the White House hopes will help shift relations beyond decades of talk about terrorism and conflict, a senior official said Obama will bring entrepreneurs from 50 countries to Washington on Monday and Tuesday to spur economic ties.

The president pledged to host the summit in a landmark speech in Cairo last June, when he also called for a “new beginning” to relations between the United States and the Islamic world.

“One of the principal goals of that vision was to broaden our relationship, which has been dominated by a few different issues, a small set of issues, for at least the last decade, and going back further than that,” the official told.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/business/2010/April/business_April431.xml&section=business

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Tunisia's antics should give the West pause

By Sarah Leah Whitson

April 22, 2010

The Tunisia most outsiders see is a small, peaceful, modernizing country with beautiful beaches and a GDP well ahead of its non-oil-producing neighbors. It has a well-trained workforce and a moderate Muslim population.

But Tunisian citizens see another side of the country: a repressive state obsessed with maintaining the ruling party's monopoly on power. My Human Rights Watch colleagues and I came up against Tunisia's harsher side last month when we traveled to Tunis, the capital, to release a report critical of the country's authoritarianism.

The report documented government harassment, surveillance and arbitrary measures that severely constrain the daily lives of former political prisoners. Many are required to sign in weekly or even daily at police stations, are denied passports and are confined to their hometowns — one was banished to a village he'd never lived in.

These measures continue despite years of appeals and court verdicts in the former prisoners' favor. In some cases, the government reportedly has even blocked them from finding jobs, warning potential employers against hiring them.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100422/OPINION01/4220305/-1/NEWSMAP

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Obama Appeases U.S. Muslims

by  Robert Spencer

April 22, 2010

The New York Times reported Monday, with no hint that it understood the implications of what it was reporting, that Barack Obama is reaching out to Hamas-linked groups in the United States, while hamstringing our response to the terror threat by making obfuscation of the ideology of jihad terrorists official U.S. policy.

Times reporter Andrea Elliott says that “Muslim and Arab-American advocates” have met with top White House officials, including Obama Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder. They’ve discussed, among other things, “counterterrorism strategy.”

Their influence has been felt.  White Houses sources say they had a hand in Obama’s scrapping a policy that subjected airline passengers from 13 Muslim countries to greater security scrutiny.  According to Elliott, “That emergency directive, enacted after a failed December 25 bombing plot, has been replaced with a new set of intelligence-based protocols that law enforcement officials consider more effective.”

Which ones?  On what grounds?  More effective for what?  How can it be ineffective to subject people who come from areas where there actually are terrorists to greater scrutiny?

The Times also mentions that Hillary Clinton this month allowed controversial Muslim spokesman Tariq Ramadan, who had been barred from the U.S. by the Bush Administration, to enter the country.  It did not deem fit to print, however, Ramadan’s contribution to a charity that was funneling money to Hamas—which was one of the reasons he was barred in the first place.

Full report at:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36639

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US, India holding discussions on access to Headley

Apr 22, 2010

CHICAGO: The US and Indian authorities are holding discussions on providing New Delhi access to LeT operative David Coleman Headley who has confessed to his role in the Mumbai terror attacks and agreed to be interrogated by foreign agencies.

"Those discussions (of providing Indian investigators access to Headley) are going on between our government and the Indian government at this time. It is part of the plea agreement that Headley would cooperate with Indian authorities," Pakistani-American Headley's lawyer John Theis told PTI.

Theis would not comment on how much more time it would take before Indian investigators are finally given a date to quiz Headley and said "those kind of discussions will happen without the media knowing the specifics of time and place".

Theis said he is not part of the discussions going on between the US and Indian governments but expects to be present when Headley is quizzed.

"I would expect to be present anytime that my client is interviewed by law enforcement officials, be it from India, US or any other country," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-India-holding-discussions-on-access-to-Headley/articleshow/5842850.cms

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Pak inaction over captive militants to hit war on terror efforts: US

22 Apr 2010

The holding of thousands of suspected militants by the Pakistan Army for an indefinite period could not only sway public sentiment towards their movement, but also impact US military and financial aid to Pakistan, officials have revealed.

The extremists are being held captive by the military on the plea that Pakistan’s civilian justice system does not have the power and is too weak to prosecute the largenumber of alleged militants, and that they cold walk free if handed over to the civilian set-up.

Pakistan Army spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, stressed that the military is “extremely concerned” that the detainees will be allowed to go free if they are turned over to the civilian government.

“More than 300 suspected militants who had been detained in the military's 2007 operation in the Swat Valley were later released under a peace deal. Many returned to the Taliban, making the army's task harder when it again rolled into Swat last spring,” Abbas said.

However, U.S. officials said they are worried that the arrests could further inflame local sentiment thereby creating sympathy for the militants.

Full report at:

http://www.littleabout.com/news/93813,pak-inaction-captive-militants-hit-war-terror-efforts-us.html

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Ankara in transition seeks closure on troubled past

By SIMON AKAM

Apr 22, 2010

ISTANBUL: In Court Number 6 in Diyarbakir, the main city in the mainly Kurdish southeast, Turkey is examining its recent history. Along with six others, Colonel Cemal Temizoz stands accused of at least 20 killings during his time as a paramilitary commander in Cizre, a town in Sirnak province on the Syrian border, between 1993 and 1995.

Never before has such a senior uniformed figure faced trial for crimes committed during Turkey’s bloody counter-insurgency campaign against ethnic Kurdish separatists. Lurid testimony has been given of severed ears threaded as prayer beads and corpses disposed of in wells of acid. The web of evidence includes jailhouse testimony from a brother of Cizre’s former mayor and the discovery of human remains.

For over 25 years the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, a group designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has fought an armed struggle in pursuit of a separate Kurdish state.

The conflict has cost tens of thousands of lives and led to a stream of internal migration away from the affected areas.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article45902.ece

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Somalia clashes kills 11, five headless bodies found

By MOHAMED AHMED & ABDI GULED

Apr 22, 2010

MOGADISHU: The beheaded bodies of five builders have been found in Somalia's capital Mogadishu and at least 11 people were killed in fighting in the central region, residents and moderate militia fighters said on Wednesday.

Mogadishu residents said they suspected Al-Shabaab insurgents executed the builders for helping to construct Somalia's new Parliament, an institution seen by the insurgents as home to stooges of the West.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killings.

"We have seen five beheaded men," one resident who gave his name only as Ali for fear of repercussions told Reuters. "Their bodies were covered with a little soil, except for their legs."

Al-Shabaab, which controls vast tracts of southern and central Somalia, has previously executed Somalis its accuses of spying for the foreign-backed government as it fights to impose a harsh version of Shariah law on the nation.

Fighting erupted in the central Somali towns of Gal'ad and Masagawa when Al-Shabaab rebels clashed with militiamen from the Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, a moderate Sufi Muslim group which has signed a power-sharing pact with the government.

"We have seized the town of Gal'ad," said Al-Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage.

Ahlu Sunna confirmed the territorial loss and said it had killed 15 Al-Shabaab insurgents and Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article45679.ece

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Iraqi testifies he was beaten by U.S. troops

BY LARA JAKES

April 22, 2010

BAGHDAD- An Iraqi prisoner suspected of masterminding an attack that killed four American contractors testified Wednesday at a court-martial of a Navy SEAL that he was beaten by U.S. troops while hooded and tied to a chair.

But defense witnesses for Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas on the trial's opening day cast strong doubt on the testimony by the terror suspect and that of a fellow sailor who claimed he saw the assault.

The trial stems from an attack on four Blackwater security contractors who were driving through the city of Fallujah west of Baghdad in early 2004. The men were killed and then crowds dragged two of the burnt bodies through the streets and hanged them from a bridge over the Euphrates River - pictures that became iconic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The images drove home to many the rising power of the insurgency and helped spark a bloody U.S. invasion of the city to root out the insurgents. Two of the Blackwater guards were former SEALs, the Navy's elite special forces team.

Ahmed Hashim Abed was arrested in the early hours Sept. 1 during a raid on his home by U.S. and Iraqi security forces on multiple terrorism charges. He was the subject of a yearslong U.S. manhunt for the Blackwater killings.

He testified Wednesday that he was sitting in a chair with his hands bound behind him and hood over his head when he was hit from behind on the shoulder and back, fell to his knees and was then picked back up and struck in the stomach.

Full report at:

http://www.southtownstar.com/news/2187344,042210IraqSEALTrial.article

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The world must not forget Darfur

MICHAEL DANBY

Apr 22, 2010

The World Movement for Democracy took place in Jakarta on April 11-14. The conference is a tribute to Indonesia, which in the 12 years since the resignation of President Suharto has become South-East Asia's most successful and stable democracy.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who made such a powerful impression when he addressed the Australian Parliament earlier this year, is the leader of the world's largest Islamic democracy, a position which gives him enormous influence. I hope he will use that influence to further the cause of democracy and human rights in the Islamic world.

The war-torn region of Darfur in western Sudan has received less publicity over the past year or so than in earlier years. That's mainly because the Sudanese government of President Omar al-Bashir has expelled most reporters and aid organisations from the country, so less news is getting out. But that doesn't mean that the bloodshed and suffering in Darfur has ended.

Since 2003 there has been continuing conflict between the Sudanese government - a military dictatorship which overthrew an elected government in 1989 - and resistance groups such as the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The people of Darfur are Muslims, but as Black Africans they have always suffered discrimination at the hands of Arab-dominated regimes in Khartoum. The present crisis erupted because of the prolonged drought in the region, which led to conflicts over land and water.

Full report at:

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2879814.htm

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What's Happening With Israel?

by Victor Davis Hanson

April 22, 2010

Current American relations with our once-staunch ally Israel are at their lowest ebb in the last 50 years.

The Obama administration seems as angry at the building of Jewish apartments in Jerusalem as it is intent on reaching out to Iran and Syria, Israel's mortal enemies. President Obama himself, according to reports, has serially snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A new narrative abounds in Washington that Israel's intransigence with its Arab neighbors now even endangers U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East. Obama is pushing Netanyahu's Likud government to make concessions on several fronts, from supplying power and food to Gaza, to hastened departure from the West Bank.

These tensions follow the Obama administration's new outreach to the Muslim world. Obama gave his first interview as president to the Middle East newspaper Al Arabiya, in which he politely chided past U.S. policy on the Middle East.

In his June 2009 Cairo address, the president again sought to placate the Islamic world -- in part by wrongly claiming that Islamic learning had sparked the European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Full report at:

http://townhall.com/columnists/VictorDavisHanson/2010/04/22/whats_happening_with_israel?page=full

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Art lovers treated to Raza's masterpieces

Apr 22, 2010

AHMEDABAD: For the first time, art connoisseurs in the city were treated to works of eminent artist Syed Haider Raza which are in high demand internationally.

This exhibition is a series of visual and performing art organised by L & P Hutheesing Visual Art Centre and began on Wednesday to celebrate the commemoration of Swarnim Gujarat Jayanti and 600 years of foundation of Ahmedabad.

The centre along with Akar Prakar Gallery of Kolkata brings together this exposition through an array of events, which include display of the paintings, interactive talks and discussions, film screenings, dance and musical performances.

In a press release, Raza said, "I feel happier showing my works in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Kolkata rather than New York, London or Paris."

Bishakha Shome, visiting faculty at CEPT University, said, "The exposition has been conceptualised with a series of creative expressions which interpret the essence that is in Raza's art and vision. Raza's excellence will be on display, not only through his paintings, but also through other mediums of visual and performing expressions in form of cinema, music and discussions about the artist and his art."

This series of small format paintings are the recent expressions of Raza, created specially for this travelling exhibition. Managing trustee of Hutheesing Centre Umang Hutheesing said, "Raza's paintings have taken Indian art to international level of recognition and I have always been inspired by his flamboyant expression of Indian philosophy."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Art-lovers-treated-to-Razas-masterpieces-/articleshow/5841785.cms

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Poland's snap presidential election on June 20

Apr 22, 2010

WARSAW: The first round of Poland's snap presidential elections to elect a successor to Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash, will be held on June 20, the parliament's press service announced Wednesday.

"The president of the Diet (lower house of parliament) Bronislaw Komorowski has taken the decision to call elections for the president of the republic of Poland on June 20," it said in a statement.

Under Polish law, a possible run-off second round would be held on July 4.

Parliamentary speaker Komorowski has been acting president since Kaczynski and his wife were killed along with 94 others when the presidential jet crashed on April 10 near Smolensk, western Russia. The presidential delegation was on its way to ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of a Soviet World War II massacre of Polish officers in the nearby Katyn forest.

The late president and his wife were buried Sunday in Krakow's Wawel castle cathedral, the ancient seat of Polish kings.

A presidential ballot had been due by October with Komorowski, a liberal, expected to run and win in the first round against the conservative Kaczynski, whose popularity has flagged since his 2005 victory.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Polands-snap-presidential-election-on-June-20/articleshow/5839320.cms

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Chaos in Kabul continues Faryal Leghari

22 April 2010

 Come May, Kabul and Washington will have to bury the hatchet deep, recently brandished by President Hamid Karzai. For the Afghan president is to visit the US and later host a follow-up conference in July to review the progress made towards achieving the objectives, outlined for his government ?by the US.

Some signs that Karzai is easing on his recent defiant position came when he recently visited the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul. It was his first operational briefing and owes its significance to the fact that it propels Afghanistan as a strategic partner. It is indeed ironic that Kabul is now accorded that position, nine years after the launch of the offensive.  Obviously the shift implies strategic responsibility and partnership—the new golden term.  It was evident in the increased role of the Afghan security forces in the ?Helmand offensive.

Full report at: khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2010/April/opinion_April125.xml&section=opinion&col=

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No peace without US withdrawal: Taliban

April 22, 2010

The Taliban in Afghanistan has rejected British media reports that the outfit had called for reconciliation talks with the United States and demanded “unconditional withdrawal of all invading forces from the country”.

No peace talks would begin until there was a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a statement from the militant outfit said, adding that Mullah Omar would not resign as its leader.

The Taliban also said the US presence in Afghanistan was the main reason for “instability” in the region.

“So any deal under the name of negotiation is a betrayal of the Islamic aspirations of the people of Afghanistan,” it said.

The Taliban was reacting to reports in the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, which said the outfit was ready to take part in peace talks.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/No-peace-without-US-withdrawal-Taliban/H1-Article1-534332.aspx

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Iran lobbies to keep off UN security

Thomas Erdbrink

April 22, 2010

Facing increasing momentum behind a US-backed bid for new sanctions against it, Iran is launching a broad diplomatic offensive aimed at persuading as many UN Security Council members as possible to oppose tougher punishment for its nuclear program.

Iran wants to focus on reviving stalled talks about a nuclear fuel swap to build trust on all sides, according to politicians and diplomats in Tehran.

But leaders of Western nations say that unless Iran alters its conditions for the deal, they will refuse to discuss it again. Under the arrangement, aimed at breaking an impasse over Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts, Tehran would exchange the bulk of its low-enriched uranium for more highly enriched fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes.

As Iranian diplomats fly around the world to discuss the swap, they are lobbying some of the Security Council’s rotating members to vote against a fourth round of sanctions proposed by the US, officials said.

“In the coming 10 days, the Islamic republic’s delegations will travel to the capitals of Russia, China, Lebanon and Uganda to pursue talks,”  Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said. “Other countries will be visited in the near future.” He said that “nuclear issues” will be on the agenda.

Iran also plans to try to rally support during an international conference to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Iran-lobbies-to-keep-off-UN-security/H1-Article1-534324.aspx

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B'desh court asks police to submit BDR mutiny report by May 19

April 22, 2010

A court on Wednesday set May 19 deadline for submission of the crucial investigation report on the bloody Bangladesh Rifles mutiny last year which left 57 army officers dead.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate A K M Enamul Haque asked Criminal Investigation Department of police to submit the charge sheet to start the trial of suspected carnage culprits under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal, which prescribes the capital punishment for the convicts.

"The CMM asked chief investigation officer of the case CID's special superintendent Abdul Kahar Akand as he failed to submit the report on Wednesday as stipulated earlier," a court official said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/bangladesh/B-desh-court-asks-police-to-submit-BDR-mutiny-report-by-May-19/Article1-534063.aspx

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Nigerian governors approve more than 300 executions

April 22, 2010

Nigeria's state governors have backed the execution of more than 300 prisoners on death row to clear space in the overcrowded jails of Africa's most populous country.

"It was agreed that those people who have been condemned should be executed accordingly," said Theodore Orji, governor of the southeastern state of Abia, after a meeting of the 36 state governors in the capital Abuja on Wednesday.

A total of 330 prisoners are on death row in a country where capital punishment remains on the statutes despite rarely being implemented.

The last official execution dates from 2002, but Amnesty International, which campaigns against the death penalty, said it has found evidence of ongoing secret executions in prisons.

The governors, who have the power to sign execution orders, said also that 80 per cent of Nigeria's prison population is awaiting trial and efforts should be made to "leave go" those serving lengthy remands, according to Orji.

Koyode Odeyemi of the Nigerian Prisones Service said that 36,000 of the 40,106 inmates are awaiting trial.

Human rights activist Chidi Odinkalu of the Open Society Justice Initiative said that instead of clearing a death-row backlog, the governors should probe the methods used by the police to tackle crime.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/africa/Nigerian-governors-approve-more-than-300-executions/Article1-534230.aspx

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UN Bhutto probe team interviewed Musharraf’

Apr 22, 2010

The United Nations team that probed Benazir Bhutto’s assassination had met former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during its investigations, the commission’s head, Chilean Ambassador to the UN Heraldo Muñoz, says. This meeting was subject to the condition of confidentiality, Online news agency quoted Munoz as telling a private TV channel in an exclusive interview.

Munoz also said that the commission was initially told that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and Army were “off limits”. It was only after the commission’s insistence that Army and intelligence officials agreed to be interviewed.

In another revelation, Muñoz termed as “inexcusable and irresponsible” the disappearance of the bulletproof black Mercedes that was to be Bhutto’s back-up vehicle after she left the December 27, 2007 political rally in Rawalpindi at which she was killed.

The UN commission’s report detailing the probable causes of Bhutto’s death contradicts President Asif Ali Zardari’s claim that it had absolved the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of any blame.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/250761/%E2%80%98UN-Bhutto-probe-team-interviewed-Musharraf%E2%80%99.html

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Obama's Syria outreach under fire amid Scud reports

By ANDREW QUINN

Apr 22, 2010

WASHINGTON:  US President Barack Obama's outreach to Syria came under fire on Wednesday as a congressional panel questioned the rapprochement amid charges that Damascus has sought to arm Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas with Scud missiles.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee grilled the Obama administration's top diplomat for the Middle East, saying Syria's threatening behavior threw doubt over efforts to put relations on a better track.

"Do we actually have a policy toward Syria, and is it in our best interest? What are we doing?" Democratic Representative Eliot Engel asked, urging a tougher US stance against Syrian President Basher Al-Assad over weapons transfers and other issues.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said the United States was seeking answers on the missile charges and took the issue extremely seriously.

"All options are going to be on the table looking at this," he said - while repeating the need to expand diplomatic dialogue with Damascus.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article45957.ece

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Body of soldier killed in 1982 found in Lebanon

By BASSEM MROUE

Apr 22, 2010

BEIRUT: The body of what appears to be a Syrian soldier killed in a 1982 battle with Israel was found in eastern Lebanon, an army official said Wednesday, and a search is under way for the remains of more missing soldiers.

A man digging foundations for a house on a plot of land near the village of Mdoukha in eastern Lebanon unearthed the remains Monday night, the senior Lebanese officer said.

The body was in a military uniform and helmet, and had a Syrian military identity card his pocket, the official said.

Mdoukha and the nearby village of Sultan Yacoub in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley were the site of heavy fighting in June 1982 between Israeli forces and Syrian troops and their Palestinian guerrilla allies shortly after Israel's invasion of Lebanon.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article45956.ece

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A brewing conflict in Middle East

22 April 2010

 The alleged Syrian Scud missile row seems to have acquired a life of its own. Washington has summoned Syria’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Zouheir Jabbour to protest the alleged transfer of long-range ballistic missiles to Lebanese militia Hezbollah—a charge levelled by Israel and vehemently rejected by Damascus.

While accusations and counter-accusations fly thick and fast, alarm bells are ringing, or rather war drums are being heard, across the Middle East.

A UN resolution (1701) imposed an arms embargo on Lebanon in 2006, restricting all weapon transfers unless authorised by the UN or the Lebanese government.  Given their shared history, Israel has lost no time in jumping up and down over Hezbollah allegedly acquiring advanced weaponry. On the other hand, Hezbollah chief Nasrallah’s rhetoric has only helped Israel’s cause.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2010/April/editorial_April41.xml&section=editorial&col=

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/now,-islamic-terror-strikes-pakistan’s-top-university/d/2742


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