New Age Islam
Fri Nov 27 2020, 09:46 PM

Islamic World News ( 28 Dec 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Paintings Depicting Clerics in Scenes with Strong Homosexual Overtones Outrage Islamic Hard-Liners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan

Paintings Depicting Clerics in Scenes with Strong Homosexual Overtones Outrage Islamic Hard-Liners

Unsettled Kashmir dispute main hurdle to Pakistan-India ties: Hurriyat Conference

Tahir ul Quadri ready to become caretaker premier

40 dead after consuming 'Toxic' cough syrup in Pakistan

5 killed, 40 injured in Karachi bus blast

Video dispels reports of rift among Pakistani Taliban ranks

CSF: Pakistan receives $688m for ‘war on terror’ expenses

Pak Govt to tell nation about ‘economic successes’

Govt to unblock YouTube in 24 hours, tweets Malik

Suspension of mobile phone service foiled terrorists’ designs: Malik

US drone strike kills four in N Waziristan

Islamabad, Delhi extend nuclear, missile accords

Mobile phone service suspended in Karachi

ANP govt demands Taliban give up violence

‘Taliban made no demand for abducted Levies men’s return’

Punjab not to interrupt Qadri’s long march

PTI central office in Lahore put on hold

In push for military action, Asfandyar to meet Zardari

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Arab World

Allah Can Perpetuate Night And Day: An Astronomical Analysis

Egyptian Islamist leader says Sharia should be spared political conflicts

New Egypt warms up to Hezbollah: ambassador

Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation

Dubai authorities brace for New Year’s Eve

Saudi King pardons prisoners serving for violating public rights

PM told to ‘get out’ at huge Iraq Sunni rally

Saudi Forum to focus on Islam-West cultural ties

Egypt's Mubarak has cracked ribs, fluid in lungs

Egypt probes alleged incitement to oust Morsi

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India

Kochi mosque Khatib prayed for Ajmal Quassab’s soul gets the boot

Hindu fanatics had carried out 2006 Malegaon blast?

Owaisi in trouble for hate speech against Hindus

Social activist quits govt. panels alleging Congress 'connivance' with Narendra Modi

Owaisi accuses Andhra Pradesh CM of joining hands with Sangh Parivar

Pakistan fan:  "Make Kapil Dev the coach of the Pakistan, pyar badega

'Govt's job schemes not reaching Muslim youth': educationists and activists

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North America

Muslim doctor blames hepatitis on ... Islamophobia

Obama enacts anti-Iran bill for the Americas

America’s failing drone war in Yemen

Muslims in Puerto Rico

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South Asia

Victims of Afghan raid file suit against Germany

Failure threatens Afghan police training mission

Myanmar Muslims recall Buddhist assault

Tahrir men clash with cops in city, 39 held in Bangladesh

No alternative to Hasina

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Southeast Asia

US Industry Presses for Duties on Shrimp from Indonesia, Six Others

Storms to Wreak More Havoc in Indonesia

Indonesia's Domestic Economy to Lift Shares Next Year

Indonesia Had Likely Posted a Trade Deficit In November

Mandiri Still in Stalemate with Malaysian Banking Regulators

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Africa

Hundreds protest against militias in Libya’s Benghazi

Suspected US drone strike kills two in Yemen

Regional nations meet on C Africa peace

Syrian students, teachers struggle in Lebanon

Gambia: Sub-Regional Forum on the Use of Media in Preaching Islamic Culture

Central African Republic Forces Fight for City Held by Rebels

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Mideast Asia

Fatah to mark anniversary in Hamas-run Gaza

Turkish president's request condemned

Risks of climate disasters grow in Middle East

Iran starts navy drills

Abbas: Israel reduced security cooperation

Iran starts war games in Strait of Hormuz

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Europe

Athens - the EU capital city without a mosque

Russia pressing Syria leadership to talk to opposition: Lavrov

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Blast site near Cantonment Railway Station, commonly known as Cantt Station in Karachi

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/paintings-depicting-clerics-in-scenes-with-strong-homosexual-overtones-outrage-islamic-hard-liners/d/9836

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Pakistan

 

Paintings Depicting Clerics in Scenes with Strong Homosexual Overtones Outrage Islamic Hard-Liners

Dec 29, 2012

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s leading arts college has pushed boundaries before in this conservative nation. But when a series of paintings depicting Muslim clerics in scenes with strong homosexual overtones sparked uproar and threats of violence by Islamic extremists, it was too much.

Officials at the National College of Arts in the eastern city of Lahore shut down its academic journal, which published the paintings, pulled all its issues out of bookstores and dissolved its editorial board. Still, a court is currently considering whether the paintings’ artist, the journal’s board and the school’s head can be charged with blasphemy.

The college’s decision to cave to Islamist pressure underscores how space for progressive thought is shrinking in Pakistan as hard-line interpretations of Islam gain ground. It was also a marked change for an institution that has long been one of the leading defenders of liberal views in the country.

Pakistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, and the majority of its citizens have long been fairly conservative. But what has grown more pronounced in recent years is the power of religious hardliners to enforce their views on members of the population who disagree, often with the threat of violence.

The government is caught up in a war against a domestic Taliban insurgency and often seems powerless to protect its citizens. At other times it has acquiesced to hardline demands because of fear, political gain or a convergence of beliefs.

“Now you have gun-toting people out there on the streets,” said Saleema Hashmi, a former head of Arts College. “You don’t know who will kill you. You know no one is there to protect you.”

The uproar was sparked when the college’s Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture over the summer published pictures of a series of paintings by artist Muhammad Ali.

Particularly infuriating to conservatives were two works that they said insulted Islam by mixing images of Muslim clerics with suggestions of homosexuality, which is deeply taboo in Pakistan.

One titled “Call for Prayer” shows a cleric and a shirtless young boy sitting beside each other on a cot. The cleric fingers rosary beads as he gazes at the boy, who seductively stretches backward with his hands clasped behind his head.

Mumtaz Mangat, a lawyer who petitioned the courts to impose blasphemy charges, argued the image implied the cleric had “fun” with the boy before conducting the traditional Muslim call for prayer.

A second painting shows the same cleric reclining in front of a Muslim shrine, holding a book by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho in one hand as he lights a cigarette for a young boy with the other. A second young boy, who is naked with his legs strategically crossed to cover his genitals, sits at the cleric’s feet. The painting has caused particular uproar because verses from Islam’s holy book, the Quran, appear on the shrine.

Aasim Akhtar, an Islamabad-based art critic who wrote an essay accompanying the paintings in the journal, wrote that Ali’s mixing of images was “deliberately, violently profane,” aimed at challenge “homophobic” beliefs that are widespread in Pakistani society.

“Ali redefines the divine through a critique of authority and the hypocrisy of the cleric,” wrote Akhtar, an Islamabad-based art critic who is also listed as a potential defendant in the blasphemy complaint.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, issued a statement after the paintings were published demanding the college issue a public apology and withdraw all issues of the journal.

College staff members also began receiving anonymous text messages threatening violence, said a member of the journal’s editorial board. They were afraid to push back for fear of being killed, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being targeted.

Extremists gunned down two prominent Pakistani politicians last year for speaking out against the country’s harsh blasphemy laws, which can mean life in prison or even death. Human rights activists have criticized the laws, saying they are often used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal scores.

Yahya Mujahid, the spokesman for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, denied the group sent any threats but said the state should punish those responsible.

“It’s part of Western and American plans to malign Islam,” claimed Mujahid.

A court considering whether to press blasphemy charges held its latest session in mid-December, but it has not said when it will rule whether such charges apply in the case.

Shahram Sarwar, a lawyer representing the college’s editorial board, said his clients did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings but he was prepared to apologize on their behalf if they did.

Besides shutting down the journal, the college also closed the department where its staff worked, said Sarwar.

The current head of the National Arts College, Shabnam Khan, denied the institution caved to pressure from hardliners, saying the editorial staff quit voluntarily. She said the department was closed because no one was left to run it.

A member of the editorial board disputed this version of events, saying the college administration asked him and his colleagues to resign. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being targeted by extremists.

The school has long been a progressive voice. A research project at the college in 2008 focused on the idea that rising Islamic conservatism and violent religious fanaticism was a fundamental threat to peace and democracy in Pakistan. In the 1980s, when former dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq, a notorious Islamist, ordered all female students and teachers to cover their hair, the college pushed back.

Individual graduates have pushed the envelope with their work. Amra Khan’s latest work, which was exhibited at the college and a gallery in Karachi this year, included Muslim veils embroidered with a pink Playboy bunny and The Rolling Stones’ big red lips logo.

Evidence of the growing influence of Islamic hardliners abounds in Pakistan. In September, clerics wielding sticks forced their way into a wedding reception in the southern city of Ghotki to stop the guests from singing and dancing. A different set of clerics forced a five-star hotel to cancel a planned concert in August in the northwest town of Bhurban because they argued the music was counter to Islam.

Hardliners have had success influencing Pakistani institutions as well. The Supreme Court ordered the country’s media regulatory body in August to look into blocking “vulgar” and “obscene” content on TV in response to a petition filed by conservative Islamists.

In November, the government’s telecommunications arm banned late-night cell phone call packages, saying they encouraged immoral behaviour by young people. The government banned YouTube earlier this year because of an anti-Islam video posted on the site, and one of the country’s highest courts has blocked access to Facebook twice because of material considered anathema to Islam.

Khan, the head of the college, refused to discuss the case in more detail because of the court proceedings, but said that people across the political spectrum were becoming more alarmed by the use of violence to enforce views.

“I have heard recently even from conservative people that enough is enough,” said Khan. “It is wrong that people interfere in others’ lives that people interfere in others’ beliefs.”

http://asiancorrespondent.com/94437/paintings-outrage-islamic-hard-liners-in-pakistan/

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Unsettled Kashmir dispute main hurdle to Pakistan-India ties: Hurriyat Conference

December 28, 2012

ISLAMABAD: All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that the Kashmir dispute is the main impediment in the cordial relations between Pakistan and India and the two countries cannot progress in economic fields without settling it.

According to Kashmir Media Service, addressing a gathering at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar on Friday  Mirwaiz said that in the prevailing circumstances and the recent APHC leaders’ visit to Pakistan was of great significance and would pave the way for settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Mirwaiz maintained that the Pakistani leadership and people were aware of the sufferings of Kashmiris and had always extended moral, political and diplomatic support to the struggle of the Kashmiri people.

The APHC leader urged New Delhi to accept the ground realities and realise the fact that a nation could not be subjugated for too long.

Earlier, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other APHC leaders including Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Safvi, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza and Musaddiq Aadil were given a rousing welcome by a large number of people at Srinagar airport upon their return from Pakistan.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/485905/unsettled-kashmir-dispute-main-hurdle-to-pakistan-india-ties-mirwaiz/

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Tahir ul Quadri ready to become caretaker premier

Dec 29, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 28: Tehrik Minjhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri is not a candidate for the general election but will accept the challenge of becoming the caretaker prime minister in case “millions of participants in his long march and the nation force him to do so”.

The TMQ chief held a marathon press conference in Model Town on Friday where he tried to dispel ‘certain apprehensions’ about his movement.

On one occasion he broke down while giving details about funding for the movement. He said his wife and daughters had already sold their gold ornaments and were now planning to sell their house to fund the TMQ long march.

“I am determined not to contest the upcoming election. However, if the participants in my march and the nation as well press me to become the caretaker premier, (which I really don’t want) I will be ready to accept this challenge by doing unprecedented electoral reforms amid massive accountability for the first time in the history of the country,” he said.

He said he and the TMQ had a one-point agenda — the formation of an honest and trustworthy caretaker government after involving all stakeholders. And this should introduce electoral reforms in order to bring a leadership for the country that could represent all segments of society, including journalists, farmers, workers, lawyers and traders.

The TMQ chief said as the armed forces and the judiciary were important part of the country’s democratic and electoral system, there was no harm in taking them on board. “We call military in flood-hit areas, for collection of bills and for several civic issues. Why are we afraid of consulting them on such an important issue. Similarly, we can involve judiciary in this process by seeking legal and constitutional guidance in this regard,” he said.

Dr Qadri stressed that the long march would be peaceful as the TMQ would not allow anyone to take over the country on the pretext of their march and law and order.

Commenting on rampant corruption in the country, he said it was a major problem and a cause of weakening of state institutions. He quoted a former prime minister of New Zealand, David Lange, as having told him in late 80s about huge kickbacks by a Pakistani premier.

He said Bob Hawke (a former Australian PM) had informed him about the demand of 30 per cent share by a top Pakistani authority when Australia planned making foreign investment in Pakistan.

He expressed his confidence in the present judiciary and military leadership, saying both were playing a vital role in saving the democratic system. He said the TMQ had also established its own electoral institution led by former election commission secretary Kunwar Dilshad.

At the end of discussion, a woman claiming herself as an expatriate from Italy gave a donation of Rs600,000 to the TMQ chief for funding the long march.

http://dawn.com/2012/12/29/qadri-ready-to-become-caretaker-premier/

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40 dead after consuming 'Toxic' cough syrup in Pakistan

29 Dec 2012

Islamabad, Dec 29 (ANI): Five more people died in Pakistan's Punjab province after drinking the 'poisonous' cough syrup, raising the death toll to 40.

Sources in the Civil Hospital, Gujranwala, disclosed that over eight patients are in critical condition.

Seventeen people died in November this year after consuming cough syrup Tyno in Lahore, the Express Tribune reports.

As a result, some pharmacy stores holding stock of this medicine were sealed and some people were arrested.

All the recent victims reportedly consumed a cough syrup being sold under the name 'Dextromethorphan'.

The substance dextromethorphan has been identified as an active ingredient in Tyno cough syrup. (ANI)

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2012/12/29/242-40-dead-after-consuming-Toxic-cough-syrup-in-Pakistan.html

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5 killed, 40 injured in Karachi bus blast

Dec 29, 2012

At least five people were killed and 40 others wounded in a blast near Cantonment Railway Station, commonly known as Cantt Station in Karachi on Saturday.

According to initial reports, the blast occurred in a passenger bus standing near the station, killing three people and injuring 40 others.

The blast was so powerful that the roof of the bus was swept away while window glasses of nearby buildings were broken.

Extensive fire caught the two other buses, motorcycles and nearby shops after the blast. The bodies and injured were shifted to Jinnah Hospital in the city.

According to police, several people were on board before the blast hit the bus which was on its way to Sargodha.

Police officials have cordoned off the area and started investigations regarding the incident, however nature of blast was unknown so far.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/karachi/29-Dec-2012/5-killed-40-injured-in-karachi-bus-blast

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Video dispels reports of rift among Pakistani Taliban ranks

Zahir Shah Sherazi

Dec 29, 2012

PESHAWAR: A video released on Friday, showing Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief , Hakimullah Mehsud sitting with his deputy Waliur Rehman, dispells recent reports of a depeening rift between the two powerful militant commanders.

“There is no divide in TTP. I and Maulvi Waliur Rehman are one, and look, we are sitting together. The propaganda of a rift in Taliban ranks is totally untrue,” says Mehsud pointing to Rehman in the 45-minute Pashto language video, a copy of which has been received by Dawn.com.

According to reports published earlier this month, Pakistani military officials had said that the two top TTP commanders were at loggerheads with each other, with Mehsud having lost operational control of the Pakistani Taliban and the moderate deputy leader Rehman set to take over the reins of the feared militant group.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/28/video-dispels-reports-of-rift-among-pakistani-taliban-ranks/

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CSF: Pakistan receives $688m for ‘war on terror’ expenses

By Sumera Khan

December 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan received US $688 million on Friday under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), as reimbursement for the expenses of supporting over 150,000 coalition forces deployed on Pak-Afghan border.

Minister of State for Finance and Senator Saleem H Mandviwala confirmed the release of funds, along with spokespersons of the State Bank of Pakistan and the foreign office.

“After the Pentagon’s notification to the US Congress, it was quite obvious that the US would soon release the CSF amount to reimburse Pakistan’s expenses incurred during the war on terror… on Friday the amount has been received by our side,” a source in the foreign office said.

In August 2012, Pakistan had received $1.12 billion from the US under the fund. Sixty per cent of the fund is apportioned to the Pakistan Army while the remaining amount is used to meet the fiscal deficit of the economy.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/486208/csf-pakistan-receives-688m-for-war-on-terror-expenses/

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Pak Govt to tell nation about ‘economic successes’

Dec 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and his cabinet colleagues believe they need to be tutored to explain the PPP government’s economic achievements to the public.

Having been briefed about economic indicators presented to them by the finance ministry at a recent meeting of the federal cabinet, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was directed to prepare bullet points for all ministers so that they could be used in the PPP’s election campaign.

“The cabinet decided that the ministry of finance shall prepare talking points on economic achievements of the government and pass these on to the information ministry. The information ministry shall fine tune the talking points in simple user-friendly language and pass on these to the cabinet for dissemination to the media,” according to minutes of the cabinet meeting held earlier this month.

The cabinet also praised efforts made by the finance minister and his team to bring down inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI), from 24.7 per cent in 2008 to a single digit of 6.9 per cent this year.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/29/hafeez-given-task-govt-to-tell-nation-about-economic-successes/

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Govt to unblock YouTube in 24 hours, tweets Malik

Dec 29, 2012

KARACHI: The government has decided to unblock video-sharing website YouTube in Pakistan. Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday, in a message on Twitter, said the website will be unblocked in next 24 hours, DawnNews reported.

“I chaired a high level meeting with all stakeholders on the Youtube. Good job by PTA to block anti Islamic material! Pl expect Youtube unblocked in 24hrs,” said the interior minister.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had ordered shutdown of video-sharing website YouTube on Sept 17, in the aftermath of protests against anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims.”

In a directive issued to the Ministry of Information Technology, the PM stated that the decision was taken after YouTube decided against removing the film and the shutdown will remain effective until the website removes all content from the sacrilegious film.

Protests were broken out across the Muslim world against the film.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/29/govt-to-unblock-youtube-in-24-hours-tweets-malik/

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Suspension of mobile phone service foiled terrorists’ designs: Malik

Dec 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik has said that mobile phone services were suspended in Karachi on Friday morning due to terrorism threat and security concerns.

He said a meeting was held in this regard with all the stakeholders, adding that nefarious designs of terrorists were foiled as not a single incident of target killings took place on Friday.

The minister also appreciated performance of the law enforcement agencies in this regard.

Cellular services were suspended from 11 am to 6 pm in Pakistan’s commercial capital.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/28/suspension-of-mobile-phone-service-foiled-terrorists-designs-malik/

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US drone strike kills four in N Waziristan

December 29, 2012

PESHAWAR – At least four people were killed when a US predator drone targeted a house at the border area of North and South Waziristan agencies here on Friday.

Sources said the US drone fired two missiles at a house in Shawal village of North Waziristan Agency killing four people on the spot. Soon after the attack, a large number of local tribesmen gathered at the site to retrieve the dead bodies from the debris. The bodies of the drone victims were beyond recognition. Authorities in North Waziristan confirmed the death toll. Identity of the dead could not be ascertained.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/us-drone-strike-kills-four-in-n-waziristan

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Islamabad, Delhi extend nuclear, missile accords

December 29, 2012

Islamabad - Pakistan and India Friday extended agreements for five years on pre-notification of flight tests of ballistic missiles, besides reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons.

The Seventh Round of Expert Level Talks on Nuclear Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) held in New Delhi, focusing on review of implementation and strengthening of existing CBMSs in the framework of the Lahore Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as well as possibilities for mutually acceptable additional CBMs.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/islamabad-delhi-extend-nuclear-missile-accords

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Mobile phone service suspended in Karachi

December 29, 2012  

KARACHI - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has suspended mobile phone services in Karachi for seven hours ahead of the possible terrorist attack without any prior notice.

According to details, cell phone service was suspended from 11am to 6pm. Authorities have taken the decision for suspension of GSM service without any prior notice. Following the sudden break-up of GSM network across the City, residents of Karachi suffer immense communication difficulties.

Sources privy to the matter revealed that cellular services were suspended because of terrorism threats in Karachi.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/mobile-phone-service-suspended-in-karachi

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ANP govt demands Taliban give up violence

December 29, 2012

PESHAWAR  – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Friday said the ANP had not asked Taliban to lay down arms rather demanded of them to renounce violence.

Commenting on TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud's statement, Iftikhar said accepting offer of dialogue from Hakimullah would be a positive step. He said for success of negotiations it was important to abandon arms.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/anp-govt-demands-taliban-give-up-violence

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‘Taliban made no demand for abducted Levies men’s return’

By: Nader Buneri

December 29, 2012  

PESHAWAR - Political Agent, Frontier Region Peshawar, Naveed Akbar has said that Taliban have so far made no demand for exchange of 22 Levies personnel, however the political administration has set a 3-day deadline to tribal elders for the safe recovery of the officials.

Talking to TheNation, Assistant Political Agent, Frontier Region Peshawar, Naveed Akbar said that the jirga of political administration with tribal elders of Jana Kora and Hasan Khail tribe was held in the office of District Coordination Officer Peshawar where officers of the political administration and tribal elders of the Hasan Khail tribe and Jana Kora area discussed ways and means to recover the kidnapped personnel.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/-taliban-made-no-demand-for-abducted-levies-men-s-return

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Punjab not to interrupt Qadri’s long march

December 29, 2012

The Punjab government has decided not to interrupt the long march of Minhajul Quran Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri as long as it will remain peaceful and not cause any damage to public and the private property.Sources say the authorities have decided to let Qadri’s march proceed from Minar-e-Pakistan to Islamabad and not disturb it at any stage.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/lahore/29-Dec-2012/punjab-not-to-interrupt-qadri-s-long-march

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PTI central office in Lahore put on hold

December 29, 2012

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has postponed the shifting of its central secretariat from Islamabad to Lahore despite having rented a bungalow, owing to differences among second tier leaders, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Offices for the party chairperson, the vice chairperson, the president and other key leaders have already been set up. The PTI central office in Lahore was scheduled to be operational in the second week of December, a key party leader requesting anonymity said.

Imran Khan was scheduled to be available in this office four days a week to lead the campaign for upcoming general elections.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/485973/pti-central-office-in-lahore-put-on-hold/

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In push for military action, Asfandyar to meet Zardari

By Peer MuhammadPublished

December 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad as part of his party’s push for a military operation against “terrorist sanctuaries” before the parliamentary elections.

“Yes, our leader Asfandyar Wali will have an important meeting with President Zardari soon after his [Zardari’s] return from Sindh,” ANP Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel told The Express Tribune. President Zardari is currently in Garhi Khuda Bux in connection with the 5th death anniversary commemoration of his late wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Senator Adeel said his party has been a victim of militancy, particularly in K-P where it has lost scores of workers and leaders, including three lawmakers. Most recently, senior K-P minister Bashir Bilour was killed in a suicide attack in Peshawar.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/486193/terrorist-sanctuaries-in-push-for-military-action-asfandyar-to-meet-zardari/

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Arab World

 

Allah Can Perpetuate Night And Day: An Astronomical Analysis

28 December 2012

Scientists know this that the celestial bodies are floating. That includes Earth which is floating with its double rotation – axial and orbital. Its axial rotation causes day and night and its orbital rotation along with its axis making an angle of 23.27 degrees that causes changes and seasons in climate.

It completes orbital motion in 365 days, 5 hours, and 46 seconds, to which the Qur'an says, centuries ago: “And the sun runs its course in its appointed place. This is the decree of Almighty and Wise. And for the moon We have appointed its mansions till it returns like an old dried curved date stalk. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon nor does the night outstrip the day.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/allah-can-perpetuate-night-and-day-astronomical-analysis

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Egyptian Islamist leader says Sharia should be spared political conflicts

28 Dec 2012

Nageh Ibrahim, co-founder of hard-line Islamist group Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiya, said religion should not be part of any political disputes between Egypt's rival factions.

In an interview with Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Yaum on Friday, Ibrahim said the involvement of Sharia in the ongoing political rows is unacceptable in Islamic doctrines.

"Those protesting in Tahrir Square are not infidels and are not against the Sharia. Mosques should be spared any political role and involvement in any hypocrisy towards the regime," he added in an implicit criticism of some hard-line Islamist preachers who have made these accusations against anti-Mohamed Morsi protesters.

Tens of thousands poured into the streets to protest the highly-controversial 22 November decree issued by president Morsi to expand his powers. Clashes against Islamists ensued in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, leaving at least eight dead.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/61420/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-Islamist-leader-says-Sharia-should-be-spa.aspx

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New Egypt warms up to Hezbollah: ambassador

By Lauren Williams

December 29, 2012

BEIRUT: Egypt will pursue a relationship with Hezbollah as a “real political and military force” on the ground in Lebanon, the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon has told The Daily Star, but warned the party to work solely for the interests of Lebanon.

Speaking just one day after Egypt’s controversial Muslim Brotherhood-backed new constitution was signed in to law, Ashraf Hamdy’s comments are the frankest yet on Egypt’s rapprochement with the party, and another sign of just how far “New Egypt’s” regional foreign policy has shifted from that of the previous regime headed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Dec-29/200288-new-egypt-warms-up-to-hezbollah-ambassador.ashx#ixzz2GQHb7LvI

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Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation

28 December 2012

ALEPPO PROVINCE, Syria/BEIRUT: Syria’s opposition leader has rejected an invitation from Russia for peace talks, dealing another blow to international hopes that diplomacy can be resurrected to end a 21-month civil war.

Russia, President Bashar Assad’s main international protector, said on Friday it had sent an invitation for a visit to Moaz Alkhatib, whose six-week-old National Coalition opposition group has been recognized by most Western and Arab states as the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.

But in an interview on Al Jazeera television, Alkhatib said he had already ruled out such a trip and wanted an apology from Moscow for its support for Assad.

“We have clearly said we will not go to Moscow. We could meet in an Arab country if there was a clear agenda,” he said.

“Now we also want an apology from (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov because all this time he said that the people will decide their destiny, without foreign intervention. Russia is intervening and meanwhile all these massacres of the Syrian people have happened, treated as if they were a picnic.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/syria-opposition-leader-rejects-moscow-invitation

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Dubai authorities brace for New Year’s Eve

By Bassma Jandaly

December 28, 2012

Dubai: Police and civic staff are as ready as they can be for an expected million visitors on New Year’s Eve to Burj Khalifa celebrations.

The Executive Committee for New Year’s Security hasfinalised its preparations for New Year’s eve, said a top Dubai police official.

Maj Gen Mohammad Eid Al Mansouri, Director of the General Department of Protective Security and Emergency at Dubai Police and head of committees for activities in Dubai, told Gulf News that police, ambulance and civil defence staff for New Year’s Eve festivals are ready forexpected traffic jams that have traditionally descended on the Burj Khalifa area due to the massive number of people expected to visit Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall at night.

“The new year celebration at Burj Khalifa is a very important event that attracts people from within the country as well as neighbouring countries and from all over the world,” he said. “We are expecting one million visitors to attend the celebration.”Major General Al Mansouri said the committee faces safety, security and organisational challenges.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/dubai-authorities-brace-for-new-year-s-eve-1.1124834

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Saudi King pardons prisoners serving for violating public rights

29 December 2012

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah pardoned prisoners serving time for violating public rights and who do not pose a threat to society, Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif said yesterday.

The pardon also covers those jailed for un-cleared debts and blood money and those not convicted of serious crimes or corruption and embezzlement of public money, the SPA reported.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/king-pardons-prisoners

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PM told to ‘get out’ at huge Iraq Sunni rally

29 December 2012

FALLUJAH: Tens of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government massed along a major western highway and elsewhere in the country yesterday for the largest protests yet.

The well-organized rallies, which took place after traditional Friday prayers, underscore the strength of a tenacious protest movement that appears to be gathering support among Sunnis, whose sense of grievance has been increased by arrests and prosecutions that they feel underscore Shiite political dominance.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/pm-told-%E2%80%98get-out%E2%80%99-huge-iraq-rallies

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Saudi Forum to focus on Islam-West cultural ties

29 December 2012

RIYADH: The Prince Salman Chair for the History and Civilization of the Arabian Peninsula will organize a forum for Saudi chairs and scientific centres abroad to discuss relations between Islamic and Western cultures on Jan. 5.

A number of scientific chairs and centres that the Kingdom supports financially in countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Russia will participate in this forum.

Participants will discuss ways to strengthen the channels of interaction between the Islamic and Western cultures. They will also discuss investments in various forms of knowledge-based channels for the exchange of expertise and contributions to enrich knowledge.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/forum-focus-islam-west-cultural-ties

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Egypt's Mubarak has cracked ribs, fluid in lungs

28 Dec 2012

Ousted president Hosni Mubarak has a build-up of fluid in his lungs and cracked ribs, Egypt's official news agency MENA reported after he was transferred from prison to military hospital for treatment.

The state prosecutor ordered Mubarak's transfer on Thursday after his health deteriorated, a prosecution source had said, more than a week after he was briefly hospitalised after slipping in a prison bathroom and hurting his head.

MENA reported late on Thursday that x-rays showed that Mubarak fractured several ribs in the fall and also had a build-up of fluid in the membranes lining his lungs.

The agency cited a medical report prepared at the prosecutor's request.

Mubarak, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the killing of protesters during the uprising that led to his resignation in February 2011, will return to jail after treatment, the prosecution source said.

A court sentenced the veteran strongman to life in June for failing to prevent the killings of protesters during the 18-day revolt that ended his three-decade rule. Some 850 people died in the uprising.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/61407/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-Mubarak-has-cracked-ribs,-fluid-in-lungs.aspx

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Egypt probes alleged incitement to oust Morsi

28 Dec 2012

Egypt's chief prosecutor has ordered an investigation into allegations that opposition leaders committed treason by inciting supporters to overthrow President Mohammed Morsi.

The probe, launched on Thursday, targets opposition leaders Mohammed El-Baradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and former head of the UN nuclear agency, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, and Hamdeen Sabahi. Both Moussa and Sabahi were presidential candidates who competed against Morsi in the last election.

The Muslim Brotherhood's website alleged that the opposition leaders were "duping simple Egyptians to rise against legitimacy and were inciting against the president," which constitutes treason.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012122842320389703.html

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India

 

Kochi mosque Khatib prayed for Ajmal Quassab’s soul gets the boot

By Ajay Kanth

Dec 29, 2012

KOCHI: The managing committee of a Jama'at mosque here has initiated disciplinary action against its Khatib (preacher leading Friday prayers) for allegedly praying for salvation of the soul of Ajmal Quassab two days after the terrorist was hanged in Pune's Yerwada Central Jail.

Khatib Abdul Rauf, however, preferred to resign from the post than wait for action against him following strong protest from the juma (Friday congregation) that had assembled at the Judge Mukku mosque at Thrikkakkara in Kochi's outskirts.

Though the incident had occurred on November 23, its details trickled out only after police began an investigation on Friday when it, once again, "became a talking point at the juma''.

"We have confirmed the incident. An investigation is on," a source in the police told TOI.

President of the Judge Mukku mosque managing committee Abdul Rehman also confirmed the incident. "Khatib Rauf did include the name of Ajmal Qussab in the prayer for the departed souls after the namaz,'' he told TOI.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kochi-mosque-official-prays-for-Ajmal-Qussabs-soul-gets-the-boot/articleshow/17802298.cms

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Hindu fanatics had carried out 2006 Malegaon blast?

By Deeptiman Tiwary

Dec 29, 2012

NEW DELHI: Now, it is official that 2006 Malegaon blast that killed 37 people and injured over 100 was, perhaps, not perpetrated by Muslim fundamentalists but Hindu fanatics. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday officially declared the Samjhauta Express blast accused Rajender Chaudhary as an accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case.

An NIA special court on Friday issued production remand for Chaudhary alias Samunder in connection with the case. He will be produced in the court on January 3, when NIA will likely be granted his custody for interrogation and investigation in connection with the terror act.

Maharashtra ATS had arrested and charge sheeted nine Muslim men — several of them associated with SIMI — accusing them of perpetrating the attack with in their bid to incite communal riots to overthrow the Indian state.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hindu-fanatics-had-carried-out-2006-Malegaon-blast/articleshow/17801445.cms

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Owaisi in trouble for hate speech against Hindus

Dec 29, 2012

HYDERABAD: Akbaruddin Owaisi, the firebrand leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), was on Friday taken to court over his disparaging remarks against Hindus in a hate speech, the main content of which was that Muslims would need just 15 minutes without the police to show 100 crore Hindus who is more powerful.

In a complaint filed against the MIM legislator, an advocate said he had stumbled upon YouTube uploaded hate speech made at a public meeting at Adilabad on December 24, about 300 km from the city.

The VII additional chief metropolitan magistrate after admitting the petition said the matter will be heard on December 31.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Akbaruddin-in-trouble-for-hate-speech/articleshow/17803821.cms

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Social activist quits govt. panels alleging Congress 'connivance' with Narendra Modi

Dec 28 2012

New Delhi: Social activist Shabnam Hashmi today quit five government panels, including Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), alleging Congress "connivance" to ensure Narendra Modi's victory in Gujarat Assembly elections but did not say how.

Hashmi, the founder member of NGO Anhad, resigned from membership of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, National Monitoring Committee for Minority Education (NMCME), National Literacy Mission Council (NLM) and Assessment and Monitoring Authority of Planning Commission besides CABE.

She said she was resigning from all government committees as a protest against the "betrayal" of the aspirations of the marginalised people of Gujarat to throw out the Modi regime.

"There was a strong wave against Modi. The anti-Modi wave was not reflected in the electoral verdict. No way could Modi have won. There was subversion and manipulation. Some part of it was done by the party leading the UPA," she told PTI, referring to Congress.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/shabnam-hashmi-quits-govt-panels-alleging-congress-connivance-to-ensure-narendra-modi-victory-in-gujarat/1051484/

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Owaisi accuses Andhra Pradesh CM of joining hands with Sangh Parivar

Owaisi-Kiran spat at all-party meet in Delhi

December 29, 2012

The ongoing war of words between Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi found its echo at the all-party meeting on Telangana here on Friday.

Sources said that while airing his party’s views on the statehood issue, Mr. Owaisi reportedly referred to the recent incidents in the old city of Hyderabad and the handling of the situation by the government particularly, the Chief Minister.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/andhra-pradesh/owaisikiran-spat-at-allparty-meet-in-delhi/article4249849.ece

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Pakistan fan:  "Make Kapil Dev the coach of the Pakistan, pyar badega

By Ajit Bezbaruah

Dec 29, 2012

AHMEDABAD: "Make Kapil Dev the coach of the Pakistan, pyar badega," says Mohammad Bashir, a Chicago resident of Pakistani origin. He is here, despite stiff opposition from his wife, to see both countries play each other after a long time. He couldn't buy a ticket at the counter, but a policeman gave Khan one, on seeing him stand outside the ground with a placard asking for a ticket.

"I couldn't manage a ticket even in Bangalore for the first T20 match, but some media people helped me out there. Here, it was a 2-star policeman who handed me the ticket saying 'enjoy'," said the 70-year-old who runs a restaurant 'Gharib Nawaz' in Chicago. "He didn't want any money. Just gave me the ticket and said enjoy the match," says Bashir.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Pakistan-fan-at-home-in-Ahmedabad/articleshow/17801689.cms

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'Govt's job schemes not reaching Muslim youth': educationists and activists

Dec 29, 2012

HYDERABAD: The government may have schemes like the Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu (RVK) for welfare of youth, but enrolment of Muslim candidates remains poor and measures should be taken to increase their participation for their upliftment, educationists and activists said on Friday.

In spite of the fact that RVK training programmes for minorities were routed through the AP Minority Finance Corporation for better accessibility, the scheme has failed to attract Muslim youth due to lack of awareness, irrespective of incentives such as free training, food and bus fare.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Govts-job-schemes-not-reaching-Muslim-youth/articleshow/17802589.cms

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North America

 

Muslim doctor blames hepatitis on ... Islamophobia

by BOB UNRUH

Dec 29, 2012

A Muslim doctor who fled to Pakistan after his Nebraska-based clinic left dozens of patients infected with hepatitis C, including several who died, now wants to return to the United

States and practice medicine, and he blames his earlier problems on Islamophobia, according to a new report.

The Obama World-Herald has reported that Tahir Ali Javed now has applied for restoration of his medical license in New York.

That license was surrendered about 10 years ago shortly after his Nebraska medical license was revoked, the report said. That occurred because his Fremont cancer clinic was determined to have infected dozens of patients with hepatitis during a time period about 2001 and 2002.

Full report at:

http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/muslim-doctor-blames-hepatitis-on-islamophobia/

#vB4v5mxT6uS38oVK.99

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Obama enacts anti-Iran bill for the Americas

29 Dec 2012

President Barack Obama has signed a law to counter Iran's alleged influence in Latin America, through a new diplomatic and political strategy to be designed by the State Department, the AFP news agency reported.

Enacted on Friday, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, calls for the State Department to develop a plan within 180 days to "address Iran's growing hostile presence and activity".

Although the strategy is confidential and only accessible to lawmakers, it must contain a public summary.

The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at US borders with Canada and Mexico to "prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps], its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the Untied States."

And within Latin American countries, the text provides for a multi-agency action plan to provide security in those countries, along with a "counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation plan" to isolate Iran and its allies.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/12/2012122925119331765.html

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America’s failing drone war in Yemen

December 29, 2012  

In February, Eric Schmitt wrote in the New York Times about the Obama administration’s emerging Yemen strategy, whereby US and Yemeni intelligence and military officials would “work together to kill or capture about two dozen of al Qaeda’s most dangerous operatives, who are focused on attacking America and its interests.” Like all previous objectives of America’s Long Third War of drone strikes, the scope of intended targets has expanded far beyond those two dozen individuals, who should have been killed at least nine times over by now.  According to the Long Wars Journal database, there have been forty US airstrikes (drone or fixed-wing) in Yemen this year, up from ten in 2011. These have killed 223 people, an estimated 19 per cent of them were civilians.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/29-Dec-2012/america-s-failing-drone-war-in-yemen

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Muslims in Puerto Rico

HOUSSAIN KETTANI.

28 December 2012

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is unincorporated, organized territory of the United States with area 13,790Km2. It has been under US control since 1898, when it was captured from Spain. It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and over a 100 smaller islands mostly to the east of the main island and almost all are uninhabited, the largest of which are Vieques (348Km2), Culebra (30Km2), and Mona (57Km2 but uninhabited).

The first Muslims are said to have arrived in Puerto Rico around the mid-20th century from Palestine as a result of the declaration of Israel. Their population rose from none in 1940 to 2,000 (0.07 percent) in 1970. They were estimated to be 3,000 (0.09 percent) in 1980; 4,500 (0.13 percent) in 1990; and 5,000 (0.13 percent) in 2010.

Assuming that the percentage of Muslims will continue to increase by 0.01 of a percentage point per decade, the Muslim population is expected to reach 5,300 or 0.14 percent in 2020, then 6,200 or 0.17 percent by 2050, and 6,700 or 0.22 percent by 2100.

As part of the Makkah-based Muslim World League fact-finding mission on Muslims worldwide, my father Dr. Ali Kettani (1941-2001) visited this Island in 1973 among several countries in Europe and the Americas and recorded his findings.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/muslims-puerto-rico

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South Asia

 

Victims of Afghan raid file suit against Germany

December 29, 2012

BERLIN - Families of victims of an air strike in Afghanistan that killed more than 90 people in 2009 have filed a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against Germany, a lawyer said Friday.

Karim Popal, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said 10 class action lawsuits were claiming 3.3 million euros ($4.4 million) in damages from the German government. "Many orphans and widows lost their providers due to this barbaric war crime, and many mothers their young children," Popal said in a statement.

"Nearly all the survivors are traumatised and are not receiving psychological treatment."

In response to a sharp rise in attacks on foreign forces, a German commander on September 4, 2009 called in a raid near the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. The strike claimed 91 victims according to the German government and up to 142 people including dozens of civilians according to Afghan officials.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/29-Dec-2012/victims-of-afghan-raid-file-suit-against-germany

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Failure threatens Afghan police training mission

December 29, 2012

The Afghan national sport is called buzkashi. It’s a game in which horsemen battle over a goat carcass. There are no established teams.During a match, the competitors forge brief, continuously shifting alliances. They only work together until they have gained a short-term advantage. The game can last for hours, even days. The winner is the rider who manages to carry the carcass to the goal. Buzkashi is a mirror of Afghan society. By contrast, the German police officers who train local recruits in Afghanistan have brought soccer balls and nets to their base in Mazar-e-Sharif. Football is all about teamwork and team spirit. The goal is to form a team and achieve an objective together. In a corner of the training center, on a patch of parched earth, there is now a soccer field where the next generation of Afghan police officers is learning the game. “What we want to achieve with the recruits is a change in mentality,” says a German instructor. More team spirit, a better sense of community, more loyalty. More soccer, less buzkashi. Over the past 10 years, Germany has instructed some 56,000 Afghan police officers at four training centers in the region. The training is part of Germany’s responsibility as a member of NATO, and so far the project has cost some €380 million ($503 million). As many as 200 German police officers are regularly stationed in Afghanistan, most of them in Mazar-e-Sharif. But anyone who accompanies the German security aid workers for a few days is bound to doubt the mission’s effectiveness after observing the mood among the officers and reading between the lines of official statements. Even now, when Western security forces have entered their 11th year of training, the police in Afghanistan don’t stand for public order and security — but rather for helplessness, arbitrariness and corruption. A Prime Target “The mission is neither effective nor sustainable,” says Josef Scheuring, chairman of the Germany’s largest police union, the GdP, adding that it endangers the lives of the German police officers. “We should withdraw from Afghanistan as quickly as possible,” urges Scheuring.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/29-Dec-2012/failure-threatens-afghan-police-training-mission

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Myanmar Muslims recall Buddhist assault

December 29, 2012

Stranded beside their decrepit flotilla of wooden boats, on a muddy beach far from home, the Muslim refugees tell story after terrifying story of their exodus from a once-peaceful town on Myanmar's western coast.

They were attacked one quiet evening, they say, by Buddhist mobs determined to expel them from the island port of Kyaukphyu.

There were chaotic clashes and gruesome killings, and a wave of arson strikes so intense that flames eventually engulfed their entire neighborhood.

In the end, all they could do was run.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=43540

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Tahrir men clash with cops in city, 39 held in Bangladesh

December 29, 2012

Law enforcers picked up 39 activists of banned outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir after a clash with them in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Saturday.

At least 10 people were injured during the clash, police said.

Some 50 activists of the banned outfit tried to bring out a procession from in front of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) building near the press club at noon.

But police resisted them and charged batons on the Hizb ut-Tahrir activists to disperse them that triggered the clash, Soma Rani Saha, a sub-inspector of Shahbagh Police Station..

Police picked up seven people from the spot, the SI said.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=43541

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No alternative to Hasina

December 29, 2012

After setting a record of leading her party for almost 32 years, Awami League president Sheikh Hasina is still looking certain to remain at the helm of the party for at least another three years through today's national council.

Since the inception of the party in 1949, about 63 years ago, none of the previous leaders including her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had the opportunity to retain the party helm for so long.

When her attention was drawn to this fact, political scientist Prof Dilara Chowdhury said, “I am more than sure no other democratic country in the world has such a record.”

Hasina's archrival Khaleda Zia, chairperson of the main opposition BNP, is also in the race. She has been leading BNP for the last 28 years after its founding 35 years ago. It is certain that she will be made the party chief for another term when BNP holds its national council next year. Compared to her party's age, Khaleda's record is thus somewhat stronger than that of Hasina.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=262986

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Southeast Asia

 

US Industry Presses for Duties on Shrimp From Indonesia, Six Others

December 29, 2012

Washington. US shrimp producers filed a petition on Friday asking the Commerce Department to impose punitive duties on billions of dollars of shrimp from China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Ecuador to offset what they said were unfair foreign government subsidies.

“Today’s filing is about the survival of the entire US shrimp industry,” C. David Veal, executive director of the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries, said in a statement.

The group represents shrimp fisherman in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas who say they have lost US market share to lower-priced imports from the six countries in Asia and the one in South America.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/us-industry-presses-for-duties-on-shrimp-from-indonesia-six-others/563963

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Storms to Wreak More Havoc in Indonesia

Zakir Hussain

December 29, 2012

Jakarta. Residents of Sumput in Sidoarjo, East Java, already forced to stay home because of heavy rain on Wednesday afternoon, got a double whammy when a sudden gale-force wind struck their village, toppling trees and electric cables and blowing the roofs off several houses.

No one was injured, but such strong winds — less deadly than tropical cyclones or tornadoes — have been identified by disaster officials as a growing and destructive weather threat.

The national agency for disaster management (BNPB) projects that such gale-force winds are set to cause more damage in the near future, going by their increasing frequency in recent years.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/storms-to-wreak-more-havoc-in-indonesia/563961

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Indonesia's Domestic Economy to Lift Shares Next Year

Dominic G. Diongson & Francezka Nangoy

December 29, 2012

Indonesian stocks closed 2012 for their fourth year of gains.

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 34.83 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,316.69 on Friday. That brought the benchmark stock measure’s advance for the year at 13 percent, adding to last year’s 3.2 percent rise. It climbed 46 percent in 2010 and surged 87 percent in 2009.

This year’s gains were tempered amid concerns that the global economic slowdown would send exports lower. And they did. Prices of such commodities as coal, crude palm oil and metals declined in the second half as customers from Western nations, namely in Europe and the United States, curtailed purchases.

That has brought shares of coal miners Bumi Resources, the nation’s biggest, and Res o urce Alam Indonesia down by more than 60 percent.

Shares of Astra Agro Lestari, the biggest palm oil producer, fell 9.2 percent.

Despite the negative second half, looking ahead, further gains may be in store for the Southeast Asian nation, which has the biggest economy in the region.

“For six months now, investors have been bracing for a slowdown in Indonesia,” said Aditya Srinath, strategist for Indonesia at J.P. Morgan Securities Indonesia.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/indonesias-domestic-economy-to-lift-shares-next-year/563916

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Indonesia Had Likely Posted a Trade Deficit In November

Rieka Rahadiana

December 29, 2012

Indonesia had another trade deficit in November, while inflation eased further in December, according to a Reuters poll whose results point to the central bank holding its benchmark rate steady at a meeting on Jan. 10.

The poll’s median projection for November exports by 13 economists was for a fall of 6.9 percent from a year earlier. That would extend the string of months in which exports have contracted on-year to eight, though it would be slightly smaller than October’s 7.6 percent decline.

Indonesia has had trade deficits in five months this year, including a record $1.54 billion in October. The deficits have put pressure on the rupiah, which has weakened about 6.5 percent against the dollar this year. In the poll, the median forecast was for another deficit in November, of $450 million.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/indonesia-had-likely-posted-a-trade-deficit-in-november/563901

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Mandiri Still in Stalemate With Malaysian Banking Regulators

Tito Summa Siahaan

December 29, 2012

As the deadline ticks closer, it looks as though Bank Mandiri’s plan to expand its business in Malaysia is likely to fall through.

The Indonesian lender, which hopes to operate as a full-fledged branch in Malaysia, is standing firm in its demands for relaxed requirements, which Malaysian regulators appear unlikely to meet.

As a foreign lender in Malaysia, Mandiri would need to meet certain requirements, including having 300 million ringgit ($98 million) of initial capital.

Malaysia’s central bank also limits the number and type of branches that a foreign lender can establish. The maximum number of branches is just 12, and foreign lenders like Mandiri are not authorized to put automated teller machines outside their branches.

Mandiri has already secured permits to operate in Malaysia, though the permits, which have a deadline of the end of this year, require the bank to meet existing requirements. Mandiri is seeking to negotiate these terms.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/mandiri-still-in-stalemate-with-malaysian-banking-regulators/563928

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Africa

 

Hundreds protest against militias in Libya’s Benghazi

28 December 2012

BENGHAZI, Libya: Some 2,000 people rallied in Libya’s second city Benghazi on Friday to demand that militias made up of former rebels who helped oust dictator Muammar Qaddafi disband and join the army or police.

“Our demands are: dissolve all militias and make their members individually enter the army or police force,” activist and law student Bilal Bettamer said.

“And we want all pro-Qaddafi and Qaddafi-era criminals to be removed from the police and army. We want to end this stalemate between the army and militias,” he added.

Former rebels who have refused to join the security forces insist that the authorities first purge them of remnants of the Qaddafi regime.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/hundreds-protest-against-militias-libya%E2%80%99s-benghazi

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Suspected US drone strike kills two in Yemen

By Saeed Al Batat

December 28, 2012

Sana’a: A US drone strike killed at least two suspected Al Qaida militants in a southern port town on Friday, a Yemeni security official told Gulf News.

The airstrike occurred in Shiher town, Hadramout province, where similar US drone hit a gathering of Al Qaida militants, killing five on Monday.

“A US drone killed two people in an area outside the town of Shiher,” the official said, giving no details on the dead. The US has in recent days intensified drone strikes on Al Qaida militants in Yemen after almost two months of let-up.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/yemen/suspected-us-drone-strike-kills-two-in-yemen-1.1124978

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Regional nations meet on C Africa peace

December 29, 201

BANGUI - The Central African Republic's neighbours took steps Friday to tackle the crisis in the chronically unstable nation, where rebels have advanced towards the capital Bangui, stoking local and international alarm. President Francois Bozize's appeals for help from former colonial power France and the United States have fallen on deaf ears, but fears about the deteriorating security situation have seen Washington evacuate its embassy in Bangui and the UN pull out staff. Foreign ministers in the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) were due to discuss the crisis later Friday at a meeting in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

"The goal is to get to negotiations (between the government and the rebels) by January 10," a source in the Multinational Force in Centrafrica (FOMAC) told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/29-Dec-2012/regional-nations-meet-on-c-africa-peace

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Syrian students, teachers struggle in Lebanon

By Mirella Hodeib

December 29, 2012

AL-RAFID, Lebanon: For the 150 or so Syrian students enrolled at the Rawafed School in the Western Bekaa, little has changed in terms of academics: they are taught their home country’s curriculum by Syrian teachers.

But there have been other modifications at school. The notorious national education classes, in which students were indoctrinated with Baath Party ideology and instructed in the principles of the Correctional Movement, the 1970 coup that brought President Hafez Assad to power, have been replaced by classes in religion.

Students have also abandoned the daily routine of chanting Syria’s national anthem, Humat a-Diyar (Guardians of the Homeland) – a tribute to the military – and have become accustomed to reciting prayers before starting class.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Dec-29/200277-syrian-students-teachers-struggle-in-lebanon.ashx#ixzz2GQHPyXk3

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Gambia: Sub-Regional Forum on the Use of Media in Preaching Islamic Culture

BY ABDOULIE NYOCKEH

28 DECEMBER 2012

A three-day sub-regional forum on the use of media in preaching Islamic culture in West

Africa commenced on Thursday at Baobab Holiday Resort.

The sub-regional convergence was organised by the Islamic Educational, Scientific Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in collaboration with NATCOM. The purpose of the forum is to strengthen the capacity of Islamic preachers on the use of the media for the development of a culture of peace and dialogue in the context of Islamic culture. The workshop brought together twelve participants from The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea Bissau.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201212280623.html?viewall=1

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Central African Republic Forces Fight for City Held by Rebels

December 28, 2012

BANGUI, Central African Republic (Agence France-Presse) — Government soldiers on Friday battled to recapture a city held by rebels, a military official said, as regional negotiators continued to seek a peaceful end to the crisis by arranging for the two sides to talk.

The official said the fighting in the captured city, Bambari, which members of a rebel coalition seized on Sunday, was “especially violent.”

The Central African Republic’s neighbors took steps Friday to address the crisis, as rebels advanced toward the capital, Bangui, stoking fears of wider violence.

Foreign ministers in the 10-member Economic Community of Central African States planned to discuss the crisis at a meeting in Gabon.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/world/africa/fighting-in-central-african-republic-nears-its-capital.html?ref=africa&gwh=83579D05999D72E4FFD8F96F7BA7F153

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Mideast Asia

 

Fatah to mark anniversary in Hamas-run Gaza

December 29, 2012

GAZA CITY  - The Gaza branch of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party said on Friday it will mark its anniversary in the Hamas-ruled enclave after an accord between the two factions.

“We have agreed with (Hamas) prime minister Ismail Haniya that Fatah will celebrate its 48th anniversary on January 1 at the site of the Saraya” complex where its security forces were based, Fatah official Yehiye Rabba said. The last time that Fatah, which governs the West Bank, held celebrations in the Gaza Strip to mark its foundation was in 2007. Hamas and Fatah had been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/29-Dec-2012/fatah-to-mark-anniversary-in-hamas-run-gaza

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Turkish president's request condemned

December 29, 2012

Social and cultural organisations yesterday strongly condemned Turkish President Abdullah Gul's recent letter to President Zillur Rahman calling for “clemency” to the accused under trial in the International Crimes Tribunal for the “sake of peace in the society”.

The organisations demanded quick completion of the trial of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

Meanwhile, asked to comment on the letter, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, at the Trust Bank 12th National Senior and Junior Taekwondo Championship in the capital's National Sports Council Gymnasium, invited journalists to her ministry tomorrow, reports UNB.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=263080

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Risks of climate disasters grow in Middle East

By Saifur Rahman

December 28, 2012

Dubai: The impact of climate change will be acute in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and immediate action will be needed to avoid the projected consequences of worsening water shortages and rising food insecurity, according to a new World Bank report on climate change.

In 2006, flooding of the Nile River Basin affected 118,000 individuals – and led to 600 flood-related deaths. In the Jordan River Basin, 2008 was the 5th consecutive year of drought. Before these memories faded, June 2010’s Cyclone Phet – the 2nd-strongest tropical cyclone in the region – killed 44 people and damaged $700 million worth of properties in Oman.

“Floods may become more frequent as a result of climate variability – leading to heavy economic losses and spikes in food insecurity. Sea levels at 0.5 meters higher may flood 30 per cent of Alexandria, Egypt – displacing 1.5 million people and causing $30 trillion in damages,” says the Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries report that was released recently.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/risks-of-climate-disasters-grow-in-middle-east-1.1125054

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Iran starts navy drills

29 December 2012

DUBAI: Iran started yesterday six days of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz, IRNA reported.

Naval commander Habibollah Sayyari said the “Velayat 91” drills would last until Wednesday across an area of about 1 million sq. km in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, IRNA said.

Sayyari said the goal of the maneuvers were to show “the armed forces’ military capabilities” in defending Iran’s borders as well as sending a message of peace and friendship to neighboring countries.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/iran-starts-navy-drills

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Abbas: Israel reduced security cooperation

29 December 2012

JERUSALEM: The Palestinian president says Israel has reduced its security cooperation with Palestinians in the West Bank to protest their successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations.

Mahmoud Abbas says Israeli soldiers have started entering West Bank cities without Palestinian coordination. He spoke in a meeting with a dovish Israeli lawmaker and Israel’s daily Haaretz.

An Abbas aide, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, said Israel’s army detained 200 Palestinian officers in recent months, mostly for short interrogations.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/abbas-israel-reduced-security-cooperation

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Iran starts war games in Strait of Hormuz

28 Dec 2012

Iran has started six days of naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz aimed at showcasing its military capabilities in what is a vital oil and gas shipping route,  the official IRNA news agency reported.

The manoeuvres began early on Friday, involving warships, submarines jet fighters and hovercrafts.

Naval commander Habibollah Sayyari said on Friday the "Velayat 91" drills would last until Wednesday across an area of about one million square km in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, IRNA said.

Sayyari said the goal of the manoeuvres were to show "the armed forces' military capabilities" in defending Iran's borders.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/12/2012122862357402782.html

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Europe

 

Athens - the EU capital city without a mosque

By Mark Lowe

28 December 2012

At Friday prayers and across Athens, Muslims gather in underground, cramped prayer rooms.

The makeshift facilities are illegal but this huge community faces no other option. Athens, a metropolis on the edge of the Muslim world, is one of the few EU capitals without a mosque.

Since Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, no government has allowed a mosque to be built in the city. It was seen by many as "un-Greek" - out of place in a country in which much more than 90% of the population are Orthodox Christians.

But as Greece has become the main entry point for migrants to the EU, its Muslim population has swelled.

Some estimates place the number of Muslims in Athens alone at around 300,000, in a city with a population of around five million, and the clamour for an official place of prayer is growing.

"It is a very big tragedy for us Muslims that there is no mosque here," says Syed Mohammad Jamil from the Pakistan-Hellenic Society.

"Greece produced democracy and civilisation and the respect of religion - but they don't respect our Muslims to provide us with a regular, legal mosque."

One of the Friday worshippers, Ashifaq Ahmad, says: "I feel somehow cut off from society.

"When we have a celebration, there is nowhere proper for us to get together. Society is not accepting us."

Barracks plan

Pressure on the government to provide a secure, protected mosque has grown as the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party continues to rise.

Its members stand accused of beating immigrants and vandalising some of the underground prayer rooms.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20820349

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Russia pressing Syria leadership to talk to opposition: Lavrov

28 Dec 2012

Russia, one of the few remaining allies of President Bashar al-Assad, said Friday it was pressing the Syrian leadership to put into action previous pledges for dialogue with the opposition.

"We actively encouraged... the Syrian leadership to maximally put into action its declared readiness for dialogue with the opposition," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters when asked about his meeting Thursday with Syria's deputy foreign minister.

Lavrov said Russia also encouraged Assad's government "to underscore that they are open to discussing the widest range of items in line with the agreements reached in Geneva on June 30."

Russia's top diplomat warned on Thursday that time was running out for the parties to save an accord reached by global powers in Geneva that calls for the introduction of a transitional government but makes no explicit call on Assad to step down.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61413/World/Region/Russia-pressing-Syria-leadership-to-talk-to-opposi.aspx

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/paintings-depicting-clerics-in-scenes-with-strong-homosexual-overtones-outrage-islamic-hard-liners/d/9836

 

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