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Islamic World News ( 12 Aug 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pak woman kills faith healer, claims blasphemy prompted action

Islamic songs face myriad challenges in Arab world

Wrong to say madrasas hub of terrorism: Author

Pakistan convicts seven over Rawalpindi army HQ attack

Egyptian Sufis Reject Rise of Islamists

Karachi: 9 killed in firing and grenade attacks, 16 vehicles burnt, 50 arrested

DIG Rahul Sharma chargesheeted by Gujarat government

Centre- BJP clash over Modi govt. heat on cops

J&K: Girls to receive arms training to counter militants

Taliban claim responsibility for woman suicide attack

Syria army storms new towns, 14 killed

Mortar attack from Afghanistan kills child in South Waziristan

Afghan blast kills five from same family: official

9 troops die in two days in Afghanistan

Brega battle takes toll on both sides in Libya Robert Birsel

Security beefed up in J-K, Hurriyat calls for strike on Independence Day

Libyan government bans unlicensed satellite phones

US threatens Gaza aid cutoff after Hamas crackdown

'China not supporting India's stand on Pak terror camps'

Norway police search for camera maybe used to film massacre

Sarabjit's lawyer petitions Zardari for his release on Pak Independence-Day

India, Pak govts. still to relax visa regime

US concern grows over al-Qaeda poison threat

Pak agency 'embezzled massive amounts of flood aid money'

Syrians call for Assad's execution

US grand jury to decide if Kashmiri separatist Fai will face trial

US rubbishes claims of massive civilian casualties in Pak drone strikes

Italy paid Taliban not to attack its troops: WikiLeaks

Voice sample of 26/11 accused matches that of handler: Pak witness

China sends anti-terrorism unit to restive west

Ghana schoolboy launches solo Somalia famine fundraiser

Indian Home Minister’s hang terrorists formula an instant hit

Khalistani Terrorist hallucinates as noose around his neck tightens

Centre slams ‘cynical’ article on Indo- Bangla ties

’36pc of Pakistanis undernourished’

Gunmen kidnap US citizen in Pakistan: police

Syrian troops fire as thousands protest Assad

Norway names commission to judge attack response

Taliban free two captives in Peshawar

Pakistanis: Victims of multinational war frenzy

Musician Shafiq denied Baqee burial

Mass rallies in Yemen demand president step down

Cuba’s fading Fidel Castro turns 85 on Saturday

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pak-woman-kills-faith-healer,-claims-blasphemy-prompted-action/d/5249 

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Pak woman kills faith healer, claims blasphemy prompted action

Aug 13 2011

Lahore : A middle-aged woman axed to death an elderly faith healer in Pakistan's Punjab province for allegedly committing blasphemy, police officials said on Saturday.

Musarrat Bibi, 40, who had visited the 70-year-old faith healer Baba Muhammad Amin earlier for consultations, axed him to death in Kanganpur town, 40 kilometre from Lahore.

She claimed that the man had committed blasphemy against Prophet Mohammad.

A tea stall owner, Muhammad Aslam, also sustained injuries when he tried to rescue the elderly man in the incident that occurred on Thursday night.

After surrendering to police, she claimed that she had killed the man for committing blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam.

Police is trying to ascertain whether there was any other motive behind the murder, officials said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-woman-kills-faith-healer-claims-blasphemy-prompted-action/831565/

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Islamic songs face myriad challenges in Arab world

13 August 2011

JEDDAH: Islamic songs of late have been gaining popularity among various sections of society in the Arab world.

This is more evident by the tremendous response to video clips of songs by some prominent Arab singers aired by satellite channels.

These singers can also draw packed audiences at various art and music festivals across the world. Despite all these positive factors, Islamic songs are still moving through a rough path, confronting various challenges and difficulties that stand in the way of their fast growing popularity.

Arab News talked to a number of eminent Islamic singers, including renowned artist Mousa Mustafa, who came to Jeddah to attend various programs and festivals.

They spoke at length about the various elements of Islamic songs and the major challenges facing this art form.

They also covered topics such as the production of video music albums, public response toward Islamic songs, and the influence of modern technology and voice modulation techniques in the production of albums.

“As Islamic artists, we face several hurdles while pursuing our career,” said renowned Islamic singer from Iraq Muhammad Al-Ghazzawi.

“The major challenge I face is the difficulty in traveling to various countries because of my nationality. The complications for travel procedures as an Iraqi citizen have deprived me of golden chances to attend several major international festivals held in various countries.”

He added that he also missed the opportunity to get to know the various forms of Islamic art in those countries as well as meet personally with the local Islamic singers and artists.

Osama Al-Safi, a singer from the UAE, said Islamic devotional songs have triggered a controversy that threatens the art form.

“As far as video clips are concerned, their success depends on whether the ideas match the songs and the location in addition to the type of cameras used,” he said.

Regarding the public response toward the Islamic moral and religious songs (Nasheed), a spokesman for the Saudi Innovation team said: “There has been a growing response from the public to this art form even though it was not well known in the music world. All sections of society, including elders and youngsters, embrace this art form. Most of these singers use lyrics composed by prominent Islamic poets and writers who deal with a number of major social issues. They include lyrics by Ahmad Balghasoun, Salim Abdul Qader, Badar Al-Abnawi and Ojlan Thabit.”

On the major challenges facing these artists, the spokesman said: “Most television channels are not giving sufficient air time to this form of music. There is also a shortage in the production of Islamic songs. Moreover, there is no collective working strategy and a clear vision for the Islamic singers.”

He added that most of these singers do not have an academic background mainly because of the absence of any specialized institutes for them. The team’s first album “Mokhtalef” was a tremendous success and was second only to the album “Dikrayat” by Moshari Al-Afasi in sales.

Echoing the same view, Ayman Halaj, a Jordanian artist, said the most important hurdle they face concerns production. He said that it is very difficult to find producers who share the artist’s vision.

Referring to modern techniques and voice modulation, Al-Safi said: “There are two schools of thought with regard to the production of religious songs. One prefers not to use any musical instruments while the second uses all available means, including instruments. There is no doubt that modern technology would enable artists to perform in the best possible way.”

He added, however, that there is no advantage to using musical instruments if the talent was not there and that a natural performance is more enjoyable than the one with embellishments.

Regarding interaction with production companies, Mousa Mustafa, an artist from Syria, said: “As artists, we face difficulties in our dealings with production companies. We tried to conclude agreements with companies such as Rotana, but to no avail. They treat us as Islamic artists who are not popular in the circles of music. Therefore, most often these companies commercialize our art and then market them, or at least produce video albums out of our work.” He suggested companies also fail to pay any royalties to the artists.

On his part, Turkish artist Masud Kortes is of the view that most video clips of music albums aired by channels are worthless. People want original music and songs that can impart in them guiding thoughts and provide them a pleasant atmosphere with its sweet words, he added.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article487655.ece

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Wrong to say madrasas hub of terrorism: Author

13 Aug, 2011

New Delhi : It is wrong to say that madrasas teach students to hate other religions and are hubs of terrorism, says Arshad Alam, author of the book "Inside a Madrasa: knowledge, power and Islamic identity in India".

"The data of terror activities and terrorists don't support the hypothesis that madrassas make terrorists. Also the kind of technology that terrorists have access to, a madrassa student doesn't have," Alam said in a lecture in the capital Thursday.

Alam also teaches at the Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies in the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI).

According to Alam, there are different kinds of madrasas, depending on their school of thought and interpretation of Islam.

The Sachar Committee report said only four percent Muslims go to madrassas for education. But Alam argues that the data of the Sachar Committee about madrassa students is not correct because it relies on the Madrasa Board and National Council for Educational Research and Training's (NCERT) seventh all India madrassa survey.

Apart from that, there are a large number of madrassas which are being run independently.

"Twelve-thirteen percent Muslims go to madrassas for education and the percentage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is higher," Alam said.

Talking about the syllabi and functions of madrassas, he said Dars-e-Nizami, a century old educational syllabus of Deobandi madrassas, has a mix of religious and non-religious subjects.

"From geography and astronomy to the Quran, the curriculum is all encompassing," he said.

Alam elaborates that after 1857, two types of schools came into existence - Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's which is now known as Aligarh Muslim University and Maulana Qasim Nanavtavi's led by Darul Uloom Deoband.

"It is interesting that Sir Syed and Qasim Nanavtavi had studied at the same institution in Delhi. Its name was Ghaziuddin Madrassa, which is now known as Zakir Husain College," he added.

Answering a question about the need for religious education in modern minority institutions, Alam said minority and non-minority institutions should both teach religious teachings and madrassas should teach modern subjects.

The lecture was organised by the K.R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies of JMI.

http://twocircles.net/2011aug12/wrong_say_madrassas_hub_terrorism_author.html?utm_

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Pakistan convicts seven over Rawalpindi army HQ attack

13 August 2011

The militants seized hostages and held off commandos for several hours

A military court in Pakistan has convicted seven people over an attack on army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in 2009.

A former soldier was sentenced to death and six other people, five of them civilians, received prison sentences.

Eleven soldiers were killed when a group of militants wearing suicide vests stormed the headquarters.

The incident made international headlines and was hugely embarrassing for Pakistan's security forces.

The military court sentenced a retired army sepoy named as Aqeel, alias Dr Usman, to death, while another former soldier, Imran Siddiq, was given life imprisonment, Pakistani media reported.

Three civilians also received life sentences and two others were jailed for 10 and seven years respectively.

The civilians were convicted for helping the attackers, the Pakistani Express Tribune reported.

In the 2009 attack, militants seized hostages and held off army commandos for several hours.

Troops eventually freed 39 hostages, but 23 people were killed, including 11 troops, three hostages and nine attackers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14517005

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Egyptian Sufis Reject Rise of Islamists

Elizabeth Arrott

Aug 13 2011

Some of Egypt's minority Sufi Muslims are warning against the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalism in national politics.  Adherents of the mystical form of Islam are holding a rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday to make the case for a tolerant, civilian Egyptian state. 

The gathering has adopted the slogan "For the Love of Egypt," arguing for a new government that embraces the political and religious spectrum rather than the fundamentalist vision of an Islamic state.

Fundamentalist Muslim rally causes apprehension

Alaa Abu al-Azayem, head of the al-Tahrir political party and leader of the Azmiya Sufi sect says his group's participation in the rally - the first time members have called for such action - comes in direct response to a rally late last month of tens of thousands of fundamentalist Muslims. 

He says the July 29th protest caused fear for all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims, warning that if "those people" came to rule the country, they would make anyone who opposes them "disappear."    

Full report at:

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Egyptian-Sufis-Reject-Rise-of-Islamists-127589888.html

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Karachi: 9 killed in firing and grenade attacks, 16 vehicles burnt, 50 arrested

13 August 2011

KARACHI: All major markets in Karachi remained closed on Saturday, with public transport off the roads, while at least nine people were killed and more than 16 vehicles torched in different incidents of violence following the strike call by Sindh nationalist parties against the restoration of Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2001.

All Sindhi-speaking localities of the city including Ibrahim Haideri, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Malir, Sachal Goth, Chakra Goth, Shanti Nagar, Lyari remained in grip of fear after intense aerial firing and burning of tiers on roads on Friday night.

Several areas of Orangi, Banaras, Gulistan-e-Johar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal also remained tense. All markets of the city remained closed, with no minibus or coach plying on roads.

In Saddar area a few buses were seen; however, public transporter opted to park their vehicles following the announcement of Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) not to ply minibuses on the strike day.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/13/nationalists-strike-karachi-markets-closed-9-killed-in-firing-and-grenade-attacks-16-vehicles-burnt-50-arrested-in-police-crackdown.html

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DIG Rahul Sharma chargesheeted by Gujarat government

Aug 13, 2011

NEW DELHI: Days after IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was locked in a public confrontation with the Gujarat government over 2002 post-Godhra riots, faced suspension -- Gujarat DIG Rahul Sharma was on Saturday chargesheeted for indiscipline. Rahul Sharma has been chargesheeted for misconduct in taking away CDs from the 2002 riots case papers.

This move from the Gujarat government comes after DIG Rahul Sharma did not toe the political line in the probe into the 2002 riots and subsequent encounters.

Sharma's lawyer Mukul Sinha said, "This is shocking, we are studying the chargesheet. They have targeted any person who has spoken the truth about the riots."

The chargesheet came a day after home mininister P Chidambaram said that the Centre is willing to intervene in the IPS officers versus Gujarat Government fight. Chidambaram reiterated that there are rules which allow the Centre to intervene but only at the behest of the officer concerned.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/DIG-Rahul-Sharma-chargesheeted-by-Gujarat-government/articleshow/9588692.cms

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Centre- BJP clash over Modi govt heat on cops

13 August 2011

THE issue of two IPS officers locked in a confrontation with the Narendra Modi- led Gujarat government has sparked a political slugfest between the Centre and the BJP. Home minister P. Chidambaram expressed concern over the Gujarat government’s decision to take action against IPS officers Sanjiv Bhatt and Rahul Sharma, who took on the Modi government over the 2002 riots. Chidambaram said the Union government could intervene if the affected officers decided to approach it.

“ Rules do provide for the Central government to take certain decisions at certain stages, but that stage has to be invoked by the officer concerned. If the officers invoke the rule, we will certainly look into it,” Chidambaram said.

The BJP was quick to term this as big- brother attitude and an attempt to destabilise the state government.

Full report at: Mail Today

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J&K: Girls to receive arms training to counter militants

13 Aug, 2011

Jammu: The Indian Army officials in Rajouri district imparted arms training to girls with an aim to combat militancy in Jammu & Kashmir.

Girls in Rajouri district were trained to use the weapons by the army personnel of the paramilitary 63 Rashtriya Rifles. The aim of the training is to curb the rising militancy in the state.

Young girls, who generally live in a protected environment, came forward to learn the usage of weapons, which they could use in self-defence.

At the 'Know Your Army' stall, visitors got an opportunity to see various weapons, which the army had taken into its custody after it had conducted raids at the militant camps in the valley.

Full report at:

http://twocircles.net/2011aug12/jk_girls_receive_arms_training_counter_militants.html?

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Taliban claim responsibility for suicide attack

13 August 2011

PESHAWAR, Aug 12: The Taliban on Friday claimed responsibility for a rare female suicide attack and another bombing against police to ‘avenge’ military operations in the lawless tribal belt.

A woman blew herself up near a police check-post killing other woman just hours after a separate bomb planted in a pushcart killed six people in Peshawar.

The head of the Taliban in Mohmand tribal region said using women bombers was part of a new strategy.

“It is part of our strategy and in war strategies keep on changing,” Omar Khalid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“The blasts were in reaction to the current military operation in the tribal areas,” he said, threatening further attacks until offensives waged “to appease the United States” came to an end.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/13/taliban-claim-responsibility-for-suicide-attack.html

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Syria army storms new towns, 14 killed

13 August 2011

Damascus : The United States and Turkey agreed on the need for a "transition to democracy" in Syria, as President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed at least 14 people after storming two more towns in pursuit of anti-regime protesters.

The White House said that President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed during a phone call on the need for an "immediate halt of all bloodshed and violence against the Syrian people" by forces loyal to Assad.

"The two leaders underscored the urgency of the situation, reiterated their deep concern about the Syrian government's use of violence against civilians and their belief that the Syrian people's legitimate demands for a transition to democracy should be met," the White House said in a readout of the call.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces killed at least 14 people today, with the army storming two more towns in pursuit of anti-regime protesters, defying Western calls for an end to violence after a "chilling" UN Security Council briefing.

The killings occurred soon after columns of tanks entered the town of Qusayr in the central province of Homs early on Thursday, sending residents fleeing into the fields, rights activist there said.

"The security forces opened fire on residents who tried to flee to the Al-Basateen district, killing at least five" one activist told AFP in Nicosia, adding later that the death toll rose to eleven.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/syria-army-storms-new-towns-14-killed/830976/

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Mortar attack from Afghanistan kills child in South Waziristan

13 August 2011

PESHAWAR: Mortars fired from Afghanistan struck a house in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, killing a child and wounded two others, DawnNews reported.

The house struck in the attack was situated in South Waziristan’s Angoor Adda area.

Subsequently, Pakistan lodged a protest with the Afghan National Army and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), security sources told DawnNews.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/13/mortar-attack-from-afghanistan-kills-child-in-south-waziristan.html

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Afghan blast kills five from same family: official

13 August 2011

KABUL: Five members of the same family were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb ripped through their minivan in insurgency-hit southern Afghanistan, an official said.

The incident happened in Gereshk, a volatile district of Helmand province, as the family travelled to Helmand’s main town Lashkar Gah, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

“At around 10:00 am this morning, a minivan struck a roadside bomb killing three women and two men who were members of one family,” Ahmadi said.

Although the attack bore the hallmarks of the Taliban, who frequently plant roadside bombs in Afghanistan’s restive regions, the insurgents were unreachable to comment on the attack.

Civilians are the biggest casualties in the decade-long war in Afghanistan, where around 140,000 foreign forces are stationed.

The year 2010 was the bloodiest yet for civilians, with the United Nations recording 2,777 fatalities.

A total of 1,462 civilians were also killed in the first half of 2011, according to UN figures — an increase of 15 per cent over last year, with insurgent attacks blamed for 80 per cent of fatalities overall.

Cheap and easy to make, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are used widely by the Taliban and kill large numbers of civilians and troops.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/13/afghan-blast-kills-five-from-same-family-official.html

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9 troops die in two days in Afghanistan

13 August 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgent attacks have killed nine NATO service members in the past two days in Afghanistan, where the U.S.-led coalition is mourning the deaths of 30 American troops and eight Afghans in a helicopter crash last week, military officials said.

The Aug. 6 crash was the single deadliest loss for US forces in the nearly decade-long war.

The crash victims’ remains were flown to a mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The Pentagon said Friday that the military’s medical examiner’s office had positively identified all 30 US troops and two of the eight Afghans, as well as the US military dog that died in the crash. Identification work continues on the other six Afghans, the Pentagon said.

The identification team comprised 10 forensic pathologists, two forensic anthropologists, six odontologists (forensic dentists) and dentists, three FBI fingerprint experts, three forensic investigators, two tissue technicians and a three-person DNA team. To make the identifications, medical examiners used forensic techniques, including fingerprints, dental examination, radiology and DNA matching — techniques that were not available in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August590.xml&section=international

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Brega battle takes toll on both sides in Libya Robert Birsel

13 August 2011

At least 21 rebels and government soldiers were killed in fighting for the Libyan oil terminal of Brega over the past two days, hospital workers said on Saturday.

A volunteer worker at the hospital in nearby Ajdabiyah, where fighters wounded in Brega are taken, said 15 rebel fighters had been killed and about 50 wounded. He said the bodies of six government soldiers were brought in on Friday.

In fighting around a second eastern front in Misrata, much closer to Tripoli, at least six rebels were killed in the past 24 hours, rebel sources said.

A rebel spokesman from the Brega battle said forces opposed to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were fighting their way south from the residential town of New Brega towards the terminal, 15 km (10 miles) away and had knocked out two government tanks.

Rebels took New Brega on Thursday but Gaddafi’s forces still control the port, oil terminal and refinery of Brega, which has changed hands several times over months of fighting in eastern Libya.

“We are advancing from the residential area,” rebel commander Fawzi Bukatif told Reuters by telephone. “There are a few Gaddafi tanks and we’ve destroyed two of them.”

Rebels want control of the oil facilities 750 km east of the capital Tripoli to begin exporting oil from Brega. The battle for it has been going on for months.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August602.xml&section=international

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Security beefed up in J-K, Hurriyat calls for strike on Independence Day

Aug 13 2011

Srinagar : Security has been beefed up across Kashmir Valley ahead of Independence Day, in view of alert issued by the Centre about a possible militant strike.

A three-tier security blanket has been thrown around Bakshi stadium, the main venue for the Independence Day celebration in Jammu and Kashmir, to thwart any attempt by militants to carry out a strike, officials said.

They said although the deployment of the security personnel this year is not as visible as in earlier years, the security grid is relying on modern gadgetry like closed circuit TV cameras and human intelligence to ensure a peaceful Independence Day.

Moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has called for a general strike on Monday to impress upon the world community the gravity of the situation in Kashmir.

"It is ironic when India is celebrating its Independence Day, the entire population of Kashmir is being held hostage by the security apparatus," the Hurriyat said in a statement.

The deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF personnel has been carried out around Bakshi stadium and all roads leading to the venue are likely to be sealed for public from tomorrow.

The security forces along the Line of Control as well as inside the Valley have been put on a high alert following inputs about a possible militant attack to disrupt the celebrations, a senior official said.

The troops along the LoC have been directed to remain vigilant as army apprehends that militants might try to infiltrate into this side to carry out attacks on security forces and civilians.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/security-beefed-up-in-jk-hurriyat-calls-for-strike-on-iday/831574/

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Libyan government bans unlicensed satellite phones

13 August 2011

  BENGHAZI, Libya - The Libyan government says any citizen caught using an unlicensed satellite phone will be charged as a spy for NATO.

Libya’s news agency, JANA, reported Friday that those carrying a satellite phone without a permit could be sentenced to death as punishment for treason.

Many Libyans have been using satellite phones to communicate with one another after the government cut off mobile phone communications when the civil war started in February.

Libya’s 6-month-old civil war has been deadlocked for months despite NATO’s airstrikes to protect civilians.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August550.xml&section=international&col=

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US threatens Gaza aid cutoff after Hamas crackdown

Aug 13, 2011

JERUSALEM: The US will cut $100 million in American aid money to Palestinians in Gaza if the territory's Hamas rulers continue with "unwarranted audits" of local American nonprofit organisations, a state department official said on Saturday.

The American threat came in response to a growing attempt by Hamas to exert control over the international organisations that support the many impoverished Palestinians among Gaza's population of 1.5 million people.

This week, Hamas shut down the US-financed International Medical Corps after it refused to submit to a Hamas audit.

The State Department informed Hamas yesterday that aid worth $100 million would be halted if the International Medical Corps were not allowed to operate freely.

"If they are not allowed to reopen and operate then obviously we are looking at USAID to suspend all operations until the IMC is allowed to reopen," said a state department official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. "These are unwarranted audits and amount to an increase in harassment of humanitarian relief staff."

The US, which considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, does not have direct contact with the group.

Hamas has told nonprofit groups that they must be registered with the Gaza government and provide financial records.

Mohammed Awad, the Hamas minister of planning in Gaza, said the organizations had agreed to have their accounts vetted through a Hamas-appointed accountant.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-threatens-Gaza-aid-cutoff-after-Hamas-crackdown/articleshow/9586635.cms

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'China not supporting India's stand on Pak terror camps'

13 August 2011

BEIJING: China is not supporting India's stand on terror camps inside Pakistan, when it blamed it for a recent militant attack in restive Xinjiang province, state media said today.

The article published in China Daily also tacitly confirmed the recent hush-hush visit of ISI chief Shuja Pasha here to discuss the issue of Uygur extremists undergoing training in Pakistan.

Playing down the significance of the local government in Kashghar stating that the leaders of East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) who conducted a spate of attacks there on July 30 and 31 were trained in Pakistan, the article said it is wrong to presume that it pointed to a "rift" between the two long term allies.

India has been pressing Pakistan to dismantle scores of terror training camps inside Pakistan from where anti-india activities are carried out.

With in hours of the Chinese statement Pakistan Foreign Ministry "promised full cooperation to China to weed out terrorist from Pakistan", the article published in the China Daily said.

Tacitly confirming the visit of ISI chief it said, "And the Chief of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha) visited Beijing recently, during which he must have discussed the anti-terrorism and anti-separatism issues with Chinese officials," it said.

It is perhaps the first time that Pasha's visit figured in the Chinese media. As per a Pakistan media report, he was supposed to have arrived here on July 30, the first day of the attacks.

Full report at: The Pioneer

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Norway police search for camera maybe used to film massacre

13 August 2011

Norwegian police said on Friday they were looking for a video camera that rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik reportedly used on July 22 to film his attacks that killed 77 people.

The video camera 'is something that has been mentioned in his declarations (to police) and in the manifest' the 32-year-old killer posted on the Internet shortly before carrying out his attacks, police prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told reporters.

"We have for the time being not yet found it, but we are looking for it," he added.

His comments followed a number of media reports quoting anonymous survivors of the massacre saying Behring Breivik may have video-recorded his shooting rampage on the island of Utoeya near Oslo that killed 69 people, many of them teenagers.

Eight others died earlier the same day when Behring Breivik set off a car bomb outside government offices in the Norwegian capital.

In his 1,500-page manifesto, Behring Breivik provides a guide and list of equipment needed for carrying out operations in his 'crusade' against a 'Muslim invasion' of Europe and multiculturalism, stressing that the AEE P80 digital camera was vital "for documenting your operation."

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/norway-police-search-camera-maybe-used-film-massacre-268

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Sarabjit's lawyer petitions Zardari for his release on Pak Independence-Day

Sameer Arshad

Aug 13, 2011

NEW DELHI: The lawyer of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh has written to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari seeking his release on the country's Independence Day eve one day later.

Awais Sheikh told TOI from Lahore that he had asked Zardari to release the prisoner as goodwill gesture and also to reciprocate ailing 80-year-old Pakistani virologist and murder convict Khalil Chishty's likely release from an Ajmer prison on humanitarian grounds.

"I made the formal request on Wednesday as Sarabjit's lawyer asking the president to release him after commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment on August 14. India should release Chishty the following day on India's Independence Day eve." He said it would be a great gesture to improve India-Pakistan ties.

Sheikh had moved Sarabjit's mercy petition two months ago with documentary proof that the prisoner was a victim of mistaken identity. "I have furnished proof of the real culprit Manjit Singh's presence in Pakistan at the time of the blasts that Sarabjit was convicted of."

He said he has furnished Manjit's visiting card and an interview that he gave to Radio Pakistan along with the clemency petition. "It includes affidavit of the person who had interviewed Manjit."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sarabjits-lawyer-petitions-Zardari-for-his-release-on-Pak-I-Day/articleshow/9591398.cms

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India, Pak govts still to relax visa regime

Yudhvir Rana

Aug 13, 2011

AMRITSAR: For over a decade the peaceniks of both India and Pakistan have been lighting candles on their respective sides of the border for peace and cordial relations between the two nations.

Though, the annual candlelight march has given peaceniks wider publicity, but their gesture has not been able to generate any nationwide public momentum on either side of the border, to make both the governments to give travel concessions or relax visa regime.

While admitting that the desirable results have not been achieved by the peaceniks, state convener of Pak-India People`s Forum for Peace and Democracy AS Mahal said he had not seen any output of the efforts.

"There is lack of responsibility, concern and spirit of patriotism among the candlelightwallas," said he, while adding that there just glamour and publicity left to the candlelight vigil.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pak-govts-still-to-relax-visa-regime/articleshow/9586741.cms

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US concern grows over al-Qaeda poison threat

Aug 13 2011

Washington : The Obama administration is concerned that a dangerous regional arm of al Qaeda is trying to produce the deadly poison ricin to use in attacks against the United States, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials and classified intelligence reports, the newspaper said al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has been trying to acquire large quantities of castor beans, used to produce ricin.

It said the apparent intent was to pack the poison around small explosives that could be exploded to disperse the ricin, a white powdery substance so deadly that a speck can kill if inhaled or taken into the bloodstream.

The Times said the apparent intent was to detonate the explosives in enclosed spaces like a shopping mall or airport.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-concern-grows-over-alqaeda-poison-threat/831553/

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Pak agency 'embezzled massive amounts of flood aid money'

Aug 13 2011

Islamabad : Up to 135,000 pounds of aid money was embezzled from Oxfam, a British charity, while it was working to help last year’s Pakistan's flood victims, an independent financial investigation has found.

It was discovered in the inquiry that invoices had been falsified and cheques manipulated to divert funds in two projects managed by a Pakistani agency working with the charity, The Telegraph reports.

The probe by accounting firm PwC had been ordered by Oxfam after its own checks found suspicions of fraud, the paper said.

"We will recover every penny of this money and continue to ensure that donors'' funds reach the people who need it most,” said Neva Khan, Oxfam GB''s country director in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-agency-embezzled-massive-amounts-of-flood-aid-money/831567/

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Syrians call for Assad's execution

Aug 13 2011

Tens of thousands of Syrian protesters shouted for President Bashar Assad's death in a dramatic escalation of their rage and frustration, defying bullets and rooftop snipers after more than a week of intensified military assaults on rebellious cities, activists and witnesses have said.

Security forces killed at least 14 protesters, according to human rights groups.

Friday's calls for Assad's execution were a stark sign of how much the protest movement has changed since it erupted in March seeking minor reforms but making no calls for regime change. The protests grew dramatically over the five months that followed, driven in part by anger over the government's bloody crackdown in which rights groups say at least 1,700 civilians have been killed.

But with the regime shrugging off even the most blistering condemnation, the uprising has become a test of endurance as both sides draw on a deep well of energy and conviction. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday urged countries to stop buying Syrian oil and gas or selling the regime weapons, saying those who still do so must "get on the right side of history.''

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/syrians-call-for-assads-execution/831524/

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US grand jury to decide if Kashmiri separatist Fai will face trial

Aug 13 2011

Washington : The case of Kashmiri separatist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has been charged by the FBI of being an undeclared agent of Pakistani spy agency ISI in the US, has been referred to a grand jury which will determine if there is enough evidence for a trial.

"The matter has been referred to the grand jury, so no further hearings are scheduled pending action by the grand jury," an official of the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, said.

A grand jury is traditionally larger than and distinguishable from a 'petit' jury or the trial jury, which

is used during a trial.

Grand juries carry out their job by examining evidence and issuing indictments, or by investigating alleged crimes and issuing presentments.

The court official said it is the grand jury which will determine if there is enough evidence for trial against Fai, who is currently under house arrest with electronic surveillance at his residence in Fairfax, an effluent suburb

of Washington.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-grand-jury-to-decide-if-kashmiri-separatist-fai-will-face-trial/831529/

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US rubbishes claims of massive civilian casualties in Pak drone strikes

Aug 13 2011

Washington : The United States has disputed a recent research published by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the CIA drone campaign has killed hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, including over 160 children.

The Bureau’s fundamental reassessment of the covert US campaign reveals that CIA drone strikes have led to far more deaths in Pakistan than previously understood.

“More than 160 children are among at least 2,292 people reported killed in US attacks since 2004. There are credible reports of at least 385 civilians among the dead,” the Bureau said, noting that under President George W. Bush, one in three of all attacks is reported to have killed a child.

However, a senior US official said that the numbers cited by the organisation were “way off the mark”.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-rubbishes-claims-of-massive-civilian-casualties-in-pak-drone-strikes/831526/

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Italy paid Taliban not to attack its troops: WikiLeaks

13 August 2011

Rome : Diplomatic cables showed the United States confronted Italy about claims it paid Taliban not to attack its troops in Afghanistan, noting it suffered fewer casualties than other forces, media reported on Friday.

Italy has already denied claims that it paid protection money to Taliban and other militants in an area where 10 French soldiers were killed in an ambush in February 2008 soon after taking over from Italian forces.

The United States was so concerned about the allegations that its then ambassador to Rome raised them with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Espresso reported, citing leaked cables from 2008 released by WikiLeaks.

In an October 2008 message to Washington, ambassador Ronald Spogli praised Italy's decision to send troops to western Afghanistan under the NATO-led International Security Assistance (ISAF) mission.

“Unfortunately, the significance of this contribution has been undermined by Italy's growing reputation for avoiding combat and paying ransom and protection money. This reputation is based in part on rumors, in part on intelligence which we have not been fully able to corroborate,” he said.

“True or false, the fact remains that Italy has lost 12 soldiers in Afghanistan -- fewer than most allies with comparable responsibilities,” it said.

“I have raised this issue with Prime Minister Berlusconi in the past. He assured me he was unaware of any such activity and would put a stop to it if he found evidence of it,” he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/italy-paid-taliban-not-to-attack-its-troops-wikileaks/831163/

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Voice sample of 26/11 accused matches that of handler: Pak witness

Aug 13 2011

Islamabad : A prosecution witness today told the Pakistani court conducting the trial of seven suspects in the Mumbai attack case that the voice of one of the accused had matched with that of a handler who directed the terrorists involved in the assault.

Deposing before anti-terrorism court Judge Shahid Rafique, Inspector Nisar Ahmed Jadoon of the Federal Investigation Agency also provided details of raids conducted on Lashkar-e-Toiba camps in Karachi where the attackers had trained before the attacks in November 2008.

Jadoon said the voice of an accused had been matched with that of a handler who directed the 10 attackers in Mumbai from a camp in Pakistan.

Defence lawyer Khwaja Sultan, however, questioned how the prosecution had matched the voice as the FIA did not have voice samples of the seven suspects.

Pakistani laws do not allow authorities to obtain voice samples without the permission of suspects.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/voice-sample-of-26-11-accused-matches-that-of-handler-pak-witness/831573/

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China sends anti-terrorism unit to restive west

Aug 13, 2011

China has sent an elite anti-terrorism unit to the restive far western region of Xinjiang in the wake of recent violence there and ahead of an international trade convention, a state newspaper reported Saturday.

The Snow Leopard Commando unit will be based in Aksu city, roughly halfway between Kashgar, where two violent attacks took place in July, and the regional capital of Urumqi, the China Daily quoted a spokesman for the Xinjiang People's Armed Police as saying.

At least 20 people died late last month in the two attacks in Kashgar, in the southern part of Xinjiang — turmoil the government blames on Muslim extremists.

The spokesman, whom the newspaper did not name, said the unit would patrol in Kashgar and Hotan, another city in southern Xinjiang where violent protests took place last month.

Calls to the Xinjiang government and police offices were not answered Saturday.

The China Daily said the commando unit was also being used to boost security for the China-Eurasia Expo, a large trade convention to be held in Urumqi the first week of September.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/china-sends-anti-terrorism-unit-restive-west-370

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Ghana schoolboy launches solo Somalia famine fundraiser

Aug 13, 2011

As international aid agencies scramble for donations for East Africa's famine victims, one multi-million-dollar fundraising drive has come from an unexpected source: a West African schoolboy.

Andrew Adansi-Bonnah is 11. And during his eight-week school holiday, he wants to raise 20 million Ghanaian cedis — or about $13 million — for his cause by walking office to office collecting donations in Ghana's capital, Accra.

Since starting the drive Aug. 1, he has collected about $6,500 in pledges for the fund he started after consulting with UNICEF and the U.N.'s World Food Program. His father, schoolteacher Samuel Adansi-Bonnah, donated his entire July salary of about $500.

Andrew said he was inspired by images of skeletal babies and stick-thin children he saw on television, which led him to name his campaign Save Somali Children from Hunger.

"There are hungry people in Ghana but our situation is not as desperate as the people of Somalia," said the skinny, soft-spoken boy.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/ghana-schoolboy-launches-solo-famine-fundraiser-366

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Indian Home Minister’s hang terrorists formula an instant hit

Aman Sharma

13 August 2011

Chidambaram’s mantra — noose for terrorists and leniency to others — has cleared the piling files of mercy pleas pending with Rashtrapati Bhavan

NOOSE for the terrorists, clemency for others — this seems to be the formula the government has hit upon, considerably reducing the pile of pending mercy plea files by 50 per cent since 2009.

From a huge list of 53 persons on death row, which P. Chidambaram ‘ inherited’ as the home minister in 2008, decisions on only 26 persons are pending as of today while the fate of 27 convicts has been sealed by the President, records accessed by MAIL TODAY show.

President Pratibha Patil last week decided to uphold the death penalty to the three LTTE terrorists, Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, convicted for the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. In May, she upheld the death penalty of Khalistan Commando Force terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.

The clock is now ticking for these men with the MHA set to inform the respective state governments to carry out the hanging any day.

Patil have to decide on when to announce the rejection of the mercy plea of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru after his file reached her table last month.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Khalistani Terrorist hallucinates as noose around his neck tightens

By Prawesh Lama

13 August 2011

WHILE the Tihar Jail authorities are preparing to hang death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, the Khalistani terrorist has slipped further into depression at a city hospital for psychological disorders.

Bhullar, who was sentenced to death for the explosion targeting then youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta in 1993, was admitted to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences ( IHBAS) after he underwent depression, following the rejection of his mercy plea by the President.

Doctors at the east Delhi- based IHBAS said Bhullar’s condition has worsened. “ He is suffering from a psychotic disorder. His family and lawyers had told him about the fate of his mercy plea. He is hallucinating and his condition is serious,” N. G. Desai, IHBAS director, said.

Asked whether his medical condition would affect his case, Desai said: “ So far we have not been asked to present any report about his case by any agency. We are waiting for the orders and will do whatever we are instructed to do by the court or any other agency concerned.” The officials at Tihar, in the meanwhile, are reading about the procedure and rules of execution.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Centre slams ‘cynical’ article on Indo- Bangla ties

13 August 2011

A RECENT article on India- Bangladesh ties published in a reputed international magazine has raised the government’s hackles.

The article claimed India’s financial assistance helped Sheikh Hasina win the 2008 parliamentary polls in Bangladesh and suggested that the Indian Army could use the neighbouring country’s territory as a supply route for its divisions deployed along the China border.

Senior government officials described the article, titled ‘Embraceable You’, as “cynical and patronising”. Sources said while the article referred to better India- Bangladesh ties and Hasina’s crackdown against insurgent groups, it lacked “research” and did not “ reflect the true paradigm of the current state of ties”. It read: “Not much noticed by outsiders, long- troubled ties between two neighbours sharing a long border have taken a substantial lurch for the better. Ever since 2008, when the Awami League, helped by bags of Indian cash and advice, triumphed in general elections in Bangladesh, relations with India have blossomed.” An official said that an acclaimed magazine like The Economist publishing an article that reflected the views of only a few individuals and lacked comments from the Indian side.

Mail Today

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’36pc of Pakistanis undernourished’

13 August 2011

ISLAMABAD: Leading aid and development charity Oxfam said 36 per cent of Pakistanis were undernourished, listing Pakistan among the 21 nations of the world which were found to be undernourished according to an interactive map published.

Pakistan was adjudged to be more undernourished than Tanzania (35 per cent), Niger (28 per cent) and Yemen (32 per cent) where nearly every third person was feared to be malnourished. The map showed how poor communities across the world were being adversely affected by high and volatile food prices.

Oxfam says that food prices in Pakistan have hovered near an all-time peak since late 2010, sending tens of millions of people deeper into poverty and a famine-like situation.

After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without means to eat is again rising in Pakistan and could soon be at a dangerous level, it says.

In Pakistan, nearly two-thirds of the population spend between 50 and 70 per cent of the income on food, making them vulnerable to rising prices, according to Oxfam.

It is imperative for the government to develop a policy framework that not only checks the unjust food price hike but also reinvigorates the economy at the local level.

Revival of the local economy is extremely important to generate jobs and challenge the mounting fears of poverty that directly contribute to malnutrition in Pakistan. High and volatile food prices are one of the biggest political issues of 2011.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/04/36pc-of-pakistanis-undernourished.html

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Gunmen kidnap US citizen in Pakistan: police

13 August 2011

 ISLAMABAD — At least eight armed men kidnapped a US national in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, police said, having overpowered his security guards.

The incident took place in the Model Town area, senior local police official, Shahzada Saleem told AFP.

‘Gunmen, riding in more than one vehicle entered the house, overpowered at least three private security guards at the main gate and abducted the foreigner,’ he added.

The police officials were immediately unable to share the name and age of the kidnapped man but local media identified him as Justin Warner, 63.

‘The American citizen had been living in Lahore for the last four to five years and was associated with consultancy business,’ Saleem said, without revealing the type of services he had been providing in Pakistan.

‘Initial investigation reveals that the American citizen has been travelling to different Pakistani cities and was scheduled to return to US on Monday,’ he said, adding that he had returned to Lahore from Islamabad on Thursday.

Saleem said that the police sealed all the entry and exit points to ensure that the foreign national was not taken out of Lahore.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August595.xml&section=international

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Syrian troops fire as thousands protest Assad

13 August 2011

BEIRUT: Syrian soldiers opened fire Friday on tens of thousands of protesters who flooded the streets shouting for the ouster — and even the execution — of President Bashar Assad as his embattled regime tries to crush a 5-month-old uprising despite broad international condemnation.

The calls for Assad’s death were a dramatic escalation of the opposition movement’s rage and frustration following a deadly week of military assaults on rebellious cities.

At least 11 protesters were killed after Friday prayer demonstrations: Five outside the capital, Damascus, one in the central city of Homs and another in Hama, two in the major northern city Aleppo and one in Deir el-Zour in the east, and one in the northwestern province of Idlib, according to activists. Military raids earlier in the day killed at least two people.

State-run news agency SANA said two policemen were killed in the Damascus suburb of Douma when they came under fire.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article487583.ece

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Norway names commission to judge attack response

By MARTINE SLETMOEN

13 August 2011

OSLO: Norway appointed a nine-person commission on Friday to investigate the attacks that killed 77 people last month, including the police response that has been criticized as slow.

“The July 22 commission’s mandate is to lay out all relevant facts about what happened, unvarnished and honest,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Since the July 22 bombing and shootings, critics have called into question the speed and competence of the emergency response.

“To move forward as a nation we must be sure we know everything about the events of July 22,” said Stoltenberg, who gave the commission a year to submit a final report to him.

Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian, admitted detonating a bomb at Norway’s main government building and gunning down people at a Labour Party youth camp on a nearby island in what he saw as a blow against multiculturalism.

Breivik targeted the Labour Party as a symbol of Europe’s acceptance of Muslim immigrants, according to his lawyer.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article487559.ece

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Taliban free two captives in Peshawar

13 August 2011

PESHAWAR: Three policemen were killed when unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate firing at a police van ferrying prisoners for medical check up on University Road on Friday, police said.

“They were taken to hospital for a dental check-up. The gunmen fired at them when they returned from the hospital,” Peshawar police chief Imtiaz Altaf said.

“The prisoners were arrested under terrorism charges. The gunmen came on two motorcycles and a car, and escaped with the prisoners after killing three policemen and injuring one,” said police official Muhammad Ijaz. The security officials, on condition of anonymity, said that at least 10 gunmen had been lying in wait outside the dental college.

The victims are identified as Tariq, Asad Jaffar and Raees Khan while the runaway prisoners were Nadeem Abbas and Zakim Shah, alleged members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\08\13\story_13-8-2011_pg1_3

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Pakistanis: Victims of multinational war frenzy

By Moazzam Baig and Afnan Khan

13 August 2011

The brutal killings of Pakistanis in Birmingham in the wake of the London riots and the recent terror spree by a Norwegian fanatic and his revelations have exposed the fact that the decades-long Islamisation of Pakistan has made Pakistani citizens vulnerable across-the-board.

There is no disagreement over the fact that a few of them (Pakistanis) became hardliners during an at least 30-years-long jihad fiasco triggered by powers like the US with the help of their allies, including Saudi Arabia, Middle Eastern Sheikhs, the UK and France, which made Pakistan a nursery of international terrorism.

Owing to their recklessness, these terrorists set a battleground inside Afghanistan and Pakistan because the masters thought they had already achieved their goal by turning the table on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They never thought about cleaning the mess they had created in the region with the help of their brother generals in Pakistan until their own homes came under fire.

It was after 9/11 that the whole world realised what they had done in Afghanistan but it was only a beginning for them but too late for Pakistanis.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\08\13\story_13-8-2011_pg7_26

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Musician Shafiq denied Baqee burial

13 August 2011

MAKKAH: The body of the famous Saudi musician Muhammad Shafiq was buried in Al-Maallah cemetery in Makkah early Wednesday.

The mortal remains of the artist was brought from Madinah to Makkah after authorities at the Baqee Graveyard refused permission for burial.

The reason given by the authorities was that only people who die in Madinah are buried in Baqee. The body was taken from Jeddah, where he died, to Madinah in line with his last wishes and was accompanied by grieving relatives and admirers.

The relatives waited until sunset for permission from the Madinah authorities but their plea was rejected, Al-Bilad daily reported on Friday. The body was then taken to Makkah.

Shafiq composed music for a number of Talal Maddah and Muhammad Abdu songs.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article487691.ece

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Mass rallies in Yemen demand president step down

13 August 2011

SANAA: Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters poured onto the streets of major cities and towns across the country on Friday keeping the pressure on the nation’s embattled president to step down.

Protesters defied the scorching summer weather and the dawn-to-dusk fasting hours during the holy month of Ramadan to renew their demands for Saleh’s resignation. They waved Yemeni flags and chanted anti-regime slogans at the rallies, according to witnesses.

Protest organizer Abdel Handi Al-Azazi said that the high turnout for Friday’s demonstrations sent a clear message to Saleh that “you will not return to the country whatever you do.”

Al-Azazi said if Saleh does indeed return, the protest movement will push to have him put on trial.

“We want to see Saleh in cage, to be the second Arab president to be tried by his own people,” he said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Saleh’s supporters rallied in tens of thousands outside Saleh’s mosque in the capital, cheering the news of his quick recovery and urging him to return home. The protesters carried pictures of the beleaguered leader.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article487617.ece

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Cuba’s fading Fidel Castro turns 85 on Saturday

By JEFF FRANKS

13 August 2011

HAVANA: Revolutionary legend Fidel Castro turns 85 on Saturday, still an important figure in his communist-ruled Cuba, but increasingly a fading presence in the life of the country he ran for 49 years.

He gave up his last leadership post this year when he stepped down as head of the ruling Communist Party and has retreated further and further from public view.

His gradual slipping away appears to be a product of choice borne of necessity, but also of a transition plan to wean Cuba from its once near-total dependence on the charismatic Comandante’s leadership.

He is rarely seen or heard from and has stood largely on the sidelines as his younger brother and replacement, President Raul Castro, struggles to reform Cuba’s Soviet-style economy.

“His role has diminished significantly. He has stepped away more so than at any point in the last five years,” said Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a Cuba expert at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article487554.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pak-woman-kills-faith-healer,-claims-blasphemy-prompted-action/d/5249


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