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Islamic World News ( 1 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Minorities Minister shot dead in Islamabad

Fighting back, Gaddafi forces seize eastern town

Mumbai attack: US links cover for ISI chief

Firoz Bakt Ahmad to file PIL against Jamia Millia’s minority status

Children should go by parents' choice for marriage: Deoband

'Jahan-e-Khusrau' to be held in London in April

'Godhra verdict must set a precedent'

No direct funding to Pak nuclear programme: Pentagon

'Pragya killed Sunil Joshi, feared he may spill beans'

Girls’ college attacked in Mardan, over 30 wounded

Oman forces disperse protesters

Fresh protests in Yemen

Freed Bahrain opposition activist warns of violence

Protests in Middle East a setback for al-Qaida: Gates

Outage as fire hits Makkah clock tower

Air strikes deter advance on Tripoli

US flexes muscle, sends warships to Libya

U.S., Western forces near Libya

Hillary cautions Congress not to cut Pakistan aid

Gaddafi forces beaten in 6 hrs

Civil war if Gaddafi stays: US

Libya suspended from UN Human Rights Council

We must stop Gaddafi 'murdering' Libyans: British PM

Copycat PhD? Gaddafi son under LSE lens

Libya crisis drives up oil prices

UN: Libyan refugee ‘crisis’ tops 140,000

Davis case: LHC admits petition for hearing

‘Explosives handler’ dies in Karachi

Israel’s growing unease

Taliban shoot dead 4 ‘US spies’ in North Waziristan

Bomber accidentally blows himself up in Karachi,

Saudi students in the US ecstatic

Health Ministry warns of fatal illness spreading from Yemen

UK parliamentary committee urges US-Taliban talks

Fresh ultimatum from Somali pirates

Yemeni president says US and Israel behind unrest

Gang involved in looting Pak traders busted, 4 held

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pakistan-minorities-minister-shot-dead-in-islamabad/d/4214

 

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Pakistan minorities minister shot dead in Islamabad

Mar 2, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who had called for changes in the country's controversial blasphemy law, was killed in a gun attack in Islamabad on Wednesday, officials said.

Police said the shooting took place near an Islamabad market. Bhatti was the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet.

"The initial reports are that there were three men who attacked him. He was probably shot using a Kalashnikov, but we are trying to ascertain what exactly happened," said Islamabad police chief Wajid Durrani.

A hospital spokesman said Bhatti had several bullet wounds. The anti-blasphemy law has been in the spotlight since last November, when a court sentenced a Christian mother of four to death.

On Jan 4 the governor of the most populous province of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who had strongly opposed the law and sought presidential pardon for the 45-year-old Christian farmhand, was gunned down by one of his bodyguards.

The anti-blasphemy law has its roots in 19th-century colonial legislation to protect places of worship, but it was during the military dictatorship of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s that it acquired teeth as part of a drive to Islamise the state.

Liberal Pakistanis and rights groups believe the law to be dangerously discriminatory against the country's tiny minority groups.

Under the law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty, but activists say the vague terminology has led to its misuse.

Christians who make up about two percent of Pakistan's population have been especially concerned about the law saying it offers them no protection.

Convictions hinge on witness testimony and often these are linked to personal vendettas, critics say.

Blasphemy convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-minorities-minister-shot-dead-in-Islamabad-/articleshow/7609431.cms#ixzz1FRMf2ye7

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Fighting back, Gaddafi forces seize eastern town

Mar 2, 2011

TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have recaptured a town in Libya's mostly rebel-held east, rebel military officers said on Wednesday, in an attempt to break the momentum of a popular rebellion against his 41-year-old rule.

Forces sent by the Libyan leader had seized back Marsa El Brega after violent clashes with rebels who had controlled the town 800 km (500 miles) east of the captial Tripoli, the rebel officers told Reuters.

"It's true. There was aerial bombardment of Brega and Gaddafi's forces have taken it," Mohamed Yousef, an officer in the town of Ajdabiyah which is about 75 km (47 miles) from Brega, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The assaults are the most significant military success for Gaddafi since the uprising began two weeks ago and set off a confrontation that Washington says could descend into a long civil war unless the veteran strongman ruler steps down.

There are also fears that the uprising, the bloodiest yet against long-serving rulers in the Middle East, is causing a major humanitarian crisis, especially on the Tunisian border where thousands of foreign workers are trying to flee to safety.

Gaddafi is defiant and his son, Saif al-Islam, has warned the West against launching military action. He said the veteran ruler would not relinquish power or be driven into exile.

Across Libya, tribal leaders, officials, military officers and army units have defected to the rebel cause and say they are becoming more organised. Tripoli is a stronghold for Gaddafi in this oil-producing north African state.

"We are going to keep the pressure on Gaddafi until he steps down and allows the people of Libya to express themselves freely and determine their own future," Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told ABC's "Good Morning America".

Captain Faris Zwei, among officers in the east who joined the opposition to Gaddafi, said there were more than 10,000 volunteers in Ajdabiyah, a short distance from Marsa El Brega.

"We are reorganising the army, which was almost completely destroyed by Gaddafi and his gang before they left," he said. "We are reforming, as much as we can, the army from the youth that took part in the revolution."

Two amphibious assault ships, USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 Marines, and USS Ponce, entered the Suez Canal on Wednesday en route to the Mediterranean. The destroyer USS Barry moved through the canal on Monday as part of efforts to increase diplomatic and military pressure on Gaddafi to quit.

The two ships entered through the southern end of the canal, an official said, adding that they were expected to pass through by 3:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) or 4:00 p.m. local time.

Arab League foreign ministers meet on Wednesday at an extraordinary session in Cairo and are expected to reinforce their condemnation of Gaddafi. Some delegates want the meeting to underline the League's unwillingness to see foreign intervention in Libya.

The repositioning of U.S. ships and aircraft closer to Libya is widely seen as a symbolic show of force since neither the United States nor its NATO allies have shown any appetite for direct military intervention in the turmoil that has seen Gaddafi lose control of large swaths of his country.

"We are looking at a lot of options and contingencies. No decisions have been made on any other actions," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, noting the United Nations had not authorised the use of force in Libya.

Italy said it was sending a humanitarian mission to Tunisia to provide food and medical aid to as many as 10,000 people who had fled violence in Libya on its eastern border.

Tunisian border guards fired into the air on Tuesday to try to control a desperate crowd clamouring to cross the frontier.

About 70,000 people have passed through the Ras Jdir border post in the past two weeks, and many more of the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers in Libya are expected to follow.

U.S. RULES NOTHING OUT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Libya could become a peaceful democracy or it could face protracted civil war."

The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, approved a resolution "strongly condemning the gross and systematic violation of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms".

The White House said the ships were being redeployed in preparation for possible humanitarian efforts but stressed it "was not taking any options off the table". Gates said: "Our job is to give the president the broadest possible decision space."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe sounded a note of caution, saying military intervention would not happen without a clear United Nations mandate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said Britain would work with allies on preparations for a no-fly zone over Libya, said it was unacceptable that "Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people using airplanes and helicopter gunships".

General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate hearing that imposing a no-fly zone would be a "challenging" operation. "You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here," he said. "It would be a military operation."

Analysts said Western leaders were in no mood to rush into conflict after drawn-out involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gaddafi, a survivor of past coup attempts, has told television networks: "All my people love me," dismissing the significance of the rebellion that has ended his control over much of oil-rich eastern Libya.

REBELS SAY STRENGTH GROWING

The Libyan leader has, however, faced defections from soldiers, diplomats and ministers. Gaddafi replaced two of his ministers who had defected to support the uprising seeking to oust him, Libyan state television said on Wednesday.

Despite the widespread collapse of Gaddafi's rule, his forces were also fighting back in the west. A reporter on the Tunisian border saw Libyan troops reassert control at a crossing abandoned on Monday, and residents of Nalut, about 60 km (35 miles) from the border, said they feared pro-Gaddafi forces were planning to recapture the town.

The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously suspended Libya's membership of the U.N. Human Rights Council. A U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday called for a freeze on Gaddafi's assets and a travel ban and refers his crackdown to the International Criminal Court.

The United States has frozen $30 billion in Libyan assets. Libya's National Oil Corp said output had halved due to the departure of foreign workers. Brent crude surged above $116 a barrel on Tuesday as supply disruptions and potential for more unrest in the Middle East and North Africa kept investors edgy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Fighting-back-Gaddafi-forces-seize-eastern-town/articleshow/7610215.cms#ixzz1FRN3ubN8

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Mumbai attack: US links cover for ISI chief

Mar 2, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The US has linked sovereign immunity for ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha in a lawsuit filed by relatives of victims of the Mumbai attacks in a Brooklyn court to the diplomatic immunity for an American arrested for the Lahore double murder, a media report said.

The US administration "appears willing to claim sovereign immunity for the ISI chief in this case provided Pakistan also granted diplomatic immunity to Mr (Raymond) Davis, who is a CIA contractor ," Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying.

"At one stage, the Americans were going to file papers in the court, stating that the ISI chief enjoyed sovereign immunity but decided not to do so after Mr Davis' arrest," an official source told the daily.

The court in Brooklyn has accepted the petition against the ISI chief for the agency's alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks, the report said. The arrest of another alleged CIA operative in Peshawar for over-staying his visa has further annoyed the Americans, who pointed out that more than 100,000 Pakistanis were living in the US after the expiry of their visas, it said.

The Americans seem willing to discuss Islamabad's demand for sharing information on the CIA's activities in Pakistan "provided the Pakistanis also shared relevant information ," the source said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Mumbai-attack-US-links-cover-for-ISI-chief-to-Davis-case/articleshow/7608088.cms#ixzz1FQ5QHP1D

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Firoz Bakt Ahmad to file PIL against Jamia Millia’s minority status

New Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: At a time when there is widespread jubilation over the reinstatement of Jamia Millia Islami’s minority status, there are some who are opposing it and even intending to file a PIL in the court challenging the verdict of the Justice Sohail Siddiquee. Firoz Bakht Ahmad, a BJP sympathiser and a relative of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad is gearing up to challenge the verdict in the court, though according to sources, he has postponed his decision on the request of some well wishers of Jamia. He has however said that he would take a final decision on the issue in a week. Like Prof Mushirul Hasan, Firoz Bakht Ahmad also is against the minority status of Jamia Millia or any kind of reservations for Muslims. He says that out of the seven Muslim members of the Constitution Committee of which Maualana Azad was also the member five had opposed reservation for the Muslims. Perhaps Mr Firoz Bakht does not realise the sea changes Indian society has undergone in the last fifty years. Had they not opposed reservations for Muslims, the Muslims would also have progressed along the backward Hindu communities. Now the Sachar Committee has proved that the decisions of Maulana and other Muslim leaders was wrong and resulted in the miserable condition of the Muslims. Mr Bakht believes that the minority status of the Jamia would not benefit Muslim students. They will become complacent. He said that in 2007 Mr Abdul Rehman Antulay had also persuaded him not to oppose minority status. It is said that he is playing in the hands of some anti-Muslim lobby who do not want Jamia to get minority status.

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Children should go by parents' choice for marriage: Deoband

March 02, 2011

New Delhi, March 1 : Islamic seminary Darul-Uloom Deoband has opined that children should follow the choice of their parents for marriage and that a person who is religious should get priority over a wealthy one.The seminary was asked if a girl wants to marry a boy because he is rich and can give her a good life and does not accept her parents' choice as it is based only on religion then whether the parents should agree to her choice or stick to their choice.

"Religiousness (sic) should be given first priority in choosing a proposal...And the children should follow the choice of their parents," it said.

The seminary also said that according to some imams, the 'nikah' (marriage) of a girl who marries without the consent and permission of her guardian is "invalid".

"If the parents are not known to have (taken) bad decisions and their consent is based on lawful grounds, their opinion should be accepted; because it guarantees goodness and safety," it said but added that parents "too should ask for their children's consent and choice while finalising the proposal of nikah."

Munsif.com

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'Jahan-e-Khusrau' to be held in London in April

March 02, 2011

New Delhi: Sufi music connoisseurs in London have a reason to cheer as cultural festival

'Jahan-e-Khusrau' will be held there, first time outside India from April 15 to 17.

Conceptualised by poet and film director, Muzaffar Ali, the festival will also be held in Delhi from March 11 to 13 at Arab Ki Sarai, Humayun Tomb for the ninth time, ever since it started in 2001. It will be organised by the Rumi Foundation in association with the Government of Delhi and Indian  Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Singers and musicians from all over the world come together during the festival to commemorate  the death of famous 14th century Sufi poet Amir Khusrau. "I wanted to do something for Sufi saints. This festival takes wider perspective of Amir Khusrau -

his relevance and composite culture of India that he symbolised," says Muzaffar Ali.

"It's a tribute to Khusrau through art and celebration of Sufi music," he adds. Only Indian artists perform during the London festival. The event will also include two films directed by Muzaffar Ali,  'Umrao Jaan' and 'Breathe Into Me'.

Artists like Masood Habibi from Iran, Azalea Ray from Canada and Saami Brothers from Pakistan will be performing at the three day event here. Famous singer Hans Raj Hans and Malini Awasthi will perform on the poetry and compositions chosen and composed by Ali.

Munsif.com

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'Godhra verdict must set a precedent'

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Mar 2, 2011

MUMBAI: The verdict in Godhra train burning case should set a precedent for justice for victims of riots that followed and left more than 1,200 people dead, activists said on Tuesday.

''Denial of justice to the victims of Gujarat massacre which followed the Godhra carnage would further fuel the feeling that justice is lopsided against the country's minorities,'' said activist Shabnam Hashmi. She questioned the investigations into the train burning and rejected the conspiracy theory that the court upheld.

''(We) reiterate our earlier demand of a CBI inquiry into the burning,'' said Hashmi. The activist said she welcomes the verdict if those convicted are the real culprits behind the heinous crime.

Mumbai-based scholar Asghar Ali Engineer echoed Hashmi and lashed out at Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for colluding with the rioters. ''It is more the failure of the investigators than the bias of the court which led to the harsh punishment to some of the accused of the Godhra train burning,'' he said and questioned the conspiracy theory, saying how can it be accepted as the same court acquitted the ''prime accused'' Maulana Hussain Umarji. ''There does not seem to be any justice in a state which presided over one of the worst communal riots in independent India.''

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Godhra-verdict-must-set-a-precedent/articleshow/7607076.cms#ixzz1FQ5xZ7c7

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No direct funding to Pak nuclear programme: Pentagon

Mar 2, 2011

WASHINGTON: The US has a strong fund tracking system to make sure that Pakistan does not use any direct US money to strengthen its nuclear programme, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers who expressed concern over American aid money to Islamabad given reports that the country has doubled its atomic stockpile.

"I'm confident there is no direct funding going to their nuclear programme because of my confidence in tracking the cost we are reimbursing them for now," General James N Mattis, commander of the US central command said at a Congressional hearing convened by the Senate armed services committee.

The statement came after lawmakers expressed concern over recent reports that Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons and the stockpile has crossed the 100-figure mark.

"Obviously, they have their own funding, and whether or not they would spend some of that elsewhere, if we weren't reimbursing," Mattis said.

Senator Jim Webb said while Pakistan may not be using US money directly to fund its nuclear programme but expressed apprehension that American assistance in other areas could have helped the country divert its own money.

Apparently not satisfied with Mattis' response, Webb said: "The concerns that I have is that if we are funding programmes that they otherwise would be funding or they are able to take that money in order to increase their nuclear arsenal, it's not a healthy situation for the region and for us, in my view".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/No-direct-funding-to-Pak-nuclear-programme-Pentagon-/articleshow/7609638.cms#ixzz1FRNEXPwp

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'Pragya killed Sunil Joshi, feared he may spill beans'

Mar 2, 2011

DEWAS (MP): RSS activist Sunil Joshi was eliminated by fellow Hindu hardliners including Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for his "high-handedness and the fear" that his arrest would unmask right-wing plotters of explosions in several parts of the country.

This has been stated in the 432-page charge sheet filed by the police before Judicial Magistrate Padmesh Shah here on Sunday which says the sadhvi was peeved with Joshi as he had personally misbehaved with her and "his overall behaviour was something not expected by a woman".

Coming a day after Devas police formally arrested Thakur for the 2007 murder of the RSS 'pracharak', the charge sheet with 89 annexures also contains statements of 124 witnesses. Thakur, under arrest in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is undergoing treatment at J J Hospital in Mumbai.

The charge sheet has been filed against Thakur, Anand Raj Kataria, Harshad Solanki, Vasudev Parmar and Ramchandra Patel under various sections of IPC including 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), besides the Arms Act.

Two other accused in the case Mehul and Rakesh, both hailing from Gujarat are still absconding.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pragya-killed-Sunil-Joshi-feared-he-may-spill-beans/articleshow/7606967.cms#ixzz1FQ6CnK6o

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Girls’ college attacked in Mardan, over 30 wounded

Mar 2, 2011

PESHAWAR: Taliban gunmen, on Tuesday, attacked a girls’ college in Mardan district, wounding over 30 students, as per the accounts of police and eyewitnesses.

“In addition to firing, the attackers also threw two hand grenades into the college,” a police official, Wajid Ali, told Daily Times.

The injured were taken to a Mardan hospital where, according to an unconfirmed report, a critically injured girl died of her wounds.

No arrest so far has been made and a search for suspected terrorists is in process.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\02\story_2-3-2011_pg1_3

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Oman forces disperse protesters

Mar 2, 2011

SOHAR(Oman): Omani forces in tanks dispersed demonstrators on Tuesday who were blocking the port in the Sohar industrial city and the coastal road to the capital Muscat as protests erupted in other parts of the country, said AFP reporters and witnesses.

The operation went peacefully and Omani forces drove away protesters who had been keeping vigil at the Earth Roundabout, a landmark intersection in Sohar where clashes erupted on Sunday killing at least one protester. The Omani protesters insist they are not challenging the rule of Sultan Qaboos, who has been in power since 1970, but are merely calling for jobs and reform.

Protests were also reported on Tuesday in the southern port of Salalah and the northwestern region of Buraimi. In Salalah some 200 people demonstrated outside the office of the Governor of Dhofar province. — AFP

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/02/stories/2011030260881100.htm

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Fresh protests in Yemen

March 02, 2011

Thousands of anti-Government protesters on Tuesday gathered outside the Sana’a University to demand the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a media report said.

Thousands of Government loyalists have also gathered in the city’s Tahrir Square in a counter-demonstration, CNN reported.

The demonstrations come a day after the country’s main Opposition group rejected Saleh’s call to form a unity Government until elections are held to replace him.

“The Opposition will not enter a unity Government with the ruling party and will stand with the demands of the people,” CNN quoted Mohammed Al-Qubati, the spokesman for the Joint Meeting Parties.

Saleh met the members of the Opposition groups to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition Government on Monday. But CNN, citing sources, said no agreement had been reached.

Leaders of two prominent tribal groups, the Hashid-dominated National Solidarity Council and the Baqil tribe, said Saturday that they would send members to join the protests calling for Saleh’s resignation, according to the CNN. Saleh is a member of the Hashid tribe.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321289/Fresh-protests-in-Yemen.html

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Freed Bahrain opposition activist warns of violence

March 02, 2011

A leading Opposition activist jailed for six months and released last week warned of more bloodshed in the Gulf State ruled by a Sunni dynasty if popular demands for greater democracy were not met.

“My anticipation is that the situation will lead to more bloodshed if they (the regime) continue to turn a blind eye on the protesters in the street,” said Abduljalil Singace, a leader of the hardcore Opposition Haq movement and one of 25 Shiites who were granted royal pardon last week.

Protesters in the kingdom, who have been demonstrating against the government since February 14, “will go into activities which will not be welcomed,” he said.

Sporting a T-shirt that read, “Ready to die for Bahrain,” Singace told AFP in an interview at his home late Monday that the Al-Khalifa monarchy’s offer for dialogue was “too little, too late,” as anger continues to rise in the streets of the capital Manama.

“I do not call that dialogue... The game is over,” said Singace, who was detained in August on charges of terrorism and released last week.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/321288/Freed-Bahrain-opposition-activist-warns-of-violence.html

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Protests in Middle East a setback for al-Qaida: Gates

Mar 2, 2011

WASHINGTON: The mass anti-government protests in the Middle East is a major setback for al-qaida as fall of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia have proved wrong the message of the terror outfit that violence is not required for change, a top US official said.

"The revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt and the protests elsewhere that are leading to reforms in a number of governments, I think are an extraordinary setback for al-Qaida," US defence secretary Robert Gates said at a Pentagon news conference.

"It basically gives the lie to al-Qaida's claim that the only way to get rid of authoritarian governments is through extremist violence. Peoples of several countries in the region are proving this not to be the case," he said.

The defence secretary termed the protests also as setback for Iran.

"I also think that it is in some respects now and perhaps even more so in the future, a major setback for Iran, because the contrast between the behavior of the militaries in Tunisia and in Egypt and, except for a brief period of violence, in Bahrain, contrast vividly with the savage repression that the Iranians have undertaken against anybody who dares to demonstrate in their countries," he said.

"All of this clearly has to play out. And it could take months and probably years before these situations stabilize and we know if we have durable, democratic governments in some of these countries," he said.

But a process of change has begun after decades of the political arrangements in these countries being frozen.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Protests-in-Middle-East-a-setback-for-al-Qaida-Gates/articleshow/7608651.cms#ixzz1FQ5ipOkH

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Outage as fire hits Makkah clock tower

Mar 2, 2011

MAKKAH: A massive fire that broke out in one of the towers of the King Abdul Aziz Endowment building — home to the tallest clock tower — in Makkah on Tuesday frightened pilgrims at the Grand Mosque.

The fire resulted in a power outage at the residential towers for more than an hour, sources told Arab News. There were no reports of deaths or injuries.

Firefighters rushed to the site and evacuated residents from the building with the help of members of the public. The Civil Defense also cut power connections to the tower as part of efforts to contain the blaze. Witnesses said they saw clouds of smoke billowing out of the building.

According to preliminary reports, the fire started in the generator room. Power supply to the towers resumed soon after the fire was put out.

Lt. Col. Ali Al-Muntashri, spokesman of the Civil Defense, said his department sent 15 rescue teams and 10 first-aid teams to the site.

An investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the fire, he said.

The Saudi Electricity Company also sent five teams to tackle the problem.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article293518.ece

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Air strikes deter advance on Tripoli

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: With the opposition still unprepared to storm Tripoli, Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi continues to cling on to power in his home base, aware that the threat from his Air Force is deterring an all-out dissident assault on the capital.

Meanwhile, the dangerous flux in Libya continues to generate an outpouring of refugees in three directions — Egypt to the east, Tunisia to the west and Niger to the south. According to United Nations estimates, an estimated 61,000 people have fled into Egypt, 1,000 to Niger and 40,000 to Tunisia, causing an acute humanitarian crisis. Among those streaming out are the already registered refugees in Libya from Somalia and Sudan. In dissident-held areas such as Benghazi, they are being particularly hounded out, because of being confused with the hated mercenaries who are on Mr. Qadhafi's payroll.

On the battlefront, the scattered opposition, which is yet to unite under a steely single command, showed on Monday it is capable of defending itself in pockets which came under regime attack. But its capacity to launch a well-coordinated offensive, steered by an organised command centre in the opposition-held east, is in doubt. Nevertheless, thousands of volunteers queued up in Benghazi, the nerve centre of the opposition, to enlist in a citizens' army that is preparing to battle Mr. Qadhafi in Tripoli.

Signalling he is far from finished, Mr. Qadhafi on Monday ordered three air strikes, a special operations raid at the opposition held Ras Lanuf refinery, and sent units from the elite Khamis brigade to recover Zawiya, a strategic oil town held by the opposition that lies only 50 km west of the Libyan capital.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/02/stories/2011030260861100.htm

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US flexes muscle, sends warships to Libya

Mark Landler & Thom Shanker

Mar 2, 2011

WASHINGTON: The United States began moving warships toward Libya and froze $30 billion in the country's assets as the administration declared all options on the table in its diplomatic, economic and military campaign to drive colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the administration was conferring with allies about imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Such a move would likely be carried out only under a mandate from the UN or Nato, but Hillary's blunt confirmation that it was under consideration was clearly intended to ratchet up the pressure on Gaddafi and his dwindling band of loyalists.

"Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay," Hillary told reporters after a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

ABC News said amphibious ship USS Kearsarge had left the Red Sea to transit through Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, close to Libya. USS Kearsarge has armed helicopters and harrier jets on board as well as around 700 Marines. It also said aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had also been kept on 'high standby alert' in the Red Sea, though it had not been given orders to move into Mediterranean yet.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-flexes-muscle-sends-warships-to-Libya/articleshow/7608095.cms#ixzz1FQ5JNFt6

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U.S., Western forces near Libya

Narayan Lakshman

Washington: In the backdrop of continuing violence inflicted by Libyan forces against protesters in Tripoli, the United States military and its European allies were reported to be repositioning naval and air assets for “various contingency plans,” including a no-fly zone and humanitarian evacuations and assistance.

Quoting unnamed Pentagon officials the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the “range of possibilities,” included moving two aircraft carriers in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf area and that that “U.S. and NATO forces had sufficient resources in Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean to take a number of actions if necessary”.

It was also reported that a U.S. destroyer had crossed through the Suez Canal over the weekend on Sunday and taken up a position in the south-western Mediterranean and an amphibious assault ship, the USS Kearsarge, with helicopters aboard, was in the Red Sea and heading toward the Canal.

Anonymous official sources added that the USS Ponce amphibious assault vessel was “moving toward the area.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/02/stories/2011030260871100.htm

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Hillary cautions Congress not to cut Pakistan aid

By Anwar Iqbal

Mar 2, 2011

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Congress on Tuesday not to cut US aid to Pakistan as lawmakers raised concerns about continued incarceration of a CIA contractor in Lahore.

“Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in Afghanistan,” Secretary Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee while urging lawmakers earlier not to reduce US aid to Kabul.

“We are working to deepen our partnership and keep it focused on addressing Pakistan’s political and economic challenges as well as our shared threats,” she said.

But the committee’s chairperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that “Pakistan must also do more to meet pressing US concerns, including the release of Raymond Davis, our detained American diplomat”.

The Republican lawmaker from Florida emphasised that Pakistan must also shift its “approach to Afghanistan away from armed proxies and towards constructive and legitimate political partners”.

The guiding principle for US policies, she noted, was “the safety of our men and women serving with distinction in Afghanistan, and that country’s transition to a more stable and democratic future”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/02/hillary-cautions-congress-not-to-cut-pakistan-aid.html

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Gaddafi forces beaten in 6 hrs

Mar 02, 2011

March 1: Col. Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday attempted to break the encirclement of his capital Tripoli using tanks and anti-aircraft artillery, but the opposition forces foiled his bid in six hours of intense fighting.

Col. Gaddafi had deployed his ultra loyal elite Khamis brigade and mercenary militiamen along with fighter-jets and tanks to recapture the towns closest to the capital. But rebels, who had tanks, mortars and machine guns at their disposal due to defections from the Libyan Army, pushed back the Colonel’s forces from al-Zawiya town, 50 km west of Tripoli. No casualty has been reported yet.

“We damaged tanks and the mercenaries and the Army troops fled after that,” local fighters told Al Jazeera. Reports also said that Col. Gaddafi’s air force jets bombed ammunition depots in east Libya, where the Army has totally abandoned him.

The opposition forces, now calling themselves the “New Libyan Army”, is growing in strength by the day due to defection of thousands from Col. Gaddafi’s forces. The US moved its naval warships and fighter planes into the Mediterranean and the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, threatened Col. Gaddafi with military action.

http://www.asianage.com/international/gaddafi-forces-beaten-6-hrs-654

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Civil war if Gaddafi stays: US

Mar 02, 2011

Tripoli: Libya could descend into civil war unless Muammar Gaddafi quits, the United States said on Tuesday, its demand for his departure intensifying pressure on the longtime leader after news of Western military preparations.

But Gaddafi remained defiant, dispatching forces to a western border area amid fears that the most violent Arab revolt may grow bloodier and spark a humanitarian crisis.

His son, Saif al-Islam, warned the West against launching any military action to topple Gaddafi, and said the veteran ruler would not step down or go into exile.

"Using force against Libya is not acceptable. There's no reason, but if they want ... we are ready, we are not afraid," he told Sky television, adding: "We live here, we die here."

In Moscow, a Kremlin source suggested Gaddafi, whose authority has unravelled in much of the vast desert country, should step down, calling him a "living political corpse".

In prepared testimony to U.S. lawmakers in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Libya could become a peaceful democracy or it could face protracted civil war."

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/civil-war-if-gaddafi-stays-us-749

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Libya suspended from UN Human Rights Council

Mar 02, 2011

United Nations: The United Nations on Tuesday suspended Libya from its main human rights body over Moamer Kaddafi's crackdown on protests amid warnings of new Security Council action against the regime.

With growing western calls for a no-fly zone over Libya, Britain's UN envoy said the council would take 'whatever measures we consider necessary to respond to events on the ground'.

The 192-member assembly passed a suspension resolution by consensus, without a vote, after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the body to 'act decisively' against Kaddafi.

The Human Rights Council in Geneva had called for the suspension which needed a two-thirds majority at the General Assembly to be passed. It is the first time it has acted against a member.

Nobody spoke up for the Libyan regime at the brief debate, though Venezuela accused the United States of planning an invasion of Libya, provoking US fury.

"This unprecedented action sends another clear warning to Mr. Kaddafi and those who still stand by him: they must stop the killing," said US ambassador Susan Rice, reaffirming calls for Kaddafi to "go."

The action came three days after the UN Security Council passed sanctions against the regime, including a travel ban and assets freeze against Kaddafi and his family and leading officials, arms embargo and call for a crimes against humanity investigation.

British envoy Mark Lyall Grant called the General Assembly vote a "powerful" signal and added that new Security Council action against Libya is possible.

"On the question of the no-fly zone, we are not ruling anything out at this stage. The Security Council is keeping the issue under review. There are consultations going on between the different members of the Security Council," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/libya-suspended-un-human-rights-council-748

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We must stop Gaddafi 'murdering' Libyans: British PM

Mar 2, 2011

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday that the international community must not let Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi murder his own people.

"It is not acceptable to have a situation where Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people, using aeroplanes and helicopter gunships and the like.

"We have to plan now to make sure that if it happens we can do something to stop it," Cameron said in a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai dominated by events in Libya.

The prime minister said the need to protect Libyan civilians from attack was why he had asked his military chiefs to look into the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

"It's right for us to plan and look at plans for a no-fly zone," he said.

"We should also be making contact with, getting a greater understanding of, the opposition forces that are now in Benghazi and in control of quite a lot of the country.

"We are trying to step up our contact with them so we can know them better and what their intentions are."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/We-must-stop-Gaddafi-murdering-Libyans-British-PM/articleshow/7603750.cms#ixzz1FQ5dnsND

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Copycat PhD? Gaddafi son under LSE lens

Ashis Ray

Mar 2, 2011

LONDON: The London School of Economics is investigating allegations that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif el-Islam Gaddafi, plagiarized his 2008 PhD thesis at the prestigious institution, British media reported.

The LSE in a statement said it is investigating two specific claims against Saif al-Islam , 37, and was aware of allegations that he may have used a ghostwriter for his thesis . "The allegations are in the public domain about possible plagiarism in Saif Gaddafi's PhD thesis,'' an LSE spokesperson said. "We have also received direct allegations and are seeking more specific information in a couple of cases. We are also carrying out our own checks.''

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Copycat-PhD-Gaddafi-son-under-LSE-lens/articleshow/7608070.cms#ixzz1FQ55uUY1

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Libya crisis drives up oil prices

Clifford Krauss & Jad Mouawad

Mar 2, 2011

HOUSTON: Just when oil markets appeared to be calming, crude oil prices surged again on Tuesday as the potential for more oil shipment disruptions spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

With Libya's oil exports almost entirely halted for the last several days, renewed unrest in Oman, Iran and Iraq rattled oil traders. An interruption of shipments from any of those countries would further tighten oil supplies, even as Saudi Arabia has rushed to fill the vacuum of Libyan supplies by pumping more oil from its fields.

The worries about the oil supply rippled through other markets, with stock markets turning lower on concerns that the higher cost of energy would slow economic recovery.

Gold prices also surged on the latest reports, and indexes on Wall Street declined sharply, with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 1.3 percent. The Saudi Arabian benchmark stock index fell 6.8 percent.

In the latest sign that the political contagion was spreading, demonstrators in Oman on Tuesday tried to block a major road leading to the industrial port town of Sohar. Protesters in recent days have set fire to at least one police station and two government office buildings in the normally stable Persian Gulf country, which is ruled by a family dynasty and is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in the Middle East.

"To have protests in Oman, which had previously been seen as a sleepy gulf kingdom, heightens concerns that nowhere is immune from the contagion affects," said Helima L. Croft, a director and senior geopolitical analyst at Barclays Capital. "Every day we seem to have a new country with a new problem."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/Libya-crisis-drives-up-oil-prices/articleshow/7609994.cms#ixzz1FRMtCn5H

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UN: Libyan refugee ‘crisis’ tops 140,000

By JOHN HEILPRIN

Mar 2, 2011

GENEVA: Violence and chaos in Libya have triggered an exodus of more than 140,000 refugees into Tunisia and Egypt, a UN official said Tuesday, as aid workers warned the situation at the Tunisian border has reached crisis point.

Officials say the situation has been made even more volatile by humanitarian aid workers being blocked from reaching western Libya, patients reportedly being executed in hospitals, or shot by gunmen hiding in ambulances At the Libya-Tunisian border — where authorities say up to 75,000 people have gathered in just nine days — “the situation is reaching crisis point,” UN refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming warned.

She said 14,000 people fled to Tunisia on Monday and another 15,000 are expected to flee Tuesday.

The UN is setting up enough tents to hold 12,000 people and plans two more airlifts Thursday to bring in tents and supplies for 10,000 more, but water supplies are “precarious,” she warned.

Egyptian authorities said another 69,000 people have fled into Egypt from Libya in the past 10 days, most of them Egyptians who have already been taken to other towns and cities.

Thousands of Vietnamese and Bangladeshis at the Libyan side of border with Tunisia are “in urgent need of food, water and shelter,” said Jemini Pandya, a spokeswoman for International Organization for Migration. Nepalese, Ghanaians and Nigerians are also sleeping unprotected at the borders, she added.

“With thousands of migrants still awaiting authorization to enter Tunisia, there is an urgent need to decongest the border area which lacks adequate facilities to host large numbers of people,” IOM’s Tunisia mission chief Marc Petzold said.

IOM officials say many thousands of people are also stranded at Libya’s Benghazi port in cold weather and with scant supplies of food. The organization said it is trying to arrange evacuation for those people by boat to Alexandria in Egypt.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article293672.ece

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Davis case: LHC admits petition on media reports for hearing

Mar 2, 2011

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) admitted for formal hearing a petition requesting the court to make media reports regarding Raymond Davis part of the case record, DawnNews reported.

Petitioner Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique had stated that media reports regarding Davis’ status should be made part of the record in the diplomatic immunity case so that the court’s verdict takes various aspects of the case into consideration.

The applicant referred to various news items and reports in foreign media with respect to the US government’s intention that it had withdrawn from Vienna Convention having protocol on access to diplomat. According to a news item, the US had withdrawn from the optional protocol to Vienna Convention on Consular Rights Proposed in 1963.

The applicant said the then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had informed UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan about her administrative decision to withdraw from the protocol in a letter of March 7, 2005. The applicant said America intended to move ICJ during the pendency of the current petition and there was possibility that either the US or Pakistan might take such action which could ultimately oust the jurisdiction of this court on the matter.

Moreover, on another petition filed by Siddique, LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry remarked as to why the United States government should be made a party to the case.

The court subsequently adjourned the petitions’ hearing to March 14.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/02/davis-case-lhc-admits-petition-on-media-reports-for-hearing.html

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‘Explosives handler’ dies in Karachi

Mar 2, 2011

KARACHI: A suspected explosives handler died when the substance he was carrying went off in an isolated area along the National Highway on Tuesday.

Police said the blast was heard near MDA flats in Shah Latif Town that caused panic among people in the neighborhood. Police found the head of the alleged explosives handler and parts of his body which they said would help to determine the nature of the blast.

“The blast took place in bushes behind the MDA flats, which is still an unoccupied project,” said Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Fayyaz Leghari.

“There is no installation around. Neither there is any potential location that could have been seen as a target of the bomb attack. Initially it seems that the person who died could have been the handler of the substance that exploded incidentally.”

He, however, said that railway tracks in the area could have been the target.

The CCPO said investigators, including bomb disposal personnel, were examining the site to determine the make and properties of the explosives.

“We have seen a couple of attacks on railways in Karachi in recent days. All possibilities will be taken into account during investigation,” Mr Leghari said.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/02/explosives-handler-dies-in-karachi.html

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Israel’s growing unease

2 March 2011

Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak, in a recent interview with a radio channel in Israel, expressed cautious optimism about the changes in the region. Barak’s ‘optimism’ may be more of bravado, given Israel’s initial reaction to the changes in its neighbourhood. Trying to toe a middle line, Barak noted the obvious dangers of the situation and at the same time expressed optimism at the possible opportunity for peace.

Barak’s comments indicate a damage reversal by Tel Aviv following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction at the time of the collapse of the previousß Egyptian regime under Hosni Mubarak. Tel Aviv’s comfort level with the Mubarak regime and the survival of the three decades-old peace treaty was the principal reason the Israeli government may have been nervous. More than change was the fear of having an anti-Israeli, Islamist government in Cairo that would  throw to the winds the peace arrangements that survived the past 30 years.

In such a case, as per Israel’s calculations, it would literally be wedged in between hardline regimes and stakeholders such as Iran, the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.  Despite the wave of change sweeping across the region, Israel’s political vision continues to be as myopic as ever. While Tel Aviv frets over the new anti-Israeli Islamists that would inevitably threaten the Israeli state, it continues to stand in complete denial of the most important fact. This could well be the key to peace and recognition by the Arab world, Israel has to date claimed as its ultimate endeavour. The biggest threat to Israel and the largest stumbling block ?to peace and regional stability remains its own policies.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2011/March/editorial_March4.xml&section=editorial&col=

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Taliban shoot dead 4 ‘US spies’ in North Waziristan

Mar 2, 2011

MIRANSHAH: Taliban terrorists in Tribal Areas on Tuesday shot dead four local tribesmen they accused of spying for the United States, officials said.

The bullet-riddled bodies were dumped on a roadside in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district and a known hub of Taliban and al Qaeda-linked terrorists.

Officials said notes pinned on their chests purportedly from Pakistani Taliban read: “We killed them because they were spying for America, anyone who acts like this will face the same fate.” Local administrative official Syed Noor Shah said: “We have recovered all the four dead bodies. They are local tribesmen aged between 25 and 40.

“The notes pasted on their chests were from Pakistani Taliban.” Two local intelligence officials confirmed the incident, saying the bodies were beyond recognition because terrorists had repeatedly shot the victims in the face. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\02\story_2-3-2011_pg7_3

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Bomber accidentally blows himself up in Karachi, no casualties

By Atif Raza

KARACHI: A man carrying explosives accidentally blew himself up creating a one-feet deep hole in the ground within the limits of Shah Latif police station on Tuesday. No casualties were reported.

According to reports, the blast occurred in the bushes of a slum locality of Shah Latif Town near MDA flats where police rushed to scene after hearing the sound of the blast and found limbs of a man scattered some three feet away from the one-feet deep hole, where the bomb went off. Police added that the explosion partially damaged the walls of a house located nearby.

SP Bin Qasim Town Tanvir Alam Odho said that body parts and samples of the explosive have been collected and sent to the laboratory for examination.

He said it seems that the man died in the blast was carrying an explosive device because the body of the deceased was completely smashed up and pieces of his limbs were scattered all over the surrounding area. Police suspected that the person died in the blast was either targeting the railway tracks, police station or Razaqabad police training centre. Following the blast, heavy contingents of law enforcers rushed to the spot, cordoned of the area and started investigation.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\02\story_2-3-2011_pg7_4

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Saudi students in the US ecstatic over announced education benefits

Mar 2, 2011

WASHINGTON: King Abdullah announced one week ago that an extra 40 billion riyals ($10.7 billion) would be channeled into social programs, including housing, pay raises for state workers, interest-free loans and scholarships for students studying aboard.  This new infusion of scholarship monies applied to Saudi students who were previously paying for their own education abroad.

The reaction to this news from students studying in the United States was instantaneous and euphoric.  Arab News witnessed this happy student pandemonium at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Washington DC this week, where students have gathered to be briefed on the new educational benefits.

Mody Alkhalaf, Director of Cultural and Social Affairs at the Saudi Cultural Mission, lead Arab News through the throngs of students while explaining the new terms of the scholarship.

This year, 32,000 Saudi students are sponsored in the US by the King Abdulaziz scholarship programs, an additional 6,000 students will shortly make their way from Riyadh to US schools, making this the seventh group of Saudi scholarship students since the program started in 2005 said Alkhalaf, adding that another 7,000 were “self-sponsored,” or paying for their own education.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article292958.ece

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Health Ministry warns of fatal illness spreading from Yemen

By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN & SAEED AL-BATATI

Mar 2, 2011

JEDDAH/SANAA: Many people who live on the Saudi-Yemen border fear that a fatal disease that has been responsible for dozens of deaths in Yemen’s western coastal area could cross into the Kingdom.

At least 65 deaths have been reported in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hodeidah.

The disease is thought to be chikungunya, though some medical officers dispute it. Symptoms of chikungunya include kidney failure, high temperature, diarrhea and vomiting.

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has formed a committee to monitor the spread of the disease and the country’s authorities are working hard to keep it in check.

Dr. Mohsen Al-Tobaiki, director of health in Jazan, said the Saudi authorities have been following developments across the border. Dr. Khaled Al-Mirghalani, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Ziyad Mishmish, undersecretary for preventive medicine, were unavailable for comment.

A number of medical and environmental experts in Jazan said there is a possibility of the disease entering the Kingdom through unregistered migrants who do not carry health certificates proving they have taken necessary vaccinations. They added that at the moment the border provinces in the south of the Kingdom are free from the disease.

According to Yemeni media, people in the Hodeidah area were shocked at the loss of life. Arafat Maki, a local journalist who contracted the illness, said the disease has caused panic in the area.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article293369.ece

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UK parliamentary committee urges US-Taliban talks

2 March 2011

LONDON - The United States must hold direct talks with the Taliban if it is to have any hope of ending the Afghan war, an influential British parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.

The Foreign Affairs Committee said the military campaign was not working and urged the British government to use its influence in Washington to convince it to engage fully in direct talks with Taliban leaders.

“An Afghan-led, but US driven, process of political reconciliation is the best remaining hope that the UK and others have of achieving an honourable exit from Afghanistan,” the report, based on interviews with experts and officials, said.

Britain and the United States have long stressed the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan. But officials have also said any talks must be Afghan-led, and insisted military pressure is helping bring insurgents to the negotiating table.

The report, however, argued the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai did not have the clout to negotiate a settlement without the direct involvement of Washington.

“All of those from whom we took evidence were convinced that the US’s direct endorsement of, and participation in, talks was essential if a peace settlement is to be brokered...”

It said that while the military campaign might be achieving tactical successes, the overall security situation remained precarious. Current tactics might even reduce chances of a settlement by raising mistrust and radicalising the insurgency.

“Given that the pre-requisites for a successful military campaign are currently lacking, we conclude that the US should not delay its significant involvement in talks with the Taliban leadership...” it said.

The report — which echoed comments made by Pakistan and some regional analysts that the Taliban could be convinced to break with al Qaeda in a political settlement — was researched last year and may have been overtaken by events.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March69.xml&section=international

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Fresh ultimatum from Somali pirates

Yudhvir Rana

Mar 2, 2011

AMRITSAR: Somali pirates who had hijacked MV Suez, a ship of Red Sea Navigation, in the Gulf of Aden have given five days` ultimatum for the life of six Indians and four Pakistani if they didn`t get a ransom amount of $ 2.3 million, said United Nations expert advisor on human rights Ansar Burney, who claims to be in touch with the pirates for the release of hostages.

While talking to TOI over phone from Karachi on Tuesday, Burney said he was negotiating with the Somali pirates on humanitarian grounds for the greater interest of human dignity and to save the lives of six Indians and four Pakistanis. The pirates had earlier demanded $5 million for the release of hostages, he added.

MV Suez with the flag of Panama was hijacked by the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010 with six Indians, four Pakistanis, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians on board, Burney said. Pakistan`s former federal minister for human rights and chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust International, Burney said the conditions of hostages was critical as they had been sailing in the Somali sea for past nearly eight months. "They were being given some boiled rice and fish by their captors," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Fresh-ultimatum-from-Somali-pirates/articleshow/7607597.cms#ixzz1FQ6cavKr

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Yemeni president says US and Israel behind unrest

Mar 2, 2011

SANAA: Yemen’s embattled president on Tuesday accused the US, his closest ally, of instigating the mounting protests against him, but the gambit failed to slow the momentum for his ouster.

Hundreds of thousands rallied in cities across Yemen against the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the largest of the protests of the past month, including one addressed by an influential firebrand cleric, a former ally of Saleh, whom the US has linked to al-Qaeda.

“Go on until you achieve your demands,” Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani told tens of thousands of demonstrators in the capital of Sanaa. A former US ambassador to Yemen called al-Zindani’s decision to turn against President Ali Abdullah Saleh a major setback for the president.

Some warned that the current political turmoil and possible collapse of Saleh’s regime could give a further opening to Yemen’s offshoot of the global terror network, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

James Jones, former White House National Security Advisor, warned a Washington conference that Yemen’s crisis “could deepen the current vacuum of power in Yemen on which al Qaeda has thrived.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/02/yemeni-president-says-us-and-israel-behind-unrest.html

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Gang involved in looting Pak traders busted, 4 held

Mar 2, 2011

NAWANSHAHR: A gang of robbers, involved in looting three Pakistani businessmen two weeks ago, has been busted, with the arrest of four of its members on Monday evening. Their arrest has "restored the confidence" of the Lahore traders in law-enforcement agencies in Indian Punjab.

Jamir Ahmed Mio, director of Jumme Engineering, Tariq Mohd and Mirza Mohd Yousuf Beg, who had visited India to participate in a business fair in Chandigarh, were looted on Phagwara-Chandigarh state highway in the wee hours of February 15.

The accused -- Tarlochan Singh, alias Sodhi, Paramjit Singh Pamma, Harjinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh -- were arrested on a tip-off by Banga police when they were travelling in a car on a road between Banga and Nawanshahr. "They have confessed to their involvement in four robberies. Two country-made and an air pistols have been recovered from their possession,`` Nawanshahr SSP Dr Narinder Bhargav said. "Cops will recover the booty during their police remand," he added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Gang-involved-in-looting-Pak-traders-busted-4-held/articleshow/7607616.cms#ixzz1FQ6Xspfb

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pakistan-minorities-minister-shot-dead-in-islamabad/d/4214


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Total Comments (1)

  • 1 .
    The team of plunderers, the US and NATO, have arrived at the borders of Libya. As times pass, the real cause of the strife in Libya will emerge as Iran has caused a lot of concern for the US and Israel. Terrorism in the region was not giving them the teeth to invade some gulf countries again and post their military in the area to counter future possible advetures from Iran. So the public uprising and Gaddafi's refusal to step down has given them the right justification to interfere in the area militarily. Neither Gaddafi nor the people of Libya asked for their intervention or help but they have arrived to help the people to install democracy.
    By Dr Md Kamaluddin, Lucknow 03/03/2011 18:21:31