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Islamic World News ( 24 Dec 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Pope Prays for Freedom in China and Peace in Syria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

Mecca Masjid bomber arrested from Ujjain

Muslim poverty may bite Narendra Modi at NDC meet in Delhi

Need new steps to reach benefits of schemes to Muslims: Plan

AAI all set to handle flights from Dubai

2012 year ender: SC blow to govt in high-profile cases, death to Ajmal Quasab

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Pakistan

Pakistan's Loneliest Church Celebrates Christmas In Taliban Country

‘Save The State, Not Politics’: Tahirul Qadri Returns, In Style

Religious extremism will have to be eliminated: MQM

Pakistan, Afghanistan trying to turn Taliban into political movement: Sr. Afghan Official

G-B govt plans Gilgit de-weaponisation

Two Pakistanis slain in Afghan province

40 dead in a week: Violence across Pakistan raises fears for elections

UK Queen rode Punjab Governor’s Rolls Royce 15 years ago

Exhibition for Christians at Lahore Museum

Church in South Waziristan ready to celebrate Christmas

Farmers out against MFN status to India

Candidates should get security or be allowed to carry arms Election Commission of Pakistan

Four security personnel killed in Balochistan

Change only through ballot, says Nawaz

MQM challenges SC orders for delimitation

Qadri’s rally strengthened demand for poll deferment

Minister fears terror attack on Central Jail

Remembering a legend: Shah Bhittai’s 269th Urs celebrations to begin on December 28

PTI grills PPP, PML-N over corruption

Quaid’s birth anniversary today

Riaz’s lawyer may file case in UK 

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Arab World

Expatriates in Dubai celebrate Christmas togetherness

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of 'meddling' ahead of summit

700 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict: PLO

Saudi man jailed in Dubai for having consensual sex

More than 100 Syrians killed in bakery attack

Syria troops using killer gas bombs in Homs: Watchdog

Al-Azhar's Grand Imam to respond to Salafists' 'plan' to remove him

Saudi writer arrested for Islam ‘insults’

Rebel town attacked by ‘terrorists’: Syrian Govt

Morsi issues decree to establish controversial Zewail science centre

U.N. envoy meets with Syrian president as deaths mount

Saudi Arabia calls on Iran to stop interfering

Kuwait to host donor conference for Syrians

Iraq calls for Arab action on climate change

Flights at Abu Dhabi hit by heavy fog

Dubai Police’s war on narcotics hits high

Syria opposition activists expect rocky transition after Assad’s fall

Envoy Meets With Assad as Russia Seeks Distance

Government measures help halve number of Bangladeshi illegal workers

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Mideast Asia

Terror in a Christmas tree: Mayor of Nazareth banned Christmas trees from public buildings

Israel approves 1,200 Jerusalem settler homes: activists

Police officers in Jakarta ordered to shoot to kill terrorists

Drone strikes kill six militants in Yemen

GKI Yasmin Denied Christmas Service in Bogor, Jakarta Church By local residents

Gaza targeting of Israel civilians violates war laws: HRW

Israel endorses first university in West Bank

Iran slams Canada for delisting rebel group

Yemeni forces free abducted Filipina nurse

Gaza Cease-Fire Helps Fishermen, but Risks Remain

First armoured division to leave ‘home’ at Sana’a University

Yemeni scholars’ forum in support of the National Dialogue Conference  

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Africa

US army teams going to Africa as 'terror threat grows'

Islamist group claims kidnap of French national in Nigeria

Darfur battle leaves rebels in rare 'control' over town

Sudan jails four for killing Chinese 

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South Asia

Afghan police officer kills five colleagues

UN concerned at Muslim-Buddhist clashes in Myanmar

Afghan ‘rogue’ attacks kill six

Bangladesh Jamaat leader Shafiqur on remand

U.S. Civilian Is Killed at Police Post in Kabul

Troops in Afghanistan Find Cheer with a Yule Logon

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Southeast Asia

10kg bomb found in Poso, Jakarta

Palu Police remain on alert over Christmas

Jakarta to develop Thousand Islands tourism

Indonesia Announces New Diplomatic Ties with Nauru

Jakarta Busway Stop Attacked, Again



Indonesia's Democratic Party Remains Optimistic

Democrats to air anti-corruption ads

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North America

Pope Prays for Freedom in China and Peace in Syria

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Europe

Make Room for God, Pope Says at Christmas Eve Mass

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Pakistan's Loneliest Church Celebrates Christmas In Taliban Country

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pope-prays-for-freedom-in-china-and-peace-in-syria/d/9797

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India

 

Mecca Masjid bomber arrested from Ujjain

December 25, 2012

New Delhi: The National Investigating Agency has arrested the man said to be have planted the bomb at Mecca Masjid in May 2007 that killed more than 13 people.

Tej Ram Parmar, 25, was arrested from Ujjain in Uttar Pradesh.

He is believed to be a member of Abhinav Bharat, the same group believed to be behind the Samjhauta Express blast.

Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. Five more people were killed in police firing on protesters outside the mosque after the blasts.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/mecca-masjid-bomber-arrested-from-ujjain-309713

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Muslim poverty may bite Narendra Modi at NDC meet in Delhi

PranabDhalSamanta

Dec 24 2012 

New Delhi: The final version of the Twelfth Plan document has named Gujarat among four states with the maximum number of Muslims below poverty line, which could set the stage for another confrontation between Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre at next week’s National Development Council (NDC) meeting.

At the 2007 NDC meeting to discuss the Eleventh Plan, Modi had openly hit out at the prime minister’s 15-point programme for minorties, demanding that it be dropped “in the interest of maintaining the social fabric of the nation”.

He subsequently never implemented the Centre’s scholarship scheme for minorities.

Narendra ModiSpeak: Dissect, Introspect, Decide

Now the Twelfth Plan document, which will be the subject of discussion at the NDC coming Thursday, shows Gujarat in a poor light when it comes to lifting Muslims above BPL in both urban and rural areas. To address this, the Plan calls for direct targeting of minorities to be made a pre-condition for disbursal of funds — a concept Modi has vehemently opposed, terming targeting of population on lines of religion “anti-constitutional”.

“According to the latest Planning Commission estimates, the poverty ratio for Muslims was 33.9 per cent in urban areas, especially on account of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal. In rural areas, the poverty ratio for Muslims was very high in states such as Assam, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat,” states the Plan document in its chapter on social Inclusion, which is part of the section on social sector.

Using the Tendulkar Committee’s methodology, the Planning Commission estimates that 42.4 per cent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor, which is very high compared to the overall poverty ratio of 17.9 per cent in urban areas. In rural areas, the corresponding figure stands at 31.4 per cent, which is again more than the overall average of 26.4 per cent for rural poverty in the state.

On urban poverty ratio among Muslims, Gujarat’s figures are the third worse after Bihar (56.5 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (49.5 per cent) while in rural areas, it’s fourth after Assam (53.6), Uttar Pradesh (44.4) and West Bengal (34.4).

The overall BPL population ratio in the country, according to the Tendulkar report, is 29.8 per cent.

Noting that a “perception of discrimination and alienation” is the most “important concern” for Muslims when compared to other minorities, the Plan document has stressed on its “direct targeting” approach.

“Revamp the design, expand the scope and strengthen implementation structures of key initiatives such that minority settlements and people are directly targeted; such direct targeting should be made a condition for approval of all block- and district-level plans,” the document stated.

For Modi, the visit to Delhi to attend the NDC meet is also like the customary victory lap after a third straight win at the hustings. He has claimed that his opponents were spreading “lies about Gujarat” in the course of the election campaign and underlined that his win was proof enough.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/muslim-poverty-may-bite-narendra-modi-at-ndc-meet-in-delhi/1049432/0

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Need new steps to reach benefits of schemes to Muslims: Plan

Press Trust of India / New Delhi

December 25, 2012, 18:45

Concerned over the perception of discrimination and alienation among the Muslim community, the 12th Five Year Plan document has pitched for innovative steps to reach the benefits of government schemes to needy persons of the minority community.

"Innovative steps are needed such as expanding facilitators in Muslim concentrated villages and towns to act as interface between the community and the state institutions," said the draft Plan document which will be placed before the National Development Council (NDC) for approval.

Noting that only a few members of the Muslim community benefit from the various development schemes of the government, the document said, "an important concern vis-a-vis the Muslim community is the perception of discrimination and alienation. This needs to be appropriately addressed in the 12th Plan".

It said that Muslims, who constitute the largest religious minority comprising about 13.4 per cent of the total population, lag behind others in terms of economic, health and education indices.

As per the recent estimates, the document said the poverty ratio for Muslims was 33.9 per cent in urban areas, especially on account of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal.

In case of rural areas, it said, poverty ratio for Muslims was very high in states such as Assam, Uttar, West Bengal and Gujarat.

According to the document, "The literacy and work participation amongst the Muslims is low as compared to other minority communities. The majority of them are engaged in traditional and low paying professions, or are mostly small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers, small traders, craftsmen and so on."

http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/need-new-steps-to-reach-benefitsschemes-to-muslims-plan/99802/

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AAI all set to handle flights from Dubai

Dec 25, 2012

Mangalore: The Airports Authority of India has turned adversity into opportunity and is now all geared to start international flights by Jet Airways from its Mangalore International Airport on January 3, 2013.

At present, the operation time of Mangalore International Airport is 6am to 10pm and all flights arrive and depart from the airport during this period. The Airways will be operating in the wee hours due to operational reasons which has necessitated changes.

JT Radhakrishna, director, Mangalore International Airport, said as the Jet Airways could not get slots between at Dubai airport , Mangalore airport has made arrangements for the arrival of Jet flights between 3.30am to 4.30am. "These odd-hour operations has necessitated us to make a lot of arrangements," he said, adding AAI has made arrangements for ATC and operational facilities such as ILS, runway lights, approach lights, security, fire and rescue man power.

In terminal building, facilities such as operations of passenger boarding bridge, baggage conveyors, lifts, escalators, car parking, entry ticket, foreign exchange, air conditioning, power supply have been made to ensure hassle free experience for commuters arriving in the flight. Radhakrishna said AAI is thankful to the cooperation of customs and immigration authorities for the operation of international flights despite the obvious difficulties.

While above arrangements have been made for smooth operation of arrival of international flight, AAI has already put in place arrangements for departure of flights.

The Jet Airways is all set to commence its direct operation from Mangalore to Dubai on January 3, 2013, six times a week except on Saturday due to non availability of space in Dubai airport. The direct flight from Mangalore to Dubai will coincide with Dubai Shopping Festival starting next month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangalore/AAI-all-set-to-handle-flights-from-Dubai/articleshow/17750537.cms

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2012 year ender: SC blow to govt in high-profile cases, death to Ajmal Quasab

Dec 25 2012

Judgments giving a body blow to the government in the high-profile Vodafone tax case and scrapping of 2G spectrum licences hogged the limelight in the Supreme Court which in 2012 also brought the curtains down on the 26/11 case by sending the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Quasab to the gallows.

The 25-year-old Quasab's nearly four-year-long legal battle for life ended on August 29 and 84 days after the verdict he was hanged on November 21 for the crime of “unprecedented enormity” planned in Pakistan.

While the day-to-day hearing in Quasab's case was being watched, the then Army Chief V K Singh in an unprecedented move dragged the government to the top court where he lost his battle on the age row, forcing him to withdraw his petition.

The apex court told Gen Singh that he cannot resile on his commitment that he would abide by the government decision to treat his date of birth as May 10, 1950 and rejected the contention of “prejudice” and “perversity”.

However, before the age row, the year began on a bad note for the government which lost its tax case of Rs 11,000 crore against telecom major Vodafone and the apex court scrapping the 2G spectrum licences allocated during the tenure of A Raja as telecom minister.

The government's woes did not end here as its pleas for review of the Vodafone and 2G verdict fell flat.

After failing to get any relief in the spectrum case, the Centre came out with Presidential Reference to overcome the direction in the 2G verdict that all natural resources have to be allotted through the route of “auction”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/2012-yearender-sc-blow-to-govt-in-highprofile-cases-death-to-ajmal-Quasab/1050004/

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Pakistan 

Pakistan's Loneliest Church Celebrates Christmas In Taliban Country

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

December 24, 2012

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan: This Christmas, pastor Nazir Alam will stoke up a fire, lay a fresh cloth on the altar and welcome parishioners as they arrive at his church in Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area known as an al-Qaeda haven.

"The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best," said 60-year-old Alam, a former missionary who has celebrated his last ten Christmases there. "There's not much left to do but to pray and rejoice."

Outsiders might see little cause for joy. Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for minorities, says London-based watchdog Minority Rights Group International. Christians, Shiite Muslims and Ahmadis are victims of a rising tide of deadly attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2012/Dec-24/199770-pakistans-loneliest-church-celebrates-christmas-in-taliban-country.ashx#ixzz2G3KmYWtd

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‘Save The State, Not Politics’: Tahirul Qadri Returns, In Style

By Rana Tanveer

December 24, 2012

LAHORE: Influential religious scholar Tahirul Qadri set a three-week deadline on Sunday for the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government to introduce election reforms or else face a “million-man march” on January 14.

“Elections without reforms will be meaningless and people will reject results if they are held under the existing system,” Tahirul Qadri, who heads the broad-based Islamic organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI), told his much-publicised “Save the State, not Politics” rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/483635/save-the-state-not-politics-qadri-returns-in-style/

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Religious extremism will have to be eliminated: MQM

December 25, 2012

KARACHI: The Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain has said it is necessary to eradicate terrorism and extremism in order to transform Pakistan according to the golden principles of the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

It has become inevitable that political and religious parties adopt a solid and effective line of action for this purpose.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\25\story_25-12-2012_pg12_6

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Pakistan, Afghanistan trying to turn Taliban into political movement: Sr. Afghan Official

December 25, 2012

KABUL - Pakistan is genuine about backing a nascent Afghan peace process and shares the Kabul government’s goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement, a senior Afghan government official told Reuters. Pakistan is seen as critical to US and Afghan efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan, a task that is gaining urgency as Nato troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014 and hand over security responsibilities to government forces.“They have told us that they share the vision contained in our roadmap which is basically to transform the Taliban from a military entity into a political entity to enable them to take part in the Afghan political process and peacefully seek power like any other political entity in Afghanistan,” the official said, referring to Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/25-Dec-2012/pakistan-afghanistan-trying-to-turn-taliban-into-political-movement

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G-B govt plans Gilgit de-weaponisation

By Peer Muhammad

 December 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to eradicate sectarianism, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government is set to launch an effective targeted operation to deweaponise Gilgit city.

G-B’s capital city is in the grip of sectarian clashes for over two decades, as a result of which many precious lives have been lost and the peace of the area has been disrupted.

Amid the deteriorating law and order situation, the government has decided to launch a targeted operation to collect illegal weapons from key locations of the capital, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/483640/sectarian-violence-g-b-govt-plans-gilgit-deweaponisation/

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Two Pakistanis slain in Afghan province

By Tahir Khan

December 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Gunmen shot dead a Pakistani driver and his cleaner in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, an Afghan security official said.

The shooting in the Batikot district of Nangarhar province came a day after Afghan troops thrashed nearly 30 Pakistani nationals near Kabul, prompting a strong protest from Islamabad.

The gunmen opened fire on a container truck, carrying supplies for Afghan security forces, on the Torkhan-Jalalabad Highway and escaped, district police chief Mirza Muhammad Nusrat told The Express Tribune by phone.

“Afghan security forces conducted a search operation after the incident but no arrest was made,” Nusrat added.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/483607/targeted-attack-two-pakistanis-slain-in-afghan-province/

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40 dead in a week: Violence across Pakistan raises fears for elections

December 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A surge of violence in northwest Pakistan culminating in the assassination of a senior provincial minister has raised fears of a renewed Taliban campaign that could threaten national elections, analysts say.

The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjacent Federally-Administered Tribal Areas, which border Afghanistan, are on the frontline of the country’s battle against Islamist militancy and are no strangers to violence.

But the past week has seen a noticeable rise in bloodshed, with more than 40 people killed in near-daily attacks. These culminated in Saturday’s suicide bombing at a meeting of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar, the province’s main city.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/483734/40-dead-in-a-week-violence-across-pakistan-raises-fears-for-elections/

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UK Queen rode Punjab Governor’s Rolls Royce 15 years ago

Sabir Shah

December 25, 2012

LAHORE: During her October 6-12, 1997 state visit to Pakistan, Queen Elizabeth II of England was driven through the roads of Lahore in a vintage black Rolls Royce (LXQ 2200), which is still owned by the 51-year old newly-appointed Punjab Governor, Makhdoomzada Syed Ahmad Mahmood.

Full report at:

 http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-150395-UK-Queen-rode-Ahmeds-Rolls-Royce-15-years-ago

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Exhibition for Christians at Lahore Museum

December 25, 2012

LAHORE: An exhibition of Lahore Museum’s Artifacts on Christian themes was held at Gandhara Gallery of the Museum on Monday. Bishop Rt. Revd Irfan Jamil and Bishop of Emeritus of Lahore Rt. Revd Dr John Malik jointly inaugurated the exhibition. The dignitaries from Christian Community and others, including Dean of Cathedral Church Shahid P Mairaj, ex-NCA principal Sajida Vandal and a large number of painting lovers were present on the occasion. Later, they went round the exhibition and took keen interest in different artifacts, manuscripts and miniature paintings on Christian themes displayed on the occasion

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\25\story_25-12-2012_pg13_2

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Church in South Waziristan ready to celebrate Christmas

25 Dec 2012

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN: This Christmas, pastor Nazir Alam will stoke up a fire, lay a fresh cloth on the altar and welcome parishioners as they arrive at his church in Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area known as an Al Qaeda haven.

“The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best,” said 60-year-old Alam, a former missionary who has celebrated his last ten Christmases there.

“There’s not much left to do but to pray and rejoice.”

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/24/church-in-south-waziristan-ready-to-celebrate-christmas/

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Farmers out against MFN status to India

December 25, 2012  

LAHORE – Dozens of farmers’ associations on Monday held a demonstration against the Islamabad’s giving the most favourite nation (MFN) status to India.

The farmers’ bodies termed the decision as anti-Pakistani farmers and against the food security of the country. Pakistan Farmers Alliance organised the demonstration at front of Lahore Press Club.

“The main agenda of the agitation was to record the growers’ anger against the unilateral decision of the government to award MFN status to India,” said Tariq Bucha, the president of the Farmers Association of Pakistan (FAP).

The organizations which participated in protest march are FAP, Kisan Board, Muthida Kisan Mahaz, Guava Growers Association, Basmati Growers Association, Mango Growers Association, Livestock Farmers and Breeders Association and other farmers’ bodies. Kisan Board Pakistan Vice-president Sarfraz Ahmad Khan and KBP Central Punjab President Noor Elahi Tutla addressed the gathering.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/lahore/25-Dec-2012/farmers-out-against-mfn-status-to-india

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Candidates should get security or be allowed to carry arms Election Commission of Pakistan

25 Dec 2012

ISLAMABAD: Candidates will either be provided adequate security or allowed to carry arms to protect themselves during the coming elections.

Ban on display of weapons is to be enforced strictly, says the Election Commission of Pakistan in a working paper.

But, it adds, either the respective provincial or the federal government will provide security to all candidates after finalisation of the list of contestants by returning officers. Otherwise, they will have to be exempted from the arms ban to enable them to make their own security arrangements.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/25/candidates-should-get-security-or-be-allowed-to-carry-arms/

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MQM challenges SC orders for delimitation

December 25, 2012

KARACHI  - The MQM on Monday filed two separate review petitions at the Supreme Court against its orders of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.The petitions – filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Farooq Sattar and Senator Dr Farogh Naseem at the Karachi Registry of apex court – stated that redrawing boundaries of the constituencies was illegal, and that it could not be done without census and house count in the city.They also said that ‘singling out’ Karachi for the delimitation process reflects a ‘biased’ conduct of authorities, demanding that new constituencies should be redrawn in the whole country.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/25-Dec-2012/mqm-challenges-sc-orders-for-delimitation

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Qadri’s rally strengthened demand for poll deferment

By: Abrar Saeed

December 25, 2012

ISLAMABAD - The very well attended public gathering of Allama Tahirul Qadri at Minar-I-Pakistan a couple of back has not only created ripples in the already turbulent waters of national politics but also provided strength to all those forces which wanted deferment of general elections for their own reasons.The mainstream political parties came out with scathing criticism on the suggestion of Allama Tahirul Qadri for reformation in the electoral process ahead of next general elections and smelling the rat warned postponement of upcoming general elections on any pretext.While on the other hand, Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has welcomed the suggestion coming from Qadri and termed it near to his party’s manifesto. On the other hand, Muttahida Qoumi Movement’s delegation led by Dr. Farooq Sattar had attended the rally while MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain had also greeted Allama for his successful show of strength.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/25-Dec-2012/qadri-s-rally-strengthened-demand-for-poll-deferment

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Minister fears terror attack on Central Jail

December 25, 2012  

KARACHI – With an independent Election Commission in place and holding of free, fair and transparent general elections, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) would emerge victorious with a wide majority.

This was stated by the Sindh Minister for Mines and Minerals, Manzoor Hussain Wassan here on Monday. . He said one should not form opinion by gauging the number of participants in the public meetings. He said that in the forthcoming general elections the precise positions of the parties would come to the fore.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/karachi/25-Dec-2012/wassan-fears-terror-attack-on-central-jail

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Remembering a legend: Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s 269th Urs celebrations to begin on

December 28

December 24, 2012

KARACHI: The 269th Urs celebrations of Sufi Sindhi poet Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai will

begin on December 28 at Bhit Shah, about 50 kilometres north of Hyderabad. The celebrations

will continue for three days.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Culture

Minister Sassui Palijo, MNA Pir Aftab Shah Jilani and Antiquities Minister Makhdoom Jamiluz

Zaman will attend the celebrations.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/483548/remembering-a-legend-shah-abdul-latif-bhittais-269th-

urs-celebrations-to-begin-on-december-28/

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PTI grills PPP, PML-N over corruption

 December 25, 2012

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Lahore chapter president Mahmoodur Rashid has said that there is no difference in the policies of both ruling parties-PML-N and PPP-as their leaders involved in corruption and plundering national kitty. Addressing a gathering of party workers Monday, he said other parties were involved in acting against PTI leaders, adding that, his party would get back at those behind these acts. Mahmood said the PTI would collect taxes fairly and eradicate corruption to establish a new Pakistan, whereas both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were responsible for massive corruption and tax evasion.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\25\story_25-12-2012_pg13_5

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Quaid’s birth anniversary today

25 Dec 2012

ISLAMABAD: The nation pays tribute to the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, on his 136th birth anniversary on Tuesday.

The day will begin with special prayers and Quran Khwani at the Mazar-i-Quaid.

Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan will air programmes highlighting the Quaid’s principles of faith, unity and discipline.

Private channels have also made similar arrangements.

Newspapers will bring out supplements stressing the Quaid’s struggle for a homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent in the face of opposition from Hindus and the Congress party.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi on Dec 25, 1876. He received his early education in the city of his birth and did Bar-at-Law from England in 1896. Mr Jinnah died on Sept 11, 1948.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/25/quaids-birth-anniversary-today/

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Riaz’s lawyer may file case in UK

25 Dec 2012

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: Zahid Bokhari, counsel for property tycoon Malik Riaz, will leave for UK on Tuesday to explore the possibility of filing a case against Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

“Had Pakistani courts done justice, there would have been no need to approach foreign courts,” Mr Bokhari told journalists at the Lahore High Court on Monday.

He said the Supreme Court had declared that the case between Malik Riaz and Mr Arsalan was a private one and they could resort to legal proceedings against each other.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/25/riazs-lawyer-may-file-case-in-uk/

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Arab World

 

Expatriates in Dubai celebrate Christmas togetherness

By Janice Ponce de Leon

December 25, 2012

Dubai: For many Christian expatriates in the UAE who are celebrating Christmas in Dubai on Tuesday, the special day is marked with family get-togethers and prayers.

Many Christian churches in the country have held special masses since December 16, taking advantage of the religious freedom the UAE leadership accords its residents.

Among those thankful for UAE’s religious tolerance is Sabu George, an Indian expatriate. George said his family of six, including his parents, will spend Christmas Eve together by first attending a programme at church.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/expatriates-celebrate-christmas-togetherness-1.1123334

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Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of 'meddling' ahead of summit

24 Dec 2012

Saudi Arabia on Monday told regional rival Iran to stop interfering in internal Gulf Arab affairs and spreading "sedition", activities Tehran denies.

The comments, made by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, follow similar allegations levelled at Iran by the kingdom in the past, and other Gulf states are likely to voice similar complaints at a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that opens later on Monday.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61209/World/Region/Saudi-Arabia-accuses-Iran-of-meddling-ahead-of-sum.aspx

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700 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict: PLO

24 Dec 2012

More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the conflict there erupted more than 21 months ago, a Palestine Liberation Organisation official in charge of refugees said on Sunday.

"More than 700 Palestinians have died in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, including in Yarmuk" refugee camp in southern Damascus, the PLO's Zacharia al-Agha told officials of Palestinian refugees in Arab states.

"We have asked the Syrian authorities not to let Palestinians be drawn into the conflict," he told the conference in the Egyptian capital.

Late on Sunday, several rockets were fired into the camp which has been the scene of deadly clashes between pro- and anti-regime forces for several days over the past week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said.

The Britain-based group said two men were killed by the rocket fire and another was shot dead by a sniper.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61216/World/Region/-Palestinians-killed-in-Syria-conflict-PLO.aspx

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Saudi man jailed in Dubai for having consensual sex

A man from Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to one year in jail for having paid sex with a prostitute in Dubai, although, he claimed that he hired her for a massage only.

The Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the 34-year-old Uzbek woman, D.R., for three years for prostitution and she will be placed under police surveillance for three years, the Gulf News reported.

According to Sunday’s judgement, D.R. and the 32-year-old visitor, B.A., were also sentenced to a month in jail for consuming liquor.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/saudi-man-jailed-in-dubai-for-having-consensual-sex-with-hooker/1049649/

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More than 100 Syrians killed in bakery attack

December 24, 2012

By Steve Almasy

(CNN) -- Scores of people who had been without bread for days were killed when Syrian warplanes bombed a bakery in the western village of Halfaya, opposition activists said Sunday.

More than 100 people were killed, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. The death toll could rise, the activist group said.

An activist who oversaw the burial of many bodies said at least 109 people died.

Hassan Al-Rajb told CNN that 69 people were identified and buried, while 15 others were laid to rest without being ID'd. At least 25 more bodies were still at the site, but hospital workers said the roads were cut off and they were unable to reach the bakery, he said.

The hospitals cannot handle all the wounded, he said.

Full report at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/23/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html?hpt=wo_c2

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Syria troops using killer gas bombs in Homs: Watchdog

24 Dec 2012

Syrian troops have deployed bombs containing a killer gas while fighting rebels in the central city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activists said on Monday.

"Activists in Homs say that six rebels died on Sunday night on the Khaldiyeh-Bayada frontline because they inhaled odorless gas and white smoke," said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors to document Syria's raging conflict.

"Gas spread in the area after regime troops threw bombs that gave off white smoke as soon as they hit the walls," said the Observatory, which added that the bombs were deployed during street clashes with the rebels.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61218/World/Region/Syria-troops-using-killer-gas-bombs-in-Homs-Watchd.aspx

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Al-Azhar's Grand Imam to respond to Salafists' 'plan' to remove him

24 Dec 2012

Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb is to hold a press conference on Monday responding to allegations made by Salafist preacher Yasser Borhami that Islamists reached a deal with the Imam whereby Al-Azhar's representatives in the Constitutuent Assembly agreed to give more prominence for Sharia in the draft constitution in exchange for Islamists agreeing to immune the Imam from removal.

In a video circulating on social media networks, Borhami, a member of the assembly that wrote the country's draft constitution, was seen apologising at length to a Salafist conference organised last month for "his inability to convince the assembly to remove the article making the Al-Azhar Grand Imam immune from removal."

The controversial preacher, however, told his audience the non-removal clause could be circumvented by issuing a law in a new parliament that sets a retirement age for the head of the prestigious Sunni institution.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/61203/Egypt/Politics-/AlAzhars-Grand-Imam-to-respond-to-Salafists-plan-t.aspx

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Saudi writer arrested for Islam ‘insults’

December 25, 2012

JEDDAH  - A Saudi Arabian liberal writer was arrested for making comments on his Twitter account that were allegedly insulting to Islam, family members said. Turki Ahmed was arrested on orders of Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdel Aziz, who was tipped off by a religious organisation, they said. The interior ministry did not confirm the arrest, however, and its spokesman was unreachable for comment. Ahmed on his Twitter account attacked radical Islamists he said were twisting the Holy Prophet’s “message of love,” and what he described as “a neo-Nazism which is on the rise in the Arab world - Islamic Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/25-Dec-2012/saudi-writer-arrested-for-islam-insults

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Rebel town attacked by ‘terrorists’: Syrian Govt

24 December 2012

DAMASCUS - A ‘terrorist’ group attacked the rebel-held town of Halfaya in central Syria killing women and children, news agency Sana said on Monday, rebuffing claims the deaths were a result of a regime air strike.

Activists have said more than 60 people were killed and at least 50 wounded in the town on Sunday, accusing Syrian aerial forces of bombing a local bakery.

Sana, the official news agency, however gave a vastly different account, citing residents of the town located in the central province of Hama. “An armed terrorist group attacked the town of Halfaya committing crimes against the population, killing many women and children,” it said.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=/data/middleeast/2012/December/middleeast_December407.xml&section=middleeast

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Morsi issues decree to establish controversial Zewail science centre

24 Dec 2012

President Mohamed Morsi issued a law on Monday establishing Zewail City of Science and Technology as Egypt's national scientific renaissance project.

The Zewail City of Science and Technology (ZCST), managed by Nobel prize winner in chemistry Ahmed Zewail, is officially established according to Law no. 161 of 2012, with headquarters and premises located in Sheikh Zayed and October City, with no further details about the exact locations and whether it will use the disputed buildings and the premises of Nile University or not.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/61227/Egypt/Politics-/Morsi-issues-decree-to-establish-controversial-Zew.aspx

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U.N. envoy meets with Syrian president as deaths mount

December 25, 2012

By Amir Ahmed and Holly Yan

(CNN) -- With the carnage in Syria showing no sign of abating, U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Monday with Syria's president in hopes of making headway in ending the country's civil war.

"We have exchanged opinions about the possible steps that can be taken in the future," Brahimi told reporters after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more: Syria firing more Scud missiles, NATO says.

"The president spoke about his view regarding this situation. I also talked about the meetings I had abroad in several cities with various officials in the region and outside of the region. I also talked about what steps which I see appropriate to be taken to help the Syrian people to get out of this crisis," he said.

Full report at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/24/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html?hpt=wo_c2

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Saudi Arabia calls on Iran to stop interfering

December 24, 2012

Manama: Saudi Arabia on Monday told Iran to stop interfering in internal Gulf Arab affairs and spreading “sedition”, activities Tehran denies.

The comments, made by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, follow similar allegations levelled at Iran by the kingdom in the past, and other Gulf states are likely to voice similar complaints at a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that opened on Monday.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/iran/saudi-arabia-calls-on-iran-to-stop-interfering-1.1123135

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Kuwait to host donor conference for Syrians

Habib Toumi

December 24, 2012

Manama: Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber has announced that Kuwait would host a humanitarian aid donor conference for the Syrian people by the end of January.

The Emir made the announcement as he gave a speech at the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Bahrain.

“It gives me pleasure to announce that in response to a proposal from HE the Secretary General of the United Nations to host a humanitarian aid donor conference to support the Syrian people, Kuwait has agreed to host the conference at the end of January,” Shaikh Sabah said. “The conference will be about providing humanitarian aid. Your support and your contributions to the conference will be a crucial factor in alleviating the suffering that we seek to relieve off the Syrian people,” the Emir said.

The situation in Syria was expected to dominate the GCC talks on the latest regional and international developments.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/region/syria/kuwait-to-host-donor-conference-for-syrians-1.1123402

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Iraq calls for Arab action on climate change

24 Dec 2012

Iraq's most senior energy official called for coordinated Arab action on climate change while Egypt's environment minister proposed a regional green fund at a conference in Baghdad on Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani warned of the risk of flooding, and also pointed to desertification and sandstorms affecting Iraq in his call for regional efforts to combat climate change.

The two-day conference comes after the World Bank warned in a report this month that global warming will have dire consequences for the Middle East and north Africa, with even hotter and drier conditions devastating everything from agriculture to tourism. "All Arab countries must work under the Arab League to confront climate change," Shahristani said in opening remarks to the conference in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61224/World/Region/Iraq-calls-for-Arab-action-on-climate-change.aspx

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Flights at Abu Dhabi hit by heavy fog

25 December 2012

Three flights had to be diverted away from Abu Dhabi International Airport, including one to Oman, as dense fog descended on the nation in the lead up to Christmas.

The heavy fog on Monday morning dropped visibility to as low as 50 metres in areas and caused flight delays alongside the flight diversions.

A National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology spokesman said the fog resulted from thick clouds which descended about midnight on Sunday over the Western Region, with the worst visibility in Al Dhafra and Liwa areas.

Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols Directorate deputy director Colonel Khamis Issac said police had prohibited trucks from driving in foggy weather, which was set to persist for the next few days. He said police would step up road patrols in an effort to promote safe driving during fog.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/weather/2012/December/weather_December11.xml&section=weather

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Dubai Police’s war on narcotics hits high

Amira Agarib

25 December 2012

The Dubai Police’s efforts to keep the country’s streets drug-free got more results, with an increase in the seizure of opium topping last year’s figures by a staggering 10,300 per cent.

GCC nationals topped the list of those most involved in the drug-related cases, with police catching 559 criminals, followed by 419 foreign nationalities, including 244 Arabs.

The promising statistics – which run for the first 11 months of this year – were released by Major-General Abdul Jalil Mahdi, Director of the General Department of Anti-Narcotics of the Dubai Police, and he noted that 830kg of various kinds of drugs were seized during the months of January through to November.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/crime/2012/December/crime_December57.xml&section=crime

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Syria opposition activists expect rocky transition after Assad’s fall

December 25, 2012

By Karen DeYoung

lanning for the day after the anticipated fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has become a race against time that many proponents of a pluralistic, democratic Syria fear they are losing.

In Washington, Istanbul and elsewhere, opposition activists and their supporters are establishing databases and drafting the outlines of an interim structure to govern Syria until something more permanent can take its place.

But even those who have been working on the plans doubt they will serve as more than Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/syria-opposition-activists-expect-rocky-transition-after-assads-fall/2012/12/24/bd22c39c-49f6-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html

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Envoy Meets With Assad as Russia Seeks Distance

By KAREEM FAHIM and HALA DROUBI

December 24, 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lakhdar Brahimi, the special envoy seeking an end to the Syria crisis, held an urgent meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Monday as new signs emerged that Russia, Mr. Assad’s most important foreign backer, was moving forward with plans to evacuate Russian diplomats and other expatriates.

Mr. Brahimi, the Algerian statesman who has been the special Syria representative for the United Nations and Arab League for three months, did not specify the substance or tone of his discussion with Mr. Assad, describing it only in general terms in brief remarks afterward.

“The president expressed his view regarding the current situation, and I briefed him on the meetings I had in several capitals with officials from different countries inside and outside the region,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters, according to an account posted on the United Nations’ Web site. “I also told him about the steps that, in my view, need to be taken to help the Syrian people find a way out of this crisis.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/world/middleeast/syria.html?ref=world&_r=1&gwh=D388DA70F9D2135BAA5504A99102A21A&

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Government measures help halve number of Bangladeshi illegal workers

By Binsal Abdul Kader

2 December 24, 2012

Abu Dhabi: The number of Bangladeshi illegal workers seeking amnesty under the current scheme is expected to reduce by 50 per cent thanks to welfare measures taken by the UAE Government, a Bangladeshi diplomat told Gulf News yesterday.

A system of salary payment to the workers through the bank and money exchanges, plus new labour accommodations in Abu Dhabi, have helped reduce the number of illegal workers considerably, said Mohammad Nazmul Quanine, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE.

Quanine said although more than 40,000 illegal Bangladeshi workers took advantage of the previous amnesty in 2007, the embassy estimated that it would only be around 20,000 under the current scheme.

Full report at:

 http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/employment/government-measures-help-halve-number-of-bangladeshi-illegal-workers-1.1123359

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Mideast Asia

 

Terror in a Christmas tree: Mayor of Nazareth banned Christmas trees from public buildings

By: Jonathan Cook

December 25, 2012

Nazareth. Israel’s large Palestinian minority is often spoken of in terms of the threat it poses to the Jewish majority. Palestinian citizens’ reproductive rate constitutes a “demographic time bomb”, while their main political programme - Israel’s reform into “a state of all its citizens” - is proof for most Israeli Jews that their compatriots are really a “fifth column”.

But who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree?

This issue first came to public attention two years ago when it was revealed that Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, had banned Christmas trees from all public buildings in his northern Israeli city.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/25-Dec-2012/terror-in-a-christmas-tree

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Israel approves 1,200 Jerusalem settler homes: activists

December 25, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israel's interior ministry has approved the building of 1,200 new homes in the east Jerusalem settlement neighbourhood of Gilo, the latest in a slew of such approvals, Israeli watchdog Peace Now said.

The approval, which came late on Monday night, follows Israeli committee approvals for thousands of units in neighbourhoods across east Jerusalem and in the West Bank last week.

"This approval from the interior ministry for the construction of 1,200 homes in Gilo comes after a meeting on Thursday by the planning committee for the Jerusalem district to hear objections to the project," Hagit Ofran of Peace Now told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Dec-25/199795-israel-approves-1200-jerusalem-settler-homes-activists.ashx#ixzz2G3HozxEA

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Police officers in Jakarta ordered to shoot to kill terrorists

24 Dec 2012

Palu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan has ordered his officers to shoot to kill anyone terrorizing Palu residents during the Christmas celebrations.

“Don't simply disable them. Shoot them dead in the head and heart,” he said during an inspection, with Military Command (Kodim 1306) chief Lt. Col. Rudi Wahyudiono, of a security post in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Monday.

Ahmad said two officers were killed by a gunman at a security post in Bank Central Asia in Palu in 2011. The shootings happened because the officers were not on alert instead they were busy with their phones, he added.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/24/police-officers-ordered-shoot-kill-terrorists.html

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Drone strikes kill six militants in Yemen

25 Dec 2012

SANAA: Two suspected US drone strikes killed six al Qaeda militants in Yemen on Monday, including a Jordanian, government officials said.

The first “drone strike targeted a vehicle killing two al Qaeda members, a Yemeni and a Jordanian” in Manaseh of central Bayda province, a local government official said, requesting anonymity.

A security official identified one of the militants killed as Abdullah Hussein al-Waeli, an al Qaeda member from Marib province who was wanted after he escaped from prison two years ago. No details were given on the Jordanian.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/24/drone-strikes-kill-six-militants-in-yemen/

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GKI Yasmin Denied Christmas Service in Bogor, Jakarta Church By local residents

December 25, 2012

Dozens of members from the GKI Yasmin congregation were denied entry into their church in Bogor on Tuesday morning to hold a Christmas service.

The congregation gathered in front of a supermarket, around 100 meters from the church at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, but about 100 local residents, who have been rejecting their presence since the church first opened in 2006, were already there to block them from entering the church yard.

Up to 300 personnel from Jakarta's Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) and police officers, as well as military members, were on site to stand guard.

Hendi Iskandar, chief of the Satpol PP team, insisted the congregation members to not hold their Christmas service in the church, adding that the building was still being disputed.

“We’ve provided the building [another venue to hold services] to facilitate services for three days, and we’ll guarantee its safety,” Hendi added, referring to a meeting hall 150 meters from the sealed church.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/gki-yasmin-denied-christmas-service-in-bogor-church-again/563498

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Gaza targeting of Israel civilians violates war laws: HRW

24 Dec 2012

JERUSALEM: Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip “violated the laws of war” by firing rockets at populated areas in Israel during an eight-day flare up last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.

Citing Israeli army figures, HRW said that approximately “1,500 rockets were fired at Israel between November 14 and 21,” of which “at least 800 struck Israel, including 60 that hit populated areas.”

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/12/24/gaza-targeting-of-israel-civilians-violates-war-laws-hrw/

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Israel endorses first university in West Bank

25 Dec 2012

Israel has upgraded a college in a West Bank Jewish settlement to a university, reflecting a determination to keep control of the enclave in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

The decision on Monday gives the Ariel campus, established in 1982 near the city of Nablus, the same status as universities inside Israel, in a move that could trigger international condemnation and enrage the Palestinians.

Palestinians consider the West Bank to be part of their future state. Most of the international community agrees and considers Israel's West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/20121224223148729947.html

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Iran slams Canada for delisting rebel group

24 Dec 2012

Canada has come under fire from officials in Tehran for removing an exiled Iranian opposition group from its blacklist of "terror organisations".

Vic Toews, the Canadian minister of public safety, had announced the delisting of the People's Mujahedin of Iran ["Mujahedeen-e-Khalq" (MEK)], following similar moves made by the European Union and the United States.

Toews also announced the addition of the Quds Force, a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, to the blacklist.

The Iranian foreign ministry responded on Monday, saying that Canada was "using the issue of terrorism as a tool and violating its international commitments".

'Dangerous move'

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/20121224104747241923.html

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Yemeni forces free abducted Filipina nurse

24 December 2012

SANAA - Yemeni security services freed a Filipina nurse two hours after she was kidnapped in Sanaa, state news agency Saba reported on Monday, adding that her abductors have been arrested.

“Security services arrested two outlaws after they kidnapped a Filipina national late on Sunday in the capital Sanaa,” Saba quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying.

The men were arrested within two hours of carrying out the kidnap, the source said, identifying the woman taken hostage as 20-year-old Annie Jones, a nurse at a government hospital in Sanaa.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=/data/middleeast/2012/December/middleeast_December406.xml&section=middleeast

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Gaza Cease-Fire Helps Fishermen, but Risks Remain

By STEVEN ERLANGER and FARES AKRAM

December 24, 2012

GAZA CITY — Khader Bakr, a 19-year-old fisherman, was thrilled to hear that he could now fish up to six nautical miles from the coast, up from the three-mile limit Israel had had in place since 2009. The change was part of the cease-fire deal that halted last month’s fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

But testing the waters late last month, Mr. Bakr apparently sailed out too far. An Israeli gunboat patrolling against arms smuggling ordered him to stop and strip to his underwear. As the Israelis sank his boat, he jumped into the sea and was hauled aboard the Israeli vessel for questioning.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/world/middleeast/gaza-cease-fire-expands-fishing-area-but-risks-remain.html?ref=world&_r=0&gwh=08B0B6C561C5727EB2B675BA45B7A044

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First armoured division to leave ‘home’ at Sana’a University

Ashraf Al-Muraqab

24 December 2012

SANA’A — Doctor Abdulhakeem Al-Shearjabi, chancellor of Sana’a University, said that an agreement has been reached with Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, the former commander of the First Armored Division (FAD), to remove all soldiers from the Sana’a University’s campus in a week. Several students were injured on Saturday in a protest against the military presence.

This agreement puts an end to the deployment of soldiers and military affiliated with the FAD at the university. They have been there since Al-Ahmar joined the 2011 revolution.

Al-Shearjabi told the state-run Saba News Agency that lessons will resume at the university  next Saturday with the military completely gone, according to the agreement.

Al-Shearjabi praised Al-Ahmar’s cooperation in providing an appropriate ground for the educational process and also his determination to keep the university away from political conflicts.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1636/news/1766/First-Armored-Division-to-leave-%E2%80%98home%E2%80%99-at-Sana%E2%80%99a-University.htm

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Yemeni scholars’ forum in support of the National Dialogue Conference

24 December 2012

Mohammed Al-Samei

SANA’A — The Yemeni Scholars’ Forum began a five day conference on Saturday in Sana’a to demonstrate their support for the upcoming National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The event includes several workshops and panels to talk about goals of the 200 sheikhs from various governorates for the upcoming conference.

Hamoud Obad, the Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance, said at the start of the forum that Yemen is currently undergoing a historical millstone and deep changes that require all people to overcome disputes and work together. It’s also witnessing a historical period in which President Hadi is leading the country to a new era based on security, safety, dialogue, justice and the state of law and order.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1636/news/1769/Yemeni-Scholars%E2%80%99-Forum-in-support-of-the-NDC.htm

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Africa

 

US army teams going to Africa as 'terror threat grows'

24 Dec 2012

A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year, part of an intensifying Pentagon effort to train countries to battle extremists and give the U.S. a ready and trained force to dispatch to Africa if crises requiring the U.S. military emerge.

The teams will be limited to training and equipping efforts, and will not be permitted to conduct military operations without specific, additional approvals from the secretary of defense.

The sharper focus on Africa by the U.S. comes against a backdrop of widespread insurgent violence across North Africa, and as the African Union and other nations discuss military intervention in northern Mali.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/61220/World/International/US-army-teams-going-to-Africa-as-terror-threat-gro.aspx

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Islamist group claims kidnap of French national in Nigeria

By Isaac Abrak

December 24, 2012

KADUNA, Nigeria: Nigerian Islamist group Ansaru said on Sunday it was behind the kidnap of a French national last week, citing France's ban on full-face veils and its support for military action in Mali.

Ansaru sent a message to Nigerian reporters saying it was holding 63-year-old Francis Colump, who was taken on Dec. 19 when around 30 gunmen attacked his residence in the remote northern town of Rimi, close to the Niger border.

The Nigerian police declined to comment on the claim but had already named Colump as the man abducted. He was working for French renewable energy firm Vergnet, which had been building Nigeria's first wind farm.

Full report at:

 http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2012/Dec-24/199771-islamist-group-claims-kidnap-of-french-national-in-nigeria.ashx#ixzz2G3KbndjC

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Darfur battle leaves rebels in rare 'control' over town

24 Dec 2012

Rebels in Sudan's troubled Darfur region on Monday reported the rare seizure of a town from government control after fighting that resulted in arrests and casualties.

The Sudan Liberation Army's (SLA's) Abdelwahid Nur faction took control of Golo, a major town in the Jebel Marra area, at about mid-day on Monday after fighting when government militia tried to attack a rebel position, the group's spokesman Ibrahim Al-Hillu told AFP.

Hillu said the rebels seized heavy machine guns, mortars, vehicles and other military equipment in the town and had taken prisoners. There were also casualties but he had no details.

Full report at:

an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government nearly a decade ago.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61232/World/Region/Darfur-battle-leaves-rebels-in-rare-control-over-t.aspx

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Sudan jails four for killing Chinese

December 25, 2012

KHARTOUM  - Four Sudanese have been sentenced to life in prison for killing a Chinese worker in oil-producing South Kordofan, state-linked media reported. The Sudanese Media Centre (SMC), which is close to the security apparatus, did not say when the incident occurred and did not identify the victim. But it reported that an anti-terrorism court in Khartoum North convicted the four of attacking a camp and killing the worker in Baleela, an oilfield in the western part of South Kordofan state. Insurgents are active in the state but primarily in the eastern half. SMC said the thieves exchanged fire with camp security men, leading to the death of the Chinese man.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/25-Dec-2012/sudan-jails-four-for-killing-chinese

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South Asia

 

Afghan police officer kills five colleagues

December 25, 2012

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: An Afghan police officer shot dead five of his colleagues on Monday, an official said, the latest in a string of attacks by members of the security forces on their own men or foreign allies. The shooter, identified as Dur Mohammad, the head of a police post in the northern province of Jawzjan was believed to have joined the Taliban insurgents after the deadly shooting, provincial police chief Abdul Aziz Ghairat said. “He shot dead five of his colleagues and fled and joined the Taliban,” Ghairat said. The gunman and victims were part of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), a US-backed community police force tasked with guarding Afghan villages against Taliban attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\25\story_25-12-2012_pg7_4

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UN concerned at Muslim-Buddhist clashes in Myanmar

December 25, 2012

The UN General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution welcoming positive changes in Myanmar but expressing serious concern at an upsurge of sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine state.

The resolution adopted by the 193-member world body late Monday urges government action to improve the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority "and to protect all their human rights, including their right to a nationality".

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=43444

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Afghan ‘rogue’ attacks kill six

December 25, 2012

KABUL  - A female Afghan police officer shot dead a Nato civilian adviser inside Kabul police headquarters on Monday, officials said, in the first “insider” attack by a woman.It was the latest in a series of such attacks that have seriously undermined trust between Nato forces and their Afghan allies in the fight against hardline Taliban insurgents.A spokesman for Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the adviser died of his wounds and the female police officer who shot him had been detained.Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Seidiqqi confirmed the Kabul incident and said an investigation was under way, while a senior security official speaking to AFP anonymously said the victim was a male adviser from Nato. A police officer at the scene who refused to give his name told AFP the shooting happened in the courtyard of the heavily-guarded headquarters in central Kabul. “I heard gunshots and than I saw the shooter - a woman wearing police uniform - running and firing into the air with her pistol,” the officer said.“I ran after her, jumped on her and put my gun to her head and told her not to move. She gave up and I arrested her and I took her weapon.”In another insider attack on Monday, the head of a local police post in the northern province of Jawzjan shot dead five of his colleagues, said provincial police chief Abdul Aziz Ghairat.The shooter, identified as Dur Mohammad, the head of a police post was believed to have joined the Taliban insurgents after the deadly shooting, provincial police chief Abdul Aziz Ghairat said.“He shot dead five of his colleagues and fled and joined the Taliban,” Ghairat said.The gunman and victims were part of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), a US-backed community police force tasked with guarding Afghan villages against Taliban attacks. Nato is aiming to train 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014 as it transfers all security responsibilities to President Hamid Karzai’s local forces.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/25-Dec-2012/afghan-rogue-attacks-kill-six

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Bangladesh Jamaat leader Shafiqur on remand

December 25, 2012

A Dhaka court yesterday sent Shafiqur Rahman, acting secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, on a three-day remand in an arson case.

The case was filed against him for torching a vehicle in the capital's Motijheel area during a clash between Jamaat men and police on November 5 and for preventing police from discharging their duties then.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=262505

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U.S. Civilian Is Killed at Police Post in Kabul

By ROD NORDLAND and JAWAD SUKHANYAR

December 24, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — A police sergeant shot and killed an American civilian adviser at police headquarters in Kabul on Monday, Afghan police officials said, breaking a relative lull in the so-called insider killings that have strained the relationship between Americans and Afghans here.

The American victim was identified as Joseph Griffin, 49, of Mansfield, Ga., who had worked for DynCorp International as a police trainer since July 2011, according to a DynCorp spokeswoman, Ashley Burke.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/world/asia/afghan-police-officer-kills-american-in-kabul-shooting.html?ref=world

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Troops in Afghanistan Find Cheer With a Yule Logon

By ROD NORDLAND

DECEMBER 24, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan - Marine Cpl. Brett Bass will do what a lot of American service members hope to this Christmas Day: "I'm going to give myself a gift of not turning on my alarm clock," he said.

Maj. Bryan Burke will be trying to coax his 4-year-old daughter to say hello in a video chat. Specialist Marshall Little will have worked the graveyard shift as an intelligence analyst, so he'll still be sleeping when an extravagant Christmas lunch is served at noon. By the time he wakes up, though, it will be morning in America, and he will go online with his wife to open some of the half-dozen presents waiting in his tent.

After more than 11 years of war in Afghanistan, there is still plenty of work to do. But this is the time of year when the tempo of the war slows dramatically. Insurgent attacks drop off as quickly as the snow piles up on mountainsides.

Full report at:

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/troops-in-afghanistan-find-cheer-with-a-yule-logon/?ref=world

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10kg bomb found in Poso, Jakarta

December 25 2012

The bomb squad detonated a 10-kilogram homemade bomb found in front of Sentral Poso market on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. local time.

Poso Police chief Adj. Comr. Eko Santoso said that the bomb had been placed inside a can. “It appears that the perpetrator put the bomb in the market early in the morning when everyone was asleep,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/25/10kg-bomb-found-poso.html

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Palu Police remain on alert over Christmas

December 24 2012

Police will remain on the alert and intensify security at churches and public places in Palu, Central Sulawesi, ahead of Christmas as the city is often the site of social unrest and terrorism.

Palu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said on Monday that the police would carry out the instructions of the National Police to prioritize Central Sulawesi for top security during the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.

Ahmad said the province was a top priority as it was prone to terrorism, inter-village clashes Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/24/palu-police-remain-alert-over-christmas.html

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Jakarta to develop Thousand Islands tourism

December 24 2012

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo made his first official visit to Thousand Islands regency on Sunday since assuming office in October.

During his visit, the governor instructed Thousand Islands Regent Achmad Ludfi to develop tourism in the regency. “The governor wants tourism to develop here,” the regent said as quoted by tempo.co.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/24/jakarta-develop-thousand-islands-tourism.html

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Indonesia Announces New Diplomatic Ties With Nauru

December 25, 2012

Indonesia has established diplomatic ties with the South Pacific island nation of Nauru, in a bid to expand opportunities and strengthen ties between the two countries.

Desra Percaya, Indonesia's permanent representative to the United Nations, said he expected the opening of these diplomatic relations would lead to more opportunities and deepen cooperation in various sectors, especially in the fields of climate change, disaster risk management and South-South cooperation.

Nauru is the 183rd member of 193 members states of the United Nations with which Indonesia has established diplomatic relationships. Indonesia had already officiated diplomatic ties with Botswana, Tuvalu and Haiti earlier this year.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesia-announces-new-diplomatic-ties-with-nauru/563499

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Jakarta Busway Stop Attacked, Again



 December 24, 2012

Shots were fired into a busway stop in Cawang on Sunday evening, the latest in a string of incidents at bus stops over the past few months.

 Sr. Comr. Rikwanto, a Jakarta police spokesman, said on Monday that damaged glass was found at the busway stop on Sunday at around 7:35 p.m.

He added that there were no injuries and no one had been arrested.

Several witnesses, including TransJakarta officers, said before the TransJakarta bus passed the stop there was a loud explosion. At the same time, the glass on the left side of the station was shattered.

After investigating the site, Rikwanto said his team were unable to find a missile.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/jakarta-busway-stop-attacked-again/563445

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Indonesia's Democratic Party Remains Optimistic

December 24, 2012

Ruling Democratic Party officials expressed confidence that the party will fare well in the 2014 legislative elections, despite a series of recent surveys showing otherwise and public infighting among some of its senior members.

Hinca Panjaitan, a member of the party’s central board, said Democrats could and would restore the party to its 2009 heyday, when it grabbed more than 20 percent of votes.

Recent surveys have indicated that the ruling party trails the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). The surveys have even suggested that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s party could struggle just to break double digits in 2014.

In October, the National Survey Institute (LSN) gave the Democratic Party just 5.9 percent of the vote.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesias-democratic-party-remains-optimistic/563377

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Democrats to air anti-corruption ads

December 24 2012

The Democratic Party has said that it will buy more airtime on national television stations to broadcast commercials campaigning on the party’s commitment to corruption eradication.

Member of the Democratic Party central board Hinca Panjaitan said that the campaign would be aimed at improving the party’s image, which suffered a serious blow following the resignation of party executive Andi Mallarangeng as a result of corruption allegations.

Hinca said that the party would have to pay for the ads because it did not have television stations under its control.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/24/democrats-air-anti-corruption-ads.html

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North America

 

Pope Prays for Freedom in China and Peace in Syria

By RACHEL DONADIO

December 25, 2012

ROME — Speaking from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI called on Tuesday for religious freedom in China and peace for the “defenseless” in Syria in his annual Christmas Day message.

“May peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims,” Benedict said. “I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict.”

Wearing a short red cape lined with snow-white ermine and trimmed with gold embroidery, Benedict smiled as he offered Christmas greetings in 65 languages to thousands of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Marching bands from the Italian armed forces and the Carabinieri police played festive anthems. During Christmas Eve Mass on Monday evening, the 85-year-old pontiff had appeared tired and his voice hoarse, but on Tuesday he appeared more vivacious as he delivered the traditional message, “Urbi et Orbi,” to the city and the world.

He also addressed China, where in recent weeks the Vatican has been increasingly at odds with the government over the ordination of bishops, who cannot hold office without approval from the authorities, to the dismay of the Vatican.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/world/europe/pope-prays-for-freedom-in-china-and-peace-in-syria.html?hp&gwh=25E3B2D4EA80DAF0B08203B069D31E7D

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Europe

 

Make Room for God, Pope Says at Christmas Eve Mass

December 24, 2012

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI, delivering his annual Christmas Eve message in a voice that sometimes seemed to waver, called on the faithful to make room for God in their thoughts and busy, technology-filled lives.

During a Christmas Eve Mass for more than 10,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica, Benedict also prayed for peace in the Middle East and called for an end to violence in Syria.

In a poetic homily that touched on some of his deepest preoccupations — secularism, the violence of the 20th century — the theologian pope meditated on the role of God in people’s lives, starting from the notion that when Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph were told there was no room at the inn.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/world/europe/pope-calls-on-faithful-to-make-room-for-god.html?ref=europe&_r=1&&gwh=79A9813E92F239F303C70DB82E8A40A5

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pope-prays-for-freedom-in-china-and-peace-in-syria/d/9797

  

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