New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 12:57 PM

Islamic World News ( 13 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Protection of refugees an Islamic duty, says UNHCR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia

Protection of refugees an Islamic duty, says UNHCR

Uighur leader Kadeer opens congress in Japan

 

India

Kashmir's Grand Mufti takes aim at Ahmadiyyas

India may move troops to peacetime positions: Report

Give Muslims due space in House: MP from Hyderabad

Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT critical of Zakia Jafri's charges

Social justice and Terrorism major challenge for Indian democracy

Anti-social elements, migrants held in Ajmer

Uri infiltration: Army rubbishes Hizb claims

 

Pakistan

Secret case against Pakistan army officer for ties to Islamist extremists

Insufficient evidence to arrest Hafiz Saeed: Gilani

Measles kills 12 children in Pakistan tribal area

Militants kill security volunteer in Mohmand check post attack

Taliban have a safe harbour in Pakistan: a key US senator

Secret case against Brigadier Ali Khan

Pro-govt cleric killed in Lakki Marwat

Khar feels NATO supply routes should be reopened

 

Mideast Asia

Iranian defectors: Khamenei said anti-nuke ‘fatwa’ won’t matter

Iran pitches hard-line cleric as next Shia leader in Iraq

Israeli Premier's letter does not address key issues, asserts PLO

Senior Iranian Cleric: Hijab is the symbol of Anti-hegemony

NATO Underplayed Civilian Deaths in Libya: HRW

Libyans Struggle with Recovery of Property Confiscated by Qaddafi

Grand Shia cleric: Islamic Revolution, beating heart of world liberal moves

 

Arab World

From under the bed, into living room: Iraqi govt legalises guns

Culture under threat: historic Iraqi crafts almost extinct

Regional repercussions: Syrian conflict causes economic issues in iraq

Iraqi terror groups’ new weapon of choice: the knife

New cyber crimes law: life in prison for visiting the wrong website

The battle for Iraqi oil: can there ever be a winner?

Getting rid of Nouri: PM’s critics consider options to remove ‘dictator’

HIV epidemic in Iraqi Kurdistan, Infections increase 5000 percent

Deadly radio waves: just another excuse to curtail iraqi media freedoms?

Setting Karbala alight: locals’ burn trees to build houses

Egypt security raid Iranian TV station's offices

Syria violence kills 23: Monitors

‘Pursuit of Terrorists Is Irreversible,’ Yemen’s President Says

Period of Relative Calm in Iraq Is Brought to End by Fatal Bomb Blasts

Runaway maids: Police say problem persists

 

South Asia

Bomb kills 9 at market in northern Afghanistan

Dhaka indicts ex-Jamaat chief for 1971 war crimes

More than 100 injured in Bangladesh clashes

Maldives president Waheed looks to India to repair floundering economy

Idahoan’s Unlikely Journey to Life as a Taliban Prisoner

Spy Balloons Become Part of the Afghanistan Landscape, Stirring Unease

 

West Asia

Egypt presidential hopeful wants Sharia law-based constitution

U.S. charter schools tied to powerful Turkish imam

Qaida suspects blow up Yemen gas pipeline: Govt official

42 killed in clashes between Yemeni army, al-Qaida

Syria troops storm village, month-old truce in tatters

Palestinian prisoners expected to end their hunger strike

Butetown Islam procession revived in honour of imam Sheik Said Hasan Ismail

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesia's Hard-Line Islamists Fail to Stop Lady Gaga Concert Preparations

Malaysia favours voluntary refugee repatriation - Foreign Minister

 

Africa

Former Somali Terrorist Group Helps a U.S. Prosecution

Algerian Islamist threatens revolt over vote results

7 police officers killed in northeast Nigeria

 

North America

Jailed Pak officer urges country to sever US ties

US to give $680 mn for Israel's anti-missile system

 

Europe

EU foreign ministers to decide on political participation in soccer tournament in Ukraine

‘Disabled for life after beating in jail’

Six militants killed in Russia

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Mr Azam is one of the most high profile Jamaat-e-Islami leaders

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/protection-of-refugees-an-islamic-duty,-says-unhcr/d/7324

 

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Asia

 

Protection of refugees an Islamic duty, says UNHCR

14 May, 2012

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ended a two-day international ministerial conference on refugees in the Muslim world in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, yesterday.

The conference focused on the refugee situation in the Muslim world. The OIC’s 57 member states, non-member states, NGOs and international organizations participated in the event and shed light on the hospitality and assistance extended by OIC member states to refugees and asylum-seekers.

In 2011 OIC states hosted more than 17 million people, comprising refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees, internally displaced people and the stateless, which represent 50 percent of those of concern to the UN refugee agency.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres encouraged further actions to address the root causes of displacement. He also stressed the need to enhance refugee protection in OIC member states. This included multilateral cooperation to share the burden and responsibility, to protect and assist refugees and voluntary repatriation.

Drawing a comparison between Islamic teachings and current refugee law, the high commissioner urged member states of the OIC to take into account the long-standing principles of providing asylum and enshrine them in national legislation.

"Islamic law and traditions embrace the principle of providing protection to those who seek asylum," Guterres told delegates. He added, “It also forbids their forced return. Both of these principles are cornerstones of international refugee law.” He urged the OIC countries that have not already done so, to accede to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

Addressing the Afghan refugee situation, now more than 30 years old, Guterres pointed to a regional solutions strategy agreed between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and UNHCR, as a recent success.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article632918.ece

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Uighur leader Kadeer opens congress in Japan

May 14, 2012

Around 200 ethnic Uighurs from around the world gathered in Japan on Monday for a five-day meeting to press their case for independence from China. Many Uighurs complain that they are the victims of state-sanctioned persecution and marginalisation in their homeland in northwest China,

aided by the migration of millions of Han Chinese into the territory.

The resulting ethnic tensions have led to sporadic flashes of violence in the Xinjiang region, which is home to nine million Uighurs.

The exiled head of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer told those assembled that Beijing's policy of "forcible assimilation" was unacceptable in a modern democracy.

"The Chinese government says it is assimilating and eventually eliminating the Uighur people and other indigenous people... meanwhile China is becoming a global power," she told the opening of the congress.

"We are peacefully struggling and hope the Chinese government will stop the repressing of Uighur people... and take political reforms to change their authoritarian rule.

"Chinese-style communism, Chinese-style human rights and Chinese-style democratisation is not up to date," said Kadeer, who lives in exile in the United States.

"The only thing left to China... is to embrace democracy and peace... and to stop the forcible assimilation of Uighurs and other peoples," she said, a reference to ethnic Mongols and Tibetans who have their own independence struggles.

China considers the WUC a "splittist" organisation and has condemned Japan's issuing of a visa for Kadeer, who last visited the country in 2009.

Kadeer said participants from more than 20 countries were at the meeting, which she said was being held in "the most democratic country in Asia".

Lawmakers from the centre-right opposition Liberal Democratic Party were at the meeting, along with an Italian politician and US rights activists.

The gathering comes after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met his Chinese opposite number Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in a summit that focused on economic ties and the response to North Korea.

This year's conference will be the fourth after previous editions were held in Munich, Germany and in Washington.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/RestOfAsia/Uighur-leader-Kadeer-opens-congress-in-Japan/Article1-855389.aspx

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India

 

Kashmir's Grand Mufti takes aim at Ahmadiyyas

By Sudha Ramachandran

14 May, 2012

BANGALORE - Kashmir's Grand Mufti Mohammed Bashir-ud-din is stirring the communal and sectarian cauldron in the valley again. Barely four months after he issued a fatwa targeting Christians in the state, has the cleric had the Ahmadiyyas in his crosshairs?

He has called on the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) State Assembly to pass legislation declaring the Ahmadiyyas - an Islamic reformist movement founded in British India - non-Muslim.

The decision to press this demand was made by religious leaders of the J&K Muslim Personal Law Board at a meeting convened by Bashir-ud-din a week ago. Ahmadiyyas are declared non-Muslims in other countries "and they should be declared as non-Muslims here as well," a statement issued by the Grand Mufti said. Referring to the "increasing activities" of the Ahmadiyyas in

Kashmir, it said that declaring them non-Muslim would address the "grievance of all the people."

The Ahmadiyyas are a small minority, perhaps just a few hundred strong, in the Sunni Muslim-dominated Valley. Given the extreme discrimination they have suffered across South Asia, Bashir-ud-din's call is likely to stir deep anxiety among the community in Kashmir.

In January this year, the grand mufti issued a fatwa calling for expulsion of three Christian priests from the state for allegedly "luring" the valley's Muslims to Christianity through "baits and inducements".

A sharia-law court that Bashir-ud-din presides over summoned the priests for interrogation and claimed later that they had confessed to converting Kashmiri youth to Islam. Anti-Christian sentiment surged in the valley and calls for killing the priests and burning down churches and Christian schools resounded on the Internet. The Christian community in the valley has been gripped in panic over the past several months.

It is the turn of the Ahmadiyyas now to face the intolerance and wrath of Kashmir's religious radicals.

Ahmadiyyas are followers of a Muslim cleric Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (1835-1908) from Qadian in Punjab, who declared himself to the new prophet of Islam and started the Ahmadiyya movement at the turn of the 20th century. In his lifetime, Ahmed was generally ignored by orthodox Muslims. But on his death, there was a surge in his following. A concerted attack on his teachings began thereafter.

In 1935, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a religious scholar of the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Hind wrote a thesis against Ahmad's teachings and declared him a false prophet. Anyone who accepted him as a prophet was liable to be stoned to death, Usmani declared.

Ahmadiyyas believe in the basic tenets of Islam. It is only on the issue of the final prophet that they differ with the ummah. The latter regards Mohammed to be the final prophet, Ahmadiyyas accord this status to Mirza Ghulam Ahmed. They consider themselves to be Muslims. Orthodox Muslims do not think so and regard them to be apostate. They have subjected Ahmadiyyas to much violence.

Violent anti-Ahmadiyya riots rocked Pakistan in 1953. In 1974, prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto bowed to orthodox clerics to amend the constitution to declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim. General Zia-ul Haq's military regime took it further. It promulgated Ordinance XX targeting the Ahmadiyyas. As a result Ahmadiyyas are prohibited from "indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim," declaring or propagating their faith publicly, building mosques or even referring to their places of worship as mosques. They are forbidden from making the Muslim call to prayer.

Besides, under the "blasphemy law" as Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code is known, the Ahmadiyya belief in the prophethood of Ahmed is considered blasphemous as it "defiles the name of Prophet Mohammed". Blasphemy is punishable with the death sentence in Pakistan.

There are around four million Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan. Members of the community have been attacked and killed, their property has been destroyed and graves dug up. In 2010, Islamic radicals attacked Ahmadiyya mosques in Lahore during Friday prayers killing around a hundred people.

In Bangladesh too Ahmadiyyas face discrimination. Although they have not been declared non-Muslim, the government in 2004 banned the publication, sale, distribution and preservation of books and booklets on Islam published by the Ahmadiyya.

The Indian government recognizes Ahmadiyyas as Muslim. A landmark high court verdict in 1970 reinforced this position, arguing that Ahmadiyyas are Muslims as they believe in two of the basic tenets of Islam i.e. that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his messenger.

However, orthodox sections among India's Muslims have refused to accept Ahmadiyyas as Muslims. The Darul Uloom Deoband, a leading seminary declared Ahmadiyyas to be non-Muslim and called on the Saudi government to stop them from performing hajj. Ahmadiyyas are not allowed to sit on the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board too. Muslim organizations keep raising objections to Ahmadiyyas being regarded as Muslim. In 2010, for instance, Muslim organizations were up in arms because government school textbooks in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh referred to the Ahmadiyya movement as a reform movement among Muslims.

The Kashmir grand mufti's call for legislation declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim must be seen in this context. While his demand is unlikely to be conceded, it could encourage tensions, intimidation and violence.

A Kashmiri Ahmadiyya who spoke to Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity said that it is the Ahmadiyya belief in non-violence that irks South Asia's religious radicals today. He pointed out that the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement had emphasized "jihad of the pen rather than the sword" in furthering the cause of Islam, arguing that the Koran authorized jihad only as defensive action and that too only under certain circumstances. "The Ahmadiyyas' efforts to spread Islam through writing and persuasion have not gone down well with those who favor violence," he said.

Kashmir's Ahmadiyyas did not support the decade-long insurgency that erupted in 1989. They do not support Kashmir's accession to Pakistan either as they "do not want to meet the fate of their kin across the border in Pakistan." "Our situation in India is far better than it would be in Pakistan," the Kashmiri Ahmadiyya said.

Jammu & Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state. The valley is overwhelmingly Muslim.

For centuries, Kashmiri Muslims practiced a gentle variant of Islam, one that was influenced heavily by the teachings of Sufi saints and Hindu Rishis. The eclectic and syncretic nature of the Kashmiri Muslims' beliefs enabled the emergence of Kashmiriyat, a pluralistic and tolerant cultural ethos that Kashmir's Hindus and Muslims once shared.

That shared ethos came under severe pressure when an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan erupted in Kashmir in 1989. It turned its guns first at the Pandits (the valley's Hindus) , who were labeled "stooges" of the Indian state. Several Pandits were assassinated. "Hit lists" naming Pandits were announced over loudspeakers at mosques. At mass protests, people shouted slogans calling for the creation of an Islamic state in Kashmir.

This divided Kashmir along communal lines as never before. It resulted in the flight of around 300,000 Pandits from the valley.

The Pandit exodus and the decade-long insurgency that followed dealt a deadly blow to Kashmiriyat. Pandits have not been able to return to their homes in the valley. Thus to many Kashmiris the concept of Kashmiriyat rings hollow.

Kashmir has a long history of communal harmony. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs have lived together here peacefully for centuries. In 1947, when the rest of the sub-continent was engulfed in communal violence, Kashmir was a rare haven of peace, prompting Mahatma Gandhi to observe that it was Kashmir that provided him with "a ray of hope".

That ray of hope came under a cloud in the decades that followed with Islamic militants in the valley and Hindutva groups across the Pir Panjal range in the Jammu region stirring communal hatred.

The decline of Sufism and the growing grip of orthodox Islam in Kashmir since the 1990s lies at the root of the current intolerance displayed by a section of Kashmir's religious leaders towards other religious minorities and Muslim sects. Such intolerance does not have support among the masses but displaying it comes in handy for clerics jostling to project themselves as true guardians of the faith.

Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore. She can be reached at sudha98@hotmail.com

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NE15Df02.html

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India may move troops to peacetime positions: Report

May 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: India is likely to thin-out troops from wartime positions on the border with Pakistan, where they were deployed after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, according to a media report today.

The two countries reached an understanding on withdrawing troops during President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to New Delhi on April 8, The Express Tribune quoted unnamed military and diplomatic officials as saying.

The withdrawal of troops to peacetime positions is among the first substantial overtures since the two sides resumed peace talks after a two year gap in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

A formal announcement about the withdrawal is likely when the Indian Prime Minister visits Islamabad, possibly during the latter half of this year.

"It is going to happen in September or October," an unnamed official told the daily.

Political figures privy to the President's day-long visit to India said the major development was a result of talks through backdoor channels, which had been active for the past couple of years.

Officials said the Indian government had mobilised troops to take wartime positions at the disputed border with Pakistan, particularly in Kashmir, immediately after terrorists launched the attacks in India's commercial hub of Mumbai. The attacks in Mumbai were blamed on the Pakistan- based Lashkar-e-Toiba.

According to experts, in a wartime scenario, the regular army starts manning the border instead of special forces meant for protecting boundaries.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-may-move-troops-to-peacetime-positions-Report/articleshow/13133288.cms

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Give Muslims due space in House: MP from Hyderabad

May 14, 2012

NEW DELHI: Raking up the issue of a "deficit" in representation of Muslims in Parliament, MIM MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday asked for proportional representation since in the past 60 years, the representation of Muslims had not risen in keeping with the proportion of rise in the Muslim population in the country. "Only 471 Muslims have been elected to Parliament so far, and this is the reason for the backwardness of the community," he said.

According to the Hyderabad MP, the 60th year was "the right time to decide on proportional representation". He said 60 years had not healed the pains of the Muslim community. "I don't want to carry the baggage of secularism," he declared.

Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury also called for structural changes in Indian democracy as he lamented the fact that there were central governments which did not even have more than 36% of popular vote. He said it was time, therefore, to look at the issue of proportional representation.

"We can begin by having two adjoining constituencies clubbed together and each individual having two votes, one for the party and the other for the individual, so that the diversity of India doesn't become a casualty,'' he said.

"And then, the percentage of votes received by the party can be presented, according to a pre-given list, to the Election Commission, on the basis of priority. Then we could have individual and party representations and that the government that is formed would necessarily have to be formed with 50% plus votes,'' he added, recalling that the 1928 Motilal Nehru Commission had first come up with the proposal.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Give-Muslims-due-space-in-House-Owaisi/articleshow/13127662.cms

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Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT critical of Zakia Jafri's charges

MANAS DASGUPTA

14 May, 2012

Says they made investigation difficult, as witnesses were not prepared to speak out before Special Investigation Team

Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team R.K. Raghavan, was highly critical of the petition filed in the Supreme Court by Zakia Jafri levelling sweeping charges against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 officials and leaders for their alleged involvement in the 2002 communal riots.

Agreeing with his inquiry officer, A. K. Malhotra, who found most of the allegations baseless and unsubstantiated and gave a clean chit to Mr. Modi and most of his senior police officers in handling the riots, Mr. Raghavan said Ms. Jafri's charges made Mr. Malhotra's task difficult, as the witnesses were not prepared to speak out before the SIT.

Pointing out that Mr. Malhotra had to handle the arduous task almost single-handedly because “associating any Gujarat police officer in such a sensitive inquiry would not have been desirable,” Mr. Raghavan said another factor that caused hurdles for the inquiry officer was the “reluctance of many crucial witnesses to depose frankly and without inhibition, because the complainants had ‘mindlessly and mechanically' referred to these witnesses as ‘accused,' a branding that caused a great offence to many of the witnesses.”

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3415845.ece

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Social justice and Terrorism major challenge for Indian democracy

14 May, 2012

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that social justice and terrorism were among the major challenges faced by Indian democracy as the nation celebrated 60 years of Parliament.

“Social justice, elimination of poverty, healthcare, women’s empowerment, these are all greater challenges in the decades to come,” Mr. Jaitley said while speaking in the Upper House in a special sitting to mark 60 years of the Lok Sabha.

“We still continue to face the curse of terrorism and insurgency. Let us resolve there will be no politics in these issues. We will not only eliminate but sense will be that those who rebel outside the system one day, we will get them within the system,” he said.

He also paid tribute to those security officials, who lost their lives in the attack on Parliament in December 2001.

“The last 60 years have seen collapse of many democracies. For a poor country, it is more difficult to sustain a democracy. From poverty, we have come to being a developing nation,” Mr. Jaitley said. “Not only did we survive, we have the distinction of becoming world’s largest democracy,” he added.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3414980.ece

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Anti-social elements, migrants held in Ajmer

14 MAY 2012

After an alert from Central intelligence agencies, about 100 anti-social elements and eight illegal Bangladeshi migrants were arrested on Sunday in Ajmer, where annual Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is beginning from May 22 or 23, depending on sighting of the moon.

With today’s arrests the total number of arrests has crossed 200, including 12 illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Police started round up of the anti-social elements from Saturday morning. Most of the arrests have been made in the thickly populated Dargah and Ganj Than areas.

Talking to The Pioneer, Rajesh Meena, District Police Superintendent, said that police were keeping a close watch on all the entry point of the city as flow of pilgrims have already been started.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/65135-anti-social-elements-migrants-held-in-ajmer.html

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Uri infiltration: Army rubbishes Hizb claims

14 May, 2012

The killing of six militants on Line of Control in Uri sector of north Kashmir earlier this week has triggered a debate between Army and the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen outfit on the nature of the gun-battle.

While Army claims that the slain militants were infiltrators and their killing foiled the first infiltration bid of the year, a Hizb spokesman said that there was no infiltration but the militants were active in the Uri area.

There is no independent source to confirm the veracity of encounters on the Line of Control. Four bodies retrieved from the encounter site so far, have not been identified. Police said their DNA samples have been collected and photographs preserved for identification.

On Saturday, defence spokesman in Srinagar issued a statement, apparently to contradict Hizb claim that the slain militants were not infiltrators. The Army said that they were getting regular inputs about the likely infiltration in the Uri Sector for last 15 days. “On May 9, the Army received a confirmed report through Intelligence Agencies regarding a group of 5-6 terrorists trying to infiltrate through Maidan Nallh in Uri Sector. Accordingly the ambushes were sited to intercept and eliminate the terrorists”, said Army spokesperson at Badami Bagh Cantonment that headquarters the XV Corps operating in Kashmir.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/64936-uri-infiltration-army-rubbishes-hizb-claims.html

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Pakistan

 

Secret case against Pakistan army officer for ties to Islamist extremists

May 14, 2012

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN: From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting with a shadowy Islamist organization to take over the military released his political manifesto: His call was for the army to sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.

"This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that," Brig. Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The US, he says, might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but "do they not always do this at will? ... Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest."

The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists.

The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country's most powerful institution, possibly with the help of al-Qaida or associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Secret-case-against-Pakistan-army-officer-for-ties-to-Islamist-extremists/articleshow/13132369.cms

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Insufficient evidence to arrest Hafiz Saeed: Gilani

14 May, 2012

LONDON: There is insufficient evidence to arrest Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, says Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He also believes that al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is not in Pakistan.

"If you arrest him (Hafiz Saeed), that means he will be released by the courts. For the courts you need more evidence," telegraph.co.uk quoted Gilani as saying. "You know the judiciary is completely independent in Pakistan."

Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including foreigners, were killed by 10 terrorists from Pakistan.

The US last month announced an award of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Adbul Rahman Makki, under the Rewards for Justice programme, for information on the two terrorists.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her three-day trip to India earlier this month, said she had authorised the award for Hafiz Saeed who was responsible for the attack in Mumbai.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Insufficient-evidence-to-arrest-Hafiz-Saeed-Gilani/articleshow/13118569.cms

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Measles kills 12 children in Pakistan tribal area

14 May, 2012

MIRAMSHAH: An outbreak of measles in part of Pakistan’s lawless tribal northwest has killed 12 children in three weeks and is spreading due to a shortage of medicines, doctors said on Monday.

Doctor Mohammad Ali Shah, chief of the main hospital in Miramshah, the biggest town in North Waziristan, told AFP that military operations, power cuts and curfews meant there was a shortage of medicines.

The restive and impoverished district bordering Afghanistan is Pakistan’s most notorious Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold, and hit frequently by US drone strikes targeting militants.

“For the past three weeks we are daily receiving five to 10 children suffering from measles,” Shah said, adding that he would normally see only one or two deaths from the disease in a year.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/measles-kills-12-children-in-pakistan-tribal-area/

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Militants kill security volunteer in Mohmand check post attack

14 May, 2012

MOHMAND AGENCY: Militants attacked a checkpost of the peace committee volunteers in Khozai area of Mohmand  Agency killing one volunteer and injuring four others, DawnNews reported.

Earlier a clash between an outlawed religious organization and local tribe claimed the life of two tribal men  in Khyber Agency’s Tirah valley area.

Moreover six suspects were arrested during a search operation in Bara area of Khyber agency.

http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/militants-kill-security-volunteer-in-mohmand-check-post-attack/

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Taliban have a safe harbour in Pakistan: a key US senator

14 May, 2012

WASHINGTON: The Taliban can be defeated militarily in Afghanistan but the job is not done, a key US senator said on Sunday, noting that the insurgents still control more than a third of the populated areas of the country and have a “safe harbour” in Pakistan.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told “Fox News Sunday” that Pakistan is key to defeating the Taliban in both countries and expressed frustration that Pakistan has failed to deprive them of a safe haven in the rugged mountain areas along its Afghan border.

“Militarily, I think the Taliban are not going to beat us,” she said. But the Taliban “have a safe harbour in Pakistan and the Pakistanis are doing nothing to abate that safe haven,” Feinstein said.

What “the Taliban has done is insinuate itself in a shadowy presence, with shadow governors. They controlled over a third of the land which people live. They expanded into the north, into the northeast,” Feinstein said.

“And while we were there in one province, they closed 14 schools in 17 districts and then they killed five education officials and wounded others,” she told Fox News.

“And now, there’s this latest assassination of someone who’s been a leader in the Peace Council,” she said.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/pakistan-must-do-more-to-defeat-taliban-feinstein/

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Secret case against Brigadier Ali Khan

14 May, 2012

RAWALPINDI: From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting with a shadowy militant organisation to take over the military released his political manifesto: His call was for the army to sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.

“This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that,” Brig. Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The US, he says, might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but “do they not always do this at will? … Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest.”

The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to extremists.

The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country’s most powerful institution, possibly with the help of al Qaeda or associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.

Details of the case point to efforts by some extremist groups to recruit within Pakistan’s military, though their success appears mixed. They also give a rare look into the discontent among some in the military over the rocky relationship with the United States, currently on hold after American airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani border troops in November.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/secret-case-against-brigadier-ali-khan/

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Pro-govt cleric killed in Lakki Marwat

14 May, 2012

LAKKI MARWAT: A pro-government cleric and Marwat Qaumi Jirga head Muhammad Mohsin Shah was killed at his religious seminary at Darra Pezu town on late Saturday night, police said. They said Shah was asleep at the Jamia Halimia situated at Darra Pezu town when unidentified assailants assassinated him. He was the administrator of the seminary and was highly respected in religious and political circles of the district.

The deceased cleric’s son Mufti Abdul Ghani lodged an FIR with Shaheed Haibat Ali Khan Police Station stating he found his father dead when he went to the seminary at 4:30am. He said his father was killed with a firearm and had bullet wounds on his body. Police shifted the body to a nearby hospital for postmortem. The body was later handed over to the victim’s relatives after medico-legal formalities. Local elders, prominent religious scholars and common people gathered at the seminary after the incident. Shah was also a close aide of JUI-F chief Fazalur Rehman. He assumed the responsibility of heading the Marwat Qaumi Jirga at a time when militants were a constant threat to the writ of government in the district. Awami National Party leaders Yasmeen Zia and Sadruddin Advocate condemned the killing.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\14\story_14-5-2012_pg7_2

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Khar feels NATO supply routes should be reopened

 May 14 2012

Islamabad : Nearly six months after Pakistan shut NATO supply lines to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said she personally believes that the routes should be reopened.

Khar made the remarks while speaking to reporters, who accompanied Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on an official visit to Britain, 'The Express Tribune' said today.

She said it is in Pakistan's interest to facilitate the international operation in Afghanistan and that there are many friendly countries whose supplies have been blocked.

NATO and ISAF supplies should not be seen in the context of Pakistan's relations with the US, Khar said.

NATO and ISAF are umbrella organisations for over 40 countries, including Pakistan's close friends like Turkey and Britain, she said.

Pakistan shut the supply routes to Afghanistan after a cross-border NATO air strike on November 26 last year killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

A joint session of Parliament recently adopted a resolution that demanded an unconditional apology from the US for the attack.

Islamabad's insistence on an apology has held up efforts to put Pakistan-US ties back on an even keel after a year of crises, including the NATO attack and the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/949139/

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Mideast Asia

 

Iranian defectors: Khamenei said anti-nuke ‘fatwa’ won’t matter

May 14th 2012

A group of defectors from Iran has cautioned that Iranian authorities believe the West has been lulled into a false sense of security by a fatwa — a pronouncement of Muslim law — by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has said that a “nuclear bomb is a sin in Islam.” It is based on a lie, they warned, despite the Obama administration’s apparent reliance on this declaration to guide its foreign policy.

According to the Green Embassy Campaign, a collection of former Iranian diplomats who have sought political asylum abroad, Khamenei recently told an important meeting of his regime’s security and intelligence officials that his fatwa will not restrict Shiite Muslims in Iran from pursuing and building a nuclear weapon. The campaign is tied to the Green Movement in Iran, which opposes Khamenei’s reign and favors free elections.

“While God is with us and has forced Russia and China on our side, America cannot do anything,” they reported that Khamenei told the officials. “The fatwa which I gave years ago that a nuclear bomb is haram, a sin, has now become a statement of fact for the West, and because of their own needs and fears of Israel, they are emphasizing that statement.”

Full report at:

http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/14/iranian-defectors-khamenei-said-anti-nuke-fatwa-wont-matter/#ixzz1uqTP7Ajj

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Iran pitches hard-line cleric as next Shia leader in Iraq

14 May, 2012

NEW YORK: Iran, the world's largest Shia nation, is pushing a Tehran-based hard-line cleric Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi to become Iraq's next supreme spiritual leader, heightening fears in the Gulf.

Shahroudi, 63, is being positioned to succeed Iraq's top spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, triggering fears in an already shaky region that Iran's long-term goal is to transplant its Islamic Revolution to Iraq, New York Times reported.

Iraqi-born Shahroudi has spent most of career leading the Iranian judiciary and remains a top government official.

The Times said with Iranian financing, Shahroudi for has for months been building a patronage network across Iraq, underwriting scholarships for students and distributing information.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Iran-pitches-cleric-as-next-Shia-leader/articleshow/13115576.cms

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Israeli Premier's letter does not address key issues, asserts PLO

14 May, 2012

A letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the stalled peace process doesn't address key issues hindering talks, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said on Sunday.

Speaking after a meeting of the PLO's executive committee, secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Israeli Premier's message contained no answers to the questions posed in a letter by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas last month.

“The Israeli message did not contain clear answers on the central issues hampering the resumption of negotiations, foremost among them the need to halt settlement activity,” he said in a statement read to reporters.

Mr. Netanyahu's letter was delivered to the Palestinians on Saturday by Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho, though no details of the document were made public.

Mr. Abbas on April 17 sent a letter to Mr. Netanyahu asking Israel to outline its position on four key issues: the principle of a two-state solution based on pre-1967 lines, halting settlement activity, releasing all Palestinian prisoners and revoking all decisions that undermine bilateral agreements since 2000.

But in its response, the PLO accuses Mr. Netanyahu of failing to address those questions in his exchange of letters with Mr.Abbas, which is the latest attempt to kick-start direct negotiations on hold since 2010.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3415811.ece'

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Senior Iranian Cleric: Hijab is the symbol of Anti-hegemony

14 May, 2012

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Western countries are intimidated by Hijab (veil) inasmuch as it is the symbol of Anti-hegemony,” said the deputy of the Head of the Judiciary, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.

Speaking in a Seminar on Hijab and chastity held in Tehran, Raeisi underscored,” Hijab and chastity is the right of family and is not just related to an individual and a woman.”

“Although Hijab is a cover for women but it is actually the sign of piety in the society,” he said.

“Hijab speaks volume about abiding by Islamic rules and standing against the arrogant world," Raeisi went on.

“Fortunetly, recent movements and uprisings in the region reveal this fact that no longer Muslim nations take western women as their models,” he spotlighted

“The issue of Hijab does not just a matter of covering, it is a symbol against arrogance and hegemony,” the Islamci scholar underlined.

The Islamic scholars underscored that western countries do their best to destroy the value of Hijab in Muslim womens' eyes, so it is the duty of each Muslim to deal with this issue seriously.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=315024

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NATO Underplayed Civilian Deaths in Libya: HRW

14 May, 2012

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO air strikes killed 72 civilians in Libya last year, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, accusing the western alliance of failing to acknowledge the scope of collateral damage it caused during the campaign that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi.

In a report based on investigations at bombing sites during and after the conflict, the New York-based HRW said NATO strikes killed 20 women and 24 children. It called on the alliance to compensate civilian victims and investigate attacks that may have been unlawful.

"Attacks are allowed only on military targets, and serious questions remain in some incidents about what exactly NATO forces were striking," Fred Abrahams, special adviser at HRW, said in a statement.

The report claims to be the most extensive investigation to date of civilian casualties from NATO's air campaign and presents a higher death toll estimate than a March paper by Amnesty International which documented 55 civilian deaths, including 16 children and 14 women.

NATO considers its Libya operation highly successful, illustrating the allies' ability to work well together in a limited campaign. NATO carried out some 26,000 sorties including some 9,600 strike missions and destroyed about 5,900 targets before operations ended on October 31.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/05/14/world/europe/14reuters-nato-libya.html?ref=africa&gwh=AE754863F7440EBA898849D7F9A8C1D4

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Libyans Struggle With Recovery of Property Confiscated by Qaddafi

By ROBERT F. WORTH

14 May, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya — Ibrahim Tunali has never forgotten the day in 1981 when government soldiers took over his luggage shop and gave it to a loyalist of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, one of countless expropriations in that era. So after Colonel Qaddafi was killed in October, Mr. Tunali marched to his old shop with a posse of armed relatives, he said, and told the man renting it, “If you’re not gone in two days, we’ll slaughter you right here.”

The man fled within hours.

Tens of thousands of other Libyans are now tempted to do the same, said Mr. Tunali, a stout 60-year-old with a cheerful, pugnacious manner, as he stood in front of his reclaimed shop. The original owners of expropriated property have not forgotten what they lost, he added, and are growing more impatient every day.

One of Colonel Qaddafi’s most toxic legacies is the vast land-redistribution policy he started in the late 1970s, which now threatens to ignite a patchwork of bitter property disputes in a well-armed population.

Many owners have held deep grudges for more than 30 years, and they brandish deeds dating to the Italian occupation of the early 20th century or even the Ottoman era. Some have returned to Libya to make their claims after years of living abroad.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/world/africa/libyans-consider-recovery-of-property-confiscated-by-qaddafi.html?ref=world&gwh=C96EE5F3427FAB59BC48ACFB18E0D204

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Grand Shia cleric: Islamic Revolution, beating heart of world liberal moves

14 May, 2012

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Grand Ayatollah Hussein Noori Hamedani, Shia cleric and professor at Qom Seminary said Islamic Revolution is not confined to any boundaries adding, “The whole world, in regards to the revolution of the Prophets, is the same and the message of Prophets is issued all around the globe.”

He referred to the demand of late Imam Khomeini (RA) necessitating spread of Islamic revolution around the world and said Islamic Awakening has spread in the Middle East opening its way to the US and European countries.

Senior religious figure, addressing the members of Iran Red Crescent voluntary forces, praised serving one’s religious brothers as the best way to serve God Almighty.

“Islamic Revolution of Iran is the beating heart of all liberal movements in the world and that makes a heavier burden of responsibility for us.” said the jurisprudent.

He also referred to economic issues in UK, Italy, France and Germany proposing Islamic economy as a solution for the crisis in these European countries.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=315026

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Arab world

 

From under the bed, into living room: iraqi govt legalises guns

 Mustafa Habib

14 May, 2012

Iraqi child with a plastic gun: weapons are part of the culture and everyday life here.

A new law states Iraqis may now own one gun per household. But is the state simply formalising a ‘Wild West’ gun culture that already exists? Or signing hundreds more Iraqis’ death warrants?

A few days ago the Iraqi government made Khalaf al-Saedi, the head of a family of nine living in the Shula neighbourhood in west Baghdad, a happy man. Why? Because, he says, he can now hang his rifle in his living room, rather than keeping it hidden away.

Al-Saedi is proud of his rifle. “I keep a gun to protect myself and my family,” he explained. “I have it to stop thieves and murderers from attacking myself or my relatives.”

This week, the Iraqi government made al-Saedi’s gun official: locals are now allowed to own their own guns without any further licensing issues.

In an official statement the Iraqi government said on May 6, that each Iraqi household may possess one firearm on the condition that the gun has been registered at the nearest police station.

And as in other gun-owning nations, such as the US, Iraqis differ in how they feel about this. Those who are pro-weapons, support the decision while those who are anti-weapons believe the decision will further militarise the country. The latter also believe it’s an acknowledgement of the government’s inability to control the security situation.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3048

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Culture under threat: historic iraqi crafts almost extinct

 Abdulhadi al Obeidi

14 May, 2012

Faced with a tidal wave of cheap imports, traditional crafts and industries are disappearing from the ancient northern city of Mosul. Local craftspeople say culture and economics will suffer if nothing is done to preserve Iraq’s handmade history.

One of the most famous markets in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul is the Safareen market. And among other things, it’s particularly well known for the noise it generates – with craftsmen going about their businesses loudly and customers bustling through. But now the market, which was established in the 18th century, is becoming more and more peaceful.

And this is a problem. It indicates what the craftspeople themselves already know: the ancient arts they practise are slowly disappearing.

Ahmed Ali, 36, is one of the few people in the market still working as a coppersmith. His work mostly involves fixing the traditional copper pots and doing repair work on things like the copper domes of mosque buildings. He is also able to sell older copper pots to antique enthusiasts or collectors – but this is all on a small scale.

In fact, most of the shops in the market now sell cheap, imported pots and only two small stores remain for the traditional, old copper pots – Ali’s is one of these.

Ali knew it would be this way. But the fact that the financial rewards for his work would be minimal didn’t stop him from taking up the job that his family has always done, he says. And he always remembers his father’s words to him about the importance of preserving his craft.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3047

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Regional repercussions: syrian conflict causes economic issues in iraq

 Hana Raouf

14 May, 2012

As violence in Syria worsens, the economic repercussions are felt in places like Iraqi Kurdistan – Syria is usually a conduit for goods coming into the semi-autonomous region. And Sulaymaniyah’s car dealers are the latest to feel the effects.

 The market for vehicles in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah is usually a thriving one. But lately things have changed. A tour of some of the approximately 86 car sales depots and showrooms in the area indicates this: there are plenty of people looking at the cars but nobody was buying.

 And, according to car dealers in the area, this is due mainly to unrest in neighbouring Syria. “Selling and buying cars is not profitable at the moment,” a local vehicle dealer, Atta Rasheed, says; he’s standing in the shadow of a wall with some of his equally disenchanted colleagues.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3046

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Iraqi terror groups’ new weapon of choice: the knife

 Khaled Waleed

14 May, 2012

Terror groups are turning to a new weapon in attempts to intimidate the local populace: the knife. Stabbings are increasing in Iraq because, as one al-Qaeda insider says, assassination by knife is cheaper and easier amid high security.

The corpse that Iraqi authorities found in west Baghdad on May 2 was similar to other corpses in some ways. For instance, the dead man was a security guard and a member of a political party.  But what was different was the way in which the man had been killed: rather than being shot, he had been stabbed.

Only a few days beforehand, at the end of April, a family of four in east Baghdad had been killed in a similar way. NIQASH also spoke with the relatives of two more people who were stabbed to death over the past few weeks - family members didn’t want to go on the record with comments for fear of retribution.

And the Iraqi authorities have found this noteworthy. “Since November 2011, there have been an increasing number of attacks and assassination attempts using knives,” they said.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3045

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New cyber crimes law: life in prison for visiting the wrong website

Khaled Waleed

14 May, 2012

Iraq is about to introduce a new law to cover the cyber world. Authorities hope it will help fight terrorism. Critics say when ordinary Internet users could face of life in prison, it goes too far – and curbs freedom of expression.

The draft of the law on crime in the cyber world has only been read in Iraq’s Parliament once so far. But already it has drawn its fair share of vehement detractors.

On April 16, more than 40 organisations, both local and international, submitted a letter to Parliament demanding either changes, a re-write or an anullment of the law “because it threatens democracy in Iraq”.

Additionally 600 journalists, acting independently, plan to file a group lawsuit demanding the legislation be withdrawn. They claim it violates the Iraqi Constitution’s right to freedom of expression. “We plan to use all possible means to prevent this unjust law,” local journalist, Kathem al-Miqdadi, told NIQASH.

International press freedom advocacy organisation, Reporters Without Borders, has also expressed concern about the upcoming cyber crimes law.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3044

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The battle for iraqi oil: can there ever be a winner?

 Shwan Zulal

14 May, 2012

The battle for Iraq’s oil goes on. Iraqi Kurdistan is intent on controlling its own oil, Baghdad is intent on wresting that control from them. Will the impasse ever be solved? Only if both sides see reason, one commentator argues.  

Ever since oil was found in Iraq nearly a century ago, there has been a battle to control the most important commodity the country has known.  In the beginning, the struggle over oil played out between foreign or colonial powers. Then when the Iraqi oil industry was finally nationalised in the early 1970s, the struggle for control of the oil industry became internal. Today it dominates domestic politics.

Ever since the government of the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, in the north of the country, decided to come up with its own version of oil and gas laws in 2006 and 2007, the Kurdish and the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad have been on a collision course.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3043

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Getting rid of nouri: pm’s critics consider options to remove ‘dictator’

Mustafa Habib

14 May, 2012

His opponents suspect him of ambitions to be Iraq’s next dictator. But even they have come to realise that it may be impossible to oust current PM Nouri al-Maliki by legal means. So they’re looking at other options, some surprising.

 The fear that Iraq’s current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is becoming the nation’s next dictator seems to have been growing lately. But getting rid of him would be extremely difficult. And even his most determined opponents know this. Al-Maliki also appears to realise this – he hardly seems concerned about some of the complaints being made against him.

 The factors that prevent any ousting of al-Maliki, who has been in power since 2006 and who may well carry on for a third term, can be placed in three broad categories: regional, constitutional-legal and to do with internal political wrangling.

 Discussion about whether al-Maliki is planting the seeds for a new one-party, one-leader regime in Iraq has been plentiful over the past months. Allusions have been made and Massoud Barzani, President of the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan in the north of the country, has been the latest to come out with the accusation directly. Barzani talked openly about the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan might push to secede from Iraq if what he described as a dictatorial regime continued.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3042

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Hiv epidemic in iraqi kurdistan? infections increase 5000 percent

Sangar Jamal

14 May, 2012

Figures show that those infected with HIV/AIDS in Iraqi Kurdistan have increased from two to 107. And international experts warn that locals need to discuss topics like this more openly, or risk an epidemic.

Three days after the 41-year-old man from Cameroon arrived in the semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan who was deported. His crime? The man, who wanted to find a job in northern Iraq, had tested positive for the HIV virus.

And he is not the only one. Over the past four years the Ministry of Health in the semi-autonomous state, which has its own borders, military and government, notes that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in the region has risen. Up until 2008, their numbers show that there were only two people living with HIV?AIDS. Between 2008 and 2012, that number rose to 107. And the Ministry of Health say that most of these cases are due to people entering the area from outside.

The regional policy on this is clear: any foreigners wishing to stay in Iraqi Kurdistan longer than ten days must have a blood test. Similar to many other countries in the region, anyone found to have HIV is then deported. And apparently that is exactly what happened to 84 of the 107 individuals. The remaining 23 people are regional residents and of these, four have died. Five of the infected are women, none are children; the individuals with HIV/AIDS get a medical benefit although there are no specialised clinics for them within Iraqi Kurdistan.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3041

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Deadly radio waves: just another excuse to curtail iraqi media freedoms?

 Khaled Waleed

14 May, 2012

Iraq’s Ministry of the Environment wants to shut down media outlets with transmitters that they say endanger public health. Local journalists are refusing, saying it’s just another cunning way of curtailing media freedoms in Iraq.

Earlier in April, Iraq’s Ministry of the Environment announced that it would shortly be forcing any media businesses to remove broadcasting equipment that could endanger the health of Iraqi citizens. The Ministry said that if the various media outlets do not comply with the directive, they may well be closed down.

However local media suspect that the Ministry’s motives are far from pure; they say this is the Iraqi government’s way of censoring, and even closing down, media outlets that could present opposition opinions or criticise the government.

One radio station, Radio Shafaq, reported it had received a written warning from the Ministry of Environment. It said that if Radio Shafaq, which is the only Kurdish-language station broadcasting out of Baghdad, didn’t remove it’s transmitters from populated areas then it would be closed down. And Radio Shafaq is not the only victim of the Ministry of the Environment.

“Transmission devices can significantly affect human health,” Kamal Hussein, Deputy Minister of the Environment told NIQASH. And this week, two further letters would be sent to the media organisations, Al Furat, a radio and television station, and Biladi, a television channel, he said. “We will also send letters to all other offending stations, urging them to move their offices from residential areas,” Hussein continued. 

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3040

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Setting karbala alight: locals burn trees to build houses

 Mohammed Hamid al-Sawaf

14 May, 2012

In Karbala locals are finding ways to circumvent environmental laws. One of these ways is simply to burn land, to build houses on it. In doing so, they’re courting eco-disaster and killing Karbala’s green “lungs”.

His eyes fill with tears as he contemplates the flames burning through groves of citrus trees and palms; Saheb al-Mamalji, a geography teacher in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, is watching local fire fighters combat yet another wildfire from a safe distance.

“We can never compensate for this big loss,” al-Mamalji said, grieving for the loss of the greenery. “More and more of our beautiful green areas are disappearing every day. Wildfires, uncontrolled land clearance and the absence of any oversight on land usage are the main causes for this environmental disaster. People just don’t know understand the consequences of this kind of thing on their city.”

Al-Mamalji is not the only local lamenting the burning trees and greenery. The Husayniya area, north of Karbala central, has been particularly affected with continuous wildfires that have resulted in the destruction of much arable land.

Karbala’s department of Civil Defence reports wildfires in around 318 fields in the space of two years. “During the first three months of 2012, the number of orchards reporting fires were 123,” Hussein Numeh Mansour, the head of the department, said.

Full report at:

http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3039

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Egypt security raid Iranian TV station's offices

14 May, 2012

Egyptian security officials have raided the offices of an Iranian TV station and confiscated its equipment for allegedly operating without permits.

Ahmed el-Sioufi, office director of Al-Alam TV, said Sunday the station has repeatedly applied for permits since it first began its operations in Cairo nearly nine years ago. He said Egyptian authorities always denied the request but allowed the station to operate.

It is a common practice by used by Egyptian security forces to crackdown on media outfits.

In September, security forces raided the offices of Al-Jazeera Live Egypt for similar reasons. The station has since resumed broadcasting without a license.

El-Sioufi said his son and another staffer have been detained. He said he fears the crackdown aims to restrict media ahead of Egypt’s presidential elections this month.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3417337.ece

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Syria violence kills 23: Monitors

14 May, 2012

Security force raids on protest hubs and clashes with armed rebels on Sunday left 23 people dead, 16 of them civilians, monitors and activists said, as a tenuous UN-backed ceasefire entered its second month.

The fresh wave of bloodletting came as the UN Mission in Syria said it now has 189 military observers on the ground, nearly two-thirds of its planned strength of 300.

The observers are tasked with shoring up a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan that was supposed to take effect on April 12 but which has been broken daily by both sides to the conflict.

Two civilians and five soldiers died in gunfights between regime  forces and armed rebels in the southern province of Daraa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Clashes broke out in front of a military intelligence office and a recruitment centre in the Daraa village of Nawa and at a checkpoint in the town of Hara, it added.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/65094-syria-violence-kills-23-monitors.html

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‘Pursuit of Terrorists Is Irreversible,’ Yemen’s President Says

By SCOTT SHANE

14 May, 2012

President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, met with Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, on Sunday, a day after a stepped-up campaign of American airstrikes reportedly killed 11 militants allied with Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate.

The meeting in Sana, the Yemeni capital, reflected the close cooperation of the two countries in attacking the affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose latest plot to bomb a United States-bound airliner was foiled last month when the would-be suicide bomber turned out to be an agent working with Saudi and Western intelligence services. Mr. Hadi has supported the campaign against the terrorist group even more strongly than his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, American officials say.

“The move toward the pursuit of terrorists is irreversible,” Mr. Hadi said on Sunday, praising the cooperation between Yemen’s military and its tribes, according to a statement from the Yemeni Embassy in Washington. Mr. Brennan “reiterated President Obama’s strong commitment to the steps taken by President Hadi to stabilize Yemen,” the statement said.

The thwarted plot, whose leak was the subject of a political flap on Sunday, has intensified the hunt for a Qaeda bomb maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is believed to have designed a new nonmetallic bomb as well as the explosives used in previous plots against aircraft in 2009 and 2010.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/world/middleeast/pursuit-of-terrorists-is-irreversible-yemens-president-says.html?ref=global-home&gwh=F73D39946C802927001937034BCC6F0B

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Period of Relative Calm in Iraq Is Brought to End by Fatal Bomb Blasts

By JACK HEALY

14 May, 2012

BAGHDAD — Bomb blasts aimed largely at security forces in western and central Iraq killed six people and wounded several more on Sunday, a relatively violent day after a few weeks of calm across the country.

Just a few years ago, the day’s toll would have been a footnote in the relentless killing roiling Iraq, when it was not uncommon for 100 people to be killed in one day of bombings, assassinations, and fighting between militants and Iraqi and American forces. So far this month, 60 people have died in attacks, according to United Nations statistics, and 320 were killed in April.

In Falluja, once a violent core of anti-American militancy, a car bomb aimed at an Iraqi Army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded three others. In Ramadi, another heavily Sunni Muslim town in western Anbar Province, two police officers were killed by a bomb near a marketplace.

In the Shiite city of Hilla, two civilians were killed when an improvised bomb exploded in a residential neighborhood, according to local security forces.

The United States Embassy in Baghdad also released a statement on Sunday expressing support for a police-training program — one of the largest and costliest endeavors by the United States here after the military withdrawal — in response to a report by The New York Times a day earlier saying that the program had been scaled back and could be scrapped after facing resistance from Iraqi officials.

In the statement, embassy officials said they had no plans to shut down the training program.

In an April report to Congress, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction said that the program had faced “an array of challenges since its inception.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/world/middleeast/fatal-bomb-blasts-end-relative-calm-in-iraq.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

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Runaway maids: Police say problem persists

14 May, 2012

The number of runaway housemaids living and working in Saudi Arabia is on the rise, said Jeddah police spokesman Brig. Misfer Al-Juaid.

“We receive reports on missing housemaids on daily basis, but we are not authorized to go search for them unless they have committed a crime or stole from their sponsors,” said Al-Juaid. “Whenever it happens, we join forces with the Passport Department to search for the housemaid together and arrest her,” he added.

There are no accurate numbers of runaway housemaids at the police office, said Al-Juaid.

Recruiting housemaids is expensive for families, especially when they stand the risk of employing a maid that might leave them. “A recruitment office may charge a fee ranging between SR 10,000 and SR 15,000 to recruit a maid, which includes the ticket fare,” said Abdullah Al Mozairaai, a 48-year-old school manager.

“We pay housemaids up to SR 1,000 per month and we don’t charge them for housing or food. They don’t come with a guarantee. When a maid runs away, you don’t get your money back and you have to do this all over again,” he added.

Withholding a part of their salary is one way to keep housemaids from running away, said 52-year-old businessman Asaad Al-Jehani. “After a long series of fleeing maids, I started withholding 10 percent of their salary, just to make sure they would not run away,” he said. “I would prefer to be informed by the housemaid of her intentions of leaving, rather than have her leave without prior notice,” he added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article632915.ece

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South Asia

 

Bomb kills 9 at market in northern Afghanistan

May 14, 2012

KABUL: Authorities say a bomb has exploded at a market in northern Afghanistan, killing nine people, including a local official.

The Ministry of Interior says the bomb went off on Monday morning inside a shop in a market in Faryab province's Ghormuch district. The ministry's statement says the nine dead included a council member from a neighboring province.

The ministry says it has no other details.

In a separate statement Monday, the ministry said police killed 18 insurgents in operations across the country over the past 24 hours.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bomb-kills-9-at-market-in-northern-Afghanistan/articleshow/13132354.cms

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Dhaka indicts ex-Jamaat chief for 1971 war crimes

May 14, 2012

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi tribunal on Sunday indicted an 89-year-old former chief of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami on 61 charges for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, months after he was arrested.

"The international crimes tribunal indicted Ghulam Azam for five types of crimes he committed during 1971 Liberation War" fighting with the Pakistani troops, prosecuting lawyer Syed Rezaur Rahman said. The charges came under five categories including conspiracy , planning, incitement, complicity and murder during the nine-month war. The panel set June 5 for starting the trial against Azam, who pleaded not guilty.

Azam was the former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami in the then East Pakistan wing of the fundamentalist party and provincial minister under the Pakistani junta in 1971.

The prosecution earlier described him as the "key collaborator" of the then Pakistani junta alleging he masterminded the alleged atrocities including genocides or mass murders of Bengalis during the Liberation War.

Azam's party opposed Bangladesh's 1971 independence with many of its activists joining the auxiliary forces of Pakistani troops. If proved guilty Azam could be sentenced to death.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Dhaka-indicts-ex-Jamaat-chief-for-1971-war-crimes/articleshow/13128742.cms

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More than 100 injured in Bangladesh clashes

14 May, 2012

DHAKA, BANGLADESH: Witnesses say more than 100 people including many police have been injured in clashes between opposition activists and security officials in southeastern Bangladesh.

The United News of Bangladesh news agency says the violence broke out on Sunday in Chittagong when police blocked a rally by Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamic party. Witnesses say at least 100 people were injured.

United News says police swung batons and fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, who threw stones.

Party spokesman Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury says dozens of protesters were arrested.

Jamaat is a key partner of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which has staged protests since last month over the disappearance of one of its leaders.

It blames the government but authorities deny the allegation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/More-than-100-injured-in-Bangladesh-clashes/articleshow/13122207.cms

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Maldives president Waheed looks to India to repair floundering economy

May 14, 2012

NEW DELHI: "Maldives remains one of India's closest friends," said Waheed Hassan, president of the island nation, who took over power after a controversial resignation by Mohamed Nasheed in February. In his first visit to India, Waheed, who met the Indian leadership, said he had sought, and received commitment of India's continued support to Maldives and its stability.

With Nasheed having given his point of view to India only a few weeks ago, Waheed's visit is intended to put forward the views of the current government, the state of its economy and the way forward, as he tries to rebuild a fractured policy and weakened economy.

In a conversation with TOI, Waheed said, "I have requested cooperation to help us craft better economic policies. I have also asked for support for Maldives' tight budgetary situation and I have been assured by PM Manmohan Singh that Maldives will receive this support."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Maldives-president-Waheed-looks-to-India-to-repair-floundering-economy/articleshow/13128480.cms

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Idahoan’s Unlikely Journey to Life as a Taliban Prisoner

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

14 May, 2012

HAILEY, Idaho — Off a gravel road in a horse pasture in the crystalline air of the Northern Rockies, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl grew up skiing, fencing and dancing the role of the Nutcracker in the nearby Sun Valley Ballet School — on the surface, at least, an unlikely recruit for the United States Army.

But his family and friends say that in retrospect his enlistment made a certain sense. Sergeant Bergdahl had learned to shoot in the sagebrush hills surrounding his family home and was a superb marksman. He admired the military for its discipline and for what he saw as its role in protecting the American way of life.

After years of odd jobs and adventures, he told friends he was ready for the focus that a career in the Army would bring. Not least, his family said, he was lured by the promises of military recruiters that he would be helping people in other parts of the world. He had come to see the military as a kind of Peace Corps with guns.

“I don’t think he understood really what he was going to do,” said Sky Bergdahl, Sergeant Bergdahl’s older sister.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/us/bowe-bergdahls-unlikely-journey-to-life-as-a-taliban-prisoner.html?ref=world&gwh=D55DD69543617DA0A814482F46B5D299

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Spy Balloons Become Part of the Afghanistan Landscape, Stirring Unease

By GRAHAM BOWLEY

14 May, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The traders crouched beneath the walls of an old fort, hunkered down with the sheep and goats as they talked, eyes nervously flitting up from time to time at the blimp that has become their constant overseer.

“It is there every day except the days when it is windy and rainy,” said Suleman, 45, who goes by only one name.

“It watches us day and night,” said another trader, Mir Akbar, 18, his eyes following the balloon as its nose swiveled with the wind from east to west.

“I notice it all the time,” said Rahmat Shah, 28, a secondhand car seller, who was standing slightly aside from the other men. “I know there is a camera in it.”

The dirigible, a white 117-foot-long surveillance balloon called an aerostat by the military, and scores more like it at almost every military base in the country, have become constant features of the skies over Kabul and Kandahar, and anywhere else American troops are concentrated or interested in.

Shimmering more than 1,500 feet up in the daytime haze, or each visible as a single light blinking at night, the balloons, with infrared and color video cameras, are central players in the American military’s shift toward using technology for surveillance and intelligence.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/world/asia/in-afghanistan-spy-balloons-now-part-of-landscape.html?ref=asia&gwh=43797DB6057483FC04AADCE5FBF519FF

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West Asia

 

Egypt presidential hopeful wants Sharia law-based constitution

May 14th 2012

Cairo, May 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Egypt's constitution should be based on the Quran and the Islamic Sharia law, presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi said.

"The Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal," Morsi said in an election speech to Cairo University students.

Today Egypt was close as never before to the triumph of Islam at all state levels, he said.

"Today, we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals," he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood group had been banned in Egypt for decades before being legalised following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in last year's uprising, and has since emerged as a powerful political force.

The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for May 23-24. The presidential campaign started April 30 and finishes at midnight May 21.

The president will be elected for a four-year term.

http://india.nydailynews.com/business/04e4979020044ecd5089f184e7ab1feb/egypt-presidential-hopeful-wants-sharia-law-based-constitution

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U.S. charter schools tied to powerful Turkish imam

14 May, 2012

Fethullah Gulen is the Turkish Islamic cleric at the center of a popular and growing movement, with millions of disciples who follow his teachings of tolerance, interfaith dialogue, and education. Some have even started a chain of successful charter schools here in the U.S., with an emphasis on math and science. Yet Gulen himself remains shrouded in mystery. Lesley Stahl travels from Turkey to Texas to report on how the movement is spreading, and on the man behind it all.

The following script is from "The Gulen Movement" which aired on May 13, 2012. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Shachar Bar-On, producer.

Over the past decade scores of charter schools have popped up all over the U.S., all sharing some common features. Most of them are high-achieving academically, they stress math and science, and one more thing: they're founded and largely run by immigrants from Turkey who are carrying out the teachings of a Turkish Islamic cleric: Fethullah Gulen.

He's the spiritual leader of a growing and increasingly influential force in the Muslim world -- known as "The Gulen Movement" -- with millions upon millions of disciples who compare him to Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Gulen promotes tolerance, interfaith dialog, and above-all: he promotes education. And yet he's a mystery man -- he's never seen or heard in public -- and the more power he gains, the more questions are raised about his motives and the schools.

Full report at:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57433131/u.s-charter-schools-tied-to-powerful-turkish-imam/

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Qaida suspects blow up Yemen gas pipeline: Govt official

May 14, 2012

ADEN: Suspected al-Qaida militants blew up a gas pipeline supplying Yemen's Balhaf export terminal in the Gulf of Aden, the second such attack in a month, a government official said on Monday.

"A gas pipeline was blown up near Mayfaa" in Shabwa province in southeast Yemen late on Sunday, the official said.

"Al-Qaida blew up the pipeline in response to the raids that targeted it" over the past week.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Qaida-suspects-blow-up-Yemen-gas-pipeline-Govt-official/articleshow/13131582.cms

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42 killed in clashes between Yemeni army, al-Qaida

14 May, 2012

SANAA: Yemeni military officials say 42 people have been killed in heavy clashes between the army and al-Qaida-linked militants in the country's south.

The officials say the military used warplanes and heavy artillery in its assault this morning on the town of al-Hurur in Abyan province, killing at least 30 militants.

Al-Hurur is just outside the city of Jaar, which is one of many towns in southern Yemen that have been under the control of al-Qaeda fighters since last year.

The officials also say 12 government troops were killed today in fighting in the town of al-Code and the provincial capital of Zinjibar.

In the capital, Sanaa, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, met with the new Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/42-killed-in-clashes-between-Yemeni-army-al-Qaida/articleshow/13125531.cms

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Syria troops storm village, month-old truce in tatters

May 14, 2012

DAMASCUS: Troops stormed a village in central Syria on Sunday and rained shells on rebel strongholds Douma and Rastan, monitors said, as a UN-backed truce entered a second month looking in tatters.

The assault on Al-Tamanaa Al-Ghab village in Hama province, a hotbed of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, killed five civilians, wounded 18 and saw houses torched, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Clashes between troops and deserters in the southern province of Daraa, meanwhile, saw five soldiers killed, it said. Two civilians died in the crossfire.

The watchdog said at least 30 people -- 22 civilians, six soldiers and two rebels -- were killed in a surge of violence in various flashpoints on Sunday, despite a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan that was supposed to take effect on April 12.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a coalition of opposition activists on the ground, said the Syrian army shelled Douma near Damascus on Sunday and that heavy gunfire was also heard in the suburb of the capital.

The LCC also said the town of Rastan in central Homs province also came under heavy bombardment, with one activist reporting "one rocket a minute" slamming into the rebel-hand town.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-troops-storm-village-month-old-truce-in-tatters/articleshow/13127427.cms

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Palestinian prisoners expected to end their hunger strike

May 14, 2012

GAZA: Israel and the Palestinians were close to reaching a deal on Sunday that would end the hunger strike of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, a Hamas spokesman and a Palestinian official said.

"We hope the intensive efforts by Egypt (mediatiors) to meet the prisoners' demands will reach a positive conclusion in the coming hours," said Taher al-Nono, spokesman of the Hamas government in Gaza.

An Israeli Prisons Service spokeswoman would not confirm nor deny that an Egyptian-mediated deal had been reached. An Israeli government spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

A Palestinian official who is close to the talks said the deal may be brought before the prisoners as early as Monday.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Palestinian-prisoners-expected-to-end-their-hunger-strike/articleshow/13127374.cms

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Butetown Islam procession revived in honour of imam Sheik Said Hasan Ismail

14 May, 2012

An Islamic procession in one of Cardiff's most multicultural areas has been revived in honour of a Muslim cleric who died last year.

Yemeni seafarers introduced the annual march through the streets of Butetown at the turn of the last century.

Its return was dedicated to Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, founder of South Wales Islamic Centre, who died aged 81.

The 30-minute procession started on Sunday at Alice Street, Butetown.

The procession, which took place annually for decades, was also seen as a wider Butetown community event, said Daud Salaman, the islamic centre's chairman.

He said: "I remember taking part in this as a boy.

"The procession used to take place annually during the two Muslim festivals of Eid, and local people of Christian faith used to affectionately refer to this as "the Muslim Christmas".

"People of all backgrounds used to participate in the procession and this is part of the tolerant community spirit of Butetown that makes the area so special.

"The community here has always been diverse but still regarding itself as one community - it's an attitude to life well worth preserving."

A revived procession was planned for March this year to mark the first anniversary of the death of Sheikh Said, a spiritual leader who opened the islamic centre in 1984.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17993916

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia's Hard-Line Islamists Fail to Stop Lady Gaga Concert Preparations

May 14th 2012

Preparations for Lady Gaga's Jakarta concert continued on Monday as the event's promoter, undaunted by protesting Islamist organizations and a lack of a concert permit, released another 2,000 tickets for the sold-out show.

“We have already sold 52,000 tickets, not counting these 2,000 additional tickets,” said Michael Rusli, president director of Big Daddy, the concert's promoter.

“Public enthusiasm is very high,” he said.

The US pop star's Jakarta concert has attracted the attention of Indonesia's radical Islamist organizations, who have threatened to forcibly prevent Lady Gaga from stepping off her plane and have warned police that the singer will corrupt the nation's youth. The Jakarta Police responded on Sunday by recommending that the concert — part of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way Ball" tour — be canceled.

The National Police are still deciding whether to issue the concert a permit.

But the concert's promoter said that Lady Gaga's June 3 show already has the backing of Indonesia's Tourism Ministry.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesias-hard-line-islamists-fail-to-stop-lady-gaga-concert-preparations/517868

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Malaysia favours voluntary refugee repatriation - Foreign Minister

  2012-05-14

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia feels that voluntary repatriation and successful reintegration of returnees are some of the practical solutions to the problem of refugees facing the Muslim world.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries should work together and assist each other in addressing this issue.

"The strategies and methods of implementation to create a safe and conducive environment for the return of refugees are steps that OIC countries should undertake to discuss expeditiously," he said.

He said this in his statement at the OIC International Conference on Refugees in the Muslim World in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The statement was made available to the media by the ministry here.

Full report at:

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/73482

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Africa

 

Former Somali Terrorist Group Helps a U.S. Prosecution

By BENJAMIN WEISER

14 May, 2012

A former military commander with Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group with ties to Al Qaeda, has become a cooperating witness and is expected to testify for the United States government in a trial this summer in Manhattan, prosecutors have disclosed in a court filing.

More than 30 defendants have been prosecuted in this country for supporting Al Shabab; the former military commander would appear to be the most senior cooperating witness from that group to testify in an American trial, several terrorism experts said.

The former commander, who is referred to in the filing only as CW-2, is assisting the government in the prosecution of Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, who is accused of being a Shabab conspirator. His case in Federal District Court in Manhattan has been full of intrigue and has caused a legal battle over government interrogation tactics.

The former Shabab commander would appear to be able to offer an insider’s view of the group and of Mr. Ahmed, an Eritrean scheduled for trial in July, the government’s filing suggests.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/nyregion/ex-member-of-somali-terrorist-group-helps-a-us-prosecution.html?ref=middleeast&gwh=C44EBFA27634FBBA50DDBE5E5D864ECC

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Algerian Islamist threatens revolt over vote results

14 May, 2012

* Religious leader says Tunisian-style revolt only option after polls

* Threatens a mass pullout of smaller parties from parliament

ALGIERS: An Algerian religious leader said Sunday that a Tunisian-style revolt was the only option after polls he charged were fraudulent and threatened a mass pullout of the smaller parties from parliament.

“These results closed the door on change by the ballot box and the Tunisian option is all that’s left for those who believe in change,” Abdallah Djaballah, who heads the Front for Justice and Development, told AFP. His party mustered only seven seats out of the 462 up for grabs in the national assembly, according to provisional results for Thursday’s legislative election. The former single party, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front, tightened its grip on power by securing 220 seats.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\14\story_14-5-2012_pg4_1

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7 police officers killed in northeast Nigeria

14 May, 2012

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Separate attacks in northeast Nigeria likely carried out by a radical Islamist sect killed at least seven police officers Sunday, witnesses said, the latest violence to shake the bloodied region.

The attacks focused around the city of Maiduguri, where the sect known as Boko Haram once had its main mosque. One attack struck the home of a former federal senator in the region, killing one officer, while other attacks killed four others, a police official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the information was not yet authorized to be released to journalists.

In the village of Mafa, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from Maiduguri, 20 gunmen suspected to belong to Boko Haram attacked a divisional police headquarters. The gunfire lasted for an hour, witnesses said.

Borno state police spokesman Samuel Tizhe said that at least two officers died in the attack. None of the assailants were arrested by officers after the attack, Tizhe said.

Full report at:

http://www.wboc.com/story/18369370/7-police-officers-killed-in-northeast-nigeria

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North America

 

Jailed Pak officer urges country to sever US ties

May 14, 2012

From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting with a shadowy Islamist organization to take over the military released his political manifesto: His call was for the army to sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight

its own people.

"This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that," Brig. Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The US, he says, might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but "do they not always do this at will? ... Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest."

The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists.

The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country's most powerful institution, possibly with the help of al Qaida or associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Jailed-Pak-officer-urges-country-to-sever-US-ties/Article1-855442.aspx

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US to give $680 mn for Israel's anti-missile system

14 MAY 2012

The US is expected to announce the allocation of $680 million for Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defence system, a media report said.

Citing the Israel Hayom daily report, Xinhua said the fund will enable Israel to procure 10 batteries for the system, which will join the four it already deploys against intermittent rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

The fund is part of a $947-million aid package the US is slated to provide for bolstering Israel's missile and rocket defence in 2012.

US Congressman Steve Rothman, a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, announced last week that the aid package has been approved in principle.

"This funding level is the highest ever appropriated in a single year for these life-saving systems and shows how vitally important they are for our nation's national security and that of our key ally -- Israel," Xinhua quoted Rothman as saying in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/top-story/65221-us-to-give-680-mn-for-israels-anti-missile-system.html

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Europe

 

EU foreign ministers to decide on political participation in soccer tournament in Ukraine

May 14, 2012

BRUSSELS: EU foreign ministers will try to decide on Monday whether it would help the fate of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko if they snub Europe's biggest soccer tournament which Ukraine is co-hosting next month.

President Viktor Yanukovich had been hoping to welcome ministers and government leaders for the high-profile Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine and Poland which starts on June 8.

The Dutch, whose national team is scheduled to play a game in Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv on June 9, have said they will not send any political representatives. Nor will the European Commission, the European Union executive.

Matches in Poland would not be affected. Other European countries, however, want to dangle the carrot of potential attendance in front of Ukraine.

"We want to keep the focus on Ukraine deciding to do the right thing," said one EU diplomat. "So we haven't taken a decision."

Part of EU foreign policy is to try to bring neighbours into the fold - or at least get them to behave more like EU countries by adopting values such as the rule of law.

EU leaders, who meet in Brussels on Monday for a regular conference, want to send a unified message, as that gives the 27-nation bloc more impact.

"They will avoid for the time being making any decision on an individual basis that would give the impression that there is no coordination among themselves," said a senior EU official.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/EU-foreign-ministers-to-decide-on-political-participation-in-soccer-tournament-in-Ukraine/articleshow/13128186.cms

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‘Disabled for life after beating in jail’

14 May, 2012

Jailed former Ukraine PM’s daughter speaks out

THE JAILED former Prime Minister of Ukraine may be left permanently disabled after mistreatment by prison authorities, her daughter has claimed.

Yulia Tymoshenko, 51, who is serving seven years for alleged abuse of office, is in hospital after ending a 20- day hunger strike.

She needs treatment for a severe spinal problem and her condition has shocked her daughter Eugenia, who is calling for Britain to speak out against the Ukrainian government, which she claims is becoming a dictatorship.

She has also urged dignitaries to boycott next month’s Euro 2012 football tournament, which Ukraine is co- hosting with Poland.

Eugenia, 32, said: “ I managed to see her on Thursday after four hours of trying to get into the hospital. I was shocked when I saw her. She has lost a stoneand- a- half and weighs about seven- and- a- half stone.” Tymoshenko is being treated by a German doctor because she does not trust the hospital’s government- controlled staff.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Six militants killed in Russia

14 May, 2012

Six militants, including a senior member of the Kizlyar militant group who was on a wanted list since 2011, have been killed in a special operation in Russia's volatile Dagestan region, the National Anti-terrorism Committee said. Magomed Makhmudov and the other militants of the Kizlyar

gang were surrounded by security services in a forest near the Kizlyar district.

The insurgents refused to surrender and opened fire with assault rifles and a grenade launcher, injuring three police and four army soldiers, RIA Novosti reported.

Violence is common in Russia's North Caucasus, especially in the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, with militants frequently mounting attacks against police officers and government officials.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/worldsectionpage/World/Six-militants-killed-in-Russia/Article1-854993.aspx

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/protection-of-refugees-an-islamic-duty,-says-unhcr/d/7324

 

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