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Islamic World News ( 4 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Qaddafi’s Militia Storms Key Town Controlled by Rebels

Prayers for patience as Shahbaz Bhatti buried

Gilani says won`t allow misuse of blasphemy law

I’m No.1 Taliban target, not Sherry, Fouzia: Malik

Not a veiled threat: Burqa ban in France from April

Bhatti’s killing leaves Pak govt split wide open

SC notice to Advani on Babri conspiracy

Secret report on fake notes blames Pak, its staff

Acquitted in Godhra case, Baitullah bids adieu to life

National Urdu Council seeks higher budget

Linking jihad to terrorism wrong: Muslim scholars

Release innocent Muslim youth immediately: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

All India Minority Front to fight WB elections

Fazl says misuse of blasphemy law can be discussed

God bless, says Q, as court quotes a poem, lets him walk

“Fake currency from Pakistan threat to Indian economy”

Two terrorists killed, 13 arrested in Kohat

India wants moderate political forces in Pakistan

Two schools blown up in northwest Pakistan

Pakistan should honor Davis immunity: US

Al-Qaida No 2 calls for Islamic rule in Egypt

ED notice to stop Hasan Ali fleeing country

Gaddafi likens his crackdown to India’s action in Kashmir

Libyans defy despot in his Tripoli bastion

Gaddafi’s forces launch fresh air strikes on rebel-held east

LSE chief quits over financial links with Libya, Gaddafi family

UN urges review of NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan

Rebels 'hold' key refinery town as many killed

Imams seek overthrow of Qaddafi

Uproar over journalists’ detention in Turkey

Clinton renews appeal to Iran on missing FBI agent

Ten killed in terror attack on mosque-shrine

Gadhafi forces battle rebels as 37 killed in Libya

Libya weapons depot blast kills 17: doctor

Yemen army fire kills four protesters

Four killed in Libya clash

Libyan forces try to wrest rebel-held oil town, kill 30

Tunisia to elect Assembly in July for Constitution

Opponents press call for Jordan's PM to quit

Emergency plan approved to save historic Jeddah

New taxes through ordinance may face tough opposition

Compiled by New Age Islam Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/qaddafi’s-militia-storms-key-town-controlled-by-rebels/d/4232

 

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Qaddafi’s Militia Storms Key Town Controlled by Rebels

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

TRIPOLI, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia stormed the rebels controlling the town of Zawiyah on Saturday morning in what two residents described as a “massacre.”

“I am watching neighbors dying unarmed in front of their homes,” one resident said in a telephone interview, with the sounds of heavy weapons and machine-gun fire in the background. The resident said the militias were using tanks and heavy artillery, attacking from both the east and west gates of the town. “I don’t know how many are being killed, but I know my neighborhood is being killed,” the resident said.

In a telephone interview a little more than three hours after the attack began, another resident said: “Everything is burning. We don’t know from which side they are shooting us — from the buildings or from the streets. People are falling everywhere.”

But four hours after the fighting began, two rebels said in phone interviews that after heavy casualties, the battle was over. They said they held the center of town, but a tight military siege made it impossible to enter or leave. It was impossible to determine the number of casualties in the latest fighting. The attack started about 6 a.m., a night after Colonel Qaddafi’s government promised to bring a group of foreign journalists to see that Zawiyah, just 30 miles outside the capital, was again secure in government control.

The assault followed a day of brazen counterattacks by Colonel Qaddafi’s militia, which battled rebel forces on two fronts on Friday, firing on unarmed protesters in front of international news media and leaving the rebels seeking his ouster in disarray.

The militia’s actions seemed likely to stir renewed debate over international intervention to limit Colonel Qaddafi’s use of military power against his own citizens, possibly by imposing a no-flight zone.

The latest siege of Zawiyah began on Friday, when the elite Khamis Brigade, a militia named for the Qaddafi son who commands it, surrounded the town and opened fire with mortars, machine guns and other heavy weapons, witnesses said, in two separate skirmishes.

The first was arguably provoked by rebels who tried to attack the better-equipped militia because it was blocking rebel supporters from entering the town, the witnesses said. But the second took aim at a group of unarmed protesters who attempted to march through the militia lines toward the capital.

A rebel making a count at the Zawiyah hospital said that at least 35 rebels and an unknown number of militia soldiers died in the fighting on Friday, with more than 60 rebels missing and more than 50 wounded. Among the dead, rebels said, was Col. Hussein Darbouk, a defected Libyan officer who had been commanding rebel forces in the town.

“We killed a lot of their people, but obviously they have more power than us, to be quite honest,” said one rebel, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Elsewhere on Saturday, rebels had taken control of Ras Lanuf, the site of a military base and an oil terminal, after a day of pitched battles with Colonel Qaddafi’s forces.

Around the same time as the Friday afternoon battle in Zawiyah, two truckloads of government security officers showered hundreds of protesters with tear gas in the Tripoli suburb of Tajura. A handful of foreign correspondents and television news crews were in their midst, and many protesters saw their presence as a shield.

“This is the first time they have used gas,” one veteran of the protests told a journalist as he retreated. “When you leave they will shoot us with machine guns.”

But the militias did not wait. Moments later, with news cameras still rolling, they unleashed bursts of Kalashnikov fire. Sporadic gunfire rang out for over an hour.

A government spokesman later said the militia had fired into the air, but two doctors at the demonstration said that at least two people were wounded. The protesters, who had planned to stage a sit-in at the mosque, quickly scattered.

The road north of town thundered with explosions, and all day long, trucks mounted with guns and swarming with rebel fighters raced from the city of Brega, about 25 miles to the east, to the front. The better armed Qaddafi forces hammered the rebels with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, and witnesses said the wounded kept arriving into the night at the Brega hospital.

There was a huge explosion outside Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city and the cradle of the revolution. A rebel spokesman said it occurred at an ammunition storage facility, and it was unclear whether the explosion was caused by an airstrike or some other attack, or an accident.

In Tripoli, Internet access was cut off Friday, the traditional day for street protests after midday prayers around the Arab world. Some suspected that Colonel Qaddafi’s government may have shut it down to impede organizing and communication by his opponents, just as President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt did before his ouster. Though Libya appears to lack the tech-savvy networks of young people that helped propel the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, many Libyan protesters have used the Internet to circulate images of repression.

About 130 foreign journalists have gathered in Tripoli as guests of the Qaddafi government, and in a news conference on Thursday night designed to rebut charges of human rights violations, senior officials of the Foreign Ministry promised them unrestricted freedom of movement.

But on Friday morning, the government informed the journalists that it planned to fly them away from potential Friday protests to a Qaddafi stronghold in the south. When the journalists refused to go, the government temporarily locked them in their hotel, before arranging a bus trip to a central square that is a hub for pro-Qaddafi rallies.

But some journalists, including at least three British television news crews, escaped to a mosque in Tajura where a large demonstration had been held the week before. As men trickled into the mosque for midday prayers, heavily armed checkpoints were already springing up around the neighborhood, with two tanks alongside the main route along the Mediterranean to downtown.

Men entering the mosque said that at least five of their neighbors were killed by Qaddafi militias at a demonstration that brought out thousands here last week, and a doctor displayed cellphone photographs of four bodies severely wounded in the chest, head and eye. “They are experienced shooters,” he said.

Many described a rash of midnight abductions as members of the militia searched from house to house for people who participated in past protests. One man said that five households in his family had been raided the same night. A young man described waking in the middle of the night to see a young neighbor being dragged from his home, women crying in the street around him. A third said he believed 100 of his neighbors had been detained in the past week, some released after a couple of days and others still gone. “Every night it is 10 or 15 houses,” another said.

Even in the mosque’s marble courtyard, some said they feared talking to a foreign journalist. “I am sorry,” one whispered. “I can’t talk to you. I am from here. Everybody knows me. But, really, we don’t like Qaddafi.”

Several said they were incensed that Colonel Qaddafi had said in a recent television interview that the Libyan people loved him. “We want to show that the number of people who hate Qaddafi is more,” one said.

This week, several said, they had planned to pull back or stay in the mosque for a sit-in rather than risk an ambush or shootings at a march toward downtown. “It is impossible to advance here because you are faced with heavy gunfire,” one man said.

Another said the plan had come from Benghazi. “Our government is in Benghazi now for all Libya,” he said.

A plainclothes police officer introduced himself and demanded the names and news organizations of journalists present.

When the thousands of men who had prayed at the mosque began to file out around 1:45 p.m., a group of young men stood facing the door carrying the tri-colored pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag and chanting for others to demonstrate: “The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted.” Anticipating foreign news media, a young man unfurled a banner in English: “No more killing. Peaceful protests.”

But instead of rallying inside the relative safety of the mosque’s large marble courtyard, the energized crowd quickly surged through the gates to a nearby roundabout, where protesters had been killed the week before. One man said his son was detained by security forces 10 days ago, and he was warned that if he protested he might never see him again.

“Even if he kills too many people, we will still do what we do,” another vowed. “He is killing us for 41 years.”

As cameramen scurried for the best angle, several thanked journalists for shielding them. “It is just because of the media we are safe,” one said. “If you were not here we would see people killed.”

By the time the crowd from the mosque reached the roundabout only about 300 protesters remained, the threats and detentions having done their work. The protesters lamented that militia roadblocks prevented others from joining them from other mosques.

Some said they were refraining from taking cellphone pictures of the demonstrations, since those doing so were now suspected of being government spies, taking pictures of protesters so the government can track them down.

At 2:45, two blue trucks packed with police officers bearing Kalashnikovs appeared at the end of the block.

Moments later, tear gas canisters were flying through the air and the crowd began to stampede. “Mosque, mosque!” some shouted, urging the whole crowd to retreat to its relative safety. Few listened.

Braving the gas and Kalashnikovs, some young men picked up stones to hurl at the militia. Then the militia opened fire. Their initial aim was unclear. But by then they had occupied the roundabout, blocking the way back to the mosque.

Journalists scattered, too, some taking refuge in private homes or businesses as heavily armed militia checkpoints locked down the neighborhood.

Kareem Fahim contributed reporting from Benghazi, Libya; Lynsey Addario from Agella, Libya; and Neil MacFarquhar from Cairo.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/world/africa/06libya.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

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Prayers for patience as Shahbaz Bhatti buried

March 05, 2011

KHUSHPUR: Shirtless men beat their chests and women wailed in grief as the body of minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was buried in his home village Friday.

Bhatti was shot dead Wednesday after being threatened for opposing the law.

Thousands of people thronged the road in Khushpur, a Christian-dominated village of around 10,000 people in eastern Punjab province, chanting slogans demanding justice as Bhatti’s body was flown in and driven through in an ambulance covered with rose petals.

“Bhatti, your blood will bring revolution,” some mourners shouted, raising their hands in the air as his body was taken to the burial site.

A Catholic religious leader read prayers and Bible verses counseling patience as black flags fluttered nearby and Bhatti’s picture loomed over the crowd.

“The message of Shahbaz Bhatti is to purge Pakistan of killers and hatred,” Reverend Father Emmanuel Pervez told thousands of men and women gathered in Bhatti’s village for mass prayers.

“We will not accept oppression … Bhatti’s message is that we should not let Pakistan be defamed.”

Afterward, his body was laid to rest in a cemetery next to that of his father, who died around two months ago.

Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited an overflow crowd of mourners at a Roman Catholic church in Islamabad to praise the late 42-year-old, a man many have described as gentle, humble and devoted to helping Pakistan’s downtrodden minorities.

”People like him, they are very rare,” Gilani said. ”I assure you, we will try our utmost to bring the culprits to justice.”

Christians are the largest religious minority in Pakistan, where 95 per cent of the country’s 180 million people are Muslim.

Bhatti and Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer both criticized the blasphemy laws after a Christian woman was sentenced to death under them last year.

On Jan 4, Taseer was shot dead by one of his bodyguards, who said he was angry about the governor’s stance on the laws.

But the ruling party abandoned Bhatti and Taseer on the subject, a sign of how scared they are of upsetting powerful religious groups. Gilani has repeatedly insisted the government would not change the laws.

President Asif Ali Zardari did not attend the funeral Mass or the burial service in Khushpur.

Also notably missing were top leaders of the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Bhatti’s assassination drew international condemnation, including from the Vatican and President Barack Obama, even as some hard-liners in the Pakistani religious community and media suggested a US-led conspiracy was behind the murder.

Despite Gilani’s promises, few people in Khushpur had any confidence Friday that the Pakistani government, which already has a poor record of catching militants, would make the case of a Christian a priority.

”They have neither the ability nor the will,” said mourner Nasreen Gill.

“These terrorists must be hanged publicly to stop them from committing such brutal crimes,” Hina Gill, a member of the Christian Minority Alliance said. “These terrorists are wearing the mask of religion to defame religion.”

Not only Christians mourned Bhatti. “Shahbaz Bhatti has tried hard to promote interfaith harmony but those who want to destabilise Pakistan have killed him,” said Badruddin Chaudhry, a Muslim attending the funeral.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/04/security-tight-for-shahbaz-bhatti%E2%80%99s-funeral.html

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Gilani says won`t allow misuse of blasphemy law

Mar 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Reassuring the international community that his government is serious in stopping the misuse of laws, including the one on blasphemy, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the slain minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, should not be seen only as a minority leader because he was a national figure who championed interfaith harmony.

Talking to a delegation from Canada led by Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister for Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Immigration, Mr Gilani said: “Misuse of any law of the country cannot be accepted and that the government is already in consultation with all religious and political stakeholders on the issue.”

The blasphemy law has been a source of confusion and controversy as critics both nationally and internationally have been calling for changes in the law to avoid its misuse. But the government, under pressure from the religious elements, had backtracked from amending the law and withdrawn a piece of legislation introduced in the National Assembly by PPP leader Sherry Rahman seeking to address the issue.

Eulogising Bhatti`s remarkable services for moderation, human rights, justice, tolerance and interfaith harmony, the prime minister said he was a national figure and should not be projected by the international media and community as merely a minority leader.

The tragedy, he said, must not be misconstrued as an example of persecution of Christians or minorities in Pakistan because doing so would only amount to grave injustice to the life and work of Shahbaz Bhatti.

“This misperception will only help advance the nefarious agenda of terrorist elements in Pakistan and abroad,” Mr Gilani said.

Mr Kenney, who is leading a delegation of his country to participate in the last rites of the slain minister, offered condolence over the death of Mr Bhatti to the prime minister and the people of Pakistan.

He commended the reappointment of Mr Bhatti as minister in the reshuffled cabinet and said that it had reflected the government`s commitment to continuing to strive for the interfaith harmony and emancipation of minorities in the country.

Mr Kenney expressed his understanding of Pakistan`s situation by acknowledging the fact that more casualties of the Muslim majority community had taken place in Pakistan`s war against terror than their minority counterparts. He assured Mr Gilani of Canada`s continued help in rooting out the causes of terrorism. He said the Canadian government was reviewing its procedure to ease restrictions of visa for Pakistani nationals.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik and secretaries of foreign affairs, interior and minorities affairs attended the meeting.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/05/gilani-says-wont-allow-misuse-of-blasphemy-law.html

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I’m No.1 Taliban target, not Sherry, Fouzia: Malik

Mar 05, 2011

March 4: Pakistan interior minister, Mr Rehman Malik, on Friday, said he himself was on top of the hit-list of banned outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban while Ms Sherry Rehman and Ms Fouzia Wahab were the other two the main targets.

“I am at number one, Sherry is at number two and Fouzia Wahab is at number three. Next time you may not find me here,” Mr Malik told the National Assembly. Ms Rehman and Ms Wahab both belong to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party. Ms Rehman is a former minister for information and Ms Wahab was recently removed as secretary information of the PPP. The two still remain influential.

Winding up debate in the National Assembly on the assassination of minister for minorities affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, the interior minister called for forging unity to protect the future of coming generations and achieving lasting peace and prosperity in the country.

“Security and foreign policy are the two issues on which we need to be united about than anything else. If you would not join hands today, you would have Taliban and extremists here,” he said. The minister categorically mentioned that he never said that Shahbaz Bhatti was responsible for his own assassination, however, the slain minister should have availed the security he was being provided by the government.

He added, “There wasn’t security lapse on behalf of the government or the police. If the investigation teams find any security lapse I would resign from the ministry.” Bhatti, assassinated on Wednesday, was part of an unofficial committee of the Parliament that was supposed to amend the blasphemy laws.

Prime Minister, Mr Gilani, had rejected the presence of such a committee and said that the blasphemy laws will not be amended. Ms Rehman too had proposed the same amendment.

http://www.asianage.com/international/i%E2%80%99m-no1-taliban-target-not-sherry-fouzia-malik-227

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Not a veiled threat: Burqa ban in France from April

Mar 5, 2011

PARIS: France will start enforcing a ban next month on full Islamic face veils, officials said, meaning any veiled woman can be summoned to a police station and asked to remove her face-covering or pay a fine.

Officials say the law is mainly symbolic and police will not call in every veiled woman they see to avoid stigmatising Muslims. But a Paris imam said forcing veiled women to present themselves at a police station would be just as uncomfortable.

When France passed the ban on full face veils last year, Muslim leaders voiced concern that it could lead to veiled Muslim women being unfairly treated by police or singled out for harassment.

"My gut reaction is to say this is all a bit clumsy," said Moussa Niambele, the imam of a mosque in Paris.

The ban forbids wearing any garment concealing the face in a public space, namely the street, public transport, shops, schools, courtrooms, hospitals and government buildings. From April 11, police are instructed to summon veil-wearers to a station, where they will be asked to remove the garment for "identification" and leave it off. If the wearer refuses to remove it they will be fined up to $208.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Not-a-veiled-threat-Burqa-ban-in-France-from-April-/articleshow/7632247.cms#ixzz1FhMuWp9e

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Bhatti’s killing leaves Pak govt split wide open

Omer Farooq Khan

Mar 5, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Amid clamour for his resignation in Pakistan's national assembly for security lapses that led to minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti's killing, interior minister Rehman Malik said he will quit if the lapses were proved and he, along with ruling PPP leaders Sherry Rehman and Fauzia Wahab, were next on the hit list of Pakistan Taliban.

With several ruling party ministers joining in accusing their own government of inaction in the face of rising lawlessness , there were questions regarding the longevity of the federal government itself. "Today I am under threat. Perhaps next time you may not find me here,'' said Malik in response to demands in the House from both ruling and opposition parties for his removal as interior minister. The legislators were angry with the apparent ease with which militants gunned down Bhatti.

While members from the opposition benches criticised Rehman Malik for not providing sufficient security cover to Bhatti, a Catholic Christian, PPP's Jamshed Dasti said he would have resigned if he been the country's home minister after such grave security lapse. A Christian MP, Akram Masih Gill, demanded a judicial inquiry into the assassination to identify the people behind Bhatti's killing. He said Bhatti had informed the interior ministry regarding the threats to his life and had sought more security from the ministry.

"The government had provided adequate security to Bhatti but it wasn't utilized,'' Malik said, adding, "The interior ministry had provided a security detail of two cars and 16 guards to Bhatti who did not engage them while visiting his parents on that fateful morning.''

Bhatti was without security escort when several gunmen surrounded his car outside his family home and riddled it with bullets. The government claims Bhatti was recently allotted a house in Ministers Enclave but he had not shifted. On Friday Rehman Malik said that a bullet-proof car was offered to Bhatti but he had rejected it saying it was a second hand.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Bhattis-killing-leaves-Pak-govt-split-wide-open-/articleshow/7632223.cms#ixzz1FhN03TmJ

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SC notice to Advani on Babri conspiracy

By Gyanant Singh in New Delhi

THE SUPREME Court ( SC) on Friday issued notice to veteran BJP leaders L. K. Advani and M. M. Joshi and Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray on a petition by the CBI seeking to proceed against them in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case under conspiracy charges before a court in Lucknow.

Notice was also issued to BJP leader Vinay Katiyar and VHP’s Ashok Singhal and others.

The CBI had approached the apex court against a May 2010 Allahabad High Court order upholding the Lucknow trial court’s decision to drop proceedings against Advani and 20 others after holding that they could be tried before the special court at Rae Bareilly where there were no conspiracy charges.

The CBI was keen to hold a consolidated trial at Lucknow where the leaders, among other charges, would be tried for being part of the conspiracy behind demolition. The case at Rae Bareilly pertained to making inflammatory speeches promoting enmity among communities and affecting national integration.

A bench comprising justices V. S. Sirpurkar and T. S. Thakur issued notice in the matter after hearing solicitor general Gopal Subramanium arguing that there could not be two categories of accused in a case.

Full report at: Agencies & Mail Today Bureau

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Secret report on fake notes blames Pak, its staff

Ritu Sarin

Mar 05 2011

New Delhi: A secret Government report, that claims to be based on a “million intelligence inputs,” has named officials in the Pakistan High Commissions in Dhaka and Kathmandu as being responsible for not only manufacturing but also distributing Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).

For the first time, the Government has put a figure to the value of FICN in “circulation” — Rs 16,000 crore, and linked it to at least 15 cases of terrorist funding.

The 65-page report, obtained by The Indian Express, categorically blames Pakistan for running what it calls a “sophisticated buisness enterprise covering many countries.”

It lists 28 important “FICN network operator gangs” out of Bangkok, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan which are “so well established that they could also be used for arranging hide-outs, for easy and secure communication channels to subversives and safe launch-pads for espionage agents.”

The report says that 36.8% of large FICN seizures (above Rs 10 lakh) over a five-year period have been “directly” sourced from Pakistan and the remaining “indirectly” — with consignments first sent to a “staging-post” country and seized while on their second or third-leg journeys into India.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/758247/

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Acquitted in Godhra case, Baitullah bids adieu to life

New Age Islam News Bureau

Vadodra: 67 year old Baitullah who was acquitted in the Godhra carnage and conspiracy case bade adieu to life on Thursday. He never knew what joke life was going to play with him when he had arrived in Godhra to sell bangles only six months before the tragedy. After the arson and murder, he was suddenly turned into accused No. 69. When he was released after spending nine years in jail, he bade adieu to life. Baitullah Teli was alongwith Maulana Umarji among the 62 accused. According to the media, he was brought to the hospital yesterday where he could not recover from the trauma and passed away.

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National Urdu Council seeks higher budget

New Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: National Urdu Council, the body that advises the government on issues related to Urdu has sought an increase in its budget in order to take the government schemes like MNREGA to the primary level. Speaking to the UNI, the Director of the Council Dr Hamidullah Bhatt said that if the government really wanted to empower any target community educationally and economically, it might be offered the services of about one thousand centres consisting of Urdu organisations, NGOs and government departments. He further said that with the additional funds the number of centres could go up to one lakh.

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Linking jihad to terrorism wrong: Muslim scholars

New Age Islam News Bureau

Saharanpur: A seminar on ‘World peace and the teachings of Hadhrat Muhammad (PBUH) was organised under the aegis of the Awaz Foundation Muslim Girls’ Inter-College, Saharanpur. Many scholars from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country participated in it. The religious scholar from Saharanpur Maulana Riyaz Alam Nadvi said that terrorism was an antithesis to Islam and that linking jihad to terrorism and terrorism to jihad was wrong. The President of Awaz Foundation Shahid Zuberi said that we had lagged behind in every department of life because we gave up the teachings of Islam.

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Release innocent Muslim youth immediately: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

New Age Islam News Bureau

Mumbai:  The Jamiat Ulema Hind Maharashtra branch Secretary once again reitrated their demand of releasing innocent Muslim youth framed in the Malegaon blasts case and said that after Hindutva terrorist mastermind Aseemanand’s confession in the blasts case, it had become clear that the Muslim youths arrested on these charges were innocent. The Jamiat also presented a memorandum to the Minority Commission Chairman Wajahat Habibullah to this effect.

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All India Minority Front to fight WB elections

New Age Islam News Bureau

Kolkata: The All India Minority Front has decided to fight the West Bengal elections. It will field 100 candidates in the forthcoming assembly polls. The national president of AIMF Mr K M Asif said that the people of the state wanted change and a better alternative and the AIMF was ready to fulfill the need. He further said that the minorities, particularly the Muslims had realised that the government had been doing lip service to it. He said that the Sachar Committee also said that the condition of the Muslims was very poor in West Bengal.

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God bless, says Q, as court quotes a poem, lets him walk

Ritu Sarin

Mar 05 2011

New Delhi: Twenty five years gone, Rs 250 crore spent, two extradition cases lost in international arena, no “legally sustainable” evidence in hand. Underlining these, a Delhi court today exonerated Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi from penal charges in the 1986 Bofors payoff case and approved a CBI application seeking withdrawal of his prosecution.

Reached for comments in Italy, Quattrocchi told The Indian Express: “I am relaxing. God bless.”

While delivering the verdict, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav recited Sahir Ludhianvi: “Woh afsana jise anjaam tak lana na ho mumkin, use ek khoobsurat more dekar chhorna hi achha (It’s better to end a story on a good note in case it cannot be brought to a logical end).”

“The very question which stares us at our faces is whether it is justified for the Government of India to continue to spend on the extradition of Q, which may or may not ultimately happen during his lifetime. Can we allow this hard earned money of aam aadmi of India to be spent on these type of proceedings, which are not going to do any good to them, after almost 25 years of the so-called arms deal. The answer would be a big No,” CMM Yadav said in his 73-page judgment.

Adjudicating the CBI’s plea on the triple test of good faith, bonafide and public interest, he said it was clear in the last 21 years when the prosecution against Quattrocchi was on that “despite spending through its nose for about these years, the CBI has not been able to put forward legally sustainable evidence with regard to conspiracy in the (Bofors payoff) matter.”

While the allegation pertained to a kickback amounting to Rs 64 crore, the CBI, by 2005, had already spent around Rs 250 crore on the case “which is sheer wastage of public money,” Yadav said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/758244/

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“Fake currency from Pakistan threat to Indian economy”

Narayan Lakshman

WASHINGTON: India faces a burgeoning inflow of high-quality counterfeit currency that is primarily produced in Pakistan and then smuggled to India through multiple international routes, according to a report by the United States State Department.

In the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), the State Department said that criminal networks exchanged counterfeit currency for genuine notes and this facilitated money-laundering on a scale that “represents a threat to the Indian economy.”

While a key focus of the INCSR was the drug and chemical control, a significant section of the report considered the impact of money-laundering and financial crimes in the context of narcotics production and distribution.

In that regard, the report argued that India's economic and demographic expansion made the country an “increasingly significant target for money-launderers and terrorist groups,” adding that India's extensive informal economy and remittance systems, porous borders, strategic location, persistent corruption, and historically onerous tax administration contributed to its vulnerability to financial and terrorist-related crimes.

On the subject of the counterfeit currency flows from Pakistan, officials noted that most terrorist activities were conducted by international terrorist groups and entities linked to the global jihad, with the support of both state and non-state external actors, all of whom “often use counterfeit currency and hawaladars, as well as physical cross-border currency smuggling, to move funds from external sources to finance their activities in India.”

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/05/stories/2011030562441000.htm

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Two terrorists killed, 13 arrested in Kohat

March 05, 2011

KOHAT: Two terrorists, including a local commander, were killed while 13 of their accomplices were arrested by the security forces in Kamal Khel area on Friday. According to Kohat police, two terrorists were killed in a clash with security forces in Kamal Khel village in Balitang early Friday morning. An injured terrorist was also arrested from the site, who later helped in arresting 12 others. The terrorists were identified as Samiullah of Shadi Khal, a local commander and Mujtaba, resident of Mian Khel, both belonging to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban, Darra Adam Khel. Their bodies were handed over to their families. Sources said that both the killed terrorists were involved in bomb blasts in different parts of the country, attacking security forces’ vehicles and target killing incidents while Mujtaba was said to be an expert of preparing explosive-laden vehicles and improvised explosive devices. The security forces also recovered automatic weapons and hand grenades from the arrested terrorists. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\05\story_5-3-2011_pg7_8

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India wants moderate political forces in Pakistan

March 05, 2011

BANGALORE: India today expressed concern that "saner voices are being silenced" in Pakistan and said New Delhi wants moderate and political forces to reassert themselves in that country so that it becomes easier for both the countries to move closer, Geo News reported.

Asked if India is concerned by increasing fundamentalism in Pakistan in the context of assassination of Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said, "We feel that saner voices are being silenced in Pakistan, which is matter of great concern for India".

"We want the moderate forces in Pakistan, political forces in Pakistan to reassert themselves so that it will be easier for India to move closer to closer to Pakistan", he said.

The UPA government is "very particular" about India's relationship with Pakistan, Krishna said.

"We would like to have friendly relations with them (Pakistan), cordial relationship with them and I think a firm foundation is being set for that".

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12088

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Pakistan should honor Davis immunity: US

March 05, 2011

WASHINGTON: US has again asked Pakistan to honour the diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis, arrested on charges of killing two persons in Lahore, and release him under the Vienna Convention.

"We are concerned that the proceedings are ongoing," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters after a Lahore court rejected Davis' "We can’t really comment on the litigation itself. We continue to stress to the Pakistani Government and to the Pakistani courts that he has full immunity from criminal prosecution," he said.

The court indicated in the absence of a certification by the Government of Pakistan that Davis had diplomatic immunity, it would presume he did not have any such immunity.

"So that’s not a definitive judgment. There is actually, later this month, a higher court hearing on the question of diplomatic immunity," he said.

Crowley insisted that the US in January 2010 had informed the Government of Pakistan of the arrival of Davis in the country, his assignment to the administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy.

"And that was notification that he, in fact, has diplomatic immunity," he said. Pakistan, however, denies accepting claim for diplomatic immunity and said it would go with his trial.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12089

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Al-Qaida No 2 calls for Islamic rule in Egypt

Mar 5, 2011

CAIRO: Osama bin Laden's deputy is urging fellow Egyptians to establish Islamic rule after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

In an Internet audio message, Ayman al-Zawahri warns the "honest and free people" of Egypt and Tunisia not to allow America and others steal the fruits of their uprisings by allowing them to install puppet regimes.

It's Al-Zawahri's fourth message since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The 28-minute recording was posted on a militant website today.

He also urged Yemenis to continue their struggle to topple President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime, which he said turned Yemen into an American spy base. Yemen is home to an al-Qaida offshoot.

Before becoming deputy al-Qaida leader, the Egyptian al-Zawahri headed the Al-Jihad extremist group that battled Mubarak's regime.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Al-Qaida-No-2-calls-for-Islamic-rule-in-Egypt/articleshow/7629153.cms#ixzz1FhNGnLmf

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ED notice to stop Hasan Ali fleeing country

Mar 5, 2011

NEW DELHI: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a Blue Corner Notice against Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali to prevent him from leaving the country. Ali had earlier moved the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal disputing an Income Tax (I-T) demand of Rs 70,000 penalty in a tax evasion case. The ITAT case is listed for next week.

Sources said ED has also summoned the businessman for further questioning on March 10 in a case related to FEMA violations and to know more about charges of gunrunning as some of the alleged transactions in a Swiss bank had indicated his links with a Saudi arms dealer.

Hasan Ali's CA told reporters on Friday the businessman would be appearing before the Enforcement Directorate at its Mumbai office on March 10.

All earlier attempts by the government to get details on his banking transactions from Switzerland had failed as the authorities in that country had said to get the relevant information, an accused has to be involved in a criminal case.

Both the Enforcement Directorate and the I-T authorities are trying to question Hasan Ali on his links with Saudi arms dealers, the details of which had emerged during raids on his premises a few years ago. However, so far the Pune businessman has not accepted any such dealings, preventing authorities from booking him under any other Act or trying him for criminal conspiracy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ED-notice-to-stop-Hasan-Ali-fleeing-country/articleshow/7628543.cms#ixzz1FhNTCdhI

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Gaddafi likens his crackdown to India’s action in Kashmir

Indrani Bagchi

Mar 5, 2011

NEW DELHI: Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi told PM Manmohan Singh last week that his actions against his people in Libya were akin to India's actions against Kashmiris.

On the eve of the UN Security Council debate and vote against Libya on February 26, Gaddafi, in a missive to Singh, asked for India's support for his actions as civil war broke out in Libya.

The request for support came even as African and European countries, including Libya's UN envoy who defected to the rebels, made an impassioned plea in the Security Council to refer Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court. India voted for the UNSC resolution, which was passed unanimously.

Gaddafi has reportedly used airplanes to strafe his own people who are fighting to take Libya out of Gaddafi's control. According to some estimates, over 6,000 people have died in the fighting, which continues even after 10 days.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Gaddafi-likens-his-crackdown-to-Indias-action-in-Kashmir/articleshow/7631784.cms#ixzz1FhNheX6q

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Libyans defy despot in his Tripoli bastion

Mar 5, 2011

FORCES loyal to Muammar Gaddafi fired teargas at protesters in Tripoli on Friday as a fierce crackdown that has terrorised parts of the capital the past week seemingly smothered attempts to revive demonstrations calling for the leader’s ouster.

While Gaddafi tightened his hold on the capital, his forces also made an intensified assault on Zawiyah, the closest opposition- held city to Tripoli.

At the same time, rebel fighters went on the offensive in central Libya, attacking regime forces at an oil port.

A brigade commanded by his son Khamis battered Zawiyah in fierce fighting. The commander of the rebel forces — Hussein Darbouk, a colonel in Gaddafi’s army who defected — was shot to death by fire from an anti- aircraft gun, and at least three other rebel fighters were killed in the battle, an opposition activist in the city said.

But the activist, Alaa al- Zawi, and another resident said Zawiyah remained in opposition hands, though state TV reported pro- regime forces had taken it.

So far, the Libyan leader’s troops have been unable to take back significant ground from the opposition, which has taken over the entire east of the country and cities in the west near Tripoli.

Full report at: Agencies & Mail Today Bureau

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Gaddafi’s forces launch fresh air strikes on rebel-held east

March 05, 2011

Libyan forces on Friday launched fresh air strikes on the rebel-held east as troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi carried out extensive searches in his stronghold of Tripoli to thwart a planned massive protest by his opponents. A Libyan Government warplane targeted a military base close to the rebel-controlled Ajdabiya city but caused no casualties or damage, witnesses were quoted as saying by the media.

The air strike, which was carried out for the third straight day, came as protesters called for a massive demonstration in the capital Tripoli coinciding with the Friday prayers to demand the ouster of Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years.

Protests last week after Friday prayers in several districts of Tripoli had ended in bloodshed when Gaddafi’s supporters fired indiscriminately on civilians.

Forces still loyal to 68-year-old Gaddafi on Friday searched vehicles in Tripoli, where they set up many check points ahead of the opposition’s planned demonstration.

In Washington, US President Barack Obama said Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and must leave office, as he authorised the use of military aircraft for humanitarian purposes in the strife-torn African nation.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322111/Gaddafi%E2%80%99s-forces-launch-fresh-air-strikes-on-rebel-held-east.html

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LSE chief quits over financial links with Libya, Gaddafi family

March 05, 2011

Venkata Vemuri The Libyan uprising has taken its toll in the UK, with director of the London School of Economics (LSE) resigning under pressure for its close financial links with the Libyan Government and the Gaddafi family, including accepting a £1.5 million donation from Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, who is now facing charges of having plagiarised his PhD from the prestigious institution.

Labour peer, Lord Meghnad Desai, formerly of the LSE, who was the external examiner of the thesis, on Friday, denied he was not aware of any plagiarism charges against Saif’s thesis at the time he was the external examiner for the thesis. Lord Desai said he had left the LSE by the time the donation was accepted.

Sir Howard Davies quit his post as director on Thursday night, saying his decision to accept the donation was a “personal error or judgment”.

Sir Howard also came under pressure after it was revealed that LSE had contracted to train young Libyans to become part of the Gaddafi Government’s future officers. The contract to train the Libyan civil service was worth £2.2 million.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322110/LSE-chief-quits-over-financial-links-with-Libya-Gaddafi-family.html

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UN urges review of NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan

March 05, 2011

KABUL: The United Nations has called for a review of air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan after the inadvertent killing of nine children this week drew condemnation from Afghans and apologies from US leaders.

“Children killed in Afghanistan by airstrikes is a cause of serious concern,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a statement issued in New York.

General David Petraeus, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, issued a rare and candid public apology over the death of children, who were gunned down by helicopters while they were collecting firewood in a volatile eastern province on Tuesday, and promised an investigation, as well as a review of procedures and disciplinary action if needed. Coomaraswamy welcomed Petraeus’ apology but urged a thorough review “to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent children from becoming casualties in the complex and volatile situation in Afghanistan”.

There have been at least four incidents of civilian casualties in eastern Afghanistan in the past two weeks in which more than 80 people have died. In angry denunciations, some Afghan leaders have called for protests as well as explanations. International concern has also grown considerably and the fallout from the recent incidents is even threatening to hamper peace and reconciliation efforts.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who met Karzai in Kabul on Friday , said the killing of the children was unacceptable and tragic and that he would raise them in a meeting with Petraeus.

“Nine young boys dying is not acceptable,” Rudd told Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Lateline’ programme. US President Barack Obama expressed his ‘deep regret’ to Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai over the killing of children. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\05\story_5-3-2011_pg7_4

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Rebels 'hold' key refinery town as many killed

March 05, 2011

RASLANUF: Libyan rebels said Friday they had seized a key oil refinery town in some of the heaviest fighting of the rebellion that left "many dead", a claim denied by a senior government official.        

With claim and counter-claim shifting with the battle lines in the North African country's desert sands, Venezuela said Libya had given it a green light to form a peace mission, a move already rejected by the rebels.

The fighting centred on the town of Raslanuf, where hundreds of jubilant rebels cheered and fired into the air late on Friday, saying they were in control.        

An AFP reporter saw rebels positioned outside the Harouge Oil Operations compound, at the military barracks, police station and at the gates to a nearby residential area.     

But in Tripoli the deputy foreign minister in Moamer Kadhafi's government, Khaled Kaaim, said "the government controls it: in Raslanuf, everything is calm."

Earlier a government source admitted that Braga, between Raslanuf and the rebel headquarters of Benghazi, was in rebel hands, only to be swiftly contradicted by a colleague, who said fighting there was still ongoing.         

Raslanuf is 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Sirte, the Libyan strongman's hometown.

Loud explosions and machine-gun fire could be heard in the desert 10 kilometres east of Raslanuf, as truckloads of armed insurgents headed in that direction accompanied by ambulances.

"They are firing Grad rockets. I saw four people killed in front of me. A rocket hit them," said a rebel, who gave his name as Marai.

Meanwhile, state television said earlier Kadhafi's forces had wrested control of Zawiyah, 60 kilometres west of Tripoli and the location of a major oil refinery. (AFP)

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12093

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Imams seek overthrow of Qaddafi

Mar 5, 2011

RIYADH/JEDDAH: Imams in mosques across the Kingdom on Friday led prayers for the Libyan people and in sermons called for the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.

In Jeddah, the imam of Sheikh Ahmad Salah Jamjoum Mosque in Rawdah district fervently prayed to God to destroy Qaddafi describing him as a “bloodthirsty dictator.”

In Sahafa street, the imam of a mosque called on the Libyan people to rise and fight Qaddafi whom he called a criminal and an enemy of Islam.  He said he was the worst leader in the world. Those who had been killed by Qaddafi’s forces were martyrs, he said.

In Riyadh, the imam at the mosque in Al-Dubaht district in Malaz slammed Qaddafi as a tyrant who should step down to save the people from anarchy. He  said: “The Libyan people should not be allowed to suffer for no fault of theirs.”

Another imam at Al-Owaidah Mosque in the capital requested Muslims to work together to achieve unity and peace as dictated by Islam. He pointed out that Islam is a religion of peace that advocates unity among all ethnic groups. “We should learn to coexist with people of other faiths so that all beings can live happily and peacefully in this age,” he noted.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article300646.ece

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Uproar over journalists’ detention in Turkey

By SELCAN HACAOGLU

Mar 4, 2011

ANKARA: Several thousand demonstrators, some covering their mouths with black ribbons, protested Friday against the detention of eight journalists in a case that has drawn expressions of concern from Western governments and international media rights groups.

The arrests Thursday reflect the widening division between the government and its critics over a long-running investigation into an alleged conspiracy to topple the Islamic-rooted government.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says prosecutors are stripping away the vestiges of authoritarian rule in Turkey, but opponents counter that many of the more than 400 suspects have been targeted in a bid to muzzle dissent and undermine Turkey's secular legacy.

On Friday, members of labor unions, political parties and non-governmental organizations joined hundreds of journalists in Istanbul and Ankara. They shouted slogans demanding press freedom after police detained eight journalists and two other people for links to the alleged coup plot.

The larger group was in Istanbul, where protesters carried a giant Turkish flag on a main pedestrian thoroughfare.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article300398.ece

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Clinton renews appeal to Iran on missing FBI agent

Mar 4, 2011

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is renewing US appeals to Iran for information about a retired FBI agent who vanished four years ago on the Iranian island of Kish, as evidence has surfaced that he is still alive and being held.

A day after revealing recent indications that Robert Levinson is alive and being held somewhere in southwest Asia, Clinton told reporters Friday that the Obama administration is doing everything it can to bring him home.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Levinson's family received proof late last year that he was alive.

Iran has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Levinson's welfare or whereabouts but Clinton noted that Iranian officials had offered help in the past. She said the US would appreciate any assistance Iran can provide.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article300393.ece

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Ten killed in terror attack on mosque-shrine

Mar 05, 2011

PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and 37 injured when a powerful bomb exploded in a mosque in Akbarpura near here after Friday prayers. The mosque is adjacent to the historic shrine of Akhun Panjo Baba.

Nowshera district police chief Quresh Khan said the explosion took place when people were eating meal distributed at the shrine after Friday prayers.

He said about 1,200 people had offered prayers before the attack.

A time-device containing over 2kgs of explosives and ball bearings had been placed on a shoe rack.

He said police had been deployed at all main mosques and shrines, including those of Kaka Sahib, Bahadur Baba and Mast Baba.

He said about 96,000 people displaced from other districts and tribal regions were living in Jalozai and the terrorists might have come from there.

The caretakers of the mosque and the shrine had not received any threat. He said police had cordoned off the area and launched a search for the attackers.

The explosion left a crater in the mosque compound and smashed doors and windows. Some of the injured admitted to the Lady Reading Hospital said they were having meal when the explosion took place.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/05/bomb-blast-reported-in-nowshera.html

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Gadhafi forces battle rebels as 37 killed in Libya

Mar 05, 2011

Tripoli, Libya: Moammar Gadhafi's regime struck back at its opponents with a powerful attack on Friday on the closest opposition-held city to Tripoli and a barrage of tear gas and live ammunition to smother new protests in the capital. At least 37 people died in fighting and in an explosion at an ammunitions depot in Libya's rebellious east.

The bloodshed signaled an escalation in efforts by both sides to break the deadlock that has gripped Libya's 18-day upheaval, which has lasted longer than the Egyptian revolt that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and inspired a wave of protests across the region.

So far, Gadhafi has had little success in taking back territory, with several rebel cities repelling assaults and the entire eastern half of the country under rebel control. But the opposition forces have seemed unable to go on the offensive to march on pro-Gadhafi areas.

Meanwhile, in Tripoli — Gadhafi's most important bastion — his loyalists have waged a campaign of terror to ensure that protesters do not rise up in significant numbers.

Friday's assault on the rebel city of Zawiya, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, appeared to be the strongest yet by Gadhafi's forces after repeated earlier forays against it were beaten back.

In the morning, troops from the elite Khamis Brigade — named after the Gadhafi son who commands it — bombarded the city's western edges with mortar shells, heavy machine guns, tanks and anti-aircraft weapons, several residents said. By the evening, another brigade had opened a front on the eastern side. Armed Zawiya citizens backed by allied army units were fighting back.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/gadhafi-forces-battle-rebels-37-killed-libya-307

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Libya weapons depot blast kills 17: doctor

March 05, 2011

BENGHAZI: Blasts at a Libyan military weapons depot killed at least 17 people outside the main rebel-held city of Benghazi on Friday, a hospital doctor said.     

"Seventeen people expired from the Rajma explosion," the doctor at Al-Jala hospital told media.

Hospital official Nasser Tumi had earlier put the death toll at 12 with 26 wounded after witnesses reported twin simultaneous explosions at the Al-Rajma military base, southeast of Benghazi.

An AFP journalist who visited the hospital saw 11 bodies in the morgue, some of them horrifically disfigured and burnt. The corpses were wrapped in blankets and lined up on the floor, as medics rushed to treat the wounded. (AFP)

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=12087

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Yemen army fire kills four protesters

March 05, 2011

SANAA: Yemeni troops killed four demonstrators and wounded seven others on Friday when they fired on an anti-regime rally in the north, officials and Shia rebels said, as protests raged across the country.

The shooting, which came a day after the opposition and clerics offered embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh a smooth exit from power, took place in Amran province, about 170 kilometres from the capital Sanaa.

A Yemeni security official could only confirm there was a gunfight in which four soldiers and three ‘armed men’ were wounded. Previously, a rebel leader had told AFP “two protesters were killed and nine others were wounded when soldiers opened fire from a military position on the demonstration calling for Saleh’s departure.”

The death toll rose to four when two of the wounded protesters died, according to a government official who declined to be named. The shooting was also reported on the rebels’ news website almenpar.net, which said the government troops “killed and wounded dozens” when they shot at them from a military post.

Protesters had taken to the streets of the nearby town of Harf Sufyan to criticise corruption and call for a regime change after 30 years of rule by Saleh, said the website. But an unnamed security official said later that a gunbattle broke out when an armed group stormed the army post, wounding three gunmen and four soldiers, two of them seriously. The official quoted by state news agency Saba said no demonstration took place in the area.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\05\story_5-3-2011_pg7_1

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Four killed in Libya clash

Mar 05, 2011

Raslanuf, Libya: At least four people were killed on Friday during heavy clashes between loyalists of Libyan ruler Moamer Gaddafi and eastern rebels near an oil compound at Raslanuf, a rebel witness said.

"They are firing Grad rockets. I saw four people killed in front of me. A rocket hit them," said a rebel, who gave his name only as Marai, about 10 kilometres (six miles) west of Raslanuf.

"They deployed a helicopter," he said, in reference to pro-Kaddafi forces. Asked why he was driving away from the front he said: "I don't have a weapon."

http://www.asianage.com/international/four-killed-libya-clash-214

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Libyan forces try to wrest rebel-held oil town, kill 30

Mar 5, 2011

RABAT: At least 30 civilians were killed on Friday when security forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi tried to retake Zawiyah, a town near the capital that has for days been defying his rule, two residents said.

"I have been to hospital less than 15 minutes ago. Dozens were killed and more were wounded. We have counted 30 dead civilians. The hospital was full. They could not find space for the casualties," Zawiyah resident Mohamed said. "We receive updates from the hospital and they say the number of casualties is rising," he added.

Another resident, Ibrahim, said between 40 and 50 people were killed in the clashes. Their accounts could not be immediately verified. State TV said forces loyal to Gadhafi have regained control of Zawiyah, but a local militant politician vehemently denied the report and said opposition forces were still in control of the town.

Libya's Channel 1 said "the people of Zawiyah and the heads of the popular committees have made Zawiyah safe from the armed terrorist forces." Channel 2 said "leader of the terrorist group" in the town, Hussein Darbuk, and his deputy had been killed and other leading rebels captured.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libyan-forces-try-to-wrest-rebel-held-oil-town-kill-30-/articleshow/7632237.cms#ixzz1FhN6HrsE

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Tunisia to elect Assembly in July for Constitution

March 05, 2011

Tunisia will hold an election on July 24 to choose an Assembly to write a new post-revolution Constitution, the interim President said, meeting a key demand of Government critics.

“We declare today the start of a new era... In the framework of a new political system that breaks definitely from the deposed regime,” interim Tunisian President Foued Mebazaa said in a televised address to the nation. Tunisia’s interim authorities, in power since the ouster in January of longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, have faced weeks of protests and calls to move ahead more quickly with democratic reforms. Despite introducing unprecedented freedoms and pledging elections by mid-July, the interim administration was heavily criticised.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/322105/Tunisia-to-elect-Assembly-in-July-for-Constitution.html

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Opponents press call for Jordan's PM to quit

By JAMAL HALABY

Mar 4, 2011

AMMAN: Political opponents amplified their calls Friday for Jordan’s new prime minister to resign and demanded to be brought into a unity government to usher in swift reforms to open up the kingdom’s politics.

As unrest sweeps the Middle East, Jordanians have held protests every Friday for more than two months to demand a greater political voice and action to reduce swelling poverty and unemployment. The weekly demonstrations have largely been peaceful and have not reached the level of violence seen elsewhere in the region, but tempers are flaring.

“Enough is enough, our patience has run out,” shouted political independent Sufian Tal, reflecting the views of many among the 2,000 Jordanians who took to the streets of their capital Friday.

King Abdallah, who so far has not faced calls for his ouster, appointed the new prime minister on Feb. 9 and ordered him to implement some political changes, including a fairer election law. But protesters are also demanding that Abdallah give up the power to appoint the prime minister and the rest of the Cabinet.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article300375.ece

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Emergency plan approved to save historic Jeddah

Mar 5, 2011

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also the chairman of the Supreme Committee to Promote the Historic Area in Downtown Jeddah, has said damage caused to the area by the recent rains, including cracks to buildings, would be repaired.

Prince Khaled chaired a meeting of the committee late Wednesday to discuss plans to protect the historic area of Jeddah against the hazards of rains and floods. The meeting was attended by Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, who is deputy chairman of the committee, Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras and others.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, Prince Sultan bin Salman said an urgent rescue plan to identify and remedy dangers facing the historic area was approved.

He said under the plan, structures on the verge of collapse would be repaired and residents will be evacuated and shops closed until the repair works were completed.

Prince Sultan said power and water would be cut from residents who refuse to vacate structures under threat. He said incentives will be given to owners to take care of their buildings in the historic area.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article300604.ece

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New taxes through ordinance may face tough opposition

By Mubarak Zeb Khan

MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar said that if the govt went ahead with its plan, his party would oppose the move within and outside the house. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: While the government is holding negotiations with visiting officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a plan to raise over Rs33 billion from new taxes to be imposed through a presidential order, the main opposition parties have vowed to block the move.

Tax officials have given a detailed presentation to the IMF officials over the past few days, saying that the government proposes to raise Rs27 billion from a 15 per cent flood surcharge on income tax and Rs6 billion by increasing the rate of the special excise duty to 2.5 per cent from one per cent.

An official told Dawn that the fund had also been informed that the government planned to generate Rs10 billion through an audit of taxpayers who had not paid the due income and sales taxes.

This measure will not require any legislation, but its efficacy depends on the determination of the government to uncover tax evasion, which has been a major demand of the opposition.

The flood tax was first proposed at the end of last year.

Most major parties have said they will not only oppose the new taxes, but also block any move to implement such measures through an ordinance, terming it a violation of the Constitution.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/05/new-taxes-through-ordinance-may-face-tough-opposition.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/qaddafi’s-militia-storms-key-town-controlled-by-rebels/d/4232


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