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Islamic World News ( 25 Jan 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Republic Day Parade: Obama Watches India's Military Might, Cultural Heritage

 

 

 

India celebrates its 66th Republic Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

Republic Day Parade: Obama Watches India's Military Might, Cultural Heritage

Pakistan's Future Worries Both India, US

An Auto Driver with a Heart of Gold

Obama India visit: ‘Need for joint effort to curb terror outfits’

Nuclear logjam broken, India eyes global high table

India, Pakistan troops exchange sweets on R-Day

4 ITBP men awarded for thwarting attack on consulate in Afghanistan

Pakistan media highlights Barack Obama’s India visit, nuclear deal

Pakistan-based militants make desperate bid to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir

 

North America

US Assures Support to Arrest, Kill Fazlullah, Pakistan Senate Committee Told

Bridgeview cops seek Facebook records after alleged threats to mosque

U.S. Muslim and Christian Coalition to Hold First International Conference on May 1st and 2nd

 

Pakistan

Obama's visit to South Asia to help reduce tension in region: Sartaj

Counter-Terrorism Plan: Deadlock As Religious, Secular Parties Stick To Their Guns

Leaders of Different Parties: ‘Disgrace of Prophet (PBUH) Cannot Be Tolerated’

Pak-Afghan military commanders discuss border security at GHQ

‘Respect of Prophet (PBUH) Binding Force for Muslims’: Jamaat-e-Islami

Two killed, two injured in Khyber Agency clash

Religious Affairs minister draws ire for delaying PIA flight

 

Arab World

Peshmerga Forces Report: Kobani 90 Percent Free From ISIL Militants

23 Died At Protests on Egypt Revolution Anniversary

Iraq: Over 13 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Tikrit

Seven killed as rockets rain down on Damascus

Peshmarga: Kurdish Fighters Repel ISIL Attack in Erbil

Three civilians found shot dead in North Sinai

Islamic world lost a matchless leader, sagacious statesman, says IDB chief

 

Africa

16 Killed during Clashes in Libya's Benghazi

Boko Haram wages new attacks as Kerry visits Nigeria

Peace talks between rival Libyan sides resume in Geneva

Morocco arrests alleged Algerian militant linked to Frenchman’s death

 

South Asia

At Least 30 Taliban Killed In Kundoz Operation

Japan Working to Gain IS Hostage’s Release, Analyzing Video

PM’s visit to see Khaleda was nothing but a ‘farce’

34 die in Bangladesh vote protest violence

 

Europe

French Arrests Beg Question: Is Free Speech For All?

Islamophobia Harming Nation’s Image: Berlin

HR Official: Iran Not to Allow Activity of Biased Rapporteurs

Dresden braces for anti-Islam protest

 

Southeast Asia

49 Philippines Police Killed Hunting for Malaysian Bomb-Maker

Malaysia Airline website hacked by group claiming support for IS

Anwar believes he will be acquitted in Sodomy 2 appeal

Lawyers criticise Putrajaya’s plan to include ISA provisions in anti-terror law

 

Mideast

Yemen Crisis Is First Big Test for Saudi Arabia's King Salman

Iran's House of Press Deplores Sacrilege of Muslim Sanctities by Charlie Hebdo

Turkish court orders Facebook pages blocked

Turkey opens biggest refugee camp for 35,000 from Kobani

Talks in Yemen between political parties, rebels break down

 

Australia

Australia Labour Figure Takes ISIS Fight into His Own Hands to combat the ISIS

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/republic-day-parade--obama-watches-india-s-military-might,-cultural-heritage/d/101202

 

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India

 

Republic Day parade: Obama watches India's military might, cultural heritage

TNN | Jan 26, 2015

NEW DELHI: Multi-hued images of India's rich cultural diversity and military might as well as achievements in diverse fields unfolded on Monday at the 66th Republic Day parade which had a US President — Barack Obama — as the chief guest for the first time.

Obama's attendance at the Republic Day celebrations was unlike any other event he has participated in during his overseas travel as president. He spent more than two hours on an outdoor viewing platform, an unusual amount of time given Secret Service security concerns. Obama nodded in approval as tanks and rocket launchers, some of them Russian-made, rolled down the parade route and helicopters ferrying Indian flags flew overhead.

Obama was seated next to Modi, donning a multicoloured 'bandhej safa'(turban), as the two leaders chatted and enjoyed the annual spectacle. A smiling US President was seen nodding in appreciation on several occasions.

As the nearly two-hour-long parade, showcasing the country's 'unity in diversity' marched down the Rajpath in drizzle and overcast skies, thousands of spectators gathered along the route and cheered in joy.

The national capital was wrapped in unprecedented security blanket as thousands of security personnel kept a hawk's vigil in and around the Rajpath area.

In a departure from tradition for the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, Obama arrived in his own highly-secured bomb-proof vehicle, 'the Beast,' at Rajpath.

A highlight of this year's parade was the display for the first time of the recently acquired long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MiG-29K fighter plane.

The synchronised military and police contingents led by General Officer Commanding (Delhi), Lt General Subroto Mitra marched proudly to the lilting tunes of bands through Rajpath where President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee took the salute from a specially erected dais.

Alongside Obama, the first US President to attend the celebrations, the ceremonial parade was watched by his wife Michelle, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the country's top political and military brass, besides the diplomatic community.

A massive ground-to-air security apparatus was put in place in the national capital turning the city into virtually an impregnable fortress. Snipers of National Security Guard were deployed at all high-rises along the parade route.

The arrangements were made to ensure an incident-free Republic Day celebrations and foolproof security to the American President, who arrived here on Sunday.

As part of the seven-layered security, around 45,000 security personnel were deployed across the city while the commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Delhi Police kept a hawk-eye vigil at important locations.

The unfurling of the tricolour by the President and playing of the national anthem were followed by a customary 21-gun salute.

The parade began shortly after Mukherjee and Obama arrived at the saluting base separately at the ceremonial boulevard—Rajpath. Traditionally, the President accompanies the chief guest in his limousine.

Before the commencement of the parade, Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh and Major Mukund Varadarajan were posthumously conferred the highest peacetime gallantry award Ashok Chakra by the President.

Major Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar laid down their lives while battling groups of militants in separate operations in Shopian and Kupwara districts of Kashmir respectively.

Among the main attractions of the ceremonial parade were 25 colourful tableaux representing India's cultural and linguistic diversity as also signifying the vision of the future India as envisaged by the current dispensation.

So, a massive mechanised lion made out of gear-tooth wheels, symbolic of the government's 'Make in India' policy or a mock-up of a high-speed bullet train drew cheers from the crowd as they rolled down the majestic avenue.

Besides, the tableaux for 'Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana' helmed by the department of financial services, the ministry of women and Child Development-led exhibit featuring live performances by women themed on 'Beti Bachaho, Beti Padhao' campaign also won many hearts.

And, with "women's empowerment" being the theme of this year's Republic Day parade, another attraction at the annual extravaganza was the contingents of all-women officers of the three Services marching for the first time on the Rajpath.

While 16 of the tableaux belonging to the states and the union territories represented the cultural and architectural wealth of the country, the remaining nine were from various central ministries and departments themed on 'Ma Ganga' to 'Yoga' among others.

Colurful performances by schoolchildren delighted President Obama as much as the crowd in general.

Another military attraction was the display of Army version of indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash medium range missile and Weapon Locating Radar, both by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Indian Army's laser-guided missile capable T-90 Bheeshma tank, infantry combat vehicle BMP-II (Sarath) followed by T-72 with Trawl too proved to be a major draw in the mechanised columns.

These were followed by 'Pinaka' multiple barrel launcher system. The Mobile Autonomous Launcher of BRAHMOS missile system, three dimensional tactical control radar, satellite on the move communication platform and rapidly deployable satellite terminal (RADSAT) followed next.

An Indian Air Force tableau with the theme "50 years of 1965 War" was next in line at the majestic Rajpath, dazzling VIPs, VVIPs and spectators alike.

In keeping with the Indian Navy's theme "Ensuring Safe Seas for a Resurgent Nation" - the Naval Tableau displayed a few of its frontline assets in all four dimensions of maritime warfare.

Navy's march to self-reliance and indigenisation was showcased by the models of indigenously constructed destroyer INS Kolkata launching a BrahMos missile with the Advanced Light Helicopter "Dhruv" in the background.

The second Naval tableau, titled "Bharatiya Nau Sena aur Nari Shakti", represented the four Indian Navy women officers who braved vagaries of the seas and participated in an ocean voyage from Goa to Rio-de-Janeiro in Brazil on board Indian Naval Sailing Vessel 'Mhadei'.

The marching contingents of paramilitary and other forces included those from BSF, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, CRPF, Indo -Tibetan Border Police, CISF, Sashastra Seema Bal, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.

The camel-mounted band of BSF and the ex-servicemen marching contingent too added to the attraction.

Among the state's tableau, Gujarat and Karnakaka had particular appeal.

While the home state of Prime Minister Modi showcased the ambitious project of building the 'Statue of Unity' symbolically represented by that of Sardar Vallabhahi Patel and the Sardar Sarovar Yojana, the southern state charmed everyone especially the kids with its tableau, huge scale-model, fashioned on the famed wooden toys of Channapatna, located in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

New-born state Telangana, making its Republic Day debut showcased its illustrious festival 'Bonalu', celebrated to worship Mahakali goddess in the month of Ashada.

For Jammu and Kashmir, the dazzling beauty of the region was displayed through Rouff dance of Kashmir, flower dance of Ladakh and Kud dance of Jammu regions.

Haryana made its presence through its Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, famous for hosting migratory birds coming from Europe, Siberia and central Asia.

Besides, CPWD which made a special floral tableau last year showcasing the Rajpath from India Gate to Raisina Hill this year chose the theme of 'Maa Ganga', depicting her origin from Gaumukh.

Ministry of law and justice brought out a huge replica of the Indian Constitution as part of its display while ministry of AYUSH, showcased Yoga, Ayurveda, Unani and other traditional medicinal systems of India.

Maharashtra presented the 'Wari (pilgrimage) to Pandharpur' as its theme while Goa showcased the industry of fishing. Assam presented incredible Majuli island, while Andhra Pradesh's tableau was themed on Makar Sankranti festival. Madhya Pradesh presented Bhagoria, festival of love and matchmaking.

Uttarakhand showcased the Kedarnath Temple, Jharkhand its terracotta temples in Maluti, Sikkim its cardamom cultivation and Arunachal Pradesh the Igu dance, dance of the Idu Mishmi tribe and Chhattisgarh the Dussehra festival of Bastar.

Uttar Pradesh presented the culture of the Awadh region through its tableau themed around one of its most secular rulers Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.

Also, 20 young brave hearts who won the national bravery awards drove through the Rajpath in gypsies.

A total of 13 Army bands, one band each of Air Force and Navy, eight band of paramilitary forces including Camel-mounted band of BSF and one band each of NCC boys and girls played martial music for the parade.

Incidentally, the paramilitary force celebrated its golden jubilee.

One of the most breathtaking event was the manoeuvres by air force jets and daredevil motorcycle performance 'Jaanbaaz' by BSF personnel.

The rider perform 'Border Men Salute', 'Side Riding', 'Ladder Balancing', 'Communal Harmony', 'Peacock Riding', 'Acrobat', 'Parallel Bar', 'Lotus', 'Seema Prahari' and 'Flag March' formations among others.

The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF jets and aircraft.

The flypast commenced with 'Chakra' formation, comprising three Mi-35 helicopters in 'Vic' formation, followed by the 'Hercules' formation comprising three C-130J super Hercules aircraft.

Trailing them was a 'Poseidon' formation comprising one P-8I aircraft flanked by two MiG-29Ks and the 'Globe' formation comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30s.

Next five Jaguars flew in Arrowhead formation and the five MiG-29 fighters, called the 'Tridents', flew in 'Fulcrum' style.

Three Sukhoi (Su-30 MkI) fighter jets then made the "Trishul" formation by flying over the Rajpath, and once in front of the saluting dais, the three aircraft split upwards, making a 'Trishul' in the sky.

The flypast concluded with another Su-30 MkI carrying out a "Vertical Charlie" manoeuvre over the saluting dais.

(With inputs from agencies.)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Republic-Day-parade-Obama-watches-Indias-military-might-cultural-heritage/articleshow/46019014.cms

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Pakistan's future worries both India, US

Indrani Bagchi,TNN | Jan 26, 2015,

NEW DELHI: The geopolitical significance of an India-US entente could not be more evident as Obama touched down on Sunday morning to be greeted by Narendra Modi.

With the two nations armed with a sense of 'exceptionalism', convergences in their strategic outlook have more often been the stuff of thinktank discourse than executive action.

The prevailing global environment brings the two to a state of greater strategic interoperability. The AfPak region has always been most difficult.

Both countries recognize the dangers Pakistan-sponsored terror poses to itself, the region and the world. But neither India nor the US has trusted each other enough to have that no-holds-barred dialogue yet.

The US has over the years moved closer to India's position on Pakistan. Since 2008, US banned many groups via the UN and through its treasury department. Intelligence sharing has been better. India no longer froths at the mouth at Washington's engagement imperative with Pakistan.

The two countries now look at deeper engagement to secure Afghanistan, contain the damage Pakistan is doing to itself and the threat of terrorism. The real Obama-Modi conversation will involve Pakistan's future. India is worried about growing Chinese activities in Pakistan and PoK and will seek US expertise in managing the two-front threat.

READ ALSO: Joint declaration on South China Sea may irk Bejing

The US discussion that it needs to engage India to balance China is greeted with skepticism in New Delhi. India believes its own growth would be a natural balancing factor. India, like the US, wants to build a more comprehensive engagement with China, while building its relationship with nations on China's periphery.

Despite the obvious military component, India has maintained primacy of commerce in its investment in the South China Sea oil blocks. To that extent, both sides will need to work together to place India into Asian trading arrangements like Apec and TTP.

That'll involve heavy lifting by India domestically, but as India grows and China becomes more of an expansionist power, India's "Act East" policy will become an essential part of the US "rebalance".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistans-future-worries-both-India-US/articleshow/46016038.cms

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An auto driver with a heart of gold

P. RAM MOHAN

January 9, 2015

“Live simply, think highly” – this quotation is not given by a philosopher or a highly educated person but by a common man and autorickshaw driver – Abul Hassan, who is known as ‘Armoor Gandhi’.

He doesn’t agree that his selfless service to society counts as ‘social service’, rather he prefers to call it ‘service to mankind’. Born to Haji Hassan and Basheerabi in Armoor town in 1942, Abul Hassan developed an interest in social service when he was 15-years-old. He turned a Gandhian after reading about Mahatma Gandhi in 1965.

Interestingly, his late parents were also social workers. His only son Ahmed Hussain, who lives in Saudi Arabia and works as a driver-cum-carpenter, is also following in the footsteps of his grandparents and father.

Having completed HSC, Abul Hassan went to Mumbai as a mason and later to Muscat where he spent eight years as a construction worker and mason. Back home, he bought an autorickshaw and is eking out a living by driving it.

A portion of his income also comes from rent. He drives poor people, pregnant women, patients and pensioners free of cost in his auto and buries or cremates forlorn bodies with his expenses. He feeds at least four beggars at his home every day and as many as 20 poor persons during Ramzan. Every year, he extends FINANCIAL assistance of Rs.1,000 each to ten poor students and Pratibha Awards to an equal number of meritorious students in SSC. He collects clothes and distributes them among the poor and destitute. He always keeps a petrol can in his auto and gives fuel to vehicle users free of cost if their vehicle breaks down on the road. He provides drinking water to passersby by keeping water cans in his auto during summer.

He fills pits and potholes on the road with metal and soil and removes obscene posters and hoardings.

“Every religion is good. There are only two religions in the world – peace and love and only two dharmas – goodness and humanity,” he believes.

Hassan goes around slums and teaches poor students even today. “I believe that to serve people, no post is required. Similarly, we need not be rich for philanthropy, only the kind heart is enough.” He has garnered immense praise from the media and the Indur Apuroopa Foundation honoured him with its Award recently.

‘Armoor Gandhi’ drives poor people, pregnant women, patients and pensioners free of cost in his auto

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/an-auto-driver-with-a-heart-of-gold/article6770131.ece

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Obama India visit: ‘Need for joint effort to curb terror outfits’

TNN | Jan 26, 2015

NEW DELHI: US and India on Sunday reaffi rmed the need for a joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as LeT, JeM, D Company and the Haqqani Network, and agreed to continue ongoing efforts through the Homeland Security Dialogue.

The two sides noted the US sanctions against three D Company affiliates and agreed to work for a deal to share information on known and suspected terrorists. They also plan to begin talks to deepen collaboration on UN terrorist designations, and reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai to justice.

Obama and Modi called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Obama-India-visit-Need-for-joint-effort-to-curb-terror-outfits/articleshow/46016348.cms

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Nuclear logjam broken, India eyes global high table

Indrani Bagchi,TNN | Jan 26, 2015

NEW DELHI: The significance of the completion of the India-US nuclear deal cannot be overstated. Signed in 2005, with a Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver in 2008, the deal has been in limbo for few years.

Sunday's discussions cleared the air on three pressing issues on the lingering impasse. First, the administrative arrangements have been hanging fire since India and US signed the Part 810 Assurances in 2010. This is an agreement that governs the nitty-gritty of the nuclear deal in action. In four years, India has signed administrative arrangements with Canada and Kazakhstan.

The Indian nuclear liability law turned off the Americans from taking necessary steps on the administrative arrangements. For couple of years the deal has been stuck on the fact that the US insisted on "nationality" tracking of fuel and equipment to make sure it stays in the civilian sector and not cross over into India's strategic programme.

India has opposed it on grounds of sovereignty. India has committed to more intrusive verification by IAEA by signing the Additional Protocol. India provides all its information to IAEA and has offered to provide these to US. Till now, America had disagreed. On Sunday, the US stepped off the bench to allow the nuclear deal to be done.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nuclear-logjam-broken-India-eyes-global-high-table/articleshow/46016075.cms

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India, Pakistan troops exchange sweets on R-Day

January 26, 2015

Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) today exchanged sweets at three places in Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of Republic Day.

A unit of 12 Infantry Brigade of the Army exchanged sweets with their Pakistan counterparts at Kaman Post in Uri sector on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road, defence sources said.

They said sweets were also exchanged with Pakistani troops at Teetwal in Tangdhar sector of Kashmir and at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch Sector of Jammu region.

Despite ceasefire violations and infiltration bids from across the border, the exchange of sweets between army personnel of India and Pakistan along the LoC on their respective days of national importance has been a regular feature.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/india-pak-troops-exchange-sweets-on-r-day/#sthash.2EuUUrzJ.dpuf

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4 ITBP men awarded for thwarting attack on consulate in Afghanistan

January 26, 2015

Four ITBP commandos, who thwarted a terrorist attack on the Indian Consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province last year, have been accorded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG) on the eve of the Republic Day. Head Constable V P Malik, along with his teammates Praveen Kumar, Rakesh Kumar and Jadeja Rajender Singh (all constables), were in the lead team that took on the fidayeen attackers in the early hours of May 23, 2014, when the Indian Consulate in Afghanistan came under heavy gunfire and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) shell attacks.

In all, 967 personnel have been awarded police medals. While 25 personnel have been awarded with President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG), 132 personnel were awarded Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG), 98 men were awarded for distinguished service and 712 personnel were given medals for meritorious service.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/4-itbp-men-awarded-for-thwarting-attack-on-consulate-in-afghanistan/#sthash.38hYZH4h.dpuf

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Pakistan media highlights Barack Obama’s India visit, nuclear deal

January 26, 2015

Pakistani media on Monday gave extensive coverage to US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, highlighting the breakthrough in the civil nuclear deal and renewal of a 10-year defence cooperation between the two countries.

Obama arrived in New Delhi on Sunday and in a departure from protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally received him at the airport.

In a front page lead, Dawn reported that nuclear agreement was reached “to end the deadlock on their six-year-old civilian nuclear power agreement”.

The two countries had signed landmark civilian nuclear deal in 2008.

The News in its front page headline – ‘Atomic energy deal: US accedes to Indian demands’ – reported that it was a much anticipated breakthrough on the commercial implementation of their landmark agreement, the two countries enter “a new strategic phase of co-production of some defence projects”.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/neighbours/pakistan-media-highlights-obamas-india-visit-nuclear-deal/#sthash.h4s56gAi.dpuf

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Pakistan-based militants make desperate bid to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir

January 26, 2015

Hours before the arrival of US President Barack Obama, a group of three terrorists made a desperate attempt to cross the International Border to sneak into Jammu Kashmir early on Sunday. The attempt, however, was foiled by BSF troops.

The infiltration attempt, which could not succeed despite a cover of unprovoked firing provided by Pakistan Rangers, came around 2 am on Sunday in R S Pura sector. On seeing the terrorists approach the border, the BSF opened fire forcing them to retreat, sources said, adding that the firing by Pakistan Rangers also stopped after some time.

Ahead of Obama’s visit to attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi, the BSF has deployed additional personnel and increased the number of its patrols and nakas following spurt in movement by suspected terrorists on Pakistan side of the border for the past few days. This has followed reports that terrorists may attack soft targets like schools, civilian population and even vehicles plying on the national highway during US President’s visit.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pakistan-based-militants-make-desperate-bid-to-infiltrate-into-jammu-and-kashmir/#sthash.pCh5YyWo.dpuf

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North America

 

US Assures Support to Arrest, Kill Fazlullah, Pakistan Senate Committee Told

Jan 26 2015

ISLAMABAD: Defence officials said Monday that the United States has assured Pakistan that Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah would either be arrested or killed in Afghanistan, adding that in case of an arrest he would be subsequently handed over to Pakistan.

Briefing a Senate Defence Committee in Islamabad, defence officials said that during his long visit to the US, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif had also presented vital evidence of Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan by using Afghan soil to top US intelligence and defence officials.

Defence officials said US would also give Pakistan 1 billion USD this year under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).

The committee was briefed that the US would further give Pakistan used defence equipment to meet its security challenges for which the process had already begun.

Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain and other members expressed displeasure over the absence of Defence Minister Khawaja Asif from the meeting.

A day after the Peshawar school attack, Gen Raheel had also visited Kabul where he sought handover of Mullah Fazalullah.

On Jan 14, the US State Department had designated the TTP chief as a ‘global terrorist’.

Fazlullah was elected TTP commander in November 2013, following the death of former leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Under the leadership of Fazlullah, TTP claimed responsibility for the December 16, 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar that resulted in the deaths of at least 150 people, mostly students.

Prior to becoming TTP leader, Fazlullah claimed he was behind the killing of Pakistani Army Major General Sanaullah Niazi in September 2013, as well as ordering the shooting of schoolgirl and activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159570/us-assures-support-to-arrest-kill-fazlullah-senate-committee-told

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Bridgeview cops seek Facebook records after alleged threats to mosque

26 January 2015

Bridgeview police plan to seek six months of Facebook records after allegations of online comments that constituted a threat against a mosque in the southwest suburb.

The comments were posted last weekend and were brought to the attention of members. of the Mosque Foundation. The comments alluded to shooting and killing Muslims, said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Police and the FBI interviewed two people "believed to be involved in an exchange of comments on Facebook" that involved "allegations of threats" against the mosque, according to a statement from Bridgeview officials.

The two "persons of interest" turned themselves in at 3 p.m. Neither was charged, and both have been released, the statement said.

Bridgeview police Chief Walter Klimek said in the statement that a detective on Monday will seek a subpoena for six months' worth of Facebook records.

"From there, a determination will be made if there are any elements of crime in regards to this incident," Klimek said.

Police have increased their surveillance and presence in the area of the mosque at 7360 W. 93rd St., said Oussama Jammal, vice president of the Mosque Foundation.

The Islamic relations council's Chicago chapter is recommending that Chicago-area mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim organizations increase security measures, particularly during prayer times and special events, and to report any threats made on social media and through other means.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-bridgeview-mosque-investigation-met-20150123-story.html

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U.S. Muslim and Christian Coalition to Hold First International Conference on May 1st and 2nd

26 January 2015

On January 14, 2015, committee members of the U.S. Muslim & Christian Coalition (MCC) convened its Second Interreligious Summit at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington DC. The MCC made the important decision to hold its first international conference on the 1st and 2nd of May, expand the coalition membership, and reach out to other minority groups of the Arab world. The MCC represents a diverse range of Muslim and Christian leaders, churches, mosques, Islamic centers, and organizations, along with other community members, who are putting their faith into action to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Arab world and to further coexistence and peace.

Attendees used the Summit to discuss coalition undertakings and campaigns including a mechanism for providing material and financial relief to persecuted Arab Christians; a media campaign to amplify the voice of moderates; and relationship building among different faith communities on a variety of levels.

Father Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church,who hosted the meeting and provided welcoming remarks emphasized that "We, in this room, represent the majority. However, the minority voice of extremists have dominated the conversation. It is time for us to reclaim our voice." Salam al-Marayati, President of Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), agreed noting that "In Islam, our covenant with God has, at its cornerstone, the importance of protecting any minority. Life is central to the faith." Father Fady Abdul Ahad, Priest at St. Philoxenus of Mabug Syriac Orthodox Church,reminded attendees that this is more than just a discussion of co-existence. "There has been coexistence between Christians and Muslims for centuries. This is about confronting serious challenges. We must ensure that Muslims and Christians live together with dignity."

MCC Chair, Sir Rateb Rabie, President/CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, a Palestinian Christian asserted "Christians and other indigenous religious minorities are an integral part of the Arab world. This coalition is not a dialogue between Muslims and Christians but rather one body convening together to put its faith into action in an expression of solidarity and commitment to the Common Good." Father Avelino Gonzalez,who oversees the Office of Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Affairs in the Washington Catholic Archdiocese noted the timeliness of their work. "In 2015, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate, a declaration by the Catholic church on interfaith relations. We need to commit ourselves to being the living examples of that written document."

For Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), it is the design of the Coalition to specifically include key leaders in both the Muslim and Christian community that will provide the critical mass needed to address the violent acts of extremists. "Only with a coalition of solidarity among all players," he notes, "will we be able to bring peace and understanding among people living in the sacred real estate of both our faiths." Rabie agrees adding " We extend an open invitation to all people of goodwill to join us in this critically important call to action."

MCC's leadership committee and supporters in attendance were: Sir Rateb Rabie (Chair), President and CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, theVery Reverend Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Orthodox Church, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese; Syed Moktadir, Vice-Chair, MCC and President, All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Azhar Azeez, President, Islamic Society of North Americ (ISNA);Reverend Avelino Gonzalez, Director of the Office of Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Affairs, Archdiocese of Washington DC; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National director of the Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances,Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Very Reverend Fady Abdul Ahad, Priest at St. Philoxenus of Mabug Syriac Orthodox Church; Very Reverend Andrew Bahhi, Priest at St. Philoxenus of Mabug Syriac Orthodox Church; Lauren Shreiber, Community Outreach and Event Manager, Council on American-Islamic Relation (CAIR) Reverend Hovsep Karapetyan, Pastor, St Mary's Armenian Church; Salam Al Marayati,President, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Kamal Nawash, Esq.,President, Free Muslims Coalition; Very Reverend Isaac Crow, Pastor, Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church; Samer Khalaf, Esq. President, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee; Bassem Eways, President, American Federation of Ramallah; Bassel Korkor, Esq., Legal Officer, Syrian Christians for Peace; Nermien Riad, Executive Director, Coptic Orphans Support Association; and Hanna Hanania, D.D.S, Board of Directors of HCEF.

http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/culture/9067-us-muslim-and-christian-coalition-to-hold-first-international-conference-on-may-1st-and-2nd

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Pakistan

 

Obama's visit to South Asia to help reduce tension in region: Sartaj

Jan 26 2015

ISLAMABAD – Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz expressed the hope that US President Barack Obama's visit to South Asia will help reduce tension in the region.

Talking to reporters here, he said that the cherished goal of progress and prosperity in the region cannot be achieved without good relations between Pakistan and India. He said that peace in the region is in the interests of everyone. Replying to a question the advisor said that US Secretary of State John Kerry was apprised of Pakistan's reservations on various issues during his recent visit to Islamabad.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/26-Jan-2015/obama-s-visit-to-south-asia-to-help-reduce-tension-in-region-sartaj

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Counter-terrorism plan: Deadlock as religious, secular parties stick to their guns

January 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A deadlock persists on a mechanism for the implementation of a new national plan to counter terrorism and extremism as the federal government struggles to evolve a consensus on required changes in the country’s criminal justice system.

The 20-point National Action Plan was worked out at two multiparty conferences that followed the December 16 massacre of schoolchildren at the Army Public School in Peshawar. Subsequently, parliament approved constitutional changes in order to set up military courts for speedy trial of terror suspects.

Sources in the interior ministry told The Express Tribune that some parliamentary parties have concerns over certain points of the NAP, including functioning and scope of the military courts, and action against militant groups, banned outfits, seminaries and hate literature.

Law Secretary Sardar Raza Khan confirmed a practical mechanism could not be worked out due to a deadlock. Key politico-religious parties – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl and Jamaat-e-Islami – insist on ‘delinking terrorism from religion’, but secular parties are unwilling to broaden the scope of the military courts.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/827640/counter-terrorism-plan-deadlock-as-religious-secular-parties-stick-to-their-guns/

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Leaders of Different Parties: ‘Disgrace of Prophet (PBUH) Cannot Be Tolerated’

Jan 26 2015

LAHORE: Leaders of different parties including from the minorities have called upon the Muslim rulers to converge in the Holy Kaaba or the Masjid-e-Nabvi (PBUH) to decide a line of action to check the incidents of the blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the desecration of the Holy Quran and Islamic symbols.

Addressing the Shan e Mustafa million march in the city on Sunday, they said that the dignity of Prophet Muhammad ((PBUH)) is a matter of faith for the Muslims and they can’t tolerate disgrace of the Prophet (PBUH). “If the leaders from forty non Muslim countries could unite for the defence of the blasphemers, why the rulers of 57 Muslim states can’t make a common cause for safeguarding the dignity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” they asked.

The leaders said that the foremost responsibility in this direction lay with Saudi Arabia that housed the Holy Kaaba and Masjid-e-Nabvi (PBUH), and was the spiritual leader of the Muslim Ummah, while Pakistan as the only nuclear power of the Muslim world had the next responsibility on this score because the Muslims all over the world looked towards her for taking the lead.

Those addressing the rally that marched from Nasir Bagh to the Faisal Chowk, included JI Secretary General, Liaqat Baloch, Abdul Malik, Amir Hamza, Hafiz Ibtesam Elahi Zaheer, Javed Kasuri, Pervez Malik, Musafa Rashid, Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar, Dr Farid Piracha, besides Hindu leader Dr Manohar Chand and Christian leader Father Dr Phillip John.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/26-Jan-2015/million-march-against-caricatures-disgrace-of-prophet-muhammad-pbuh-cannot-be-tolerated

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Pak-Afghan military commanders discuss border security at GHQ

Jan 26 2015

RAWALPINDI – Pakistan and Afghanistan's military commanders on Monday met at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi to discuss security-related matters on their common border.

The high-level delegation of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) was led by Lt Gen Shafiq Fazli while Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt Gen Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmad led the Pakistan army in the talks. “Matters relating to border security and measures to enhance the existing border coordination mechanism were discussed,” according to a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The Afghan commander apprised Pakistan about the joint operations launched against suspected terrorist hideouts in Afghan territory and said hundreds of militants have been killed by the army. The ISPR said that the visit by the Afghan delegation is a sequel to the series of meetings planned on both sides of the border after the recent visits of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif to Afghanistan and his meetings with senior Afghan civil and military leaders in the aftermath of the December 16 deadly assault in Peshawar's Army Public School that killed 150 people, most of whom were children. The visits from both sides are aimed at boosting military-to-military cooperation between the two countries' armies and to completely stop the border crossing by terrorists.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/26-Jan-2015/pak-afghan-military-commanders-discuss-border-security-at-ghq

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Pak arrests 9,000 suspected militants

PTI | Jan 26, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have arrested at least 9,000 suspected militants, including over 3,000 clerics, as part of a massive crackdown launched by security forces on militants and their sympathisers.

The arrests were part of the National Action Plan (NAP) to eliminate militancy after Taliban last month attacked a school and killed 136 students.

Up to 3,100 clerics of various seminaries and mosques in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad have been picked up so far.

Over 3,650 Afghan refugees suspected of involvement in terror-related activities, were also arrested by the police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary across the country, Express Tribune reported.

Another 490 and 400 suspected militants have been picked up in Sindh and Balochistan respectively.

Law enforcement agencies, in coordination with intelligence operators, have conducted around 9,912 search operations in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Some 5,510 terror suspects of an estimated 9,000 have been put on a new watch list under the 4th schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Officials say Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is at the forefront of the battle having arrested some 6,702 suspected militants.

Its police and Frontier Corps jointly arrested 2,700 Afghan refugees in a fresh crackdown in several cities.

Around 217 prayer leaders were also booked for violating loudspeakers' laws.

The Punjab police nabbed 1,087 suspected militants in more than 5,501 search operations while 950 suspected Afghan refugees were also held under the Foreign Act to root out terrorism from the province.

Punjab arrested 1,471 clerics for violating the ban on loudspeakers.

While Gujranwala police with cooperation of Punjab Rangers arrested over 370 Afghan refugees in this campaign.

At the same time, Islamabad police arrested 150 suspected militants and the Gilgit-Baltistan government added 37 militants to the new terror watch list.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-arrests-9000-suspected-militants/articleshow/46019891.cms

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‘Respect of Prophet (PBUH) Binding Force for Muslims’: Jamaat-e-Islami

Jan 26 2015

KARACHI: Respect and honour of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the common denominator of Ummah and also its binding force, said Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Siraj ul Haq, addressing a mammoth rally in Karachi.

The rally was staged by JI Karachi chapter on Main University Road after Asar prayers that marched from the NIPA Flyover to Hassan Square. Thousands of people carrying banners and placards attended the rally. They raised slogans against the blasphemous French magazine and lukewarm response of the rulers of Muslim world.

Siraj said the Muslim Ummah is present only due to its unwavering respect and honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He said we will sacrifice the last drop of our blood for the honour of our Prophet (PBUH). He said he had appealed the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif to call a meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He said when the government did not take action on his appeal; he also contacted with representatives of different Muslim countries and appealed them to hold joint protests. He said millions of people would take to street to condemn the blasphemy of the French magazine. He said we will continue to chase the blasphemers, till they tender apology. He appealed to all political parties to be united on this very important matter.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sindh/26-Jan-2015/respect-of-prophet-muhammad-pbuh-binding-force-for-muslims

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Two killed, two injured in Khyber Agency clash

Jan 26 2015

PESHAWAR: At least two persons were killed and two others injured in a fierce clash between two rival groups over a petty dispute in Khyber Agency's Landi Kotal tehsil on Monday.

According to official sources, the crossfire between rival groups apparently started over the possession of land for 'cabin' at Village Sheikhwal.

The firing killed two tribesmen who belonged to the Afridi tribe on the spot while two others were critically injured.

The injured were shifted to a hospital in critical condition.

The identity of the victims involved in the clash could not be immediately ascertained.

Political tehsildar of Landi Kotal visited the site along with personnel of the Khasadar force and started an investigation into the clash.

Khyber Agency is included in Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws and lies near the Afghan border. The Taliban and other Al Qaeda-linked groups who stage attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are also known to have strongholds in the zone.

Pakistani security forces have also been carrying out ground offensives in Khyber Agency, particularly the Tirah Valley of Bara which borders Nazyan.

A military operation titled 'Khyber One' which was launched in October by security forces and aimed at targeting militants in Khyber Agency’s Bara area is also under way in the northwestern tribal region.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159559/two-killed-two-injured-in-khyber-agency-clash

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Religious Affairs minister draws ire for delaying PIA flight

Jan 26 2015

KARACHI: After Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik, it is Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousuf who invited passengers' wrath for what appears to be a delay in the take-off of PIA flight PK-741 on Monday.

The said flight was scheduled to depart from Islamabad to Jeddah but there was a delay of about 30 minutes. Some politicians were also said to be present among the passengers.

It later emerged that the flight was waiting for the religious affairs minister who was due to come to the airport.

Angry passengers protested at the airport's waiting lounge against what they called was an example of 'VIP culture' that allows influential people to call in favours, and also chanted 'Go Nawaz Go' slogans.

Sensing the sensitivity of the situation upon his arrival at the airport, the federal minister is said to have issued an apology but passengers still continued with their protests after which they boarded the plane. The take-off was subsequently delayed by an hour.

Last year in September, former interior minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani had sparked outrage over the delay of PIA's flight PK-370. The two were accused of holding the plane back while other passengers waited for hour.

The incident — which was filmed and uploaded to video-sharing site Dailymotion — created a storm on Twitter and Facebook, with users applauding the passengers of PK-370 for successfully barring the lawmakers from boarding the aircraft.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159574/religious-affairs-minister-draws-ire-for-delaying-pia-flight

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Arab World

 

Peshmerga Forces Report: Kobani 90 Percent Free From ISIL Militants

Jan 26 2015

Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) together with Iraqi Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces regained control over 90 percent of the city of Kobani in Syria, fighting off ISIL terrorists, Col. Deham Ibrahim Gergeri of Peshmerga forces said.

"Yesterday, Kurdish People's Protection Units in Syria regained control of two villages in Southern Kobani, situated along the road leading to Aleppo," Gergeri told RIA Novosti on Sunday. "(YPG fighters) make advances along the whole of the front line. At the moment our forces control 90 percent of the city and some territories outside of it. The enemy is retreating."

Gergeri also said that on January 24 Syrian Kurds and Peshmerga fighters regained control of the main entry point to Kobani and the road to Aleppo.

Kobani, one of the largest cities in the Kurdish region bordering Turkey, was besieged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group in September. Since then, Kurdish forces have been trying to drive the Takfiris out of the city.

In December 2014, Syrian Kurds leader Saleh Muslim Mohammad said that the main goal of Kurdish forces fighting against ISIL was full liberation of Kobani.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000618

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23 died at protests on Egypt revolution anniversary

January 26, 2015

Twenty-three people were killed and 97 injured at protests around the country on the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution, the health ministry announced on Monday.

At least three policemen were among the dead, while most civilians were killed in Cairo’s Matariya district.

Out of the 97 people injured, 19 were members of the security forces.

Several protests took place on Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution, just a day after a female protester was killed at a march in downtown Cairo. 

Clashes erupted between rival protesters or as police attempted to disperse the demonstrations.

Matariya witnessed the most intense events of the day as it is a hotbed for clashes between pro-Mohamed Morsi protesters and police, with weekly confrontations typical and deaths regularly reported.

Clashes also erupted in downtown Cairo between protesters and a number of supporters of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a protest at the Journalists Syndicate.

The protest was organised to demand retribution for those injured in the 2011 revolution. Demonstrators had chanted for retribution, as well as chanting against military rule and El-Sisi.

Security forces also dispersed a protest of about 100 supporters of El-Sisi in downtown Cairo's Abdel-Moneim Riyad Square, Aswat Masriya reported.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/121360/Egypt/Politics-/-died-at-protests-on-Egypt-revolution-anniversary.aspx

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Iraq: Over 13 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Tikrit

Jan 26 2015

The Iraqi army made gains in its fight against the ISIL Takfiri group in Salahuddin province, leaving at least 13 terrorists dead, a military source said.

A senior Iraqi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the army troops clashed with the terrorists in Albo Ajel village in Tikrit and claimed the lives of more than 13 terrorists.

The source added that a number of vehicles belonging to the Takfiri group were also targeted during the clashes.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control a shrinking part of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000259

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Seven killed as rockets rain down on Damascus

Jan 26 2015

BEIRUT: Five civilians and two soldiers were killed and dozens of people wounded when rebels fired a barrage of rockets and mortar rounds on Sunday at central Damascus, a monitoring group said.

The rebel attack came two days after they threatened to retaliate for deadly air raids by the Syrian regime against an opposition-held area on the edge of the capital.

“Five civilians and two soldiers have been killed and dozens more wounded, as rebels in the Eastern Ghouta area fired more than 43 locally made rockets and mortar rounds at several areas of central Damascus,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Among the areas hit were the Al-Maliki and Mazzeh neighbourhoods, as well as Arnus and Sabaa Bahrat squares, said the Britain-based group.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159468/seven-killed-as-rockets-rain-down-on-damascus

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Peshmarga: Kurdish Fighters Repel ISIL Attack in Erbil

Jan 26 2015

Kurdish Peshmarga forces repulsed an attack by the ISIL Takfiri group in the Iraqi city of Erbil, inflicting hefty losses on the terrorists, a military source said.

A senior Peshmarga official said that the Kurdish fighters killed a large number of the ISIL terrorists in the areas of Tal Arrim and Sultan-Abdullah, South of Erbil, when the Takfiri groups attempted to sneak into the city. 

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control a shrinking part of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000480

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Three civilians found shot dead in North Sinai

January 26, 2015

North Sinai locals have found three corpses with bullet wounds, raising the number of bodies found in similar circumstances to nine since the beginning of the week, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

A number of bodies have been found either shot or decapitated in the restive peninsula over the past few months.

Egypt's most active militant group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, has already claimed responsibility for killing at least 12 people by decapitation, accusing them of collaborating with the Egyptian army or Israeli intelligence.

Meanwhile, a conscript was injured in an armed attack on Sheikh Zuweid police station on Monday.

Egypt's military has been battling a jihadist insurgency in Sinai for almost a decade, which has intensified over the past year and a half. The army is currently creating a buffer zone on the Rafah–Gaza border.

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in attacks, while the military has announced killing and arresting hundreds of alleged terrorists.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/121348/Egypt/Politics-/Three-civilians-found-shot-dead-in-North-Sinai.aspx

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Islamic world lost a matchless leader, sagacious statesman, says IDB chief

January 26, 2015 

JEDDAH — Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Ahmed Muhammad Ali said that the Arab and Islamic world has lost a matchless leader and sagacious statesman with the death of King Abdullah. He offered condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Muqrin, and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif on the death of the King Abdullah.

Ali said King Abdullah exerted great efforts to uphold the joint Islamic work and foster the unity and fraternity of the Arab and Islamic world. The King was instrumental in catapulting IDB into one of the leading financing groups in the world.

“It was the keenness and unwavering support of King Abdullah that helped IDB to launch several bold initiatives aimed at improving the financial condition of the Islamic countries as well as boosting their developments in all walks of life. This was evident in the creation and management of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for combating poverty and unemployment in the Islamic countries,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150126231659

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Africa

 

16 Killed during Clashes in Libya's Benghazi

Jan 26 2015

Sixteen people were killed and 45 others injured during clashes between forces loyal to Libya's Army Commander Khalifa Haftar and Takfiri militants in the Eastern city of Benghazi.

"Sixteen bodies and 45 injured people arrived in Benghazi hospitals on Sunday as a result of clashes taking place in the Laithi district of the city," a health ministry official said, World Bulletin reported.

"The fatalities involved nine army personnel and seven civilians, the latter of whom were killed due to random shells hitting their homes," the official said.

Regarding casualties within the ranks of Takfiri militants, the official said that "they don't bring their casualties to hospitals in the city, nor do they reveal their casualty figures."

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival Takfiri groups that refuse to lay down arms.

Battles among the rival militants, who had participated in the anti-Gaddafi uprising, are mainly over the control of oil facilities in Eastern Libya.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000890

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Boko Haram wages new attacks as Kerry visits Nigeria

Jan 26 2015

MAIDUGURI: Boko Haram fighters on Sunday overran a strategic town in northeastern Nigeria and seized a military base, as Secretary of State John Kerry pledged further US support against the militants.

The Islamists captured the town of Monguno in Borno State, which lies about 125 kilometres north of the state capital Maiduguri, which was targeted in a simultaneous dawn raid.

“Monguno has fallen, Monguno has fallen,” said a senior military officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“We fought them all night long but they took over the town, including the military barracks there”. The military in Abuja said that “scores” of Boko Haram fighters were killed as troops restored order in Maiduguri and Konduga, some 40 kilometres away.

But on Monguno, defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said an air campaign was being mounted as “troops had to retreat from the location” after the commander and soldiers were injured.

With closely-watched elections in Nigeria less than a month away, top US diplomat Kerry jetted into the financial capital Lagos for meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan and his main opposition rival Muhammadu Buhari.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159466/boko-haram-wages-new-attacks-as-kerry-visits-nigeria

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Peace talks between rival Libyan sides resume in Geneva

26 January 2015

A new round of peace talks between Libya’s warring factions resumed in Geneva on Monday as the country continued to sink into chaos.

During a first round of U.N.-mediated discussions in the Swiss city earlier this month, warring factions from the strife-torn country agreed on a roadmap to form a unity government.

The U.N.’s envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, had warned as the talks first opened on Jan. 14 that they were a last-ditch effort to prevent all-out chaos.

He warned that Libya was becoming a hotbed of Islamist insurgency, echoing concerns by Libyan officials and world leaders.

The north African nation has been wracked by conflict since the overthrow of dictator Moammer Qadhafi in a 2011 uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the country’s vast oil riches.

Talks continued Monday with participants from a range of groups and representatives of civil society.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/26/Peace-talks-between-rival-Libyan-sides-resume-in-Geneva-.html

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Morocco arrests alleged Algerian militant linked to Frenchman’s death

26 January 2015

Moroccan authorities have arrested an Algerian national thought to be a member of Jund al-Khilafa, a militant group responsible for the September beheading of a French tourist, authorities said Sunday.

The operation was carried out by police near the border town of Ahfir, about 30 kilometers north of Oujda, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry, which did not give a date for the arrest.

The Algerian national, whose identity was not revealed, was “in possession of large quantities of dangerous substances” and his arrest also led to the discovery of firearms, it said.

“The suspect was accompanied by another person, whose identity is the subject of investigation,” the statement added.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/26/Morocco-arrests-alleged-Algerian-militant-.html

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South Asia

 

At least 30 Taliban killed in Kundoz operation

Jan 26 2015

Security officials in northern Kundoz province say Taliban have suffered heavy casualties in the ongoing operation in Imam Sahib District.

General Abdul Saboor Nasrati, police chief of Kundoz province says at least 30 Taliban insurgents have been killed and several others wounded so far in the operation ongoing since five days.

He said 31 villages in Imam Sahib District have been cleared off the Taliban presence.

He confirmed that two soldiers also embraced martyrdom in the fight with the insurgents.

Kundoz has seven districts with Imam Sahib being the most restive one.

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) started large scale operation after reports of increasing insurgency surfaced from this district four days before.

Kundoz is one of the few provinces of Afghanistan where civilians are fighting alongside Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) against the insurgents.

Occasional clashes also occur between them causing casualties to both sides.

In August 2014 at least 20 civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in fighting with Taliban insurgents in the surrounding areas of Kundoz city.

Taliban have killed several civilians through roadside explosions in Kundoz and other provinces who have taken weapons against their insurgency.

http://www.khaama.com/44974-28071

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Japan working to gain IS hostage’s release, analyzing video

January 26, 2015

Japan was working on Monday to coordinate efforts with Jordan and other countries to save a hostage held by the extremist Islamic State group.

“We all have one unchanged goal and we will absolutely not give up until the end. And with that faith, we will try our utmost to reach that goal. That’s how it is,” said Yasuhide Nakayama, a Japanese deputy foreign minister sent to Amman, Jordan, to work on the crisis.

Back in Tokyo, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the government was still analyzing a video posted online that purported to show one of the two hostages, Haruna Yukawa, had been killed.

Asked if the government had concluded the video was authentic, Suga said, “We cannot deny that the likelihood is high.”

Attention was focused on trying to save Kenji Goto, a 47-year-old journalist who was shown in the video, holding the photo of Yukawa. The still picture included a recording of a voice claiming to be Goto, saying his captors were no longer demanding ransom but wanted a prisoner exchange.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/asia/japan-working-to-gain-is-hostages-release-analyzing-video/99/#sthash.jch4ns06.dpuf

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PM’s visit to see Khaleda was nothing but a ‘farce’

Jan 26 2015

The BNP yesterday said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s condolence call to party Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s office was nothing but a “farce.”

Hours after the official observation had been released, the party’s Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed, however, said the party had not shown proper respect to the prime minister when she had gone to Khaleda’s Gulshan office to console her.

In a press release yesterday, BNP Joint Secretary General said: “We took the prime minister’s effort to meet Khaleda Zia over the death of Koko as a positive gesture. We believed that the prime minister was coming to express sympathy arising from her sense of social responsibility, keeping politics aside.

“But now that we see a case was filed against Khaleda Zia, it has become clear that the prime minister’s condolences over Koko’s death were nothing but crocodile tears.”

The BNP leader said the prime minister cannot restrain her vengeance against opposition politicians even during their grief.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/politics/2015/jan/26/pm%E2%80%99s-visit-see-khaleda-was-nothing-%E2%80%98farce%E2%80%99#sthash.ObObBDjs.dpuf

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34 die in Bangladesh vote protest violence

January 26, 2015

DHAKA — At least 34 people have died in Bangladesh and scores have been injured, most of them in firebomb attacks, amid rising political unrest fueled by a stand-off between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the main opposition leader.

The renewed political turmoil could cause a delay in shipments by the country’s $24-billion garment industry, already under pressure after a string of fatal accidents.

Begum Khaleda Zia, whose opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the election on Jan. 5 last year, has demanded that Hasina and her government step down for a new vote under a caretaker administration.

Hasina has refused, instead tightening her grip by arresting key opposition leaders and clamping down on critical media as anti-government protests spread. The violence has worsened sharply since Jan. 5, the first anniversary of the vote.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150126231677

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Europe

 

French arrests beg question: Is free speech for all?

January 26, 2015

When cartoonists at a French publication that had poked fun at the Prophet Muhammad were shot dead, millions around the world felt it as an attack on freedom of speech.

Since the rampage that left four dead at a kosher supermarket and 12 at the Charlie Hebdo offices, French authorities have arrested dozens of people — including a comedian — for appearing to praise the terrorists or encourage more attacks.

That has unleashed accusations of a double standard, in which free speech applies to those who mock Islam while Muslims are penalized for expressing their own provocative views. Many Muslims complain that France aggressively prosecutes anti-Semitic slurs, but that they are not protected from similar racist speech.

French police have arrested more than 70 people since the attacks for allegedly defending or glorifying terrorism. The most famous is comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, charged over a Facebook post saying "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" — a merger of the names of magazine Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the attacker who killed four hostages at the supermarket. The comic also has repeatedly been prosecuted for anti-Semitism.

Dieudonne later suggested he was being silenced by free-speech hypocrisy. "You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am no different from Charlie," he wrote in an open letter to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/121278/World/International/French-arrests-beg-question-Is-free-speech-for-all.aspx

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Islamophobia harming nation’s image: Berlin

January 26, 2015

BERLIN: Hours before a new rally in Dresden by the Islamophobic movement PEGIDA, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the group’s anti-Muslim sentiments were harming the nation’s image abroad.

“At home we under-estimate the damage that PEGIDA’s xenophobic and racist slogans and placards have already had,” Steinmeier said in an interview with daily newspaper Bild, published shortly before the start of PEGIDA’s 13th rally in Dresden since the movement was launched there Oct. 20.

“Whether we want it or not, the world is watching Germany with great attention,” Steinmeier continued, saying that scrutiny makes “it all the more important that we say clearly and strongly that PEGIDA does not speak in Germany’s name,”

Germany’s top diplomat warned he was “incessantly being asked about” the apparent surge in anti-Muslim sentiment by his foreign peers.

He also reminded readers that mobilising crowds with facile attacks on scapegoats like immigrants and asylum seekers was “easier than by (raising) complex subjects like insufficient infrastructure or the ageing of the population.”

http://www.arabnews.com/world/news/694721

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Human Rights Official: Iran Not to Allow Activity of Biased Rapporteurs

Jan 26 2015

Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani blasted the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Ahmed Shaheed, for giving out biased reports against Tehran, saying that the country will not allow rapporteurs to misuse the reporting mechanism.

"We don’t have any problem with the mechanism of reporting and agree with professional reporting based on the frameworks, but if anyone wants to misuse this mechanism, we will not allow him/her to visit (Iran)," Larijani said in the Northern city of Amol on Monday.

He lamented that Shaheed instead of keeping impartiality on Iran's human rights situation has taken hostile positions against the country since the very first day he has been appointed to the post.

"That person can no more remain the rapporteur (on Iran) since he is a media actor who has taken positions against the Islamic Republic," Larijani said.

Larijani has repeatedly lashed out at Shaheed for giving out a biased report against Tehran.

"Such a biased approach is in direct contradiction to the foundational principles of human rights," he said, addressing the 20th session of the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland, in October.

Larijani, however, said that Iran had made significant achievements with regard to human rights situation in recent years.

He described the UN resolutions against Iran and the appointment of a special UN rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran as some of the challenges that the country was facing.

"Iran’s extensive efforts to improve the country’s human rights situation have faced serious challenges, including politically-motivated and meddling policies," Larijani added.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000526

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Dresden braces for anti-Islam protest

January 26, 2015

DRESDEN: A group that has staged regular anti-Islam protests in Germany’s eastern city of Dresden is holding its first march since canceling its previous demonstration over a terror threat.

The group calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, was mentioned as a possible target in an online posting. Dresden authorities last Monday in response banned all protests for security reasons.

The threat identified PEGIDA’s co-founder Lutz Bachmann. He since has resigned after German media published Facebook messages in which he called refugees “dirty” and posed as Adolf Hitler.

On Saturday night, about 1,000 people from a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Americanization of the West, or PEGADA, clashed with 600 counter-protesters in the nearby city of Erfurt.

http://www.arabnews.com/world/news/694711

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Southeast Asia

 

49 Philippines police killed hunting for Malaysian bomb-maker

Jan 26 2015

Forty-nine Philippines police commandos were killed when they clashed with Muslim rebels in the south, police said Monday, a bloodbath which tested a peace accord signed last March.

An 11-hour gunbattle broke out after police entered the remote town of Mamasapano, held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), around 3:00 am Sunday (1900 GMT Saturday) without coordinating with the rebels as required under their ceasefire agreement.

The bodies of 49 police have been recovered from the town on Mindanao island and moved to an army camp, regional police spokeswoman Judith Ambong told AFP.

She did not say whether any MILF members were killed.

Police had been targeting two high-profile terror suspects in the operation.

"This is going to be a big problem," the MILF's chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told AFP when asked how the fighting would affect the peace process.

Philippine national police chief Leonardo Espina and interior and local government secretary Manuel Roxas flew to Maguindanao on Mindanao island on Monday.

In a statement Espina said the police commandos were chasing a "high-value target" believed to be behind recent bomb attacks in the south. He did not elaborate.

Iqbal said they were trying to arrest a member of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah called Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, among the United States' most wanted with a US$5 million (RM18 million) bounty for his capture.

Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli is the most prominent of the 10 to 12 foreign JI members believed hiding in the Philippines. He went into hiding in the southern region in 2003 and has since been training local militants, according to the military.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/49-philippines-police-killed-hunting-for-malaysian-bomb-maker#sthash.c4amfsDP.dpuf

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Malaysia Airline website hacked by group claiming support for IS

Jan 26 2015

HONG KONG: The website of embattled Malaysia Airlines has been hacked by a group proclaiming support for Islamic State group.

The airline's site was changed on Monday, at first with a message saying “404 - Plane Not Found” and that it was “Hacked by Cyber Caliphate.”

The browser tab for the website said “ISIS will prevail.”

Malaysian Airlines is struggling to recover from twin disasters last year, including the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370 and Flight 17 which crashed after having been shot down near Ukraine.

The website was later changed to a picture of a lizard, with the IS reference removed and the claim of responsibility changed to “Lizard Squad - Official Cyber Caliphate.”

The Lizard Squad group last year claimed it was behind attacks on Sony's online PlayStation network.

The airline said on its Twitter account it was working on “resolving the issue.”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1159549/malaysia-airline-website-hacked-by-group-claiming-support-for-is

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Anwar believes he will be acquitted in Sodomy 2 appeal

Jan 26 2015

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today expressed confidence that he will be acquitted once the Federal Court announces its verdict on his sodomy appeal come February 10.

“Based on the arguments raised by my defence team, I am confident I will be acquitted. This is according to the details of the facts presented before the Federal Court,” Anwar said in a statement today.

He confirmed receiving information that the Federal Court would announce its verdict on his sodomy appeal on February 10, and added that he would pray to Allah to ensure justice would be upheld.

“Lies should not be used as a tool in a political bout nor should it be given the space to throw the country into chaos,” said Anwar.

It was reported that the Federal Court registry, via Twitter today announced that Anwar will know the verdict of his sodomy appeal on February 10.

The panel of judges, led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, is expected to make their decicion at about 9am on the day.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/anwar-believes-he-will-be-acquitted-in-sodomy-2-appeal#sthash.RPwILWtc.dpuf

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Lawyers criticise Putrajaya’s plan to include ISA provisions in anti-terror law

Jan 26 2015

Lawyers today slammed Putrajaya over its plans to include certain provisions from the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) in the new anti-terrorism law, saying it is another betrayal to the people after the promise to repeal the Sedition Act was not kept.

N Surendran, PKR's Padang Serai MP, said the people were led to believe by the Barisan Nasional government, prior to the 13th general election, that Malaysia would be rid of laws on preventive detention with the repeal of ISA.

"It is utterly disgraceful for (Home Minister Datuk Seri) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and other BN leaders to constantly use the Paris attacks as an excuse to pass draconian new laws threatening the civil liberties of all Malaysians.

"Why BN's rush to bring in harsher laws, when it is in fact not required to tackle the problem of terrorism? What is the real agenda?" the lawyer asked in a statement today.

Wan Junaidi told The Malaysian Insider today that Putrajaya was considering incorporating some of the provisions in the ISA into a new act, in the wake of threats of terrorism such as that posed by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (Isis).

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/lawyers-criticise-putrajayas-plan-to-include-provisions-from-isa-into-anti#sthash.M4XId8j1.dpuf

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Mideast

 

Yemen crisis is first big test for Saudi Arabia's King Salman

January 26, 2015

The turmoil hitting Saudi Arabia's neighbour Yemen will pose the first big test for King Salman, and provide a glimpse as to whether his approach to hotspots in a fragmenting region will differ from that of his late brother.

Yemen is at risk of breaking up with the ascent of the Houthi movement, a group whose main strategic alliance is with Riyadh's great regional foe Iran, in a country also home to Sunni al Qaeda's most active affiliate.

In that respect, Yemen reflects what has happened across the Middle East, with Tehran's Shi'ite Muslim allies dominating war-torn Iraq and Syria, and Saudi Arabia attempting to back Sunni groups without bolstering its Islamist militant enemies.

Under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia constructed a dual-track regional policy of attempting to contain Iranian influence while at the same time opposing the growth of Sunni political Islam which it saw as an ideological threat to dynastic rule.

That does not look likely to change, although the arrival of a younger man may make for a more active approach, possibly including a new effort to reach out and engage local players in Yemen, analysts say.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/121357/World/Region/Yemen-crisis-is-first-big-test-for-Saudi-Arabias-K.aspx

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Iran's House of Press Deplores Sacrilege of Muslim Sanctities by Charlie Hebdo

Jan 26 2015

 Iran’s House of Press sent a letter of protest to French Ambassador to Tehran Bruno Foucher and condemned the French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, for publishing a cartoon of Islam's Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Signatories to the letter of Iran’s House of Press said that the move by the French magazine was against humanity and human logic and nature.

They said that Charlie Hebdo should apologize to Muslims for insulting their holy Prophet (PBUH).

“The move made by director of Charlie Hebdo has hurt all truth-seeking people on the planet and was protested even by leaders of non-Islamic faiths,” read the letter.

Noting that the act of the French magazine was “a clear example of escaping the law,” the letter urged Paris to show an appropriate reaction to the insulting move of Charlie Hebdo in order to heal the hurt feelings of the lovers of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as well as those of the men of wisdom and tolerance.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931106000246

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Turkish court orders Facebook pages blocked

Jan 26 2015

Turkey's state-run news agency says a court has ordered authorities to block access in the country to Facebook pages that "insult" the Prophet Muhammad, in the latest move to censor the Internet.

The Anadolu Agency says a court in Ankara issued the order late Sunday. The court also threatened to block access to Facebook as a whole, if its order isn't implemented.

The decision comes days after another court ruling to ban access in Turkey to web pages featuring the controversial cover of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo depicting the prophet.

Last year, Turkey closed down access to YouTube and Twitter after a series of leaked recordings suggested corruption by people close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey's highest court later overturned the ban.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/121363/World/Region/Turkish-court-orders-Facebook-pages-blocked.aspx

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Turkey opens biggest refugee camp for 35,000 from Kobani

January 26, 2015

Turkey opened its biggest refugee camp on Sunday to house 35,000 people fleeing fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamist militants in Syria's Kobani, national disaster management agency AFAD said.

Located in the southeastern border town of Suruc, the tent city has two hospitals, seven medical clinics and enough classrooms for 10,000 children, AFAD spokesman Dogan Eskinat told Reuters.

He said months of fighting in Kobani had caused an influx of some 200,000 refugees into Turkey and that AFAD would see how the situation develops before deciding whether any more facilities should be constructed.

Turkey has some 24 camps housing 265,000 Syrian refugees with another set to open in Mardin next month, Eskinat said. More than 200,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the Syrian civil war since March 2011.

The majority of Turkey's 1.7 million refugees live outside camps, sometimes on the streets and in shanty towns, causing tensions with the local population. Authorities have begun to transfer those living on city streets to camps.

Islamic State militants attacked Kobani more than four months ago. Iraqi Kurdish forces were dispatched to help Syrian Kurds fight the advance and a U.S.-led coalition has bombed Islamic State fighters and equipment to push the group east out of the city and surrounding villages.

The Kurds, who have secured effective self-rule in northern parts of Syria, now control around 90 percent of Kobani, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war that has dragged on for four years.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/121353/World/Region/Turkey-opens-biggest-refugee-camp-for-,-from-Koban.aspx

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Talks in Yemen between political parties, rebels break down

AP | Jan 26, 2015

SANAA: UN-sponsored talks between Yemeni political parties and Shia rebels who occupy the capital broke down on Sunday, with several main factions calling for renewed protests against the rebels.

The failure extended a power vacuum in the leaderless country, home to what Washington considers al-Qaida's most dangerous offshoot, after the president resigned last week while rebels surrounded his house and demanded concessions.

An official with the leadership of a party present at Sunday's meeting says the Islamist Islah party pulled out of the talks along with the Socialist and Nasserite parties. The official says the group rejects dialogue with the rebels, known as Houthis, and calls for peaceful protests against them.

The parties demand the release of a group of 11 activists and journalists the Houthis detained earlier in the day during protests against them in Sanaa.

The Houthis, who control the streets of the capital in the absence of significant central government forces, had scuffled with the demonstrators, firing automatic rifles into the air to disperse the crowd and breaking journalists' cameras.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Talks-in-Yemen-between-political-parties-rebels-break-down/articleshow/46015632.cms

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Australia

 

Australia Labour Figure Takes ISIS Fight into His Own Hands to combat the ISIS

26 January 2015

As Australian troops join U.S.-led efforts to combat the ISIS group, one of the country’s political figures has reportedly taken matters into his own hands and gone to the Middle East to fight them himself.

Matthew Gardiner, a former trade unionist and ex-president of the Northern Territory branch of the opposition Labour Party, left Australia to join a Kurdish militia fighting ISIS, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday.

The 43-year-old, whose whereabouts are now being investigated by police, stands in marked contrast to around 90 Australians whom Attorney-General George Brandis says have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight, principally alongside ISIS jihadists.

The Australian government issued a warning at the weekend that young people including women were still being drawn to the conflict, despite new laws targeting people who fight overseas.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said Monday Gardiner had made a mistake.

“Whatever the guy’s motivations, you’re not going to solve things by going there,” Shorten told Fairfax Radio.

“I think it’s come out as a bolt out of the blue. He’s served in the military previously, he’s been a union organizer, he obviously feels very strongly about fighting ISIS but I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it, just to up sticks,” Shorten said, using another acronym for the ISIS group.

“I think he’s made a mistake.”

The ABC said Gardiner served as an Australian Army combat engineer in Somalia in the 1990s.

Gardiner, who is reported to be married with children, was removed as the Northern Territory chief of the Labor Party and suspended from the organization after the news emerged, the ABC reported.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/01/26/Australia-labor-figure-takes-ISIS-fight-into-his-own-hands.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/republic-day-parade--obama-watches-india-s-military-might,-cultural-heritage/d/101202

 

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