New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 12:43 AM

Islamic World News ( 17 Jun 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Saudi women drive home a point, again

Saudi youths take to dancing to beat boredom, bad habits

Unique Islamic encyclopedia being prepared

Drawing a line while working with women: Jeddah

Turkish flagship pulls out of Gaza flotilla

Nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey

Syria forces kill 19 in protests

12 militants killed in Pakistan

South Waziristan clash kills soldier, three militants

Afghan police says Pakistan rocket-fire killed 4

Gaddafi in talks with Libya’s rebels: Envoy

Al-Qaeda claims killing of anti-Baathist chief

Obama overruled lawyers on Libya air war: NYT

Official now: Hindu extremists to be named in Samjhauta chargesheet

US vows to hunt down and kill new al-Qaeda chief

'ISI can nab Zawahiri if it wants to'

Scepticism and wariness in U.S. on al-Zawahiri's appointment

NATO’s beginning of the end: US defence secretary

Pak protests 'brushing' of Indian warship with its frigate

Pakistan viewed as key to Afghanistan peace

Tribesmen protest: Highway leading to Afghanistan blocked

Man arrested near Pentagon with suspicious device

Six Rangers sent to jail for Karachi killing

US holding talks with Taliban: Hamid Karzai

US set for big Afghanistan troop cut

Terrorists not tipped off: Pakistan Army

Cash carrot to stem declining J& K sex ratio

Justice for Saleem Shahzad: As SC takes up case, military supports commission

Saleem Shahzad murder: Mobile phone data resurfaces, quietly

Syrian troops take over north western town

Yemen town protests Qaeda presence

US weigh war crimes charges against Syria: official

No chance of peace, Israel tells EU over UN move

Saudi embassy denies UK media reports

Iraqis stage duelling rallies in Baghdad

Yemeni president to return home in days: Allies

Iraq army defuse bombs at key oil refinery

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudi-women-drive-home-a-point,-again/d/4862

 

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Saudi women drive home a point, again

By RIMA AL-MUKHTAR & SIRAJ WAHAB

Jun 18, 2011

JEDDAH/RIYADH/ALKHOBAR: A number of women across the Kingdom went behind the wheel on Friday, responding to a Facebook campaign urging women to start driving.

The campaign, Women2Drive, called on Saudi women to begin driving their cars on June 17. Although there is no law against women driving in Saudi Arabia, they cannot obtain driver's licenses. The arrest and release of Manal Al-Sharif a few weeks ago for driving in the streets of Alkhobar did not discourage women to press the issue. The campaign was about enabling women to carry out their regular errands just as their husbands and fathers and brothers do.

"The only reason why I did this is because I believe that it's high time for a change and I don't think it would harm anyone if women drive," said one of the women who drove in Jeddah but did not want her name to be made public. "Friday was like a test day, just to see how people would react to us driving. All I can say is that it was more than normal. No one spoke to us and no one even bothered to look at us, it was like its normal for women to be behind the wheel."

Local and international encouragement and support erupted on Twitter.

"Take the wheel. Foot on the gas," said one Twitter message. Another urged: "Saudi women, start your engines!"

There is no accurate estimate of how many women heeded the call, but incidents that were reported resulted in little or no repercussions by police. The Makkah provincial police authority issued a statement in the evening saying no arrests were made.

Maha Al-Qahtani swapped places with her husband, Mohammed, and took the wheel of the family car. For the next 45 minutes, she drove through the Saudi capital.

"No one tried to stop us. No one even looked," said the 39-year-old IT consultant for the government. "We drove past police cars but had no trouble." In fact, the biggest problem for Maha was her husband sitting next to her in the family Hummer.

"He kept telling me to slow down or speed up. He was very fussy," she said.

Al-Qahtani told Arab News by phone that she wanted to make a point: "I took it directly to the streets of the capital." On Twitter, Al-Qahtani described the route she had taken around the city with her husband, saying: "I decided that the car for today is mine."

American photographer Lynsey Addario reported on Twitter that the woman she was with was stopped by six police cars.

"You would think they caught (Ayman) Al-Zawahri," she joked on her Twitter post, referring to the new Al-Qaeda leader.

However, after about 15 minutes the police let the women go, the only punishment being a traffic citation for driving without a license. Addario claims the woman displayed two driver's licenses, though neither was issued in Saudi Arabia.

In Jeddah, one woman said she had been detained by soldiers and escorted home. Others reported being ignored.

Twitter witnessed more than a hundred tweets a minute under the "#women2drive" trend page.

"I have never seen so many people tweeting about one issue, discussing the women driving matter and hoping nothing bad will happen to those women," said Abdulrahman Shata, a Saudi college student. "We men have nothing against those women who are willing to drive. We support them, and I am more than willing to teach my mother and sisters how to drive."

It was reported on Twitter that traffic police did not make arrests.

"I'm tweeting from Alkhobar police station where Manal Al-Sharif was held. I asked them and there have not been any arrest of women," tweeted Zaki Safar, Saudi blogger and women's rights activist. "I have been roaming the streets of Alkhobar and I did not see anything abnormal, it's obvious that the government gave the decision to the Saudi citizens."

Some women posted pictures online. Some admitted taking to the wheel through their tweets and Facebook accounts. There was also no way of independently verifying the accounts of various women

The Facebook page for “Women2Drive” has been careful to point out that this is not a call for civil protest, but rather a call for women who need to drive to simply start driving. The campaign advised women to carry a valid international driver's license, to be modestly dressed, and to be preferably accompanied by a male guardian.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article456609.ece

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Saudi youths take to dancing to beat boredom, bad habits

By JOUD AL-AMRI

Jun 18, 2011

JEDDAH: Young members of Saudi society have apparently started embracing some of the customs and practices perceived as inappropriate in a respectable society in the past, including dance.

The younger generation is seen to be at the forefront of this new trend in this predominantly conservative society.

They see dance as a way of discharging their excess energy and a good form of recreation as well as something that deters them from many undesirable practices.

Several young Saudi men and women are currently engaged in practicing various forms of dances. Most of them are fond of practicing this as a positive way to spend their free time rather than engage in idle talk and unhealthy practices such as smoking.

Some of them told Arab News that they see dance as an outlet to discharge their excess energy, alleviate boredom, enjoy their happiness or get rid of a bad mood.

“Apart from its artistic value, dance is also the best and most enjoyable form of sport,” claimed one dance trainer at a sports club. “It helps the dancers to use most of their muscles they would not normally use even while playing some sports, like the muscles at the end of the spinal cord and those of the heart.”

According to the instructor, one who practices any form of dance would neither get bored nor tired.

“There are several reasons for this. Dance involves not only the body organs, but all of the senses too,” she said.

“When the sense of hearing works, the memory also functions and this helps you to remember the tunes and steps.”

She said as an example, when practicing Arabic dance, her students listen to the songs of acclaimed Arab singer Umm Kulsoom, Abdul Haleem or other noted singers.

“Many elders accustomed to hearing these songs during their childhood as well as youngsters would be very much fond of hearing such songs and music. This would produce an electrifying impact on their mood and subsequently make them happy.”

She said those practicing various dance forms would never feel bored or exhausted because of this.

“They can practice this as a sport to reduce their weight as well as maintain a good body shape. Moreover, it provides them with a healthy environment,” she added.

Razan Suleiman, a 19-year-old Saudi teen, said that she loved dances from a young age.

“I used to practice dancing at home on a daily basis. There are several reasons for this. First of all, it helps me to get rid of boredom. It also serves as an outlet for my excess energy. It helps me avoid bad habits such as smoking or eating excessively,” she said.

Twenty-five-year-old Hatem Naif said he is fond of dancing. “In the beginning, I used to dance with friends at their houses. Even though most of them danced badly, we all enjoyed it and laughed at each other. We saw it as a blessing in disguise as it deterred us from engaging in gossip, quarreling and reckless driving late in the night,” he said.

Laura Muhammad, 29, recalled that she started dancing when she was eight. “I used to dance regularly. As a result, I have acquired flexibility, balanced body weight and fitness. The love of dance also deterred me from smoking,” she said.

Laura sees dance as a major outlet for her to break from her routine. “I am eager to dance inside my room on a daily basis. It is a thrilling experience for me to practice dancing by listening to various songs and music, both Western and Eastern,” she added.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article456651.ece

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Unique Islamic encyclopedia being prepared

Jun 18, 2011

JEDDAH: Work is under way to establish the first global Islamic historical encyclopedia of its kind on the Haj, Makkah, the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Involved in the preparation of the encyclopedia are Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj Research and King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archive (Al-Darah).

Nasser Baqmi of the Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Haj Research, said: “The circuit will be documenting everything related to the Haj, Makkah, as well as the Two Holy Mosques in addition to organizing seminars and forums related to the objectives. The Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Haj Research currently has a data-bank and a historical record going back a quarter century. We are working on the establishment and the building of a data bank for the Islamic world about the Haj and Makkah and the holy sites and will be available for the circuit to work on a dictionary, pointing out that the agreement enables researchers from the institute to take advantage of the historical sources for Makkah.”

For his part, Abdullah bin Saleh of the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archive and the project manager said: “The project includes three tracks: the writing and documentation about the themes and elements of the Haj over different historical periods; the documentation and writing about the activities of government sectors and nongovernment sectors related to the Haj; and documenting the movement of pilgrims in the Islamic world.”

The second track of the encyclopedia is to build a database of Haj, which includes the works and manuscripts, travel and literature of pilgrimage in Islamic countries traditional and modern in all languages, various statistics and research data.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article456636.ece

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Drawing a line while working with women:Jeddah

By RENAD GHANEM

Jun 18, 2011

JEDDAH: Women say they are still suffering harassment from men in a mixed working environment.

Part of the problem is that men are not educated on how to deal with the opposite sex in the workplace, they claimed, adding the majority of them do not know where the line is when dealing with women and what could offend them.

Some of their actions are interpreted as harassment even if they were with honest intentions.

Some women quit their jobs and search for a ladies-only environment. Other women tend to maintain minimal interaction with men.

Duoaa Ahmed, a 25-year-old Saudi woman working at a private company in Jeddah, decided to quit her job in a private advertising firm because her boss was overfriendly with her. She did not tell her family why she resigned.

“My boss was overfriendly and I did not feel comfortable around him. He used his position to flirt with me. Every morning he complimented the way I dress, the way my eyes looked, my abaya and many other things. Despite the fact I told him that I was not feeling comfortable with the way he talked, he did not listen. What disgusted me was that he was married with four kids. Within two weeks, I was out,” she added.

Arwa Muhammad, a 32-year-old Saudi woman who works at a private company, does not believe running away to escape harassment is a solution. She believes that a woman should be tough and face harassment head-on. She said that she would not be pushed away because of the actions of irresponsible men.

“Every woman should have a strong personality and should know how to deal with harassment. They could report it immediately or deal with it by putting the person in his place. The best way in my opinion is to avoid situations that lead to harassment and keep it strictly professional,” Arwa said.

She added that if every woman left her work because of irresponsible actions from some men, then women wouldn’t achieve any progress in their professional life.

A Saudi employee who chose to remain anonymous and works as a receptionist at a private clinic in Jeddah to support her husband said the last thing women need to deal with is harassment in the workplace.

“Those who think of harassing women at work using their powerful positions should know that many of us are working out of need and not luxury,” she said.

Hala Abdul Allah, a Saudi administrator at a private company in Jeddah, believes men are not educated on how to deal with women in the workplace. She claimed the majority of men treat women as toys that they need to play with.

“When I am interacting with men, I keep it to the point. I do not discuss other points or subjects other than work. My main reason is to avoid anything that could lead to harassment. Some men may get mixed messages and get the wrong idea. For example, if I smile at my male workers, he might think something different. So to save myself the trouble, I avoid it completely,” she added.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article456655.ece

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Turkish flagship pulls out of Gaza flotilla

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

Jun 18, 2011

ISTANBUL: A Turkish boat that became an international symbol of anti-Israeli activism has dropped out of a Gaza-bound flotilla that plans to set sail for the Palestinian territory at the end of this month, organizers said Friday.

The withdrawal of the Mavi Marmara ferry from the convoy that aims to break Israel’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip removes a potential flashpoint for confrontation. Last year, nine activists died in a botched Israeli commando operation on the Turkish ship during a similar flotilla, with each side accusing the other of starting the violence.

Israel has warned that it will not allow any more ships to break its naval blockade, and said without providing details that security forces have adopted new tactics since last years’ raid in an effort to limit casualties.

IHH, the Islamic aid group in Turkey that refitted the Mavi Marmara after Israel returned it following the raid, said technical problems prevented it from joining 10 other ships that will head for Gaza from European ports on June 25. The original plan was to sail around the first anniversary of the Israeli raid before dawn on May 31, 2010.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article456635.ece

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Nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey

18 June 2011

Nearly 10,000 Syrians have crossed the border into Turkey fleeing a crackdown by the Damascus regime, an official source said.

About 1,200 arrived overnight on Thursday to Friday bringing the total of refugees under Turkish protection to 9,700, the source said.

The refugees are being settled in camps set up by the Red Crescent in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay.

Turkish authorities have barred all outside access to the refugees staying in the tent city.

But screen idol Angeline Jolie was expected to visit the camp on Friday in her capacity as goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN refugees agency.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/June/middleeast_June502.xml&section=middleeast

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Syria forces kill 19 in protestss

18 June 2011

AMMAN - Syrian forces shot dead 19 people on Friday when they fired at demonstrators demanding the removal of President Bashar Al Assad in the biggest protest since unrest against Baathist rule erupted in March, activists said.

European powers, which had initiated a detente with Assad prior to the street protests to try to draw the Syrian leader away from Iran and also stabilise Lebanon, said Damascus should face tougher sanctions for the violence.

Tens of thousands of people rallied across the country, defying Assad’s military crackdown and ignoring a pledge that his tycoon cousin Rami Makhlouf, a symbol of corruption, would renounce his business empire and channel his wealth to charity.

“Protests last week were big and this week they are bigger still. The demonstrators have not held squares consistently yet in big cities like we had seen in Egypt, but we’re heading in this direction,” opposition figure Walid al-Bunni told Reuters by telephone from Damascus.

“The security grip is weakening because the protests are growing in numbers and spreading, and more people are risking their lives to demonstrate. The Syrian people realise that this is an opportunity for liberty that comes once in hundreds of years,” said Bunni, who was a political prisoner for eight years.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/June/middleeast_June520.xml&section=middleeast

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12 militants killed in Pakistan

By ANWARULLAH KHAN

Jun 18, 2011

KHAR, Pakistan: Pakistani security forces backed by artillery killed 12 militants Friday in a northwestern tribal region where insurgents have been mounting cross-border attacks from Afghanistan, a government administrator said.

Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants have found safe haven in parts of the border region since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, attacking both American troops in Afghanistan and targets inside Pakistan. The results of Pakistani and NATO military operations along the border have been patchy.

The search operation on Friday took place in the Mamund area of the Bajour tribal region.

 It came a day after more than 200 militants launched a cross-border attack into Pakistan on a village in the same area, killing five people in the second such raid in two weeks.

Government official Tariq Khan said Friday’s search came after fresh intelligence reports on militants coming from Afghanistan to the area to target tribal militiamen and troops stationed there.

“We are deploying additional security forces in our villages and towns located near the Afghan border to protect our areas,” he said, adding that tribal elders were asked to remain vigilant and alert authorities of any militant movement.

The information could not be verified independently because access to the area is restricted.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article456573.ece

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South Waziristan clash kills soldier, three militants

June 18, 2011

PESHAWAR: Security forces killed three militants after insurgents attacked a military checkpost in the South Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, killing one soldier and wounding two, local intelligence officials said.

The attack occurred in the tribal region’s Ladha area, DawnNews reported.

South Waziristan was the main sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban before the military launched a large ground offensive in October 2009. But attacks against security forces have continued in the area.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/18/south-waziristan-clash-kills-soldier-three-militants.html

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Afghan police says Pakistan rocket-fire killed 4

June 18, 2011

KABUL: An Afghan police chief says four children have been killed by a rocket fired from Pakistan. Kunar provincial police chief Gen Ewaz Muhammad said Friday’s attack happened in Sirkanay. The chief says more than 100 rockets have been fired from Pakistan’s side of the border into Afghan territory over the last few days. An Afghan border police official, Gen Aminullah Amarkhil, says the rockets come from an area where the Pakistani army is fighting insurgents.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\06\18\story_18-6-2011_pg7_9

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Gaddafi in talks with Libya’s rebels: Envoy

June 18, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is in direct talks with Libya’s rebels, a Russian envoy has indicated, as the strongman’s son said the way out of a months-long conflict is the staging of elections.

Russia’s Mikhail Margelov, in Tripoli for one day after visiting the rebels in their Benghazi stronghold last week, made the remarks following a meeting Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi.

“I was assured at today’s negotiations that direct contacts between Benghazi and Tripoli are already underway,” Margelov said on Thursday, quoted by Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency.

“The Libyan prime minister told me that a round of such contacts concluded yesterday in Paris,” he said, adding French President Nicolas Sarkozy “has been informed of the outcome of these contacts.”

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/346689/Gaddafi-in-talks-with-Libya%E2%80%99s-rebels-Envoy.html

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Al-Qaeda claims killing of anti-Baathist chief

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA

Jun 18, 2011

BAGHDAD: An Al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq claimed responsibility Friday for the killing of a prominent official who was tasked with purging loyalists of deposed ruler Saddam Hussein and who was once implicated in a bombing that killed Americans.

The Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement posted on its website that it killed Ali Al-Lami, who was shot to death on May 26 in Baghdad.

He headed a committee tasked with rooting out members of Saddam’s Baath Party and keeping them from certain government jobs.

Last year, the committee barred hundreds of candidates from running in elections. Most were from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc. The ban outraged Sunnis, who viewed it as an attempt to keep their candidates from gaining power.

Al-Lami was arrested by US and Iraqi forces in 2008. At the time, US officials accused him of being involved in a bombing that killed eight people, including two American soldiers and two State Department employees. He denied the charges. The US later handed him over to Iraqi custody and he was released without trial.

Also Friday, hundreds of Iraqis rallied in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square in dueling pro- and anti-government demonstrations.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article456631.ece

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Obama overruled lawyers on Libya air war: NYT

Jun 18, 2011

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama ignored legal advice from top Pentagon and US Justice Department lawyers, siding with other advisers who said he had legal authority to continue air strikes against Libya without congressional approval, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Citing officials familiar with the administration’s deliberations, the newspaper reported the Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers argued that the US bombing runs over Libya, under NATO command, were “hostilities.”

As such, Obama would have had to end or pull back the military flights after May 20 since he did not get backing from Congress for them under the War Powers Resolution.

The Times reported that Obama instead latched onto legal advice from inside the White House and the State Department that the bombing missions fell short of “hostilities” and that they could continue without the green light from Congress.

Among those reported to support the president’s action were White House counsel Robert Bauer and State Department legal adviser Harold H. Koh, the paper said. Those opposed included Pentagon General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel Caroline D. Krass.

One issue was reported to be whether firing missiles from drones amounted to hostilities.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, is pressuring the White House to detail the advice the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel provided on the legality of continuing US military activity against Libya, which is officially aimed at shielding civilians there from the forces of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article456779.ece

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Official now: Hindu extremists to be named in Samjhauta chargesheet

Rahul Tripathi

Jun 18 2011

New Delhi: Just days ahead of the Foreign Secretary-level talks between Indian and Pakistan, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is set to file a chargesheet against Swami Aseemanand and others into the 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast in which 43 Pak nationals were among the 68 killed. The agency had taken over the probe into the case in 2010 and arrested Aseemanand in December last year.

Officials said the chargesheet, expected any time now, is likely to name Aseemamand, Sandeep Dange, Ramji Kalsangra, Sunil Joshi (dead) and Ashwini Chouhan. While Aseemanand is in judicial custody at Ambala prison, Joshi was murdered in December 2007, the three others are absconding.

The NIA has also brought on record the statement of Bharat Rateshwar, one of the associates of Aseemanand, and called him one of the “prime witnesses” in the case. Others examined include shopkeppers from Kothari Market in Indore from where the alleged materials used in the blasts were purchased. On February 19, 2007, a day after the blasts, investigators eized two live bombs which included two suitcases (Kodak) with covers (Apollo 600 handwritten on them), digital timer, 6-Volt battery, yellow colour explosive mixture, an electronic circuit contained in plastic box and 13 plastic bottles with fuel.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/805416/

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US vows to hunt down and kill new al-Qaeda chief

June 18, 2011

The United States has vowed to hunt down and kill new al-Qaeda "emir" Ayman al-Zawahiri like it did in the case of his predecessor Osama bin Laden.

"He (Zawahiri) and his organisation still threaten us. As we did both seek to capture and kill and succeed in killing bin Laden, we certainly do or will do the same thing with Zawahiri," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

Mullen yesterday said he was not surprised by the news reports that Zawahiri, who is carrying a USD 25 million reward on his head, has succeeded bin Laden.

Al-Qaeda has named al-Zawahiri as its new chief following the killing of long-time leader bin Laden by US commandos in May 2 raid in Pakistan.

In his last press conference as the Secretary of Defense, Gates said he is not sure it's a position anybody should aspire to be the al-Qaeda chief, under the circumstances.

"Bin Laden has been the leader of al-Qaeda, essentially since its inception. In that particular context, he had a peculiar charisma that I think Zawahiri does not have. I think he was much more operationally engaged than we have the sense Zawahiri has been," he said.

"We should be mindful that this announcement by al- Qaeda reminds us that, despite having suffered a huge loss with the killing of bin Laden -- and a number of others -- al- Qaeda seeks to perpetuate itself, seeks to find replacements for those who have been killed, and remains committed to the agenda that bin Laden put before them," Gates said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/346579/US-vows-to-hunt-down-and-kill-new-al-Qaeda-chief.html

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'ISI can nab Zawahiri if it wants to'

Jun 18, 2011

WASHINGTON: Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has been appointed the al-Qaida chief following the killing of Osama bin Laden, is likely hiding in Pakistan and can be nabbed by ISI if it "really wants" to do so, a top United States senator has said.

"Well, we believe that he is likely in Pakistan somewhere. Do I believe that the government is harbouring him? No. "Do I believe the government might know, or the ISI might know likely places where he would be? Yes. Do I believe that ISI could find him if they really wanted to? Yes," said United States top senator Diannne Feinstein.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ISI-can-nab-Zawahiri-if-it-wants-to/articleshow/8895662.cms

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Scepticism and wariness in U.S. on al-Zawahiri's appointment

Narayan Lakshman

Washington: A day after a militant website confirmed that al-Qaeda had chosen Egyptian cleric Ayman al-Zawahiri to succeed Osama bin Laden as its chief, United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen vowed that the U.S. would seek to capture and kill al-Zawahiri as it had bin Laden.

Commenting on the elevation of al-Zawahiri, Admiral Mullen said al-Qaeda “still threaten us,” despite having suffered a “huge loss” with the killing of bin Laden and others.

At the same briefing, when asked why he thought it had taken al-Qaeda seven weeks to pick a new chief, Defence Secretary Robert Gates quipped, “It's probably tough to count votes when you're in a cave.”

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/18/stories/2011061856251700.htm

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NATO’s beginning of the end: US defence secretary

18 June 2011,

The US defence secretary, Robert M. Gates, knows how to speak his mind. In a speech on Friday in Brussels, his last in Europe before he leaves office, Gates lambasted NATO.

Gates warned the Europeans that unless they improved their military capabilities, spent more on defence and pooled resources, NATO faced “the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance.”

The Europeans are used to being berated by Washington. The United States did that even during the Cold War, when the Continent was divided between NATO troops defending Western Europe and Warsaw Pact troops standing at the ready in Eastern Europe.

Then, the Europeans generally obliged. They knew that the threat was real and that they needed US troops to protect them. As late as 1999, after more cajoling, the Europeans helped bomb Serbia in a bid to end almost a decade of civil war and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia that was taking place in Europe’s own backyard.

But now, most European countries, apart from Britain and France, do not see the need for military power. They seem not to believe that military force can resolve conflicts. And despite the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the Europeans do not share the same threat perceptions as the Americans. That, say analysts, is what is undermining the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=/data/opinion/2011/June/opinion_June88.xml&section=opinion

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Pak protests 'brushing' of Indian warship with its frigate

June 18, 2011

Pakistan on Friday lodged a protest with the Indian government over an incident in which an Indian warship allegedly brushed with a Pakistani frigate escorting MV Suez, an Egyptian owned ship that was recently freed by Somali pirates after the payment of ransom. The protest was lodged through the I

Indian High Commission in Islamabad over the "serious incident" that occurred on Thursday, said a statement issued by foreign office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua.

The Indian Navy warship Godavari "not only hampered humanitarian operations being carried out by Pakistan Navy Ship Babur for Merchant Vessel Suez but also undertook dangerous manoeuvres, which resulted in the brushing of the sides" of the two warships, the statement alleged.

"This incident constitutes a serious violation of international regulations pertaining to safe conduct at high seas and of the India-Pakistan Agreement of 1991 on Advance Notice of Military Exercise Manoeuvres and Troop Movements," the statement claimed.

"The Indian government has been asked to ensure non-recurrence of such incidents," the statement said.

Full report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pak-protests-brushing-of-Indian-warship-with-its-frigate/H1-Article1-710732.aspx

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Pakistan viewed as key to Afghanistan peace

By Samia Saleem

June 18, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistan is key to regional stability, a German parliamentarian told The Express Tribune on Friday.

Rainer Arnold, who is part of a delegation of the German Bundestag visiting Pakistan, said that the international community understood that Pakistan’s active participation was vital for the success of international community’s efforts in Afghanistan.

The German delegation, it is learnt, is here to gauge “how far Pakistan can go to find a solution for Afghanistan”.

Walter Kolbow, another German parliamentarian, said that after a decade of war in Afghanistan, German politicians have started wondering about an exit strategy.

Arnold said that Pakistan’s support and cooperation was crucial for linking up with key Taliban negotiators.  “Our previous experience tells (us) that there would be no success without Taliban in negotiations too,” he said.

Full report at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/191423/pakistan-viewed-as-key-to-afghanistan-peace/

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Tribesmen protest: Highway leading to Afghanistan blocked

June 18, 2011

QUETTA: Local tribesmen blocked on Friday the highway leading to Afghanistan in Chaman, in protest against the shooting by Afghan forces which injured six people.

Locals alleged that Afghan forces had opened fire at six tribesmen and a local trader in Vash Mandi, a border trading post lying on both sides of the border, adjacent to the Chaman town.

Tribesmen staged a protest demonstration near the Afghan border and blocked the highway for a few hours, affecting the supply of goods to US coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Protesters demanded of the Afghan government to take action against soldiers involved in the shooting, saying that the incident was aimed at occupying their land and shops.

Later, local Frontier Corps Commandant Brigadier Abdul Rasheed held talks with local tribal elders. He assured them that the issue would be taken up with Nato officials in the next flag meeting.

Protesters dispersed after his assurances.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/191322/tribesmen-protest-highway-leading-to-afghanistan-blocked/

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Man arrested near Pentagon with suspicious device

June 18, 2011

An American national, apparently of Ethiopian origin, was detained on Friday after being found with a suspicious device in a vehicle near Pentagon, following which security around the Defence Department headquarters was tightened and roads to the building closed for some time.

Pentagon police spokesman Chris Layman said the person was taken into custody early on Friday, and that one or two other people may be involved.

The suspected man was found in a cemetery after it was closed. A suspicious device had been found in his car, media reports said.

“The man’s backpack contained what officials believe is ammonium nitrate and spent 9mm shells as well as written material that contained statements including: ‘Al Qaeda Taliban rules’,” ABC news reported, quoting sources.

Pentagon said there was no security breach to its premises as a result of the incident.

“There was no security breach,” Pentagon spokesman, Col Dave Lapan said.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/346632/Man-arrested-near-Pentagon-with-suspicious-device.html

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Six Rangers sent to jail for Karachi killing

By FAISAL FAIZ

Jun 17, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistan’s police presented chargesheets against six members of a paramilitary force on Friday for the killing of an unarmed man last week, a government lawyer said, in a rare rebuke to the country’s powerful military.

The incident in Karachi was caught on videotape and broadcast on television channels nationwide, fueling anger against the security forces already under pressure since Osama Bin Laden’s killing last month in a US raid.

“The police have submitted their investigation report to me, which will now be scrutinized and submitted to the court, after which the trial will be held in an anti-terrorism court,” state lawyer Arshad Iqbal Cheema told Reuters.

He said the soldiers, who had been in police custody, were sent to prison.

The footage showed the soldiers from the Rangers force opening fire at close range at the man identified as Sarfaraz Shah in a public park in Karachi.

A civilian — who has also been charged — is seen grabbing the victim by the hair and dragging him over to a group of Rangers. He pleads for mercy, then one of the soldiers shoots him twice.

The victim falls to the ground and screams in pain. The soldiers stand beside him.

He collapses in a pool of blood beside a park named after late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was seen around the world as a symbol of democracy.

All seven men committed murder and an act of terrorism, the police charge sheet said, according to a police official.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article456574.ece

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US holding talks with Taliban: Hamid Karzai

Jun 18, 2011

KABUL: The United States is holding talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday, in what is thought to be the first official confirmation of such contacts.

"Talks with the Taliban have started... the talks are going on well," Karzai said, addressing a conference in Kabul.

"Also foreign forces, especially the United States, are carrying out the talks themselves."

The US-led war in Afghanistan is in its 10th year and there are increasing calls for a political settlement to the conflict.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year called on Taliban members to split from al-Qaida, renounce violence and accept the constitution so they can be reconciled to society.

The US embassy in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Karzai's remarks.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/US-holding-talks-with-Taliban-Hamid-Karzai/articleshow/8901752.cms

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US set for big Afghanistan troop cut

18 June 2011

WASHINGTON- The United States is on the verge of announcing a “substantial” drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday.

“There’s going to be a drawdown. I am confident that it will be one that’s substantial. I certainly hope so,” the leading Senate Democrat said during an interview with PBS Newshour.

There currently are 100,000 US troops fighting in Afghanistan, up from about 34,000 when President Barack Obama, a Democrat, took office in 2009.

Reid also defended Obama’s military activities against Libya, which were undertaken without approval from the US Congress.

He said the 1973 US War Powers Resolution, which sets out the powers of the president and Congress on US military action, “has no application” to operations under way against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, noting no US combat troops were committed there.

Besides, Reid added, “This thing’s going to be over before you know it anyway.”

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have threatened to cut funding for US military operations in Libya because Obama did not get lawmakers’ consent.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/June/international_June718.xml&section=international

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Terrorists not tipped off: Pakistan Army

Anita Joshua

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Army on Friday refuted reports claiming that security forces had tipped off terrorists to allow them to escape from bomb-making factories in Waziristan.

Last week, the U.S. media had reported that terrorists got wind of information shared with Islamabad regarding bomb making activities in the tribal belt twice in recent weeks. Information — including satellite images — had been passed on to Pakistan in mid-May by the U.S. regarding bomb-making factories in North and South Waziristan. But when the Pakistani security forces reached the two places on June 4, they found them abandoned.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/18/stories/2011061856301700.htm

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Cash carrot to stem declining J& K sex ratio

By Naseer Ganai in Srinagar

ALARMED over the declining child sex ratio, the Jammu and Kashmir government has come up with a novel way to check female foeticide. The state government has announced a cash reward of ` 25,000 to anyone who provides information on doctors or families indulging in the crime.

J& K is the first state to announce such an award.

“ A reward of ` 25,000 will be given to anyone who provides information, with sufficient evidence, on female foeticide,” J& K minister for health Shyam Lal Sharma said on Thursday.

The Census 2011 figures, released in April this year, revealed a sharp decline in the child sex ratio in the state — it has dwindled from 941 in 2001 to 849 in 2011.

The overall sex ratio in J& K has also dropped to 883 — a fall of 9 points compared to the 2001 Census.

Following a public outcry over the issue, the health department ordered the closure of nearly 100 ultrasound clinics across the state.

Most of these clinics were not registered with the state department or had failed to submit the mandatory Form F, filled at the time of each scan to record the patient’s history and reasons for undergoing the test.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Justice for Saleem Shahzad: As SC takes up case, military supports commission

By Qaiser Zulfiqar

June 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The military’s information wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), “strongly supported” on Friday the formation of a commission to probe the kidnapping and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad – on a day that also saw the Supreme Court take up a petition regarding investigations into the matter.

Through a spokesperson, the military, whose intelligence agencies have borne the brunt of accusations in the case, said that, “The case must be investigated thoroughly and facts made known to the people.”

On its part, the Supreme Court summoned three federal secretaries and two police chiefs on Monday to give their stance in response to a constitutional petition by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) seeking justice for the slain journalist.

The court has ordered the police to present the investigation record of the murder of 76 journalists.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has issued notices to federal law, interior and information secretaries, while the inspectors general of Punjab and Islamabad police have been directed to submit the progress report of the ongoing investigation. The court has also asked the investigation officer to appear along with the case record.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/191343/justice-for-saleem-shahzad-as-sc-takes-up-case-military-supports-commission/

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Saleem Shahzad murder: Mobile phone data resurfaces, quietly

By Asad Kharal

June 18, 2011

LAHORE: The call record data of slain journalist Saleem Shahzad has resurfaced as quietly and mysteriously as it had first vanished.

The Punjab police is already sifting through it as part of its investigation into his abduction and murder.

The vanishing of the call data, some 10 days ago, had set off a number of alarms. It even found its way into the opening day’s arguments in the Supreme Court, which took up a petition regarding the formation of a commission to probe the murder on Friday.

Counsels representing journalists contended that Saleem Shahzad’s call data was deleted which can only be done by ‘a powerful agency’.

However, the data is now said to be in the possession of the police.

What’s in the data?

According to the call data, a total of 14 incoming and outgoing calls and text messages were placed from Shahzad’s phone between 8:37 am and 5 pm on May 29. The data also shows that Shahzad was mostly around Blue Area in Islamabad, except for a brief stopover in F-7 Markaz. His last call was at 5 pm, which he made to Dunya TV’s Islamabad office.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/191350/saleem-shahzad-murder-mobile-phone-data-resurfaces-quietly/

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Syrian troops take over northwestern town

Jun 17, 2011

BEIRUT: Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships swept into another northwestern city early today, just days after laying siege to it, activists said. Big demonstrations were expected nationwide as the Syrian people pressed on with the uprising to oust President Bashar Assad.

Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said large numbers of soldiers entered Maaret al-Numan. It was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties in the operation.

Many of the residents of Maaret al-Numan, a town of 100,000 on the highway linking Damascus with Syria's largest city, Aleppo, have fled after Syrian forces swept through the northwestern province of Idlib last week near the Turkish border.

Omar Idilbi of the Local Coordination Committees, a group that documents anti-government protests, said troops are in full control of the town.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syrian-troops-take-over-northwestern-town/articleshow/8892778.cms

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Yemen town protests Qaeda presence

June 18, 2011

ADEN, Yemen: Hundreds of residents of a southern Yemeni town in which al Qaeda has embedded itself called on Friday for the departure of the Islamic militants from their neighbourhood, an official said.

“Hundreds of residents of Jaar gathered in front of the town’s mosque to show their opposition to armed groups with links to al Qaeda,” Mohsen Salem Said, a member of the municipal council, told AFP.

He said residents “demanded that these armed men leave Jaar, so it does not befallen the same fate as Zinjibar,” a neighbouring town in Abyan province.

Hundreds of men presumed to be connected to al Qaeda on May 29 took control of Zinjibar after battles with the Yemeni army in which 140 people died, including about 80 soldiers.

An imam in Jaar told AFP that the Qaeda suspects fired in to the air to disperse the crowd gathered in front of the mosque, injuring one of the faithful.

Southern Yemen is increasingly riven by instability.

Dozens of alleged al Qaeda gunmen attacked security and government buildings in the southern Yemeni town of Huta on Wednesday killing two policemen and wounding five others.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/18/yemen-town-protests-qaeda-presence.html

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US weigh war crimes charges against Syria: official

June 18, 2011

WASHINGTON: The United States is studying whether war crimes charges can be brought against Syria to pressure its regime to end a bloody crackdown on dissent, a senior administration official said Friday.

The official said other measures, including sanctions targeting the country’s oil and gas sector, were being considered as part of a broader diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, outlined the campaign in a teleconference with reporters, stressing efforts were being made at the United Nations and with partners in the region to condemn and isolate the regime.

“Other things we are looking into is whether there are ground for charges related to war crimes, whether referrals on that are appropriate,” said one official.

“And we’re also looking at additional economic steps, and one in particular has to do with the oil and gas sector in Syria.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/18/us-weigh-war-crimes-charges-against-syria-official.html

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No chance of peace, Israel tells EU over UN move

June 18, 2011

JERUSALEM: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday bluntly told the European Union’s top diplomat that UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September would render the Oslo Accords null and void.

At a breakfast meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Lieberman said the 1993 Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority, and all the agreements reached since then, would be cancelled if they secured recognition of their independent state when the United Nations meets this autumn.

“The unilateral declaration at the United Nations would mean the end of the Oslo Agreement and a violation of all the agreements that were signed up to today,” Lieberman was widely quoted as saying by all the mainstream Israel news websites and radio stations. “Israel would no longer be bound to the agreements that were signed with the Palestinians over the last 18 years,” he said in talks with Ashton who arrived on Thursday evening and met the Palestinian leadership on Friday.

Ashton is on a four-day tour of the region for talks with officials in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Egypt, during which she is aiming to find a way to resume peace talks which collapsed late last year. But Lieberman told her there was “zero chance of restarting peace talks,” and launched an attack on Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, claming he “does not want an agreement, he wants conflict” with Israel.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\06\18\story_18-6-2011_pg4_2

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Saudi embassy denies UK media reports

Jun 18, 2011

LONDON: The Saudi Embassy in UK has described reports carried in a section of the British media recently casting doubts on Saudi Arabia’s financial aid to British universities.

“Casting doubts on the motives of supporting educational institutions and portraying it as a method to buy influence affirms that those that launch such hate campaigns against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are spinning lies and fabricating things,” the embassy said in a press statement issued on Friday.

The statement added that the donations given by the Kingdom covered famous educational institutions and well-known charity organizations including the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

 “All contributions made by the Kingdom are fully adhering to the laws in UK,” it said.

The article that expressed doubt about the donation is by a student organization recently founded and not well known in the educational circles besides being in collusion with some local organizations. The prejudiced article, which is reproduced by the British media, contains a number of false charges, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s donations to famous universities and charity societies are motivated by noble sentiments and it will continue the practice as they are voluntary, known and in line with the laws in UK, the statement said.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article456660.ece

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Iraqis stage dueling rallies in Baghdad

Jun 18, 2011

BAGHDAD: Hundreds of Iraqis are rallying in central Baghdad in dueling pro- and anti-government demonstrations.

Supporters of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki have descended on Tahrir Square for a rally that appears to be an attempt to overshadow the small group of anti-government protesters who demonstrate weekly in the capital.

The anti-government group criticized Al-Maliki for failing to improve government services after his self-imposed time limit for enacting reforms expired June 7.

The pro-government demonstrators celebrated the death sentences issued Thursday against 15 alleged Al-Qaeda members for their role in an attack on a wedding party in 2006 that killed 70 people.

The incident has become a rallying cry for Al-Maliki supporters who use it to highlight the prime minister’s security credentials.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article456437.ece

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Yemeni president to return home in days: Allies

18 June 2011

Yemen’s president plans to return home within days after treatment in Saudi Arabia, officials said, as his opponents rallied in the streets to say he would not be welcome back.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was badly burned in the June 3 blast at his palace, which wounded other members of his senior leadership and killed at least 11 guards. In his absence, Yemen’s opposition parties have sought to persuade the ruling party to join them in a transitional leadership that would effectively shut out Saleh, who has resisted tremendous pressure at home and abroad to step down.

But loyalists have insisted the president will return and resume his duties, and Saleh’s powerful son Ahmed, who commands some of the country’s best trained military forces, has remained behind in Yemen to help maintain his father’s hold.

Ruling party official Yasser al-Yamani said plans to welcome the embattled leader are under way.

“He will return home after medical reports said he is getting better,” he said.

A statement quoting a presidential official said Saleh would return “in days.”

Officials in Saudi Arabia said Saleh was completing his treatment and has been able to carry out a few simple physical exercises. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Saleh intends to return home.

 Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/June/middleeast_June518.xml&section=middleeast

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Iraq army defuse bombs at key oil refinery

18 June 2011

BAGHDAD - Iraqi troops have defused make-shift bombs placed inside one of the country’s key oil refineries in the latest threat to its expanding petroleum industry, security and oil sector sources said on Friday.

OPEC producer Iraq is rebuilding its oil industry after years of war and sanctions and energy installations are still targeted by insurgents more than eight years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Four explosive devices were defused by the Iraqi army at Doura refinery south of Baghdad on Wednesday, a security official and an oil industry source said.

Several Iraqi oil police guards were arrested after the discovery, the sources said.

“An initial investigation indicates that someone within the refinery helped terrorists to get the bombs in,” an official close to investigation said, asking that he not be identified because it was a sensitive security matter.

Full report at:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=153903181348261&id=100001457787152

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudi-women-drive-home-a-point,-again/d/4862


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