New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 12:34 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 Oct 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Shah Rukh Khan to produce and act in a film on FaceBook

Ok to shun burqa in class, but not in public: Deoband

Saudi Arabia: 181 love messages = 70 flogs

Women, bloggers & gays lead change in the Arab World

Britain May Offer 500 Troops, With Strings Attached

Turkey and Syria Signal Improved Relations

Women MPs refuse to wear headscarf in Kuwait House

Push India, Pak to fix Kashmir: Saudi prince to Obama

Indian bishops warn of "love jihad"

Security of Pakistani nukes questioned

KARACHI: 228 waiting for capital punishment in Sindh jails

Dutch anti-Islam MP overturns British ban

JEDDAH: Court to hear woman journalist’s defence

Rahul Gandhi: ‘No need to give even 5 minutes to Pakistan’

U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance

Soldiers turning rogue Pak's new terror headache

Two al-Qaida suspects shot dead in Saudi Arabia

SRINAGAR: Farooq's tirade on Kashmir leaves Omar red-faced

ISI to revive terror in Punjab: DGP

Srinagar: Woman burnt to death

Al Qaeda funding disrupted, but Taliban much stronger: US

US to deploy 13,000 more troops in Afghanistan

Pak website spoofs Musharraf, Zardari and Taliban

Pak disappointed over India’s reaction to Saeed verdict

Aleppo's lessons for Arab states

Hillary’s Iranian Agenda

Asylum-seekers threaten to blow up boat in Indonesia

United Nations in Pakistan mourns slain staff members

New Delhi confident of finding Kashmir ‘solution’

Iraqi shoe thrower arrives in Switzerland

UNITED NATIONS: Ban calls for protecting women’s rights

Pakistan and China vow to fight terror together

Afghan refugee camps in Balochistan breedTaliban

Lebanon Army Arrests Three Fath Al-Islam Activists

Threat Persists in Yemen, Somalia

Kashmiri youth find themselves new models

Syria praises Turks for dropping drill with Israel

Hundreds detained by Israel without charge

Dhaka to continue with advanced time indefinitely

Effect of Israel's war on women in besieged Gaza

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/shah-rukh-khan-to-produce-and-act-in-a-film-on-facebook/d/1911

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Soon, SRK in a flick on social networking

From virtual to reel, the Facebook fancy of our film folks goes a step further, as Shah Rukh Khan gears up to produce and act in a movie on the popular social SRKnetworking site.

The film is produced by Khan's Red Chillies Productions in association with the Morani Brothers of Cineyug, and marks the directorial debut of TV anchor and radio personality Roshan Abbas. Confirms Mohammad Morani, "We are coming up with a film on Facebook and similar social networking sites in collaboration with Red Chillies, and Shah Rukh might act in it. The talks are still on"

The film is based on Abbas play, Graffiti - Post Card From School, which deals with the problems of teenagers and adolescents. Zoa, daughter of Karim Morani, also makes her acting debut with the film. Zoa has been working as an assistant with directors like Farah Khan and Rajkumar Santoshi. She was seen in a bit role as one of the aspirants for the Shantipriya lookalikes in Om Shanti Om.

Elsewhere, Hollywood filmmaker David Fincher is in advanced talks with Columbia Pictures to direct The Social Network, a film based on the true story of the founding of Facebook. The screenplay is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires.

The film will see actor Jesse Eisenberg playing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pop star Justin  Timberlake as Napster co-founder/Facebook president Sean Parker and Andrew Garfield taking on the role of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Soon-SRK-in-a-flick-on-social-networking/H1-Article1-464290.aspx

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Ok to shun burqa in class, but not in public: Deoband

Zia Haq, October 14, 2009

Breaking its silence, influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband on Tuesday said it was all right for girls to shun the burqa inside all-women classrooms, as top Indian clerics debated the recent ban clamped by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University on wearing the niqab (veil) on its women campuses.

Darul’s views may have far-reaching effect as it oversees Islamic education in its chain of over 1,000 countrywide Deobandi madrasas, including women-only schools.

Darul Uloom, ranked the next most important Sunni theological centre after Al-Azhar, however, reacted sharply to the remark of Sheikh-ul-Azhar, or head of Al-Azhar University, Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, that the veil “has nothing to do with Islam”.

Darul shares a fraternal link with Cairo’s Al-Azhar, from where US President Barack Obama made the famous speech in June, reaching out to the Muslim world and calling for a new beginning between his country and Muslims. Both institutions work closely on the issues of Islamic learning.

Darul Uloom vice-rector Maulana Abdul Khaleque Madrasi conferred with the institution’s chief mufti (head of edict department), Habibur Rehman, on Tuesday and concluded that there was no problem if students in girls’ schools relaxed their dress code.

“Fair enough,” Madrasi told HT. He, however, said Darul would not advise Indian women who wear the veil to drop it in public. “Veil is important according to Shariah (Islamic law) and women have to be in burqa in public,” Madrasi said.

Delhi-based educationist Firoz Bakht Ahmed said in many of the Capital’s Muslim girls’ schools, like Rabia School in Gali Kasimjan, students either did not wear the veil or took it off once inside.

“I remove my veil during class,” said Ayesha Khatun, a student in Jamiat-us-Salehat, one of India’s largest girls’ madrasas in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur.

Islamic scholars have varying views on how much of a woman’s body should be covered. The Quran does not clearly outline a dress code for women, but calls on both men and women to “dress modestly”.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rssfeed/newdelhi/Ok-to-shun-burqa-in-class-but-not-in-public-Darul/Article1-464977.aspx

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Saudi Arabia: 181 love messages = 70 flogs

Abdullah Bajubair Al-Eqtisadiah

13 October 2009

The Arabic language is rich in synonyms. Perhaps that is what prompted the famous Egyptian writer, Abbas Mahmoud Al-Aqqad, to call it the “poetic language.” There are of course other reasons for this name.

There are about 18 synonyms for the word “love.” We have a story in which all of these synonyms have been used by a man expressing his love to his wife after she left, deserted or abandoned him by khula (a form of divorce in Shariah where the woman secures her divorce through financial compensation to the husband). The Kingdom’s newspapers recently reported that the husband agreed to the khula, something that makes us believe that it was the wife who wanted to separate.

The husband, agonized by love, sent his ex-wife 181 text messages requesting her to come back. The woman refused all these messages, which were enough to fill a book on love and which would immediately become a bestseller.

While he was bombarding his ex-wife with love messages, relatives and friends tried to reconcile them but the woman turned a deaf ear. Not only that, she took her ex-husband to court for annoying her with too many love messages.

The judge at the summary court in Buraidah sentenced him to 70 lashes and prevented him from ever approaching her again. The Court of Cassation then approved the verdict making it final.

My dear lady, remember the proverb: “Never lock doors behind you, you may need to enter them again.”

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=13&section=0&article=127332&d=14&m=10&y=2009&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Local%20Press

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Women, bloggers & gays lead change in the Arab World

10:32 AM

The Arab Middle East teaches minorities some tough life lessons and shapes them in ways that might surprise you. While the effect of a conservative patriarchal society is expected to keep people under the thumb of tradition, culture and tribal and religious beliefs — sometimes too much oppression and control yields opposite results.

Having lived in several parts of the Middle East as a child, I learned that a woman doesn’t exist except as someone’s daughter, sister, wife or mother. Her opinion is not required, her emotions don’t count and she has no rights whatsoever – except those granted to her by a male.

With a few recent exceptions, an Arab woman’s testimony is not accepted in court. Most Arab women can’t travel outside their countries without permission from a male guardian, and most Arab women still can’t give nationality to their children. In Saudi Arabia women are not even allowed to drive cars. A popular Arabic saying describes it best: a good woman “has a mouth that eats but not one that speaks.”

The Arab Middle East taught me that sexual expression is exclusive to men. Men can have pre-marital sex, and when they’re married, their extra-marital affairs are ignored, justified or blamed on the wives. Their bodies are their own to do with them what they want. A woman’s body, however, represents her family’s honor. So, girls and women are expected to cover their bodies and repress their sexual feelings to protect the honor of the family.

This is such a deeply-rooted belief that, to this day, girls and women are killed by fathers, brothers or cousins at the suspicion of sexual activity. Even if a girl or woman is the victim of rape or assault, she can be killed under the pretext of “cleansing the family’s honor.” The practice known as “Honor Killing” is still common among all religions in the Middle East; it is even justified under the law and carries no penalty.

As someone who grew up and spent my early adulthood in the Middle East, I also learned that men run the show and they run it for life. Imagine that with the exception of a few, all Arab leaders haven’t changed since I was a child; and those who died were replaced by their sons. So far, the customary behavior has been such that if you wanted change, you had to ask men for their permission, their blessing, their support, their approval, their orders, and their actions to bring that change.

The women in my family were very active in the women’s rights movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Men listened to them, gave them a forum to express their desire to become equal through conferences, speeches and occasional articles in the media. They even gave them some rights – like the right to vote in some countries and the right to run for office in others. But, women’s rights were always controlled by men’s approval and that didn’t go far at all. As a matter of fact, a quick look at the Arab Middle East shows you that with very few exceptions it remains a region controlled by the ruling few who are unwilling to relinquish power. They resist change as if it were a contagious disease that will lead to their demise if they ever catch it.

Enter the age of the computer and the Internet, the age of blogging and connecting with the world. The only age that will allow a Saudi female cartoonist to draw pictures depicting how a woman feels when her husband takes on a second or third wife. It simply rips her heart out she draws.

A Saudi female cartoonist's rendition of how a woman feels when her husband takes on a second or third wife.

A Saudi female cartoonist's rendition of how a woman feels when her husband takes on a second or third wife.

Islam accepts polygamy and blesses it with a caveat which men enthusiastic about the practice tend to ignore. You can take multiple wives, but “if you want to be fair, marry only one,” the holy Muslim book guides. While not many in Saudi Arabia might care about how Hana Hajjar feels, a whole world outside the kingdom, is paying attention, supporting and perhaps even lending a hand.

The online traffic we witnessed in the aftermath of Iran’s contested elections and the outpour of support Iranian reformists received through social media are perfect examples of the effect of international support on local activism. In the case of Iran, it energized and helped spread the message to far reaching corners of the world.

Other stories that have captured the world’s attention are bloggers jailed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia for speaking up against the Status Quo in their countries and demanding social justice and political reform. We are learning about what’s going on inside the most conservative and most police-controlled countries in the region through bloggers who are not allowing the intimidation of prison, harassment or abuse to silence them.

It is obvious now there is a growing number of Arabs, men and women, who not only want change but they are willing to get to that change on their own. They grew tired of demanding it and not receiving anything in return, so they made the decision to truly become the change and live it in practice.

Now, you have bloggers like Wael Abbas in Egypt who openly criticizes President Hosni Mubarak’s policies and screams out slurs against his country’s secret police that detains him for hours and confiscates his laptop without any explanation or apology whatsoever.

You also have the gay and lesbian Middle Eastern community publishing their online magazine which deals with issues they find important. They discuss their sexual preferences out in the open and provide a voice and an outlet they wouldn’t have even dreamed of a few years ago. Their headlines read, “Who we sleep with is nobody’s business” and “Homophobia and Paranoia: Words that Ryhme.”

The Lebanese Association of Women Researchers ‘Bahithat’ just organized what is dubbed a cornerstone of Arab Feminism through a conference at the American University of Beirut. Women from all over the Middle East — including Iraq and Iran — were there promoting the idea that “change will have to be imposed not demanded anymore” says Lebanese Feminist Zeina Zaatari, one of the most vocal voices at the conference.

The Feminist Collective promoted the event online through social networking sites such as Twitter. They drew the world’s attention to hear the voices of powerful women who gave themselves the right instead of waiting for officials to give them permission to speak or express themselves. Zaatari captured the limelight as she linked a woman’s equality with a woman’s sexual freedom and sexual expression. “A woman can’t be free if she doesn’t own her body and has full control of it and if she doesn’t express her sexuality,” she told me in a phone interview from Beirut.

The December 2008 Issue of Jasad.

Another example of women taking matters into their own hands is a quarterly magazine called ‘Jasad’ which means ‘Body’ in Arabic. It’s a racy magazine that was launched by a woman in Lebanon at the end of 2008 dealing with the female body and its deepest sexual desires. ‘Jasad’ is banned and its website is blocked from many Arab countries.

“This doesn’t stop subscriptions from being delivered by courier mail,” founder and editor-in-chief Joumana Haddad told me as she was busily preparing the fifth issue. She says the magazine is doing well despite the fact that “no one dares to advertize” in it. She talks about threats she and her editors receive on a regular basis and unending harassment since they all use their real names. She says it is the support she receives from within the Middle East and outside that keeps her going and that “nothing will stop ‘Jasad’ from being published.”

Several new lines are being drawn in the Middle East’s desert sand simultaneously…. If they continue to be drawn at this rate longer and thicker, it’s hard to foresee any governments, censors or jails being able to stop them.

Source: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/10/14/women-bloggers-gays-lead-change-in-the-arab-world/

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October 15, 2009

Britain May Offer 500 Troops, With Strings Attached

By JOHN F. BURNS

LONDON — Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a cautious and heavily conditioned plan on Wednesday to send 500 more British troops to Afghanistan, which would raise Britain’s total number of troops deployed in the eight-year war to 9,500.

Mr. Brown hinted strongly that discussions with President Obama and other American leaders had convinced him that their current review of Afghanistan strategy will result in a similar approval for at least a modest increase in American troops, perhaps linked, like Britain’s, to a range of conditions for the beleaguered government of President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan.

“I believe the decision we are announcing is consistent with what the Americans will decide,” he said.

The move comes at a time when of rising popular opposition to the war, which appeared to be one reason the proposed troop increase has been held to a quarter of the 2,000 soldiers British military commanders are said to have requested. The British contingent is already the second-largest foreign force in the 41-nation coalition operating in Afghanistan.

In outlining the new British strategy in a tense, 70-minute debate in the House of Commons, Mr. Brown said one element in a decision to go ahead with the 500-troop increase would be the decision Mr. Obama makes on United States troop levels, which are currently set at 68,000 troops deployed or en route to Afghanistan.

The call by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the American and allied commander in Afghanistan, for up to 40,000 more American troops has been at the center of the White House review. Some senior officials, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., as well as senior members of the Democratic leadership in Congress, argue against an increase in favor of a new approach that focuses more on the pursuit of Al Qaeda and less on defeating the Taliban.

Mr. Brown spoke at length with Mr. Obama over a trans-Atlantic videolink last week and met on Monday at his official country residence, Chequers, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Last month, Mr. Brown met separately in London with Generals McChrystal and David H. Petraeus, the overall American commander for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Brown’s conditions for deploying the additional 500 soldiers include that other allies agree to step up their own contributions, either with additional troop commitments, increase contributions to the training of the Afghan army or provide additional financing or equipment for the war effort, including badly-needed items like troop-carrying helicopters.

In demanding a shake-up within the international coalition that would see “all countries bearing a fair share” of the war burden, Mr. Brown did not identify any of Britain’s NATO allies with troop contingents in Afghanistan. But British officials have made it clear in the past that their concern lies mainly with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, among others, all of whom face strong domestic opposition to the war, and to any increased exposure of their troops to the bloodiest combat zones.

Mr. Brown’s menu of possible options for these countries suggested that Britain and the United States may have concluded that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, among others, are unlikely to agree to new combat roles, but may be ready to make other contributions that would ease the overall burdens of the war on countries like Britain and the United States that are bearing the heaviest burden in terms of combat casualties.

Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/world/europe/15britain.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

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October 14, 2009

Turkey and Syria Signal Improved Relations

By SEBNEM ARSU

ISTANBUL — Turkey and Syria held a day of meetings and ceremonies on Tuesday that signaled an era of improving relations between the countries, signing agreements to remove visa restrictions on their shared border and pledging to build “a common future.”

The meetings were intended to forge a new era of cooperation that would have been inconceivable a decade ago, when tensions ran high because Turkey believed that Syria was abetting attacks by the separatist militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K.

The agreements come at a time of worsening relations between Turkey and Israel, after Turkey canceled a multinational military exercise that was to include Israel. The strains in their relationship had already increased this year after a strongly worded exchange between the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, over Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

The Turkish-Syrian meetings on Tuesday were the first resulting from the formation last month of a “senior strategic cooperation council.” After morning meetings in Aleppo in Syria, officials from both countries went to the border, where together they ceremonially walked across into Turkey and then drove on to Gaziantep to resume meeting.

Ten Turkish ministers, including those from the foreign affairs, defense, interior, economy, energy and agriculture departments, met with their Syrian counterparts.

The parties worked on almost 40 protocols and agreements to be put into action plans within 10 days, Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said, according to the Anatolian Agency, a semiofficial news service.

Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/world/europe/14turkey.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

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Women MPs refuse to wear headscarf in Kuwait House

13 October 2009

Women MPs are defying Islamists in Kuwait by refusing to wear the hijab, or headscarf, in parliament.

Two MPs, Rola Dashti and Aseel Al-Awadhi, who were among the first four women to be elected to the country’s National Assembly in May, have angered their Islamist colleagues, who say they say they are flouting the sharia.

One of the two is going further by demanding the scrapping of an amendment to electoral regulations that says they have to observe sharia in parliament. You can’t force a woman going to the mall to wear a hijab and you can’t force a woman going to work to wear the hijab, Dashti told the Daily Telegraph. This is not Iran or Saudi Arabia.

The MP’s stand is part of a backlash against the fashion for stricter dress codes for women across the Arab world.

Last week, the rector of al-Azhar University in Cairo, the principal seat of Sunni Islamic learning, banned women students from wearing the face veil in women-only classes and student dormitories, and was followed by other academic institutions there.

In Kuwait, the issue has arisen as part of a campaign by Dashti, one of the country’s leading economists, against what she regards as unconstitutional implementation of sharia.

When electoral law was changed in 2005 to allow women in Kuwait to vote and stand for parliament, Islamists inserted a law-minute rider that women as voters and MP’s would have to follow sharia. It did not specify precisely where or how.

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Push India, Pak to fix Kashmir: Saudi prince to Obama

Pranab Dhal Samanta, Oct 14, 2009

New Delhi : In what is being seen here as a disturbing indication of Indian diplomacy falling short of expectations in the Middle-East, one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful and influential royal family members Turk al-Faisal has openly urged US President Barack Obama to push India and Pakistan to fix the Kashmir issue for his AfPak policy to make any progress.

Saudi Arabia, he says, can play a supporting role.

Turk al-Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence for 24 years from 1977 to 2001 and who has served as Ambassador to US and UK, proposed a seven-point action plan for Obama to achieve progress in Afghanistan. This was spelled out in an article he wrote in the International Herald Tribune last Saturday.

The fifth point of this action plan is to push India and Pakistan to fix Kashmir.

That is doable, he wrote, once both countries see a determined effort by the United States in that direction. Both countries are beholden to the United States: Pakistan for the military and financial support it receives and India for the atomic energy agreement it has signed with the United States. Saudi Arabia can play a supporting role.

The writer is the son of the powerful former King Faisal bn Abdul Aziz Al Saud who was credited with modernizing the Saudi Arabian economy.

Prince Turk‘s stint as head of Saudi intelligence saw him preside over the massive operation to mobilize the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

He was considered to have played a significant role in building the Mujahideen-ISI-Saudi-CIA nexus, wherein, the Mujahideen fought, ISI provided training, CIA and other US agencies helped with equipment while Saudi Arabia arranged the finances.

He is considered among the most influential members of the royal family and so his comments do have an official weight. His remarks come at a time when India’s efforts to reach out to Saudi Arabia have not delivered results in the recent past.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keen to visit the country as his first destination after assuming power in the second term but the trip could not work out. Both sides exchanged at least four to five sets of dates but the visit had to be called off on most occasions because of a last-minute change of mind in Riyadh.

The visit was first scheduled in the UPA’s first term but that was the only time India asked for postponement because the PM had to undergo a bypass surgery.

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528892/

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Indian bishops warn of "love jihad"

October 14, 2009

The Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance of the Catholic bishops of India's Kerala state has urged Christians to be vigilant about a "love jihad" said to be adopted by Muslim extremists to convert women by marrying them.

Commission secretary, Fr Johny Kochuparambil, says around 4,000 girls have been converted to Islam through the "holy war through marriage" method, since 2005, UCA News reports.

He said the "love jihadi" (warriors) operate in campuses, slowly win over young women's confidence before proposing marriage.

When the girls accept the marriage, they are converted. "After that nobody knows what happens to these girls," he explained.

The alert was raised when two women, a Hindu and a Christian, students of a Catholic business school converted to Islam after falling in a "love jihad" trap.

After their families complained to the High Court about their daughters' disappearance, the young women were produced in the court. The court allowed them to go with their parents after the young women testified that Muslim youths had forcibly converted them to Islam after trapping them using the method.

Police official K.S. Gopakumar said the love jihad "is an organised movement with wide network that aims to lure girls, make them pregnant and dump them."

"It's a very dangerous movement aiming to destabilise communal harmony," he told UCA News.

Source: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=17043

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Security of Pakistani nukes questioned

October 14, 2009

An audacious weekend assault by Islamic militants on Pakistan's army headquarters is again raising fears of an insurgent attack on the country's nuclear weapons installation.

Pakistan has sought to protect its nuclear weapons from attack by the Taliban or other militants by storing the warheads, detonators and missiles separately in facilities patrolled by elite troops.

Analysts are divided on how secure these weapons are. Some say the weapons are less secure than they were five years ago, and Saturday's attack would show a "worrisome" overconfidence by the Pakistanis.

While complex security is in place, much depends on the Pakistani army and how vulnerable it is to infiltration by extremists, said a Western government official with access to intelligence on Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Analysts say a more realistic scenario would involve militant sympathizers getting work as scientists at the facilities and passing information to extremists.

"It's not thought likely that the Taliban are suddenly going to storm in and gain control of the nuclear facilities," said Gareth Price, head of the Asia programme at London think tank Chatham House. "There are enough command-and-control mechanisms in place to prevent that."

A US counter proliferation official in Washington said strong safeguards are in place and there is no reason to believe the nuclear arsenal is in imminent jeopardy of seizure by militants.

Full Report at: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=109654

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KARACHI: 228 waiting for capital punishment in Sindh jails

October 13, 2009

KARACHI: Sindh Home Minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza has stated before Sindh Assembly Tuesday that as many as 228 prisoners including a woman are waiting for capital punishment in jails across province, Geo news reported.

He said government is in serious deliberation to modify the capital punishment law into life imprisonment.

During the question and answer session during today’s proceedings in house, minister said that total 228 prisoners have been given death punishment over different charges while there is a woman among them.

The federal government has provided Rs500 million in terms of development package for police department while government has allocated budget of Rs1 billion for police department which will be spent on construction of buildings and police checposts in province, he asserted.

Total 10 policemen embraced martyrdom during 207 police encounters, which took place in Larkana alone in last six months while 25 dacoits were killed and 306 were held, he informed house.

Source: http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=89003     

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Dutch anti-Islam MP overturns British ban

Oct 13, 2009

LONDON/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Right-wing Dutch legislator Geert Wilders, who faces prosecution in his homeland for anti-Islam remarks, won an appeal on Tuesday against a ban from entering Britain.

Wilders was barred in February because British ministers said his presence would threaten community harmony and public safety.

He had planned to show his film "Fitna", which argues that the Koran incites violence, in the British parliament but was turned back after landing at London's Heathrow Airport.

Britain's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has now overturned that decision following a challenge by Wilders, meaning he could now be allowed into the country.

"It's a fantastic decision," Wilders told Reuters. "It's not a victory for myself, but a victory for freedom of speech."

Wilders said he had no specific travel plans but would return to Britain "as soon as it's possible".

London expressed disappointment at the court's decision.

"The government opposes extremism in all its forms," a Home Office spokesman said. "The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view."

Wilders, whose film urged Muslims to tear out "hate-filled" verses from the Koran and who has compared Islam to Nazism, faces prosecution in an Amsterdam court for inciting hatred and discrimination.

His travel ban caused a diplomatic spat. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen phoned his British counterpart to express his displeasure that a Dutch member of parliament had been barred from entering another EU country.

(Reporting by Michael Holden in London and Reed Stevenson in Amsterdam; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-43129520091013

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JEDDAH: Court to hear woman journalist’s defense

14 October 2009

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Summary Court will convene on Wednesday to listen to the defence of a Saudi woman journalist charged with being involved in the preparation of the LBC’s “Bold Red Line” program in which a man boasted about his sexual exploits.

The Prosecution and Investigation Commission’s list of charges, which were handed over to the woman on Monday, included involvement in the preparation of the program, openly coordinating with the bragger on a satellite channel, and advertising the episode on the Internet to attract a large number of viewers. The journalist, whose name has not been disclosed, refused to appear before the court despite repeated summons.

When she finally appeared before the court on Monday, she was handed over the charges against her and the judge asked her to respond to them on Wednesday. The court sentenced the braggart, Mazen Abdul Jawad, to five years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes.

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=127371&d=14&m=10&y=2009&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

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Mail Today: ‘No need to give even 5 minutes to Pakistan’

October 14, 2009

Comfort zone as regards the issues related to the neighbour.

“If you see, the attitude of the world has changed towards Pakistan. It’s not a day’s job. It's a long process. India has created pressure and the entire world is putting pressure on Pakistan. Certain issues related to Pakistan have to be managed, which is already being done. We are in a comfortable position. There is no comparison between India and Pakistan,” Rahul said.

In other words, he seemed to suggest that while Pakistan might seek parity with India, the latter needed to shed its obsession with Pakistan.

Making telling remarks against Pakistan is common for Indian politicians. But, it is difficult to recall words rooted in reality as the ones used by the Gandhi scion.

According to him, the two countries cannot be compared because India has a larger role and status internationally. He gave thumbs up to the manner in which the UPA government had been able to position India diplomatically on the global stage, especially in the context of Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attack.

He refuted the charge that India had been embarrassed following the joint statement with Pakistan in July at Sharm- al- Sheikh in Egypt on the sidelines of the meeting of non- aligned countries.

In April 2007, as the Congress geared up for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, he had made another remark on Pakistan during a political rally in Badaun.

“I belong to the family which has never stepped back (from a tough situation), which has never gone back on its words. You know that when any member of my family decides to do anything, he does it. Be it the freedom struggle, the division of Pakistan or taking India to the 21st century,” he had said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Congress leader did not spare the BJP on the latter’s approach to issues concerning Pakistan, and mocked the saffron party for being obsessed with Jinnah.

“ They ( the BJP) are just talking about Jinnah, who is history now. I can't think about Jinnah even for five seconds... not for one second. The BJP's ' India Shining' slogan was outrightly rejected during the 2004 general elections. India was shining only in urban areas and that too within the elite class," Rahul said.

The Congress general secretary’s remarks may not immediately find an echo in Indian foreign policy pronouncements. But, for his own party he could have set the tone for the future with his statement in Shimla.

Endorsing Rahul, AICC spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said what the Congress general secretary said on Tuesday was a true reflection of the current world order as India is considered a great nation.

“India is invited to the G- 20 summit.

We’ve been given respect by the international community in comparison to Pakistan.

We should not be obsessed with Pakistan.

The world has put India on a larger pedestal. We should behave like a big nation,” Ahmed said.

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U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance

By JANE PERLEZ, October 6, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Steps by the United States to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.

An aid package of $1.5 billion a year for the next five years passed by Congress last week asks Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics. President Asif Ali Zardari, whose association with the United States has added to his unpopularity, agreed to the stipulations in the aid package.

But many here, especially in the powerful army, object to the conditions as interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and they are interpreting the larger American footprint in more sinister ways.

American officials say the embassy and its security presence must expand in order to monitor how the new money is spent. They also have real security concerns, which were underscored Monday when a suicide bomber, dressed in the uniform of a Pakistani security force, killed five people at a United Nations office in the heart of Islamabad, the capital.

The United States Embassy has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp.

The embassy setup, with American demands for importing more armoured vehicles, is a significant expansion over the last 15 years. It comes at a time of intense discussion in Washington over whether to widen American operations and aid to Pakistan — a base for Al Qaeda — as an alternative to deeper American involvement in Afghanistan with the addition of more forces.

The fierce opposition here is revealing deep strains in the alliance. Even at its current levels, the American presence was fuelling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials, said several Pakistani officials, who did not want to be named for fear of antagonizing the United States. The United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said.

Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/world/asia/06islamabad.html?_r=3&scp=5&sq=Pakistan&st=cse

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Soldiers turning rogue Pak's new terror headache

Chidanand Rajghatta, 13 October 2009

WASHINGTON: A prominent Pakistani military commando-turned-terrorist mastermind who was reported killed in a US Predator strike apparently

survived the attack and has re-surfaced even as American attention has turned to the growing number of jihadis and extremists from Pakistanís armed forces.

Ilyas Kashmiri, a former Pakistan Special Services Group commando and a veteran of the Islamabad-backed separatist movement in Kashmir, has promised retribution against the ''U.S and its proxies,'' an American terrorism watchdog reported Tuesday, after the army man-turned-jihadi gave an interview to a Pakistani journalist to show that he was alive and ticking.

Kashmiri is very likely to be directly linked to last weekend's terror assault on Pakistan's Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi masterminded by ''Dr Usman'' (who is also from the Pakistani military), according to Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal, a publication which tracks terrorism in the region.

The story puts the focus on several emerging aspects of Pakistanís existential association and struggle with terrorism: The growing number of Pakistani military personnel who are turning rogue; and their ethnic origins, mostly form Punjab province.

Also of concern to intelligence analysts is Pakistanís revolving door policy that frees or cuts loose terrorists ñ as had happened with Mumbai massacre mastermind Hafeez Mohammed Saeed this week ñ who eventually return to bite the Pakistani establishment in the back.

It transpires now that Dr Usman, aka Mohammed Aqeel, the leader of the fedayeen attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters last weekend, was in police custody last year for his involvement in the Marriott hotel bomb attack but was released by authorities under unclear circumstances. Ditto for Kashmiri, who was also in custody before he was released.

Kashmiri, who Roggio says is considered by US intelligence to be one of al Qaida's most dangerous commanders and listed as the fourth most wanted terrorist by Pakistan's Interior Ministry, is not the first to resurface after being reported killed in a Predator strike. The infamous Ayman Al-Zawahiri and shoe-bomber Rasheed Rauf belong in the same category.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Soldiers-turning-rogue-Paks-new-terror-headache/articleshow/5121492.cms

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Two al-Qaida suspects shot dead in Saudi Arabia

14 October 2009

RIYADH: Saudi authorities killed two suspected al-Qaida members carrying explosive vests in a shootout Tuesday, the government said, in a sign

the group is plotting new attacks in the kingdom.

A police official was also killed and a third suspect arrested in the fire fight near Saudi Arabia's southern border with Yemen, interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki said.

The early morning shootout took place at a police checkpoint about 120 kilo meters (72 miles) from Jizan on the road to Asir in southern Saudi Arabia.

Two of the three men, who had been on board a vehicle, were wearing women's clothing with explosive vests underneath and carried grenades, according to Turki.

"More grenades, automatic weapons and bomb-making materials" were also found in the vehicle, Turki added.

It was the latest in a series of incidents, including the August 28 attempt to assassinate the country's top internal security official, that suggest al-Qaida is plotting attacks in the country, at least some from the group's resurgent Yemen-based wing.

The shooting broke out when the vehicle was about to undergo a security check on the basis of "information on the planning of terrorist acts by the deviant minority," said an interior ministry statement, using the standard Saudi phraseology for al-Qaida.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Two-al-Qaida-suspects-shot-dead-in-Saudi-Arabia/articleshow/5121987.cms

 

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SRINAGAR: Farooq's tirade on Kashmir leaves Omar redfaced

M Saleem Pandit

14 October 2009

SRINAGAR: Union minister Farooq Abdullah gave some anxious moments to his son and J&K CM, Omar Abdullah, when he contradicted him on the

security scenario in the state at a function in Srinagar on Tuesday.

An embarrassed Omar was forced to send Farooq a chit, asking him to cut short his speech at the All-India Editors' Conference, which also had I&B and minorities affairs ministers Ambika Soni and Salman Khurshid in audience.

Omar pitched for a dialogue with all shades of political thought in the state, underlining a marked improvement in the state’s security situation, while Farooq contradicted him saying the state was in turmoil.

Farooq said vested interests were thriving on violence. There’re paid lobbies in the state, who get money from here and there, he said. He slammed the security forces, politicians and bureaucrats for having a vested interest in the Kashmir crisis. Farooq also came down heavily on the media, accusing it of magnifying minor issue to create an impression that the state was afire.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/india/Farooqs-tirade-on-Kashmir-leaves-Omar-redfaced/articleshow/5122099.cms

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ISI to revive terror in Punjab: DGP

October 13, 2009

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligency Agency is making all-out efforts to revive terrorism in Punjab by providing funds to radical groups, state Director General of Police Paramdeep Singh said.

He said ultra groups like Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) was being provided with funds through a leading money transfer agency and hawala operation.

Gill made the remarks on questions from media persons on the threat of return of terrorism in the state.

He said the state police force was capable enough to thwart any evil designs of such forces.

As part of modernization of Punjab Police, hi-tech control rooms would be installed in five major cities of the state, Gill said.

"It has been decided to install hi-tech centralised control system in five major cities--Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bathinda and Patiala--through which any distanced distress call could be responded to within a few minutes", Gill said adding the control rooms would match the police communication system of any ultra modern cities like New York.

Regarding the modernisation of the state police, the DGP said ample fund was provided by the Centre for upgradation of the police and accordingly new equipments were being purchased and required training was being imparted to the personnel.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/punjab/ISI-to-revive-terror-in-Punjab/Article1-464566.aspx

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Srinagar: Woman burnt to death

Oct 14, 2009

Srinagar: A 25-year-old woman was allegedly burnt to death and the police have arrested her husband on a complaint from her family in Bandipora district. Shoukat Ahmad Malla, the husband of the deceased Masrat Jan, was arrested from his house at Pothushahi, this morning, a police officer said on Tuesday.

Source: http://www.hindu.com/2009/10/14/stories/2009101457640300.htm

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Al Qaeda funding disrupted, but Taliban much stronger: US

October 14, 2009

The US government claims to have made major strides in disrupting Al Qaeda's funding network, but believes several other terrorist groups, particularly the Taliban in Afghanistan, are much stronger financially than Al Qaeda.

These other terror groups continue to pose "serious threats" to the United States and its interests around the world, Assistant Treasury Secretary David S. Cohen told a joint conference of the American Banking Association and American Bar Association Monday.

Al Qaeda may be in its worst financial shape in years, but the terrorist group still has the capability to refill its coffers quickly, he said and a more thorough dismantling of its fundraising network will require greater cooperation from the international community.

Terrorist organisations, including Al Qaeda and the Taliban, also appear to be turning increasingly to conventional crime to finance their operations, he said.

The Taliban has raised money by extorting poppy farmers and heroin operators and smugglers, as well as demanding protection payments from legitimate businesses, he said.

The Treasury Department - by targeting donors, fundraisers and facilitators of terrorist groups in the US and abroad - has been able to partially choke the flow of money to such outfits as Al Qaeda, the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah, Cohen said.

"These targeted financial measures, used alongside our other national security and law enforcement tools, have had a significant disruptive impact on terrorist-financing networks," he said.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/208751/Al-Qaeda-funding-disrupted-but-Taliban-much-stronger-US.html

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US to deploy 13,000 more troops in Afghanistan: Report

Oct 13, 2009

Washington: The US, in an unannounced move, is deploying 13,000 more troops in Afghanistan beyond the additional 21,000 figure made public by President Barack Obama.

The additional troops are primarily support forces comprising Engineers, Medical personnel, Intelligence experts and Military Police, Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

"Their deployment has received little mention by officials at Pentagon and the White House, who had spoken more about the combat troops who have been sent to Afghanistan", the paper said.

These troops are being sent as Obama is still reviewing request for 40,000 more battle troops by his top commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, who said without this fresh deployment, the war against Taliban and al-Qaeda would be hard to turn around.

With these fresh inductions, the deployment of additional troops in Afghanistan would increase to 34,000, but it will not change the decision to have the total number of troops in that country at 68,000, more than double the number there when Bush left office, the Post said.

The paper said the army and the marine corp were finding it hard to meet these new requirements as also to find still more forces if the President okays McChrystal's request.

The US army has 17 brigades deployed worldwide, including 11 in Iraq and five in Afghanistan. While, marine corp has one expeditionary brigade in Afghanistan, the paper said quoting Pentagon data.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528551/

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Pak website spoofs Musharraf, Zardari and Taliban

Oct 13, 2009

Islamabad: Pakistan continues to be the favourite subject of spoof with writers, who now claim that former President Pervez Musharraf is "living above a kebab shop" in London and President Asif Ali Zardari has decided to take a "brief five-day break from his 360-day foreign tour".

A spoof on "how the mighty have fallen" gives details of Musharraf’s whereabouts. "And now here he is in London slumming it above a street kebab shop-cum-shisha bar...," goes the write-up on a humour website.

It states that Musharraf called a press conference "hastily" to tell the world about his new address.

The other 'breaking story' put out by Pakistan’s own version of thespoof.com states that in a "surprising move, the office of the Presidency announced that President Zardari will embark on an epic five-day domestic tour of the country, in attempt to reign in domestic donors and to find new friends of Pakistan."

"President Zardari’s trip to Pakistan will take place in between his upcoming trips to Dubai and China," reads the story on themailatimes.com.

"During his five-day tour, President Zardari will spend most of the time at the President’s House, meeting important politicians and businessmen."

Zardari, according to the spoof, also tackled questions about "wasting millions of dollars on exuberant trips". "Toh, what’s the matter? I don’t need to be physically present to make important decisions."

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528556/

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Pak disappointed over Indiaís reaction to Saeed verdict

Rezaul H Laskar

October 14, 2009

Pakistan on Tuesday has expressed disappointment over India’s reaction to the Lahore High Court quashing cases registered under Anti-terror Act against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, saying that questioning decisions made by the country’s independent judiciary was not a wise step.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told State-run PTV that India has acknowledged that the quashing of cases against the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief by the High Court has no link with the Mumbai attacks. These are totally different cases. He added.

Pakistan’s judiciary, like the judiciary in other democratic nations, is totally independent, said Basit. India’s move to question the decisions made by the independent judiciary of Pakistan is not a wise step, he said.

The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered authorities to quash two First Information Reports registered against Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act for allegedly inciting people to wage jehad against the US, Israel and India and for seeking funds for the JuD.

The court issued its order after the Assistant Advocate General of Punjab province acknowledged that the JuD had not formally been banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/208778/Pak-disappointed-over-India%E2%80%99s-reaction-to-Saeed-verdict.html

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Aleppo's lessons for Arab states

October 14, 2009

The boost in ties between Turkey and Syria announced on Tuesday following the meeting of high level officials from both countries in Aleppo marks a milestone in relations between the two countries, a remarkable achievement for two parties who in the not too distant past were at the brink of war. The newly formed “cooperation council” saw foreign, defence, economy, oil, electricity, agriculture and health ministers from both countries meet to discuss improving ties. Such high level talks between Damascus and Ankara are an extremely significant development, one which may well have a positive effect on the whole region if its lessons are not ignored. 

The meetings with Syria represent the latest chapter of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s “zero conflict with neighbours” policy – an approach which has seen Turkey seek to improve relations with all antagonists in close proximity to it. The recognition by Davutoglu that if Turkey aspires to be a prosperous, stable and democratic nation, it cannot ignore unrest around it, serves as a powerful example to other states in the region hindered by seemingly unsolvable disputes with their neighbours.

Tuesday’s talks, together with preceding meetings, have created an atmosphere of trust between Syria and Turkey which would have seemed an improbable feat not so long ago. It seems not so improbable now, however, that other quarrelling powers in the region cannot approach their own feuds in the same manner.

By engaging in dialogue with Syria, Armenia and with its own Kurdish population, Turkey has began to undo years of discord that has existed since colonial powers carved the Middle East to serve their own interests. It has shown that even the most vitriolic of disputes can show signs of progress through an active and reconciliatory foreign policy. The product of addressing the contentious issues that existed between the two nations is an achievement which few in the region have been able to match. 

Full Report at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=17&article_id=107484

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Hillary’s Iranian Agenda

14 October 2009

The US decision to shelve its missile defence shield in eastern Europe seems to have paid off, in the short term at least.

Visiting Russia for the first time after becoming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton seems happy with the direction of discussions held with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. While both Russia and US pledged to work closely together to ensure that Iran does not transgress international commitment on its nuclear programme, they retain serious difference of opinion on the issue of sanctions.  Clinton, who is also due to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, comes armed with a multifaceted agenda for talks. The key issues of course revolve around Iran’s nuclear programme and strategic arms control.

The credit for the recent thawing of Moscow’s relations with the US should be laid at the door of President Barack Obama, who has been pushing for a reset in relations with Russia.  Besides entering into a new agreement over strategic arms control, the US is striving for stronger Russian support in pressuring Iran to abandon its alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapons programme.  Russian position towards Iran has so far deviated from the hard stance taken by the US. Moscow has repeatedly opposed imposition of international sanctions against Iran, especially the — for now postponed — Security Council sanctions on Iran’ soil industry.  Iran, having luckily escaped these just in time, recently held negotiations with US and other world powers.  Full Report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2009/October/editorial_October28.xml&section=editorial&col=

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Asylum-seekers threaten to blow up boat in Indonesia: report

October 14, 2009

About 260 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers detained in Indonesia have threatened to blow up their wooden boat if the navy forces them to disembark, an Australian report said on Wednesday.

A spokesman told The Australian newspaper that the group, which was stopped en route to Australia, would explode gas canisters and leap into the ocean to avoid being held in Indonesia.

"We have gas canisters and we have told the navy we will blow up the boat and jump into the ocean if they try to force us off the boat," the man, who gave his name as Alex, was quoted as saying.

The boat was stopped off Krakatoa island early on Sunday following a reported direct intervention by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd involving talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Source: http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=89028

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United Nations in Pakistan mourns slain staff members

October 14, 2009

The United Nations on Tuesday held a memorial service at a local hotel for five staff members killed when a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at one of their Islamabad offices.

Four Pakistanis and an Iraqi were killed last Monday when a man dressed in military uniform breached strict security measures and detonated explosives in the lobby of the heavily fortified World Food Programme office.

About 500 diplomats, Pakistan government officials, senior UN officials and staff members gathered for the memorial on Tuesday.

“The victims of this senseless attack were working tirelessly on the frontlines of hunger and human suffering to assist the poor and vulnerable of Pakistan,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement read out at the memorial.

“Their selfless work to feed the hungry should not have been dangerous. It was part of the UN’s mission to aid those in need... We will not be deterred by this senseless violence. Our resolve will stay strong.” The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement has claimed responsibility for the bombing and vowed further attacks.

Full Report at: http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=203169

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New Delhi confident of finding Kashmir ‘solution’

14 Oct, 2009

SRINAGAR, Oct 13: New Delhi was “confident” of finding a solution to the anti-India campaign in occupied Kashmir, Indian home minister said on Tuesday, promising to start a dialogue with the Kashmiri politicians soon.

“I am confident that within a short period of time we will be able to come up with some solution to the larger political problem of (Jammu and Kashmir),” Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

“We will have a dialogue with every section of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the minister said, referring to both pro- and anti-India politicians.

He made the comments as he addressed his ruling Congress party’s top functionaries in occupied Srinagar.

Moderate politicians opposed to Indian rule have held several rounds of talks with New Delhi to find a solution to the ongoing campaign that has claimed more than 47,000 lives by an official count.

But Kashmiri hawks, who have the backing of militants, are opposed to the talks and have demanded tripartite discussions involving India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership.—AFP

Source: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/new-delhi-confident-of-finding-kashmir-solution-409

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Iraqi shoe thrower arrives in Switzerland

14 Oct, 2009

GENEVA, Oct 13: The Iraqi journalist who served nine months in prison for throwing his shoes at US President George Bush arrived on Tuesday in Geneva, where he wants to set up a foundation to help civilian victims of the war.

Swiss television showed Muntazer al Zaidi, whose outburst during a Baghdad news conference last December brought worldwide fame, arriving from Beirut at Geneva’s Contain airport.

He was met by his brother Maythen and Geneva lawyer Mauro Poggia, who told the television Zaidi had withdrawn his request for asylum in Switzerland in favour of a 90-day tourist visa.

The multiple-entry visa will allow him to travel within the border-free Schengen area in Europe. Schengen includes all European Union states apart from Britain and Ireland, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.—Reuters

Source: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/iraqi-shoe-thrower-arrives-in-switzerland-409

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UNITED NATIONS: Ban calls for protecting women’s rights

14 Oct, 2009

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 13: Fifteen years since a UN conference vowed to put gender equality and reproductive rights at the centre of development, the number of maternal deaths from childbirth – “a staggering toll of more than half a million women each year” – has not changed, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday.

“This may be a time of global financial turmoil and economic downturn, but it is not a time to renege on our promises to protect and invest in women –for their sake and for the sake of our collective future,” he told a General Assembly session commemorating the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, and appealed for appropriate funding.

Full Report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/ban-calls-for-protecting-womens-rights-409

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Pakistan and China vow to fight terror together

October 14, 2009

Gilani, Hu agree to strengthen collaboration in counter-terrorism, defence

PM says China will support Pak strategy on security issues

BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Tuesday agreed to strengthen collaboration in defence and counter-terrorism, and to formulate a comprehensive strategy on security-related issues.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chinese President Hu Jintao, in a meeting at the Peoples Great Hall of China, reiterated both countries’ desire for enhanced cooperation in countering threats from extremists, and vowed to increase their strategic partnership. Gilani told journalists he shared complete unanimity with President Hu on all issues of bilateral and strategic importance.

Support: “President Hu said China will support Pakistan if it devises a comprehensive strategy on security-related issues,” the premier said. During their meeting, both leaders agreed the two nations were opposed to terrorism and would continue to cooperate with each other, with increased sharing of information and closer collaboration to counter threats. The president noted Pakistan was playing its role in countering terrorists and said greater cooperation was required to counter terrorism. Both leaders also expressed their firm resolve to strengthen bilateral ties in economic, defence and energy sectors.

Full Report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\14\story_14-10-2009_pg7_1

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Afghan refugee camps in Balochistan are Taliban breeding ground

October 14, 2009

* Western intelligence officials believe senior Taliban leaders among Afghans refugees living around Quetta

LAHORE: The first place to look for the Taliban in Balochistan is the Afghan refugee camps that were set up after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, which the West claims is the new breeding ground for the Taliban.

The Times said in a report on Tuesday that the camps have provided many of the Taliban’s first recruits in 1994.

The author of the report said the he was introduced to Hafiz Bismillah in Panjpiri — 60 miles northwest of Quetta.

A madrassa teacher in his mid-30s, Bismillah openly admitted that he had recently returned from fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“It is a part of our religious duty to participate in the jihad,” he told the paper. “We never had so many young people coming to join the war.” Officials told the paper they believed there were thousands more like him in the camps in Balochistan, which is home to about one million Afghans.

They said the situation was not much different in Quetta, where Afghans now accounted for about 30 percent of the population of 1.7 million, and outnumber Pakistanis in some neighbourhoods.

Men wearing the Taliban’s signature black turbans walk around its bazaars and alleyways and regularly seek treatment in its hospitals, they said, adding that many had Pakistani passports.

Full Report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\14\story_14-10-2009_pg7_8

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Lebanon Army Arrests Three Fath Al-Islam Activists Who Planned To Strike At Army

2009-10-13

The Lebanese army recently arrested three activists from the Fath Al-Islam organization. The three, who are Palestinians, belonged to a cell that was monitoring Lebanese army bases and planning to strike them.

The three were charged with belonging to an armed organization that planned terror operations and sought to harm army bases, and with acquiring explosives without permission.

The cell to which the three belonged included another five activists, among them two Syrians, and was headed by the organization's emir in the 'Ein Al-Hilweh camp, Osama Al-Shihabi.

Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Lebanon, October 13, 2009

Source: http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/20873.htm

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Threat Persists in Yemen, Somalia

OCTOBER 13, 2009

While Washington obsessed Monday over President Barack Obama's plans in Afghanistan, as well as over a new burst of violence next door in Pakistan, some unsettling news arrived to remind everyone that the extremist threat isn't limited to those troubled countries.

Reports from Yemen said government forces had killed 59 Shiite rebels in the country's north. The death toll is a sign of the intensity of the government's current fight against a Shiite revolt that has forced tens of thousands of Yemenis out of their homes.

Combine that revolt in the north with separatist unrest in the south and a growing al Qaeda movement, all in the Arab world's poorest country bordering Saudi Arabia, and you have a recipe for the kind of incubator for trouble that Afghanistan became before the 9/11 attacks. Lest we forget, barely a year has passed since al Qaeda forces struck the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

Meanwhile, a second nation, this one in Africa, is moving much further down the track toward failed-state status and becoming a haven for Islamic extremists. It's Somalia, where Islamist militias are not only battling a virtually powerless central government, but over the weekend threatened to advance across the border to hit targets in Kenya as well.

Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed visited the U.S. in recent days and warned that "a foreign idea" is taking hold in his country; he didn't mention foreign terrorists, but that's what he meant. The State Department's most recent terrorism report says that al Qaeda "elements" are benefiting "from safe haven in the regions of southern Somalia."

Full Report at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125537463884180867.html

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Kashmiri youth find themselves new models

Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar, October 14, 2009

When models walked the ramp in Srinagar on Sunday evening, no one in the predominantly youthful audience could recall a similar event ever having been held in their strife-torn city.

“Certainly not since the insurgency began in 1989,” said Shekh Imran Bashir, one of the organisers of the fashion show.

The backdrop of the open-air theatre at Zabarwan Park, where the show was held, were the Zabarwan Hills, the very spot at which a four-day long encounter between the police and militants ended last Friday. One militant was killed and two jawans injured.

But the incident was the last thing on the minds of those watching. Though the 11 models who participated were all amateurs — and in some cases, the inexperience  showed — the audience, specially the women present, cheered them wildly.

All the models were male. “We could not get any women to participate this time,” admitted Bashir. “But we hope they will do so in future.”

Even so, he had reason to be pleased. “I was told I’d get threatening calls from militants,” he said. “I feared people would throw eggs and tomatoes. But nothing of the sort happened.”

“My sole intention is to promote fashion as an industry here,” said Bashir. “We have such handsome models but they never get the exposure or the support they deserve.”

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/News/srinagar/Kashmiri-youth-find-themselves-new-models/Article1-465022.aspx

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Syria praises Turks for dropping drill with Israel

13 October 2009

DAMASCUS: Syria praised Turkey Tuesday for cancelling international military exercises that were to include Israel, saying it amounted to a

Reprimand for the country's occupation of Arab lands.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas also applauded the Turkish decision, saying other Muslim nations should take similar steps, including to cut ties with Israel.

Israeli defence officials have said the international military exercises, which were supposed to be held this week in Turkey and to include the U.S. and NATO, were scrapped over Turkish opposition to Israel's participation.

Initially, Turkey said the reason was not political. But its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, later linked the cancellation to Israel's war in the Gaza Strip last December and January.

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday: `we encourage such cancellations as long as Israel is continuing its aggression and occupation (of Arab territories).'' He made the comment during a press conference with Turkey's visiting foreign minister.

In Lebanon, a senior Hamas official, Ali Baraka, said Turkey's actions underlined its

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-praises-Turks-for-dropping-drill-with-Israel/articleshow/5121361.cms

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Report: Hundreds detained by Israel without charge

By Paula Hancocks

(CNN) -- Salwa Salah was 16 years old when she was arrested by Israeli forces and jailed for seven months.

To this day she says she does not know her crime and is struggling to get her life back on track.

She was released shortly before her final school exams but was unable to catch up and now has to re-sit before she can go to university.

Salah was held under administrative detention - detention without charge or trial. It is legal under international law which permits its use only in exceptional cases to protect the security of a state.

But human rights groups say Israel abuses this right.

A report released Wednesday by human rights groups B'Tselem and HaMoked has called on Israel to release the detainees or charge them. They say there are currently 335 Palestinians being held under administrative detention, three of them women, one a minor.

When asked about Salah's case, Israeli prosecutors gave CNN the court minutes which read, "It has been shown that the prisoner was involved in planning military operations very close to the time that she was detained.

Salah insists she is a schoolgirl and not a terrorist but no further information was given to her lawyer. Much of the evidence in these cases remains secret.

Sahar Francis, a lawyer from Ademeer human rights association said: "It is submitted to the military judge and me as a lawyer. I don't have access to this file so actually I can't defend my clients properly since I don't know what the exact suspicion against my client is."

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/10/14/israel.detention/index.html

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Dhaka to continue with advanced time indefinitely

October 14, 2009

Bangladesh has decided that the clock advanced by an hour to make maximum use of daylight hours as an energy saving measure would continue for an indefinite periodí.

The working day dawned early throughout the country on Tuesday with offices and educational institutions advancing their routine.

Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/208776/Dhaka-to-continue--with-advanced-time-indefinitely.html

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Effect of Israel's war on women in besieged Gaza

By Stephen Lendman, October 14, 2009

Israel killed 118 women, injured 825 during Gaza offensive, but those who lived still suffer.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' (PCHR) new report, titled "Through Women's Eyes," highlights "the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead" and the ongoing siege, including 12 case study examples "through the victims' words." Several are discussed below.

In patriarchal Palestinian society, women traditionally are caregivers while men typically head households and are the main breadwinners. As a result, when widows are thrust into this role, they're often victimized by cultural, social and economic discrimination and marginalization. In Gaza today, it's hard for women to get by alone, so widows must either live with family members or remarry. The alternative is a hard struggle alone, something most Palestinian women try to avoid, but post-conflict many have no choice.

Besides the vast destruction from Operation Cast Lead claiming over 1,400 lives and thousands more wounded, 118 women were killed and 825 injured, in many cases severely enough to make it hard for them to get by. The majority of victims were in Northern Gaza and Gaza City where the heaviest fighting and bombardment occurred. PCHR listed the names of the dead by age, their address, date and place of attack, and date of death.

Full Report at: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=34958

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/shah-rukh-khan-to-produce-and-act-in-a-film-on-facebook/d/1911

 

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