New Age Islam
Tue Dec 01 2020, 07:28 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Sheikh Hasina visits Ajmer Shareef

Google isn't carrying water for jihad: Really?

Gurdwara attacked in Malaysia

Afghanistan explosion 'kills 15'

Taliban may be descended from Jews

US editor at Palestinian agency fights Israel entry ban

Two top Hizbul militants, jawan killed in Kashmir encounter

India, Bangla working on extradition treaty: Hasina

Lahore bus, Agra summit were my ideas: Jaswant Singh

'Pakistanis want peace, not Pakistan government'

AfPak war claimed over 12,500 lives in Pakistan during 2009

US to take over main role in southern Afghanistan: Report

Obama Wants $33 Billion More for Wars

'Senior' al-Qaeda militant arrested outside Karbala

Money talks in Iran as protest notes gain currency

Pakistan Taliban deny US drone strike killed top leader

Expedite 26/11 probe, Krishna tells Pak

12 kids killed in mishap, blast in Pak

Yemen warns citizens against hiding al-Qaeda members

Israel apologises to Turkey over snub

Egyptian Christians feel vulnerable after deadly shooting spree

Yemen 'must resist foreign forces'

BSF nabs seven Pakistani fishermen in Kutch

US steps up missile attacks on 'ally' Pakistan

Indian sponsored Taliban target CIA

I have nothing to hide on Iraq war: Gordon Brown

Afghans shot down while protesting US occupation

Pakistan concerned over "massive" Indian arms build-up

China gives first response to Google threat

Sarkozy says burka 'not welcome' in France

India wary of military role in Afghanistan

Islamabad biased in action against Taliban: US

UN mission chief may be dead: France

Death sentences for Iraq bombers behind huge attack

Sohrab back to haunt Andhra Pradesh cops

Yemen receives 53 Somali refugees amid fears of Qaida infiltrators

Twist of Events as Kenyan Court Goes to Muslim Cleric’s Aid

Compiled by: New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/sheikh-hasina-visits-ajmer-shareef/d/2381

 

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Sheikh Hasina visits Ajmer Shareef

Lokpal Sethi | Ajmer

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Ajmer on Wednesday to pay her obeisance at the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.

Accompanied by her sister Rehana, some family members and senior officials of her Government, Hasina was received at the dargah by office bearers of the dargah Committee and Anjuman Committee, the body of Khadims, at Buland Darwaza. She was welcomed with beating of nagadas to announce the visit by a dignitary.

Kalimuddin Chisti, a Khadim, took Hasina and her family members inside the main dargah, where they offered chadar and jiyarat (prayer) before the mazar of Garib Nawaz, as the Khwaja is called by his devotees.

Kalimuddin Chisti told The Pioneer that this was Hasina’s third visit to the Dargah. Last time, she visited in 2006 and had promised to visit again if her mannat (wish) was fulfilled.

Security arrangements were tightened in and around the dargah while adjoining areas were cordoned off since morning. No one was allowed into the dargah for three hours as part of the security arrangements. Hasina and her party arrived in two helicopters and drove straight to the dargah, where the Bangladesh Prime Minister spent about 45 minutes.

Earlier, she was received at Sanganer Airport by Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior officials of the Government. From Jaipur, they boarded two helicopters to reach Ajmer by around 11.30 am.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229118/Sheikh-Hasina-visits-Ajmer.html

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Google isn't carrying water for jihad: Really?

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Google isn't carrying water for jihad. That's what the company says, and they're sticking to it. Still, many Internet surfers wonder: Is there something bad about Islam the Google search engine doesn't want you to know?

Google has been accused of pandering to Muslims by censoring negative search suggestions in its main search box. Type "Christianity is" in the search bar, and Google suggests helpful endings to your query, such as "not a religion," "a lie," "a cult," and so on. Google makes similar adverse suggestions for Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism, among other religions. But type "Islam is" - and all you get is a big blank bar.

Google says there is no Islamic kowtowing involved, and that the omissions are a result of a program bug. If so, the bug is pretty selective. Typing "Muslims are" gives the same blank result. A Google representative said that the company is "working to fix it as quickly as [they] can."

There's no concrete proof that Google is intentionally pandering to Islam, though the explicit bias in its search results might reflect the personal biases of a programmer working for the company who slipped the bug in. The results could also be another example of the peculiarities that can arise in highly complex systems that even experts do not fully understand.

There are some results that vindicate Google of the charge that it's taking one for Allah's team. Google video hosts Geert Wilders' 17-minute film "Fitna," which was widely denounced by Muslim activists for claiming to demonstrate how the Koran motivates Muslims to commit violent acts. If it were Google corporate policy to be overly sensitive to Muslim feelings, this instructional video would have been taken down long ago.

The alleged Islamic bug does not noticeably affect the results of actual Google searches. For example, if you search "Islam is a false religion," a whopping 732,000 hits pop up. Searching "Muslims are terrorists" yields 736,000 hits. Nor does the bug defend all aspects of the Muslim religion. A search beginning "Mohammed was" will generate suggestions like "a Christian," "a false prophet," "a murderer" and "a fraud." Likewise, typing in "The Koran is" generates "false," "a lie," "wrong" and "not the word of God."

The future tense is likewise unaffected. Typing "Islam will be" gives two search suggestions: "defeated" or "destroyed." For some reason, these results are notably absent for searches on Saudi Google.

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/14/google-jihad/?feat=home_headlines

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Gurdwara attacked in Malaysia

January 14th, 2010

Tags: damaging, Gurdwara, Hurled stones, Kuala Lumpur, Muslim-majority, naughty youngsters, religions tensions

Kuala Lumpur, Jan. 13: Unidentified persons hurled stones at a gurdwara here damaging a front window of the building, adding to religious tensions over a series of attacks on churches in this Muslim-majority country.

The police on Wednesday termed the incident as the handiwork of “naughty youngsters” and said that they are looking into the matter.

Several volunteers were inside the gurdwara when stones were thrown at around 6.45 pm, they said, adding no one was hurt in the incident.

A near by Telecom building was too pelted with stones, they said. Several volunteers inside the gurdwara heard some noise and went out to check but they found no one, gurdwara president, Mr Gurdial Singh, was quoted as saying by the local daily New Strait Times.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/gurdwara-attacked-malaysia-952

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Afghanistan explosion 'kills 15'

An explosion in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan has killed at least 15 people, police officials say.

Several more were reported to have been injured in the blast in the main town of Dihrawud in the province of Uruzgan.

It was not clear whether the attack was a suicide bombing or a bomb blast, officials said.

On Wednesday, a UN report said the number of civilians killed in violence in 2009 was higher than in any year since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

Civilian casualties rose by 14% in 2009 compared with 2008, the UN Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) reported.

"Fifteen people, all civilians, have been killed and 13 others are wounded," Uruzgan province police chief Juma Gul Hemat said after the attack in Dihrawud.

"It was a blast in a crowded market, but at this moment we don't know if it was a suicide bombing or just a bomb blast," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8458806.stm

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Taliban may be descended from Jews

The ethnic group at the heart of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan may descended from their Jewish enemy, according to researchers in India.

 By Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Experts at Mumbai's National Institute of Immunohaematology believe Pashtuns could be one of the ten "Lost Tribes of Israel".

The Israeli government is funding a genetic study to establish if there is any proof of the link.

 An Indian geneticist has taken blood samples from the Pashtun Afridi tribe in Lucknow, Northern India, to Israel where she will spend the next 12 months comparing DNA with samples with those of Israeli Jews.

The samples were taken in Lucknow's Malihabad area because it was regarded as the only place safe enough to conduct such a controversial project for Muslims.

Shanaz Ali a senior research fellow, will lead the study at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Tel Aviv.

There are an estimated 40 million Pashtuns around the world including more than 14 million in Afghanistan and 28 million in Pakistan, mainly in the North West Frontier Province and Tribal areas but also with a strong presence in Karachi.

Many have grown up with stories of their people being "Children of Israel". According to legend, they are descended from the Ephraim tribe which was driven out of Israel by the Assyrian invasion in around 700BC.

Evidence of ancient Jewish settlement has been found in Heart, close to Afghanistan's border with Iran, where a graveyard contains tombs inscribed in Hebrew. The Afghan capital Kabul also has a centuries-old synagogue which has long been abandoned.

Navras Aafreedi, a leading researcher on the Lost Tribes of Israel, said the DNA investigation could have major modern repercussions.

"It could be seen as scientific validation of traditional belief about the Israelite origin of [Pashtuns] and can have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large," he said.

Last year, The Daily Telegraph revealed that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad family may have been Jewish.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/6967224/Taliban-may-be-descended-from-Jews.html

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US editor at Palestinian agency fights Israel entry ban

Malsin is awaiting the a court ruling on his deportation

A US citizen working as an editor for a Palestinian news agency is appealing against Israel's refusal to allow him into the West Bank.

Jared Malsin has been detained since he returned from a holiday in Prague on Tuesday evening, his colleagues said.

Israeli security officials said security concerns had arisen when he was questioned and the Interior Ministry had refused him entry.

A Tel Aviv court was due to hear his appeal on Thursday.

Maan News agency said the decision could "only be explained as a retaliatory measure for his reporting on Palestine". Mr Malsin is the English language editor for the news agency.

But Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev denied that the decision to expel Mr Malsin was related to his work.

"Allegations that this is directed against journalism is simply absurd," he said.

The Interior Ministry was unavailable for comment.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, called the decision "unacceptable".

"Israel cannot hide behind the pretext of security to sideline journalists who have done nothing more than maintain an editorial line that the authorities dislike," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the New York based organisation's co-ordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr Malsin and his partner, Faith Rowold, both in their twenties, were detained and interrogated for eight hours on trying to re-enter Israel after a holiday in Prague, Maan said.

They were then told they would be expelled at 0600 on Thursday morning, but were later granted a court hearing and the expulsion delayed.

George Hale, one of Mr Malsin's colleagues at Maan, said they had both been in the region for two years, Mr Malsin working for Maan and Ms Rowold volunteering for the Lutheran Church in Jerusalem.

Maan claimed to have seen "interrogation transcripts" showing Mr Malsin's detention was linked to his work as a journalist.

Mr Hale said Mr Malsin was well known to Israeli military and government officials, who he spoke to regularly, and had even been offered access to Israeli military facilities in the West Bank.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8458566.stm

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Two top Hizbul militants, jawan killed in Kashmir encounter

PTI, 14 January 2010

SRINAGAR: Two self-styled commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit and a jawan were killed in a 15-hour-long gunbattle between security forces and militants that ended this morning in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

Two personnel of Special Operations Group of police were also injured in the encounter that broke out around 6pm last evening in Khazanbal, 110 kms from here.

Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Keshev Ram, told PTI that police assisted by troops of 62 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned the village last evening following specific information about the presence of militants in a house.

As the joint search parties zeroed in around the house, the militants opened fire injuring Surinder Singh of 62 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Police Officer Zahoor Ahmad. Both were rushed to hospital where Surinder Singh succumbed to injuries.

In the retaliatory fire, one of the militants was killed last evening. Another militant, who engaged the security forces till 9am this morning, was subsequently gunned down. The slain militants were identified as Tahir and Adil.

Ram said two AK rifles, several grenades, an IED and some rounds of ammunition were recovered from the militants. He described the killing of the two commanders as a "major success" as the two were involved in the killings of civilians in South Kashmir.

The killing of the two militants comes close on the heels of gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Riyaz Ahmad Deedad at Abhama, 60 kms from here, in Pulwama district on Tuesday.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Two-top-Hizbul-militants-jawan-killed-in-Kashmir-encounter/articleshow/5444117.cms

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India, Bangla working on extradition treaty: Hasina

TNN, 14 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that the two countries are in the process of finalising an extradition treaty and that Bangladesh would go to any extent to cooperate with India over the issue of security and terrorism.

Paving the way for an extradition treaty, the two countries had on Monday signed three treaties on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, mutual transfer of convicted prisoners, and cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, organised crime and illegal drug trafficking.

“To end terrorism, we want to cooperate. We can go to any extent to cooperate,” Sheikh Hasina told reporters, just before leaving for Ajmer, on the last day of her four-day visit to India. She, however, went on to say that the pacts already signed between the two countries were ‘‘enough’’ to combat terrorism. “For extradition treaty, discussions are going on. We have signed three agreements. Side by side, discussions are going on on the extradition treaty,” she added.

Hasina, however, did not specify how soon the extradition treaty could be firmed up but foreign minister Dipu Moni later said it could be concluded shortly given the friendly relations between the two countries.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Bangla-working-on-extradition-treaty-Hasina/articleshow/5442311.cms

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Lahore bus, Agra summit were my ideas: Jaswant Singh

IANS, 14 January 2010

LONDON: Former external affairs and defence minister Jaswant Singh says he wants to work for peace in South Asia, claiming it was he who put Atal Bihari Vajpayee on a bus to Lahore and thought of an India-Pakistan summit in Agra.

Singh also said he had no regrets over the controversial hostage swap he ordered to end the 1999 Christmas Eve-hijack of an Indian airlines flight to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and would do it all over again if faced with a similar dilemma.

"I will work for peace in South Asia - in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - and I want to expand the constituency of peace in our land," Singh told journalists after a launch of the international edition of his book "Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence" in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Declaring South Asia to be in its most "perilous state" in 62 years, Singh outlined his credentials as a regional peacemaker, saying it was he who came up with the idea that then Prime Minister Vajpayee travel to Lahore in a bus.

"Prime ministers don't ordinarily travel by bus. I suggested to Prime Minster Vajpayee - and it was in New York that this suggestion was made - that 'why not travel to Lahore by bus'.

"Vajpayee then addressed the citizens of Pakistan on television where he said: 'Bahut ho gaya, ab hamein khoon bahana bandh karna chahiye' (Enough is enough, let's end this bloodshed)."

Singh said he persisted with peacemaking even though he was "betrayed" by Pakistan's subsequent attack on Kargil and terrorist strikes on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and the parliament.

"We persisted. We invited (then Pakistan President) Pervez Musharraf to Agra. Vajpayee said, 'why are we doing this'? I said 'insaniyat ke liye (For the sake of humanity)'.

"Musharraf engaged in grandstanding in Agra - otherwise we would have achieved something," he added.

Singh also put up a strong defence of his decision to swap three jailed terrorists for 166 passengers of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 that was hijacked to Kandahar Dec 24, 1999 by a Pakistan-based terrorist group.

"Which is less wrong? To try and save 166 human lives or let three terrorists go? Any day, if I had the choice as a government minister, I'd work for saving lives. No government has the right to allow its own citizens to die."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Lahore-bus-Agra-summit-were-my-ideas-Jaswant-Singh/articleshow/5445089.cms

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'Pakistanis want peace, not Pakistan government'

14 January 2010

Activist Asma Jahangir talks to Meenakshi Sinha on peace

Many of us can say peace won't happen. It won't be easy. But without peace, Pakistan is not going forward, says Asma Jahangir, Chairperson, Human Rights commision of Pakistan.

Q) Where are India and Pakistan in terms of peace initiatives, especially after 26/11?

A) There are understandably very confusing, very negative feelings from the Indian side. On the Pakistani side, there's a lot of 'wish' for peace among political parties, yet there's a note of caution from the establishment, which is very worrying. The periodical chorus claiming Indian support to militants is a mere political gimmick. The establishment wants people to believe that India is somehow involved in militancy in FATA and that it's a fight against the enemy to divert attention. I think that's a mistake, have said so domestically. It is worrying.

Q) So the 'wish' for peace is mere rhetoric?

A) There's will as well, but Pakistan is going through a very difficult, fragile transition. I wouldn't even call it a democracy. It's headed by a very controversial person who comes with a lot of baggage. People have very strong views against the current Pakistan president. Pakistan's ordinary people are caught up in the struggle of daily life with no electricity or gas.

They understand that much of what's happening is because of the seven-year legacy left behind by a military dictator — one that rendered no development plans, encouraged nepotism and engaged in constant fights in Baluchistan. Stories of economic growth were all myth. The prime minister left as though he'd come to another country to rule and never looked back. We really have to put our act together.

Q) With Pakistan's internal strife and India's anger over 26/11 how do you see Indo-Pak peace initiatives evolving?

A) To be honest, unless and until we in Pakistan don't get our politics together and strive for stability, there'll be no major breakthrough in Indo-Pak relations. Nevertheless I believe that we should continue to negotiate and engage with each other, because when the engagement stops, we have to start from scratch when the right opportunity arrives. Similarly, raised tempers in India post Mumbai attack must be toned down with an understanding of Pakistan's internal strife. That said, when there's tension, people to people contact is great. We need to find an entry point for civil society to engage.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/amankiasharticleshow/5442746.cms

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AfPak war claimed over 12,500 lives in Pakistan during 2009

By James Cogan

14 January 2010

The Pak Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) report published on January 10 makes clear that the carnage from the fighting between the Pakistani military and anti-government Islamist and tribal militants more than matches that taking place in neighbouring US-occupied Afghanistan. In 2009, the low-level civil war in Pakistan cost the lives of at least 12,632 people and wounded another 12,815, as compared to an estimated 6,500 deaths in Afghanistan.

Last year, the military conducted operations across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA), where predominantly ethnic Pashtun tribes had been allowed to run their own affairs since independence in 1947. Following the launching of the so-called “war on terror” by the US, Washington has compelled Islamabad to repudiate tribal autonomy and use force to suppress Taliban Islamists providing assistance to the anti-US insurgency in Afghanistan. The result was a broad rebellion in the Swat Valley district of North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Islamist cells are now active in all the major cities, launching attacks on government and military targets, as well as conducting indiscriminate terrorist attacks against the civilian population.

Since late 2008 and particularly since the Obama administration took office in January 2009, the violence has escalated. Offensives were concluded early last year in the Swat Valley and the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand, leaving more than two million people displaced from their homes. In October, as many as 50,000 troops and paramilitary personnel were flung into an assault against Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan. Dozens of towns and villages were reduced to rubble by army bombardments and more than 400,000 civilians fled the agency. The Taliban has launched retaliatory attacks across the country.

The PIPS report provides a statistical estimate of the consequences. The military conducted 596 “operational attacks” against militants during 2009. At least 6,329 people were killed and 3,181 injured. There were also 209 incidents in which militants attacked the security forces, in which at least 1,163 people died and 780 were wounded. Another 1,209 people were killed and 787 wounded in fighting between Islamist rebels and pro-government tribal militias. There were also 130 incidents that PIPS classified as “political violence”, or assassinations, claiming a further 209 lives and injuring 370.

Full report at: Copyright © 1998-2010 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved

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US to take over main role in southern Afghanistan: Report

14 January 2010

LONDON: United States forces are to take over the main role in southern Afghanistan from the British in a shake-up of the region's command structure, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The arrangement for the vast area known as Regional Command South is to change following the arrival of some 21,000 US troops in the area last year, said the Times which cited an unnamed source.

Thousands more American servicemen are due to arrive in the south of the war-torn country in 2010, as part of a buildup in forces to battle a fierce Taliban insurgency.

The command currently switches every year between Britain, the Netherlands and Canada, with a permanent American deputy commander, the paper said.

This structure will be replaced by two division-sized commands of about 30,000 servicemen each in the southeast and southwest, according to the Times.

The new structure will be in place in the second half of this year, the paper said.

Britain's Ministry of Defence is considering whether to push for a rotating command in the southwest section that will include its forces in Helmand province, the report added.

Referring to this, a source told the paper that "the overall structure... is a work in progress."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-to-take-over-main-role-in-southern-Afghanistan-Report-/articleshow/5442733.cms

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Obama Wants $33 Billion More for Wars

by Anne Gearan and Anne Flaherty

The Obama administration plans to ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record request for $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned.

The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones, and its core missions will include both counterinsurgency and counterterror operations.

The administration's Quadrennial Defense Review, the main articulation of U.S. military doctrine, is due in Congress on Feb. 1. Top military commanders were briefed on the document at the Pentagon on Monday and Tuesday. They also received a preview of the administration's budget plans through 2015.

The four-year review outlines six crucial mission areas and spells out capabilities and goals the Pentagon wants to develop. The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with a goal of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expansion of Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.

The extra $33 billion in 2010 would go mostly toward expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Obama ordered an extra 30,000 troops for that war as part of an overhaul of the war strategy late last year.

The request for that additional funding will be sent to Congress at the same time as the record spending request for next year, making financing the war an especially difficult pill for some of Obama's Democratic allies to swallow.

Military officials have suggested that the 2011 request would top $700 billion for the first time, but the precise figure has not been made public.

U.S. officials outlined the coming requests on condition of anonymity because the budget request will not be sent to Congress until later this month.

© 2010 Associated Press

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/13-1

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'Senior' al-Qaeda militant arrested outside Karbala

by Raman Iyer

01/14/2010

Iraqi security forces Thursday said they had arrested a man suspected of being a "senior" al-Qaeda militant at the entrance to the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala.

Police in the city told the German Press Agency dpa that a tip from intelligence agencies had allowed them to catch Khaled al-Khanfisi, wanted by police on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks in Iraq.

Police said al-Khanfisi confessed "to committing crimes against civilians and soldiers and police" in the nearby city of Hilla during preliminary investigations.

Police did not specify what attacks al-Khanfisi had confessed to. A Dec 24 bomb blast in Hilla killed at least 14 Shiite pilgrims, including Babil provincial council member Nama Hamza al-Bakr, and injured 70 more during the Shiite holiday of Ashoura.

Security has been particularly tight in Karbala as police prepare for an annual pilgrimage over the next few days. The city is the site of several important Shiite shrines. (dpa)

http://www.topnews.in/law/senior-alqaeda-militant-arrested-outside-karbala-22705

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Money talks in Iran as protest notes gain currency

14 January 2010

DUBAI: Facing hard-line forces on the streets, Irans anti-government demonstrators have taken their protests to a new venue: writing Death to the Dictator and other opposition slogans on bank notes, while officials scramble to yank the bills from circulation.

Theres no way to calculate how much Iranian currency has been scribbled on or stamped with dissident messages in recent months in response to efforts to halt public demonstrations or choke off the internet and texting.

But its been enough to bring public denunciations from financial overseers as senior as the central bank governor . Another top regulator said banks will no longer accept defaced bills in an attempt to discourage merchants and others from taking the protest-tagged money.

What did they die for asked one message on a bill, referring to the estimated dozens of demonstrators killed in the wake of vote-rigging allegations in last summers re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Lately, the messages on the notes have included calls to join anti-government marches on February 11.

A top banking official, Ebrahim Darvishi, said that as of January 7, banks would no longer accept cash with graffiti or stamps, state media reported. Some bank notes with protest messages, however, were noticed days after the deadline, according to witnesses in Tehran . Last month, the Central Bank of Iran governor said writing slogans on money would be considered a crime.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Money-talks-in-Iran-as-protest-notes-gain-currency-/articleshow/5442563.cms

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Pakistan Taliban deny US drone strike killed top leader

The Pakistani Taliban have denied their leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US missile attack in the north-west.

At least 10 suspected militants died when missiles were fired at a target in the North Waziristan region near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials say.

A Taliban spokesman said Mehsud had been in the area but left before the alleged training camp was attacked. He is on a list of key militant targets.

Hundreds of people have been killed in drone attacks since mid-2008.

Top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, killed last August, was among them.

North and South Waziristan - where the Mehsud faction comes from - are major sanctuaries for militants.

Pakistan's army launched an offensive in South Waziristan in October and is under US pressure to do the same in North Waziristan.

The Pakistan Taliban spokesman confirmed that Hakimullah Mehsud had, until recently, been in the Pasalkot area where the compound was struck.

Drones can be remotely controlled from thousands of miles away

"But he had left the place already when the drone attack took place. He is alive and completely safe," Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told the AFP news agency by telephone.

The spokesman did not say when Hakimullah Mehsud left the area, which is to the east of the town of Razmak.

At least two missiles were fired by the drone into the sprawling compound which was used as a religious school in the past, officials say.

It is the latest in a series of drone attacks in North Waziristan since the beginning of the year.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8458354.stm

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Expedite 26/11 probe, Krishna tells Pak

TNN, 14 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Foreign minister S M Krishna on Wednesday spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphasizing the need for Pakistan to

expedite the probe into the Mumbai attacks and to keep India informed about the progress being made.

The MEA said while conveying his new year wishes to Qureshi, Krishna underscored the need for bringing the 26/11 perpetrators to justice ‘‘expeditiously’’.

‘‘He stressed the need for Pakistan to unravel the full conspiracy behind the Mumbai terrorist attack following the leads provided and available in Pakistan and requested that India be informed also of the results of such investigations,’’ said the MEA spokesperson.

Krishna also told Qureshi Pakistan needs to dismantle its terror infrastructure.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Expedite-26/11-probe-Krishna-tells-Pak/articleshow/5442290.cms

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12 kids killed in mishap, blast in Pak

Islamabad: At least 12 children were killed in Pakistan in two separate incidents of accident and terror on Wednesday, reports our Pakistan correspondent.

"Ten children and a driver were killed when their van was hit by a train at Musa Virk Railway gate in Mian Channu," a police official said. The Jafferabad Express coming from Quetta hit the school van standing at the railway crossing gate near Musa Virk at 8.30 am (local time).

Separately, in Tank, two children were killed and five others injured in a blast, police said.

The children were playing in a ground, where they found a hand grenade. They started playing with the device and it went off killing two children on the spot while five others were injured in the explosion," a police official said.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/12-kids-killed-in-mishap,-blast-in-pak.aspx

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Yemen warns citizens against hiding al-Qaeda members

Security has been stepped up in and around Yemen's capital, Sanaa

Yemen's authorities have warned citizens against hiding al-Qaeda militants and urged them to co-operate with security forces, state media say.

They quoted an unnamed security source as saying that "the war... against al-Qaeda elements is open whenever or wherever we find these elements".

The warning comes after the alleged leader of an al-Qaeda cell in Yemen was reportedly killed by security forces.

Yemen has vowed to pursue al-Qaeda unless it disarms and rejects violence.

The spotlight was turned on Yemen after the Yemen-based group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said it had carried out a failed bomb attack on a US-bound airliner on 25 December.

Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama said he had "no intention" of sending American troops to Yemen or Somalia to combat militant groups in those countries.

On Thursday, a group of Yemeni clerics issued a statement, warning that jihad, or holy war, was permitted in the case of any foreign military intervention in the volatile country.

On Wednesday, Yemen's provincial governor, Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi, said that Abdullah Mehdar had been killed in a fire-fight with security forces.

Mehdar is said to have been the leader of an al-Qaeda group in the province of Shabwa, 375 miles (600km) east of the capital Sanaa.

Analysts say al-Qaeda militants have been moving to Yemen after coming under pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and following a crackdown in Saudi Arabia.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8458710.stm

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Israel apologises to Turkey over snub

Israel has apologised to Turkey in an effort to defuse a row over the treatment of its envoy in Tel Aviv.

Israel's prime minister said he hoped this "would end the affair".

Ankara had threatened to withdraw the ambassador unless it received a formal apology from Israel by Wednesday evening.

The row began when the envoy was summoned to Israel's foreign ministry over a Turkish TV series portraying Israeli agents kidnapping babies.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Ambassador Oguz Celikkol to rebuke him over the fictional television series Valley of the Wolves, popular in Turkey.

Mr Ayalon ensured the ambassador was seated on a lower chair and removed the Turkish flag from the table.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the ambassador would "return on the first plane" on Thursday unless Israel issued a public apology.

In the letter of apology, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "again expressed his concern over the cooling of the ties between Israel and Turkey" and instructed officials "to find ways to prevent this trend", according to a statement from his office.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had received the apology it "wanted and expected in diplomatic terms."

But at a news conference he added that "Israel must put itself in order and must be more just and more on the side of peace in the region."

'Repeated provocation'

Footage of Mr Ayalon urging journalists to make clear the ambassador was seated on a low sofa, while the Israeli officials were in much higher chairs, has been widely broadcast by the Israeli media.

He is also heard pointing out in Hebrew that "there is only one flag" and "we are not smiling".

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8458085.stm

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Egyptian Christians feel vulnerable after deadly shooting spree

By Miret El Naggar

Jan. 14, 2010

Fear and bitterness linger in this leafy riverside town a week after three Muslim gunmen fired into a crowd of Christians who were leaving church, killing seven people and hurling Egypt into a new chapter of religious strife.

The day after the drive-by shootings Jan. 6 on the eve of the Coptic Christmas, Christians in Nag Hammadi smashed shop windows and torched cars before police stopped the rioting with tear gas and rubber bullets. The outrage of the tiny minority sect reverberated across the world, with the Vatican condemning the violence and protests springing up among Christian Egyptians as far away as California, New York and European capitals.

Now that the dead are buried and three suspects are in custody, what remains is a shattered Christian community that has little faith that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's U.S.-allied administration will protect them.

"Where is the government? The government should come and help my children. Who will protect their future?" asked Suzan Rasim, 27, whose husband was killed in the shooting spree, leaving her the sole provider for their two daughters.

Christians, mainly of the ancient Coptic denomination, comprise about 10 percent of Egypt's population of more than 80 million. The Nag Hammadi shootings were the deadliest assault on Copts in a decade, but they followed a steady buildup of religious unrest as Egypt's Christian minority grows increasingly alienated in a country where militant Islam has spread as an antidote to authoritarian rule, poverty and anger over the perception that Mubarak is an American lackey.

"This is a worrisome escalation of sectarian tensions," said Hossam Bahgat, the director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an independent Egyptian human rights group in Cairo. "We expect it to get much worse before it starts to improve."

Egypt's most prominent Islamic institutions were quick to denounce the shootings as criminal acts, and about 300 activists and politicians held a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court in Cairo last weekend to promote interfaith tolerance and condemn violence against fellow Egyptians.

Full report at: © 2010 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Yemen 'must resist foreign forces'

A group of Muslim leaders have said Yemenis have a religious duty to resist foreign military intervention in the country.

"In the event of any foreign party insisting on hostilities against, an assault on, or military or security intervention in Yemen, then Islam requires all its followers to pursue jihad," a statement signed by 150 clerics on Thursday said.

Foreign governments have voiced increasing concern about the situation in Yemen since an attempted attack on a US-bound airliner, after which al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed it had armed the alleged bomber.

On Wednesday, Carl Levin, the chairman of the US senate armed services committee, said that Washington should drones attacks air arids or covert operations against al-Qaeda fighters in the country.

"Most options ought to be on the table," short of invasion by US forces, the Democrat senator said.

The US and Britain have announced plans to fund Yemen's counter-terrorism police force, but Barack Obama, the US president, has explicitly ruled out sending in troops.

Verdict 'resonates'

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from Sanaa, said that the religious leaders' decision to oppose any miltary intervention would carry great weight in Yemen.

"In a highly conservative, highly religious society like Yemen, it is the word of the clerics and not that of the politicians that really resonates among the masses. And today the clerics of Yemen have announced their verdict."

The clerics said that their opinion was in line with that of most Yemenis and the Sanaa government, while also criticising the killing of foreigners in an apparent allusion to suspected al-Qaeda attacks.

The Yemeni government, which is also fighting a rebel group in the north of the country and a secessionist movement in the south, has said it is engaged in an "open war" to clear al-Qaeda fighters from its territory.

Full report at: Aljazeera.net/english 2003 - 2010 ©

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BSF nabs seven Pakistani fishermen in Kutch

Rathin Das | Ahmedabad

Security forces have arrested seven Pakistani intruders in a fishing boat which had crossed over into the Indian side near the Kori creek area of Kutch district.

A patrol party of the Border Security Force (BSF) had spotted a Pakistani boat at Suggar Nala, at the mouth of Kori creek on Tuesday evening, BSF Inspector General (Gujarat region) AK Sinha told The Pioneer on Wednesday.

“Our patrol party quickly intercepted the fishing boat and took the intruders into custody,” Sinha added. About a quintal of fish was recovered from the boat, named Al Sadique.

The BSF Inspector General said the fishermen claimed they had trespassed in the Indian side by mistake but the BSF intends to interrogate them further, to get the truth. All seven have been handed over to the local police.

The fishermen disclosed that they had started on their voyage from Karachi on December 30, according to Sinha.

With this latest arrest, the number of Pakistani boats intercepted in the past month has touched three while the total number of fishermen arrested has gone up to 23.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229073/BSF-nabs-seven-Pakistani-fishermen-in-Kutch.html

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US steps up missile attacks on 'ally' Pakistan

14 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: The United States has unleashed an unprecedented number of missile attacks by unmanned drones in northwest Pakistan over the last two weeks, including one on Thursday that officials said killed 12 alleged militants in what was once a religious school.

The barrage signals the Obama administration's intent to press ahead with a tactic that has killed scores of militants over the last two years but is also raising fresh anger in a nation allied with Washington.

On the ground, it means fear-filled, sleepless nights. "We have become used to the drone attacks, but now people are scared as they are coming every night," said Israr Khan Dawar, a 17-year-old student in Mir Ali, a town in the militant-riddled North Waziristan region.

"More noise means they are flying lower, and that means an attack is more likely," he added.

A UN investigator said the surge added to the need for the cloak of secrecy to be lifted from the CIA-run program, which has killed civilians as well as insurgents. Critics say the program does more harm than good because it fans anti-US sentiment and anger at Pakistan's own government.

The drones, piloted remotely from bases in the region or in the United States, are Washington's only known military response to al-Qaida and Taliban militants based in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border. The insurgents are behind attacks on American, NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan and officials say they are also planning attacks on Western targets.

In the two weeks beginning Dec. 31, eight drone strikes hit targets in North Waziristan, the most intense volley since the program began, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

The Thursday morning attack involved two missiles landing in a sprawling compound previously used as a religious school in the Pasalkot area of North Waziristan. The identities of the 12 dead were not immediately known, an army official and an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the record.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-steps-up-missile-attacks-on-ally-Pakistan/articleshow/5445367.cms

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Indian sponsored Taliban target CIA

S M. Hali

A SUICIDE attack on December 30, 2009 left 8 CIA personnel dead and at least 6 others wounded inside a US military facility, dealing a setback for President Barack Obama’s war strategy. The suicide bomber at year’s end managed to breach security at the Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost Province, and detonate his explosives vest. The blast, which US officials say occurred inside of a gym facility at the compound, killed 8 CIA personnel and injured 6, making it the deadliest attack against US intelligence officers since military operations began in 2001. The Taliban, which has handed US forces their deadliest year since “Operation Enduring Freedom” began in 2001, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indian intervention in Afghanistan is now delivering deadly results for its US allies. India, which had wooed the Northern Alliance, was rewarded after the US-led allies dealt a deadly blow to the Taliban regime in its invasion of Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance moved in to fill the vacuum. India was amply rewarded by being granted the contracts for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Indian spy agency RAW made full use of the opportunity and staffed its trade offices, construction sites and numerous consulates bordering Pakistan with RAW operatives. The aim of the RAW moles was to recruit Baloch and Pashtun youth, train them for insurgency and launch them in Balochistan, Swat and FATA. When its seditious and subversive activities started backfiring owing to the crackdown by Pakistan’s security agencies, India turned a new tack. It started to support Taliban to foment trouble for Pakistan. Proof Indian intervention in Swat was found after the Army action, when uncircumcised Taliban were discovered during the operation. Indian weaponry, highly sophisticated communication infrastructure of Indian origin, training manuals and Indian currency was discovered, leaving no doubt of RAW’s nefarious designs and machination. When the Taliban infrastructure was dismantled owing to the Pakistani Armed Forces operations in Swat, the Indian sponsored Taliban beat a hasty retreat to South Waziristan. With the onslaught of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, the Taliban found refuge in Afghanistan. However, Indian monetary sustenance, logistic support and training facilitation turned the Taliban into virtual Frankenstein, who have their own agenda. As part of their agenda they have turned upon the US forces and the lethal attack on the CIA was part of it. Since the United States began military operations in Afghanistan in 2001, there have been a total of 1,567 Coalition deaths. 2009 has witnessed the worst increase in deaths since the war began: In 2008, US forces in Afghanistan reported 155 killed soldiers; in 2009, that number has risen to 319. The statistic sheet looks equally grim for British troops fighting in Afghanistan: In 2008, 51 UK soldiers were killed; in 2009, the number of total fatalities jumped over 50 percent to 107. US officials have not released any information explaining how a suicide bomber managed to breach security, but one hypothesis is easily imaginable: it was an inside job, in the very worst sense of that description. In other words, the suicide bomber, who was identified as a member of the Afghan National Army officer, was probably working directly with Coalition forces.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0110/14/Editorial_Column/DMColumn.php#1

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I have nothing to hide on Iraq war: Gordon Brown

January 14, 2010

LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted he had “nothing to hide” over the 2003 Iraq war Wednesday, after a public inquiry heard of his key role in planning it.

Speaking a day after Tony Blair’s former communications chief gave evidence to the inquiry, Brown also said he stood by decisions taken by the British government in the run-up to the conflict.

The British leader faced angry calls in the House of Commons to give his evidence to the Iraq probe before this year’s general election, expected in May, even though its officials say he will not be called until afterwards.

“I have nothing to hide on this matter, I’m happy to give evidence,” Brown told lawmakers, adding that he would testify to the Chilcot inquiry when it wanted him to.

Asked if he was sorry for the war, Brown — who was Blair’s finance minister at the time — said: “I stand by the decisions we made”.

But he admitted that mistakes were made in the aftermath of the invasion, led by the United States but to which Britain was the second-biggest contributor of troops.

“I’ve already said that the reconstruction that was done after the war effort in Iraq was insufficient,” he said.

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=218712

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Afghans shot down while protesting US occupation

By Jerry White

14 January 2010

At least eight protesters were killed and 13 wounded in the southern Afghanistan town of Garmsir Wednesday, when security forces fired on a demonstration of several thousand people protesting against the US military. Protesters blamed the deaths on Afghan intelligence agents, backed up by US soldiers.

Demonstrators gathered in the central bazaar in response to reports that US soldiers had desecrated the Koran and abused Afghan women during a raid at a nearby village two nights before.

Protesters shouting “Death to America” and “Death to Kamal Khan,” the deputy police chief of Helmand Province, overturned cars, set fire to a school and attacked the local headquarters of the National Directorate of Security, the hated Afghan intelligence services, which works closely with US occupation forces. An intelligence officer and two policemen were reportedly killed in the clash.

Kamal Khan claimed NDS officers shot the protesters after the crowd began throwing rocks at them, and that no American forces were involved. US officials also denied that they had fired on protesters, although they said they had fired on and killed a “Taliban sniper,” who they claimed was firing on a nearby US base—Forward Operating Base Delhi, a few hundred yards away, during the protest.

Many demonstrators insisted that US troops had fired on them, along with the NDS agents. Haji Jan Gul, a demonstrator, told Al Jazeera, “people are very angry with the foreigners because they have desecrated our Holy Koran and also they fired on demonstrators. I repeat, many people were killed and wounded during the protest.”

The New York Times cited the comments of Jan Gul, a farmer whose son was killed in the protest. “The Americans are blaspheming the holy Koran and violating and disrespecting our culture. We cannot tolerate such behavior. We will defend our religion.”

Local officials immediately blamed the Taliban, saying Mullah Mohammed Naim, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Garmsir, had incited the protest. “The Taliban were provoking the people,” Khan told the Times. “They were telling the people that the Americans and their Afghan partners are killing innocent people, bombing their homes and destroying their mosques and also blaspheming their religion and culture.”

The US military issued a formal denial of any wrongdoing during the raid, which took place in a nearby town last Sunday night, and said it would investigate any accusations about desecrating the Koran. Regardless, popular anger is erupting against the escalation of military violence in Helmand and throughout Afghanistan, as a result of Obama’s surge and the increased deaths from drone attacks and military raids.

Full report at: Copyright © 1998-2010 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved

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Pakistan concerned over "massive" Indian arms buildup

REUTERS, 13 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expressed concern on Wednesday about a "massive" buildup of arms by old rival India, warning that it could jeopardise a regional balance.

The statement by the National Command Authority (NCA), which oversees Pakistan's nuclear weapons, came a day after Russian and Indian officials announced that Russia would lease its new Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine to India this year.

Relations between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have been strained since Pakistan-based militants raided Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people.

Recent reported remarks by India's army chief General Deepak Kapoor that his country was capable of fighting Pakistan and China at the same time, raised alarm in Pakistan.

The NCA said while Pakistan wanted to avoid an arms race, it would not compromise on its security interests and the imperative of maintaining a credible minimum nuclear deterrence.

"Massive inductions of advanced weapon systems including installation of ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles), build-up of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems ... tend to destabilise the regional balance," the NCA said in a statement.

"This relentless pursuit of military preponderance will have severe consequences for peace and security in South Asia as well as for the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan cannot be oblivious to these developments," it said.

The Indian army chief was also reported to have said in his recent remarks that India was capable of conducting conventional military strikes "under a nuclear umbrella".

"Such irresponsible statements reflected a hegemonic mindset, oblivious of dangerous implications of adventurism in a nuclearised context," said the NCA, which is headed by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-concerned-over-massive-Indian-arms-buildup/articleshow/5441681.cms

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China gives first response to Google threat

14 January 2010

China has said that foreign internet firms are welcome to do business there "according to the law".

The statement, from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, is Beijing's first response to Google's threat to stop filtering content in China.

Google said cyber-attacks originating in China aimed at rights activists, and increased web censorship, might force it to end its China operations.

Ms Jiang insisted the internet was "open" in China.

Google announced late on Tuesday that it was no longer willing to censor its Chinese search engine - google.cn.

China's internet is open and the Chinese government encourages development of the internet

The search engine said it would hold talks with the government in the coming weeks to look at operating an unfiltered search engine within the law in the country, though no changes to filtering have yet been made.

At a regular foreign ministry news briefing, Ms Jiang said: "China like other countries administers the internet according to law.

"China's internet is open, and the Chinese government encourages development of the internet."

She was responding to a reporter's question on Google and US concerns about the business environment in China in light of Google's reported cyber-attacks.

"Chinese law proscribes any form of hacking activity," she said.

The foreign ministry spokeswoman was asked seven times about Google at her regular briefing.

Her response was entirely predictable.

A more revealing answer came Thursday from Wang Chen, a minister at the State Council who insisted that "properly guiding internet opinion is a major measure for protecting internet information security".

He did not mention Google by name, but he did complain that online pornography, fraud and "rumours" were a menace.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8458462.stm

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Sarkozy says burka 'not welcome' in France

Nicolas Sarkozy did not explicitly call for a ban on the burka

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reiterated his view that the full burka is "not welcome" in France, as a debate continues on whether to ban it.

A parliamentary report on the issue is due out at the end of January.

Mr Sarkozy did not explicitly call for a ban, saying "no one should feel stigmatised" by any eventual law.

His UMP party is to put forward a bill this month banning the wearing of the Islamic veil in public, as a means of defending France against "extremists".

Mr Sarkozy said the first step should be for parliament to adopt a resolution that would unequivocally condemn the burka - and then move on to considering a ban.

He said no decision should be made until parliament hears the results of a six-month commission on whether a law banning such garments from public places was needed.

The results are expected to be published by 27 January, and the commission's head, communist MP Andre Gerin, was quoted on Wednesday as saying the next step would be a debate on any such law.

Home to Europe's largest Muslim population, France in 2004 banned burkas and other "conspicuous" religious symbols in state schools and by public employees.

Last summer, French MPs held hearings on whether to ban the burka - the full Muslim veil, which covers the body from head to toe.

France's opposition Socialists are against a law banning the veil - although they remain firmly opposed to the garment - saying a ban would be difficult to impose.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8458831.stm

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India wary of military role in Afghanistan

Atul Aneja

ABU DHABI: As preparations begin in earnest for a conference on Afghanistan in London, India called for a collective effort to stabilise the government of President Hamid Karzai and reiterated its commitment to build Afghanistan’s human and physical infrastructure.

More than 40 countries discussed Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday at Abu Dhabi. Satinder K. Lambah, special envoy in the Prime Minister’s office, represented India during the daylong brainstorming session.

“This was essentially a preparatory meeting for the London conference scheduled for January 28,” Mr. Lambah told The Hindu.

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, who was present at the conclave, is the driving force behind a series of meetings on the two countries being held at regular intervals. Diplomatic sources said India had not been involved in any significant effort to train Afghan military personnel.

Instead, New Delhi remained focused on building Afghanistan’s basic infrastructure in several fields, including transportation, health care, institution building and human resource development.

“India’s support towards building Afghanistan’s civilian infrastructure has now become visible.

The new parliament building in Kabul is coming up fast and a state-of-the-art children’s hospital that India has built has drawn international attention,” the sources said. The training of Afghan diplomats and government personnel in India is going on in full swing, as is the effort to impart knowledge to Afghan students in advanced areas including information technology, the sources observed.

India is deliberately keeping away from a high profile security role in Afghanistan, in view of the prevailing “regional sensitivities.”

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/14/stories/2010011455661700.htm

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Islamabad biased in action against Taliban: US

PTI

Pakistan is being selective in its action against Taliban while cracking down on elements which it feels are causing trouble inside the country, but avoiding a campaign against other factions, according to the US congressmen.

Fresh from their visit to Islamabad and an in-depth interaction with the leadership of the country, a group of US Congressmen on Wednesday said that Pakistan is not yet convinced that they need to take action against all groups of Taliban, as they do not pose a security threat.

“One could say that in one context the Pakistan Government is very much concerned about a portion of the Taliban who are causing trouble in Pakistan. But they are not yet, I don’t believe, convinced that they should take action across the board against all Taliban, particularly those Afghan Taliban who have moved across for sanctuary,” Senator Mike Crapo told reporters.

“I believe it is very clearly one of the US goals to help Pakistan to understand that the entirety of the Taliban threat is real and to take action against the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229095/Islamabad-biased-in-action-against-Taliban-US.html

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UN mission chief may be dead: France

Paris: France’s Foreign Minister says the head of the UN mission in Haiti appears to have died in the earthquake. Bernard Kouchner told two French radio stations that his information about Tunisian diplomat Hedi Annabi had come from the French ambassador in Haiti. Kouchner said on RFI radio on Wednesday that the ambassador had visited the devastated UN headquarters building in Port-au-Prince and said “everyone who was in the building is apparently dead” including Annabi.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229110/UN-mission-chief-may-be-dead-France.html

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Death sentences for Iraq bombers behind huge attack

About 106 people died in a series of co-ordinated bombings on 19 August

A court in Baghdad has sentenced 11 Iraqis to death for their role in multiple truck bombings last August.

More than 100 people died in the attacks on government ministries.

Those convicted included an alleged member of al-Qaeda in Iraq and a man who said he had received funding from a senior Baathist now living in Syria.

The attacks, the worst in more than a year, were a serious setback for a government that had built its reputation on establishing security.

Those convicted and sentenced to death included Salim Abed Jassim, who confessed that he received funding for the attacks from Brigadier General Nabil Abdul Rahman, a senior army officer during the rule of Saddam Hussein and now living in Syria.

Also sentenced to death by hanging were Ishaq Mohammed Abbas, an Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader and his brother Mustapha, the court official told AFP.

The 19 August bombings took place just minutes apart outside the ministries of finance and foreign affairs, killing 106 people and wounding around 600 others.

Further huge attacks in October and December against government buildings killed hundreds more Iraqis.

Violence in Iraq dropped significantly in 2009, but correspondents say that further bombings are expected ahead of the parliamentary election scheduled for 7 March.

On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces were deployed in huge numbers in Baghdad, bringing the capital to a near standstill.

Security officials say the lockdown was imposed after a tip-off that militants were planning attacks across the city.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8458733.stm

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Sohrab back to haunt Andhra Pradesh cops

January 14th, 2010

New Delhi, Jan. 13: The role of Andhra Pradesh police in the Sohrabbuddin fake encounter case has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court while handing over the probe to the CBI. It said the AP authorities and the Gujarat police special investigating team have failed to throw light on this vital aspect despite consistent queries from the court.

“It appears from the chargesheet itself that it does not reveal the identity of the police personnel of Andhra Pradesh even when it states that Sohrabbuddin and two others were picked up by Gujarat police personnel, accompanied by seven personnel of the Hyderabad Police,” Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Aftab Alam observed, while commenting on the SIT’s half-hearted probe in the case.

The court said though the SIT admitted that some police officers of AP were involved in picking up Sohrabuddin, his wife and another person on November 26, 2005 near Sangli in Maharashtra from a bus coming from Hyderabad, no efforts were made to identify them.

Strangely, SIT chief Geeta Johri in her ATR of July 2, 2007, had said the “AP police authorities had denied the involvement of their police personnel.”

“But we find that the Gujarat police had to take help from AP police,” the bench sa

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/national/sohrab-back-haunt-ap-cops-957

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Somalia: Yemen receives 53 Somali refugees amid fears of Qaida infiltrators

14 January 2010 SMC

Yemeni Interior Ministry said up to 53 Somali refugees and 11 Ethiopian illegal migrants arrived on Wednesday in southwestern Yemen.

The Somalis, including 15 women, and the Ethiopians arrived early Wednesday in the port town of Dhubab, Taiz province, some 350 km southwest of the capital Sanaa, the Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

The Ministry said security authorities had sent them to Kharaz camp for Somali refugees in the southern province of Lahj.

Though Yemeni government has long welcomed Somali refugees fleeing their war-torn country and sailing to Yemen, the government is now particularly concerned that al-Qaida infiltrators could be among those new arrivals, local media said.

According to UNHCR statistics, the number of Somali refugees in Yemen has reached to some 78,000 by the end of 2009, while three years ago there were around 49,000.

http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/Jan_10/14Jan23.html

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Twist of Events as Kenyan Court Goes to Muslim Cleric’s Aid

By Suleiman Mbatiah

January 14th, 2010

The raging debate on the controversial Jamaican preacher Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal took a new twist on Thursday after a court in Kenya granted orders to a rights group ordering the government to produce al-Faisal in court. However, according to a top government official, the government is finalizing some modalities that will see the cleric out of the country soonest possible as he stands to ‘poison’ Kenyans. He’s due to appear in court next week. Kenya Muslim Human Rights Forum chair Mr Al-Amin Kimathi had on Wednesday filed a suit compelling the Kenyan government from deporting the estranged cleric before the application is heard and determined.

Kenya government spokesperson Alfred Mutua told reporters on Thursday that al-Faisal is an unwanted person in Kenya. A persona non granta for security reasons: “Kenya considers al-Faisal to be a very dangerous man who will not be allowed to inspire our Kenyans into terrorism.” Sources say Gambian government has threatened to impound any aircraft that will fly the preacher to the West African nation. The Gambian government has denied there were arrangements with Kenya to have al-Faisal ‘dumped’ in Gambia. Kenya Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’ on Monday said al-Faisul had chosen to go to the Gambia, but when he reached Nigeria on his way to Banjul, the authorities denied him a transit visa and put him on the next flight back.

The rights group argued in court that the cleric had entered the country lawfully and has not breached any laws to warrant detention or deportation. He’s currently held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi pending deportation. The spokesman denied allegations that other countries have denied the cleric entry because of the drama that the Kenyan government has ignited on him. He added that world governments working hand in hand with Interpol has lists of persons in the watch-list and could be contravening international laws by housing them. Family members say al-Faisal was issued with a two-month visitor’s entry visa into Kenya. The government of Kenya has stated that it will do its best to see him handed to his government where he’s awaiting charges against him.

The move by the Kenyan government to hold al-Faisal in custody for long, extra-judicial detention, contradicts rights provided for under the constitution and international human rights convention according to Al-Amin. Al-Faisal was arrested in Mombasa Kenyan coastal city, and detained in police custody on new year eve and ever since, according to the rights group, he is being held incommunicado detention that amounts to psychological torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Al-Faisal served four years in a British jail for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Americans, Hindus and Jews.

© 2010, Newstime Africa. All rights reserved.

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/sheikh-hasina-visits-ajmer-shareef/d/2381


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