New Age Islam
Fri Dec 04 2020, 10:33 AM

Islamic World News ( 31 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Students Kicked out of Campus Dorms in South Africa for Refusing Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa

Students Kicked out of Campus Dorms in South Africa for Refusing Islam
Boko Haram commander plans to “give Lagos hell”
Mali Tuareg Leaders Call off Islamist Pact
Students in Nigeria Clash with Police

India

Sanctions will not hit our trade interests with Iran, says India’s F M

Visa pact with Pakistan will depend also on our convenience: India

Zardari's sister in India for tips to fight polio

Govt yet to take a view on J&K interlocutors' report: Indian H M

Home ministry rows are ‘normal hiccups’ for PC

India, Pakistan plan homes for prisoners

250 militants waiting to enter valley

Kashmir interlocutors' report ambiguous: Rajnath Singh

Muslim forum distrusts Gopalgarh firing investigation

Hurriyat suspends three for indiscretion

Valley schoolboy wins logo contest for President’s green project

 

Pakistan

Helicopter shelling kills eight militants in Orakzai

Pakistan based militants deny links with Osama doctor

Pak increases Atomic Energy Commission's budget by 78 per cent

Pakistan’s New Most Wanted: A Short Sketch of Adnan Rasheed

Pak’s Punjab CM shifts office to Minar-i-Pakistan to Protest load-shedding

 

South Asia

Suicide attack kills seven Afghans at NATO base: official

Maldives: Civil Court to order police to bring historian, 82, to Court

 

Southeast Asia

Malaysia PM's Popularity Slips Ahead of Election: Poll

Indonesian Embassy Officer Killed in Syria

 

Mideast Asia

Israeli minister inflames racial tensions with attack on 'infiltrators'

Satellite photos show Iran's nuclear clean-up

No hand in attack on Israeli diplomat: Iran

Israeli and Palestinian killed in Gaza border clash

Yemeni Militants Say They Release 27 Soldiers

Flame: Israel rejects link to malware cyber-attack

 

Arab World

Houla massacre 'may be crime against humanity': UNHRC

11-year-old played dead to survive massacre in Syria

Diehard militias who kill in the name of Assad in Houla

12 Syria workers killed in new 'massacre': Activists

DMU Islamic Society of Leicester Cycle to raise £5000 for Syria

A whiff of freedom as Egypt ends emergency law

Lebanese Action Film Takes on Israel-Hezbollah War

UAE Islamists to fight court ruling on citizenship

Syria blames rebels for Houla massacre

Makkah history protected by the house of God and the holy sites

Drone Attack Kills 11 in South Yemen: Residents

 

North America

Obama Order Sped up Wave of Cyber attacks Against Iran

Obama personally involved in ‘kill list' vetting

US envoy slams 'reprehensible' Russia arms sales to Syria

US lawmaker demands accountability in drone attacks

US hopes to resolve Pakistan land routes issue soon

Clinton Says Russian Inaction May Lead to Syrian Civil War

 

Europe

France: Muslims stone Christians in church during Mass

Kazakhstan: 13 Die at a Border Post

UN rights body set to call for full Houla inquiry

UN welcomes Sudan-South Sudan military pullout

UN report predicts increase in world’s displaced

U.N. Security Council Concerned by Lack of Aid Access in Sudan

Russian Church Is a Strong Voice Opposing Intervention in Syria

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Students kicked out of campus dorms for refusing Islam

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/students-kicked-out-of-campus-dorms-in-south-africa-for-refusing-islam/d/7500 

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Africa

 Students Kicked out of Campus Dorms in South Africa for Refusing Islam
31 MAY 2012

More than 70 students have reportedly been kicked out of dormitories in a South Coast college for refusing to follow Islamic customs and rules.

The Mercury reported on Thursday that management at the Coastal As-Salaam campus, in Braemar near Umzinto, allegedly forced students in the dormitories to study the Qur’an and wear Muslim clothes. They were reportedly not allowed to carry bibles inside the premises.

Students at the further education training college went on strike two weeks ago and lectures were suspended until Tuesday.

Those living in dormitories were told to find accommodation outside the institution.

The students, who are funded by the higher education department’s national student financial aid scheme, told the Mercury they could not afford to pay for accommodation and meals as they came from poor families.

The head of the Coastal Central further education and training college, Patche Tigere, said he could not comment but was working to resolve the matter.

Higher education spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga said the department was in talks with college management and education officials in the province.

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-05-31-students-kicked-out-of-campus-dorms

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Boko Haram commander plans to “give Lagos hell”

1 June 2012

Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF) captured Boko Haram commander and Oyo State native Suleiman Mohammed on May 11 in Kano, Northern Nigeria, with his wife and five children, allegedly while he was manufacturing explosives and in the possession of an AK-47 rifle, 10 improvised explosive devices and 1,000 pieces of live ammunition (Punchng, [Kano], May 12). While being interrogated at the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja, he revealed that he was planning attacks on strategic targets in Lagos, including Tafawa Balewa Square, a market, popular churches, a hotel and a bank, and in other parts of Southwest Nigeria (National Daily, May 13). Until now, Boko Haram’s attacks have been limited to Northern Nigeria and Middle Belt states, so these revelations show that Boko Haram is shifting its geographic focus.

Nigeria’s Yoruba community has denounced Suleiman Mohammed and even questioned whether he is really a Yoruba and not another ethnicity (Vanguard, May 17). However, there is reason to take his statements seriously as this is not the first time a key Boko Haram leader has been detected researching targets in Lagos. Kabiru Sokoto, believed to be the mastermind behind the August 26, 2011 UN headquarters suicide-car bombing in Abuja and the Christmas Day 2011 bomb attack on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State, was reported to have been seen on Snake Island, Lagos, only weeks before orchestrating the church bombing in Madalla (The Nation, February 22).

One reason for Boko Haram’s move southward, according to Suleiman Mohammed, is that some of Boko Haram’s sponsors are southerners and Boko Haram does not want to limit its campaign to an “ethnic agenda” (National Daily, May 13). Boko Haram wants to show that it is not strictly a Hausa and Kanuri group, which are the two dominant ethnicities of Northern Nigeria, but rather that Boko Haram is a “national movement” with an “Islamic consciousness” and that it is made up of Muslims from across Nigeria, including members who are Yoruba, Ibo, Ijaw and Efik. Suleiman Mohammed’s revelations about the need for inter-ethnic unity within Boko Haram’s ranks could be a sign of Boko Haram’s efforts to respond to the claims of former Boko Haram spokesman and Shura Council member, Abu Qaqa. After his capture on February 2, Qaqa told his interrogators that Kanuri members had been selling out members of other ethnic groups, including Hausas and non-Nigerian Chadians, Cameroonians and Nigeriens (The Nation [Abuja], February 7).

Jamestown.org

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Mali Tuareg Leaders Call off Islamist Pact

1 June 2012

DAKAR (Reuters), Senior members of Tuareg-led Malian rebel group MNLA have ditched a week-old pact with al Qaeda-linked Islamists to turn the desert north of the West African country into an Islamic state, saying it was against their secular principles.

The separatist MNLA, which wants an independent state it calls Azawad, seized the north of Mali in early April with the backing of local Islamist group Ansar Dine, whose goal is to impose sharia, Islamic law, across all of Mali.

"The political wing, the executive wing of the MNLA, faced with the intransigence of Ansar Dine on applying sharia in Azawad and in line with its resolutely secular stance, denounce the accord with this organisation and declare all its dispositions null and void," said a statement issued by Hama Ag Mahmoud, a senior MNLA figure.

The emailed statement said it was issued in the name of the MNLA as a whole but it was not immediately possible to verify whether this was now the official stance of the rebel group. The deal was also denounced in a separate statement by Magdi Ag Bohada, another senior member of its political wing.

The MNLA and Ansar Dine had reached an often tense accommodation carving up control of key regional centres such as Gao, Kidal and the ancient trading city of Timbuktu.

Locals who for centuries have practised a moderate form of Islam have protested against efforts by Ansar Dine to enforce a strict dress code and to impose sharia punishments on those found drinking alcohol or watching television.

Ansar Dine's ties to local al Qaeda agents who have been responsible for a series of kidnappings of Westerners in the region have raised wider fears of the emergence of a new "rogue state" acting as a safe haven for terrorist activity.

The MNLA's declaration of Azawad independence has been ignored internationally - although before the tie-up with Ansar Dine, countries such as France recognised a need for dialogue on some of their grievances against the southern capital in Bamako.

Even there, Mali's body politic remains in confusion more than two months after a March 22 coup. Caretaker civilian president Dioncounda Traore was physically attacked by protesters in his palace last month and is recovering in France. He has not said when he is due to return.

(Reporting by Laurent Prieur in Nouakchott; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Louise Ireland)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/01/world/africa/01reuters-mali-rebels.html?ref=global-home&gwh=4C45652A7E265547D5C3D0FFFB975F43

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Students in Nigeria Clash With Police

1 June 2012

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Police in Nigeria's largest city have used tear gas to try to disperse a crowd of several hundred university students angry at the president's decision to change the name of their school.

The protest began peacefully Friday at the University of Lagos. But students then surrounded an armored police truck and beat on it. Police fired tear gas and students responded with a barrage of thrown stones.

They were protesting a decision Tuesday by President Goodluck Jonathan to change the name of the city's flagship university. Jonathan said the University of Lagos — known as UNILAG — would be renamed Moshood Abiola University in honor of a political prisoner who died in jail over a decade ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/06/01/world/africa/ap-af-nigeria-student-protest.html?ref=africa

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India

 

Sanctions will not hit our legitimate trade interests with Iran, says Krishna

SANDEEP DIKSHIT

1 June 2012

Latest round of restrictions will impact oil market, and “our commercial entities” will take them into account

New Delhi has once again expressed its disapproval of non-U.N.-mandated sanctions on Tehran and said they will not affect India's “legitimate trade interests” with Iran, a “key country for our energy needs and it remains an important source of oil for us.”

Taking a break to address the media between two rounds of talks with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi here on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna admitted that the latest round of restrictions announced by the West would impact the oil market. While it was up to oil companies to deal with the changed market conditions, once the latest round of sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union took effect, “such measures should not impact our legitimate trade interests,” he said.

The U.S. sanctions on Iran's central bank will take effect on June 28 and the European Union's oil embargo begins on July 1.

Mr. Krishna said India always abided by the U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran's nuclear issue. “As far as other sanctions, those decided unilaterally or regionally, we are aware of such measures. In a globalised world, these actions can have an impact on the markets.”

“Our commercial entities take these into account,” he said when asked about the impact of the latest round of sanctions.

Technical decision

Meanwhile, Iraq has overtaken Iran as India's second largest supplier of oil. But the government says it is a technical decision taken by the refineries to cut back on Iranian imports rather than the result of consistent counselling by the U.S.

Dr. Salehi said Iran was India's reliable partner in energy security and would remain so. In an allusion to the stalled Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, he urged India to look at energy resources that were reliable.

He arrived here as a special envoy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit to be held in Tehran in late August.

Dialogue, the way out

On the nuclear issue, over which the West was mounting pressure on Iran, Mr. Krishna spoke against coercion and said New Delhi favoured dialogue to resolve the political issues and the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “India has always held that the nuclear issue should be resolved through peaceful diplomacy, and the framework of the IAEA provides the best forum to address the technical aspects of the issue.”

At the outset, Mr. Krishna listed the reasons for both countries to bond: Iran is a crucial trade partner and major source of energy supplies; it is also a gateway for India to Central Asia; and both face threats from terrorism.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3477292.ece

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Visa pact with Pakistan will depend also on our convenience: India

Jun 1, 2012

NEW DELHI: Indian on Thursday attributed the failure to sign a liberalized visa agreement with Pakistan last week to pending "internal approvals" in Islamabad and Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik's desire for signing such a pact at the political level.

Home secretary R K Singh said the new visa pact could not be signed during the Indo-Pak home/interior secretary level talks in Islamabad on May 24-25 as the Pakistani side conveyed that some "internal approvals" were under process and the agreement would be signed once they were in place.

"We, however, also got an impression that the interior minister of Pakistan ( Rehman Malik) wants both the home ministers to be present when it is signed," Singh said at a press conference when asked about the reason for the failure to sign the pact.

He said the Pakistani delegation told the Indian team that after the internal approvals, they would seek a mutually convenient date to sign the agreement.

"I told them that when you seek our convenience, we will see and consult to determine our convenience," Singh said, an indication that New Delhi will not rush once Islamabad conveys the date, but will factor in India's convenience to sign this bilateral pact.

Asked whether there was any problem in visiting Pakistan or inviting his counterpart here to sign the agreement, home minister P Chidambaram, who was also present at the press conference, said visit by an Indian minister to any foreign country was not an easy process.

"Visits by ministers at central government level are decided at the highest level in consultation with the ministry of external affairs. It is not a matter of A inviting B. I can invite you to my home for tea. But that is not the way you can simplify the issue. These are decisions taken at the highest level after consulting the MEA and others involved," he said.

Asked about granting liberal visas to Hindus living in Pakistan and reportedly facing discrimination, Chidambaram said foreign minister S M Krishna had already made a statement about the discrimination against minorities in Pakistan.

"As far as any person belonging to any minority group, Hindu, Sindhi, if they come on short term visa, if they apply for long term visa, long term visas will be considered and we would be very kind and generous in considering such applications. We certainly do not want them persecuted if they fear persecution in Pakistan. In the past also, we have been quite generous in considering such applications," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Visa-pact-with-Pakistan-will-depend-also-on-our-convenience-India/articleshow/13695380.cms

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Zardari's sister in India for tips to fight polio

Jun 1, 2012

NEW DELHI: Lessons learnt from India, specially how it tracked down and immunized its large migrant population against polio, an exercise that finally led to the country eradicate the virus -- will now help Pakistan combat the crippling disease.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, the Pakistani prime minister's national focal person on polio eradication who is leading a nine-member delegation to India, told TOI in an interview that the focus will now be on its migratory Pashtun community.

According to Ali, who met health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Bill Gates on Thursday, over 75% of the polio cases in Pakistan are among this group and "we are keen to learn from India's experience of tracking, mobilizing and immunizing the migrant population".

Pakistan will also emulate India's surveillance and monitoring system that successfully generated real time data on how many kids are actually missed by vaccinators and how they are later tracked down and given polio drops.

Pakistan is among the three remaining polio endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. India was struck off the list of polio endemic countries in February 2012 after completing over a year without any fresh case of polio.

Ali said, "We have invited minister Azad to visit us so that we can better learn from India's polio experience. We have also asked for regular exchange between polio expert groups from both countries."

The Pakistani delegation included member of the national task force on polio Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, who is Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari's sister.

Dr Pechuho told TOI, "The polio threat is highest in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The insurgency and the military action made accessibility to the FATA areas limited, making it difficult for our vaccinators to reach people. The lacunas in our programme can now be filled from what we have learnt from India."

Ali added, "Another reason were the floods that caused massive destruction in Pakistan. Large parts were inundated and infrastructure destroyed. All our energies were then focused on relief and polio programme took a hit."

Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan - the only three polio endemic countries -- have seen a significant increase in new cases in 2011 compared with 2010. Afghanistan and Pakistan experienced a 220% and 37% increase respectively.

Further, Nigeria and Pakistan were the only two countries with confirmed circulation of the P3 virus strain since September 2011.

Ali was all praise for the Indian government's financial commitment to the polio programme. India's health ministry spent almost Rs 12,000 crore on polio from its own pocket.

She said, "Our national emergency polio programme floated in 2011 worth $177 million is being financed by the government. We are at present short by $24 million. For our routine immunization programme, we have 2.5 billion Pakistani rupees financed mainly by the Gates Foundation, the Japanese government, USAID and World Bank."

According to Dr Pechuho, more than exporting the virus to other countries, "we are more worried about internal spread of the virus. Last year, 18 cases of polio were from FATA while this year till now we have seven cases from this region".

India's Pulse Polio campaigns involved nearly 24 lakh volunteers, 1.5 lakh supervisors and Rapid Response Teams for a swift response.

Similar to India which increased surveillance against polio on the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan has set up 22 posts, manned round the clock, on its Afghan border, 8 in Balochistan and one in China to vaccinate children coming into against polio.

India had set up vaccination booths at Chakdabagh (Poonch) and at Kaman (Baramullah) of Jammu and Kashmir, Munabo railway station in the Barmer district of Rajasthan and at Wagah border and Attari railway station in Punjab to administer polio drops to all children below 5 years of age, coming in from Pakistan. This was done to control the biggest threat of importation of the virus.

"We will now emulate India and focus on generating real data on children vaccinated and missed. We will focus on our migrant population and carry out a mapping exercise on their movements. We will conduct special polio immunization rounds just like India did to reach out to more children," Ali said.

Bill Gates said India's story illustrated the possibility of tremendous progress even in the face of difficult economic times, a challenging environment and competing development needs.

The surveillance for poliovirus in India is among the most sensitive in the world. As many as 35,325 reporting sites across the county report Acute Flaccid Paralysis cases for collection of stool samples and testing in the laboratories for poliovirus. The progress also results from ensuring 99% coverage in each vaccination round.

According to Gates, eradication of polio globally could save the world up to $50 billion over the next 25 years.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Zardaris-sister-in-India-for-tips-to-fight-polio/articleshow/13695404.cms

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Govt yet to take a view on J&K interlocutors' report: Chidambaram

Jun 1, 2012

NEW DELHI: Seeking an "informed debate" on the Jammu and Kashmir interlocutors' report, home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the government will take a view on it including the recommendation on setting up of a constitutional committee only after looking at its "pros and cons" at a later stage.

"The government has not taken a view," he said when asked whether the government will accept the interlocutors' recommendations for setting up a constitutional committee to review all central Acts and Articles of the Constitution extended to the state after 1952.

The home minister said it was not appropriate for him to express his personal views on the issue when the government was yet to consider it.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-yet-to-take-a-view-on-JK-interlocutors-report-Chidambaram/articleshow/13695302.cms

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No hand in attack on Israeli diplomat: Iran

Jun 1, 2012

NEW DELHI: Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who is in India to invite PM Manmohan Singh to the upcoming NAM summit in Tehran, on Thursday launched a bitter diatribe against Israel, even suggesting that no Iranian may have been involved in the bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat's car here. He was also non-committal on whether Iran would allow an Indian police team to visit the country.

"We totally refute these allegations," he said in the presence of his Indian counterpart S M Krishna after a meeting. This is the first time Tehran has officially responded to charges about involvement of Iranians after these were authenticated by the findings of Indian investigating agencies. While taking care not to directly blame any Iranian agency for the attack, India had earlier requested Tehran through MEA to cooperate in the investigations against three named Iran nationals.

Government sources, however, said that immediately after Salehi's remarks, Krishna tried to save the situation by taking up the matter with his counterpart in another meeting over lunch and telling him that India would still like to send a police team to Iran "based on suggestions made earlier by Iran itself".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-hand-in-attack-on-Israeli-diplomat-Iran/articleshow/13695283.cms

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Home ministry rows are ‘ normal hiccups’ for PC

By Aman Sharma

1 June 2012

‘All is well’ seemed to be P. Chidambaram’s mantra on Thursday as he made light of the controversies dogging his home ministry.

Addressing a press conference, he said Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit’s unhappiness with his ministry’s decision to transfer IAS officers out of the Capital was a minor difference of opinion on one or two officers. “ By and large, I think there is no difference. There are normal administrative hiccups. A glass of water and these hiccups will end,” he said.

Chidambaram even called the reports of Dikshit’s unhappiness as “ exaggerated”. He claimed the AGMUT cadre officers were transferred not by him but by home secretary R. K. Singh. “ The home secretary assured me he scrupulously followed the transfer policy,” the minister said. When it was pointed out that the Goa CM had refused to give postings to the IPS officers transferred to his state by the home ministry, Chidambaram said “ these are imaginary political battles”. When asked whether he was not inclined to invite Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik to India or go to Pakistan to meet him — over unhappiness on the country not delivering on 26/ 11 promises — the minister called the question a “ rather simplistic formulation”. “ I can invite you to my home for tea.

Full report at: Mail Today

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India, Pakistan plan homes for prisoners

SANDEEP JOSHI

1 June 2012

India and Pakistan are planning to set up homes for prisoners on either side of the international borders to house those who have completed their jail term but were yet to be repatriated. They will be run by non-government organisations.

“India and Pakistan have decided to set up at least one such home that will be used to keep prisoners who are yet to be repatriated. Even after completion of their jail terms, Pakistani nationals are still languishing in our jails as Pakistan is not willing to accept them as their citizens…to address this issue it has been decided to run such homes where these prisoners will be housed till their nationality and other issues are settled,” Home Secretary R.K. Singh told journalists here.

Mr. Singh, who headed the Indian delegation at the second round of home/interior secretary-level bilateral dialogue between in Islamabad last week, said this issue was discussed at the meeting and it was decided to rope in ngos to carry out this job.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3477301.ece

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250 militants waiting to enter valley

Shishir Gupta

 May 31, 2012

After the terrorist attack on CRPF personnel in Srinagar, red flag has gone up among the security forces with around 250 Pakistan terrorists, mainly affiliated to Lashkar-e-Taiba, waiting to cross the LoC.

Government sources said it is too early to know whether the Rainawari attack

was linked to fresh infiltration, but there are confirmed reports of terrorists waiting to cross the LoC along Kupwara and Poonch sectors.

"The terrorist strength on the launch pads has been growing since February but we were expecting infiltration in the first week of June after weather cleared up," said an official.

Cross-border infiltration was discussed among Northern Command Army brass, para-military forces, government and intelligence during a core meeting in Srinagar on Monday. Ten Army brigades have been alerted to ensure that the infiltrating terrorists are neutralised.

The Rainawari attack is seen as muscle-flexing by terrorists to bring the fear back in the tourists thronging the Valley.

The downside of the attack is that CM Omar Abdullah’s plan to lift Armed Forces Special Powers Act from seven districts, including Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal will hit a securit road block.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/250-militants-waiting-to-enter-valley/Article1-863695.aspx

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Kashmir interlocutors' report ambiguous: Rajnath Singh

01 JUNE 2012

The report of the central government's interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir was "ambiguous" but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not rejected it, senior party leader Rajnath Singh said here Friday.

"We do not reject the interlocutors' report outright although the report is ambiguous," said Rajnath Singh, who is heading a BJP study group on Jammu and Kashmir.

"The study group will take stock of the situation so that we prepare a comprehensive report to resolve the outstanding issues of the state," he said.

"This is our fifth visit to Jammu and Kashmir. So far, we have met 70-80 delegations belonging to Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region. It is our stand that the problems of the people here should be resolved within the limits of 'Insaaf and Insaniyat' as our leader, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji has stated in the past," he said.

Rajnath Singh said the BJP study group had not sent invitations to anybody although it was prepared to meet anybody who called on it.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/top-story/69750-kashmir-interlocutors-report-ambiguous-rajnath-singh.html

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Muslim forum distrusts Gopalgarh firing investigation

31 MAY 2012

Rajasthan Muslim Forum, a body of about 15 social organisations, has questioned the CBI’s investigation into the Gopalgarh police firing of September 14, in which 10 Meo Muslims were killed.

Its leaders, including Saleem Engineer, told mediapersons that instead of arresting the culprits, the CBI has arrested five Muslims who were victims and whose shops were set on fire during the melee. They said the way the police and CBI were proceeding, it seemed more like they were trying to protect those who had killed innocent Muslims.

According to Engineer, the Government had summarily suspended Krishan Kunal and Higlaj Dan, the then Bharatpur District Collector and Superintendent of Police, respectively, in a move to appease the community.

Apparently, the Government felt they were prima facie responsible but surprisingly, did not serve them any chargesheets.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/69600-muslim-forum-distrusts-gopalgarh-firing-investigation.html

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Hurriyat suspends three for indiscretion

01 JUNE 2012

In a bid to offset embarrassment over public squabbles and internal bickering, the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference on Thursday decided to suspend three of its leaders - including former chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat - till they explain their position on expressing views contrary to the amalgam’s constitution.

The decision was taken in Hurriyat’s executive council, chaired by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, which expressed anguish over the “violation of constitutional norms” by some of its leaders.

The chinks in Hurriyat came to fore last month, when Bhat described the UN resolutions on Kashmir as too complex to be implemented. He also advocated cooperation with mainstream parties like ruling National Conference and People’s Democratic Party to devise a common agenda for the people of Kashmir.

Bhat’s comments drew flak from separatist quarters and two leaders from Umar’s faction - Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Khan - announced open confrontation with the amalgam’s leadership.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/69697-hurriyat-suspends-three-for-indiscretion.html

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Valley schoolboy wins logo contest for President’s green project

Sumegha Gulati

Jun 01 2012

New Delhi : Relatives of a school student from north Kashmir’s Bandipore town, who won a countrywide competition on Wednesday for designing a new logo for the President’s ‘Roshni’ initiative, have responded with joy after getting the news.

A green initiative of President Pratibha Patil that started in 2008, ‘Roshini’ aims at encompassing environment management and empowering local communities to create eco-friendly urban habitats.

In January 2012, Patil expressed her desire to focus on youth as brand ambassadors for the initiative and to create a new logo for ‘Roshni’.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/956392/

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Pakistan

 

Helicopter shelling kills eight militants in Orakzai

01 June, 2012

ORAKZAI: At least eight militants were killed and three were injured in a military operation on Friday during helicopter shelling by the security forces in Orakzai agency, DawnNews reported.

The security forces shelled with the gunship-helicopters in the area of Mela in upper Orakzai, Frontier Corps (FC) official said.

According to the sources, three militant hideouts have also been destroyed in the operation.

The decisive operation is being carried on in the areas of Mamuzai, Khudezai, Sama Bazaar of Orakzai agency.

Authorities claim that 95 per cent area of Orakzai agency has been cleared from the militants.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/01/helicopter-shelling-kills-eight-militants-in-orakzai/

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Pak’s Punjab CM shifts office to Minar-i-Pakistan to Protest load-shedding

1 June 2012

LAHORE: Protesting against the ongoing power crisis in Punjab, the chief minister of the province, Shahbaz Sharif, shifted his office to Minar-i-Pakistan on Friday, DawnNews reported.

He said that his office would remain at the ground of the monumental minaret until the federal government addressed the issue of load-shedding in the province.

The chief minister said that his camp office would not have power supply either by a generator or by a UPS (uninterrupted power supplier).

Speaking to media representatives during the setup of his office at Minar-i-Pakistan, Sharif said the federal government had ruined the province’s economy. He said that the prime minister did not fulfill his promise of ‘uniform’ load-shedding throughout the country made in the recent energy conference.

He said that “if the money fiddled through the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, the rental power case and the Haj scam was recovered the country would not be energy scarce.”

http://dawn.com/2012/06/01/cm-shahbaz-shifts-office-to-minar-i-pakistan-over-load-shedding-woes/

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Pak increases Atomic Energy Commission's budget by 78 per cent

May 31 2012

Islamabad : Energy-starved Pakistan has increased the budget of its Atomic Energy Commission by a whopping 78 per cent to Rs 39.2 billion for the next fiscal year as part of efforts to speed up work on nuclear power plants to generate cheaper electricity.

The allocation for the PAEC is almost 11 per cent of the total federal development budget estimated at Rs 360 billion for fiscal 2012-13.

A major chunk of the PAEC's budget has been allocated to two nuclear power plants, The Express Tribune quoted budget documents as saying. An amount of Rs 34.6 billion has been allocated for the third and fourth reactors at the Chashma nuclear power complex.

The total cost of these two projects is Rs 190 billion, and they will be partially funded by a Chinese loan of Rs 136 billion.

The government has so far spent Rs 62.4 billion on the plants that will generate 660 MW. With Rs 34.6 billion in additional spending, the government will be able to complete almost half the work on the plants by June 2013, the report said.

To meet the growing energy deficit, the PAEC has been assigned an ambitious target of generating 8,800 MW of nuclear power by 2030. Pakistan is keen to seek assistance from China and France to meet the goal, according to a senior

government official.

Due to inconsistency in policies, Pakistan's energy mix has drastically changed with hydro-power generation declining to a third and thermal generation increasing to two-thirds.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-increases-atomic-energy-commissions-budget-by-78-per-cent/956268/

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Pakistan based militants deny links with Osama doctor

Jun 1, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan-based militant groups accused of conspiring with a doctor recruited by CIA to hunt down bin Laden said on Thursday they had nothing to do with him and would kill him if they got a chance.

While Pakistani officials had earlier said Dr Shakeel Afridi was jailed for his links with CIA, a court document which surfaced on Wednesday states the doctor was actually sentenced for his ties with banned terror group, Lashkar-e-Islam.

Spokesmen of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam denied Afridi was in league with them.

TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said the government was staging a drama to free Afridi under US pressure. "The penalty for Afridi is death. We believe he will be in America soon. Osama was our hero and Afridi helped the US kill him. He is our enemy." Lashkar-e-Islam spokesperson Abdur Rasheed said, "We have no link with Afridi. If we find him we'll eliminate him."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-based-militants-deny-links-with-Osama-doctor/articleshow/13696806.cms

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Pakistan’s New Most Wanted: A Short Sketch of Adnan Rasheed

Syed Adnan Ali Shah Bukhari

1 June 2012

In a pre-dawn attack on April 15, militants belonging to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stormed the Bannu Central Jail in the district of Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP). In what is considered the largest prison break in Pakistan’s history, the Taliban successfully freed Adnan Rasheed along with 384 other inmates. According to the TTP’s spokesman, Ihsanullah Ihsan, “Our prime target was Adnan Rasheed, and we are so happy to secure his release” (The News, April 21). Another Taliban commander claimed that they spent 20 million rupees (roughly $220,000) on the Bannu prison break mission (The Express Tribune, April 16). A 34-minute video, released by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on May 15, further shows the meticulous planning undertaken by the TTP to free Rasheed from the death cell (Dawn, May 16).

Full report at: Jamestown.org

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South Asia

 

Suicide attack kills seven Afghans at Natobase: official

1 June 2012

KABUL: A suicide attacker rammed a truck packed with explosives into a checkpoint at a Nato base on Friday, killing up to seven Afghans in the east of the country, a security official said.

“The attacker drove his truck full of explosives into the first security check post of the Nato base. Initial information shows that seven Afghans have been killed and 13 others injured,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Khost province.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/01/suicide-attack-kills-seven-afghans-at-natobase-official/

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Maldives: Civil Court to order police to bring historian, 82, to Court

By Mohamed Naahee

May 31st, 2012

Civil Court Judge Abdullah Adheeb has said today that he would order police to summon 82 year-old historian Ahmed Shafeeg.

Shafeeg is being sued by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom after Shafeeg publicly alleged that 111 custodial deaths occurred during Gayoom’s 30 year regime.

Shafeeg made the allegations in his book, “A Day in the Life of Ahmed Shafeeg”, and had failed to be present to the court due to poor health.

Judge Adheeb today said that after Shafeeg had failed to attend the hearings, the civil court staff had to ‘stick’ the summoning order at the front door of his residence. The judge added that when the summoning order was sent to Shafeeg, his son had said that he had been unable to attend to the court due to his old age and poor health.

The judge also said that he had asked Shafeeg to appoint someone to represent him at the court, but Shafeeg responded saying that he would attend to the court after he had recovered from his illness.

During today’s hearings, the judge handed over some medical documents highlighting Shafeeg’s medical conditions to Gayoom’s lawyer, Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed Ibrahim.

Gayoom’s lawyer then requested the judge send the police to summon Shafeeg to court.

A similar request was made by Gayoom’s lawyer during president Nasheed’s presidency, which the judge acknowledged but today replied “We all know how things were at that time.”

Adjourning today’s hearings, Judge Adheeb stated that he would once again order police to summon Shafeeg to the court.

Earlier during President Nasheed’s presidency, he promised that the Maldives Police Service would investigate claims made by local historian Ahmed Shafeeg in his book, that 111 Maldivian citizens were held in custody and tortured by the former administration.

The claims led Gayoom to declare that he would file a court case against Shafeeg for politically-motivated slander.

The former president’s lawyer, Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, at the time was cited in newspaper Miadhu as saying that lawsuits would be filed “against anyone who writes anything untrue and unfounded against Gayoom”, and noted that all such cases so far had been won.

During a ceremony at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel to launch Shafeeg’s book, titled “A Day in the Life of Ahmed Shafeeg”, Nasheed observed that the former President was not solely to blame for human rights violations.

“The [human rights] violations were not committed by Gayoom alone. A whole system committed them. The whole culture of the Maldives committed them,” Nasheed said at the time.

Shafeeg, now 82, was held in solitary confinement for 83 days in 1995 together with three other writers, including Hassan Ahmed Maniku, Ali Moosa Didi and Mohamed Latheef.

Shafeeg contends that 50 of his diaries containing evidence relating to the deaths of the 111 Maldivians were confiscated during a raid by 15 armed men. He was ultimately released by Gayoom with without charge, and was told by the investigating officer to write a letter of appreciation to the then-President for the pardon.

Last September, Civil Court Judge ordered that the passport of 82 year-old historian Ahmed Shafeeg be held.

The judge said the court would seize Shafeeg’s passport after Gayoom’s lawyer at the time alleged that he had information that Shafeeg was about to leave the country.

A medical certificate was produced to the court at the time by Shafeeg, which Gayoom’s lawyer said was against procedure and that Shafeeg would have to fill in a form stating that he could not appear at court due to his medical condition.

Gayoom’s lawyer told the judge that Shafeeg was intentionally dismissing the summons, “while he has been attending other functions.”

Given the current state of the Maldives judiciary, sensitivity of the issue and extreme political polarisation of the country, it is likely that any verdict with even a remote chance of being accepted by both sides would need to come from an international court. Shafeeg’s family had indicated that they are prepared for this course of action should legal proceedings falter in the Maldives.

http://minivannews.com/politics/civil-court-to-order-police-to-bring-historian-shafeeg-to-court-38341

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia PM's Popularity Slips Ahead of Election: Poll

1 June 2012

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's popularity has slipped in recent months, an opinion poll showed on Friday, as he lost support among ethnic Chinese and middle-class voters ahead of a general elections that he could call within months.

Najib is facing a dilemma over the timing of the election as his National Front coalition seeks to reverse a dismal showing four years ago that deprived it of its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time.

The 58-year-old leader has enjoyed high personal approval ratings, but analysts say it is unclear whether that will translate into increased support for his less popular UMNO party and its allies.

Support for Najib slid to 65 percent in the May poll from 69 percent in March, according to the Merdeka Center, the country's most respected polling firm.

The dip may add to speculation that Najib may choose to delay elections until after presenting the budget on September 28.

"The small gain in Malay voter satisfaction towards the PM appears to have been outweighed by the large negative swing among Chinese voters," Merdeka Center said in a statement.

The poll found that approval for Najib was weakest among ethnic Chinese, tumbling 21 percentage points to 37 percent and among those in the middle income bracket, falling 18 percentage points to 50 percent. His popularity among ethnic Malays, who form the majority of Malaysia's population, rose 5 percentage points to 79 percent.

Voters' views on the government remained lukewarm, with approval staying unchanged at 48 percent.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/01/world/asia/01reuters-malaysia-poll.html?ref=world&gwh=243654BA430A4A34F86B4C3D3F331510

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Indonesian Embassy Officer Killed in Syria

Ismira Lutfia

June 01, 2012

A Syrian officer with the Indonesian Embassy in Damascus was killed on Wednesday when he was caught in gunfire in the capital.

“The victim was a local that the Indonesian Embassy had hired as a driver,” Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Michael Tene told The Jakarta Globe over the phone on Friday.

He said the victim, Abdul Rozak, was going to a workshop to pickup a repaired car that belonged to the Indonesian embassy.

“Then there was gunfire and he was shot dead, while the workshop owner was injured,” Michael said.

The Indonesian government has condemned the escalating violence in Syria, which has led to thousands of casualties, and had withdrawn its ambassador from Damascus earlier this year in protest against the continued violence.

Just last Sunday, however, ambassador Wahib was sent back to Damascus to accompany 16 Indonesian military observers joining the UN peacekeeping mission in Syria.

“I don’t want our military observers to go there without the presence of the ambassador. He’s now there to ensure the safety and comfort [of the observers], and to ensure that they do their job well,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told lawmakers during a working meeting with the House of Representatives’ Commission I, which oversees defense and foreign affairs, in Jakarta on Wednesday.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesian-embassy-officer-killed-in-syria/521558

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Mideast Asia

 

Israeli minister inflames racial tensions with attack on 'infiltrators'

Harriet Sherwood

 31 May 2012

Interior minister Eli Yishai uses interview to suggest many African migrants are criminals infected with HIV

Israel's interior minister has risked further inflaming public sentiment against African migrants by saying that the area of Tel Aviv in which they are concentrated has become "the country's garbage can" and suggesting many of them are infected with HIV.

Eli Yishai, who said he was speaking out of "love for my country", repeated earlier calls for all migrants to be imprisoned "without exception". His comments, in an interview with Israel's Maariv newspaper to be published on Friday, followed a demonstration in Tel Aviv last week in which migrants were attacked and abused. Eleven youths appeared in courton Thursday accused of racially motivated attacks.

"Southern Tel Aviv has become the country's garbage can," Yishai said. "I'd suggest to all those bleeding hearts who speak out against me to take a few dozen infiltrators and house them in their neighbourhoods. Let them see them every day; let their children try to play in the playgrounds they're in.

"Yesterday, a woman called me. Two Sudanese men chased her in the alleyways of Jerusalem. It could have ended in rape. Did you know that there are a lot of women in Tel Aviv who have been raped but are afraid to complain so that they don't get stigmatised as Aids carriers?"

According to a health ministry spokesman quoted by Maariv, "99.9% of the migrants who come to work in Israel are not infected with any unique disease whatsoever".

Yishai said that "infiltrators", along with Palestinians, were threatening the "Zionist dream". "There isn't another country that is as sensitive as we are to human rights," he said.

He called for more detention centres and camps in which to hold migrants. "We need to transform military bases in which we can imprison all of them without exception." Non-dangerous prisoners could be released early pending deportation to make room for "infiltrators who pose a far greater risk to public safety".

He said the army would be deployed to track down the migrants. "The infiltrators are going to reach the promised land but they aren't going to see it at all, only through bars ... they are going to be deported from here, either pleasantly or forcibly," he said.

He dismissed accusations of racism. "I sound like a racist, a benighted man or a xenophobe, but I'm motivated by love for my country and the knowledge that I don't have another country."

A second member of the government, deputy health minister Yakov Litzman, said Israel was spending more than 50m shekels ($13m) a year on health care for African migrants "at the expense of the weak population". "This must be stopped ... there is no reason for Israelis to pay such a dear price," he said.

Official data presented to a parliamentary committee this week showed the crime rate among foreigners was significantly lower than among Israelis. In southern Tel Aviv, which has become a flashpoint for racial tensions, the percentage of crimes committed by foreigners was 13.5% although they make up 28.5% of the population.

According to the population and immigration ministry, there are 62,000 migrants in Israel, the vast majority from Eritrea and Sudan. It said that 2,031 migrants entered Israel via Egypt this month, compared with 637 last May. The country's population is 7.8m.

Israel granted asylum status to one applicant out of 4,603 applications in 2011, according to the US state department, which last week criticised Israel for its routine use of the term "infiltrators" to describe migrants.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/31/israeli-minister-racial-tensions-infiltrators

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Satellite photos show Iran's nuclear clean-up

1 June 2012

A US nonproliferation think tank on Thursday published commercial satellite images of an Iranian military site linked to suspected secret work on nuclear arms, saying they show that two buildings there were demolished as well as other activities that strengthen UN suspicions of a

clean-up.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security provides consultancy services for US government agencies focussed on nonproliferation and is considered an objective source of information on Iran's n-programme.

A senior diplomat who saw the photos displayed on the think tank's website and who is accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency told The Associated Press they showed apparent cleanup work similar to that depicted on spy satellite photos supplied to the IAEA by member nations closely tracking Iran's nuclear activities. He demanded anonymity because his information was confidential.

The postings of the photos come a day after the IAEA showed what the senior diplomat said were similar images made available separately to the agency's 35-member nation board. Asked about the allegations, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief IAEA delegate, dismissed them as "baseless".

The IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, named the Parchin military installation late last year as the site of suspected tests of high explosives designed to set off a nuclear charge.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/RestOfAsia/Satellite-photos-show-Iran-s-nuclear-clean-up/Article1-864160.aspx

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Israeli and Palestinian killed in Gaza border clash

1 June 2012

An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian have been killed during an exchange of fire along the Gaza border.

The Israeli army said that the Palestinian cut through the border fence and opened fire on Israeli troops, who then shot back.

Separately, an Israeli air strike targeted militants travelling on a motorbike, sources in Gaza say. There are reports of serious injuries.

The incidents come after several months of relative calm along the Gaza border.

There are reports that there was heavy mist in the area making it easier to approach the fence undetected early on Friday.

According to Israeli media, the exchange of fire happened near the Kissufim crossing.

It is not uncommon for the Israeli army to open fire on Palestinians who approach the fence.

But it is rare for a Palestinian to break through and for an Israeli soldier to be killed in such an exchange, the BBC's Jon Donnison reports.

Residents of southern Israel, quoted by the Associated Press, said they heard gunfire in the early morning and heard Israeli helicopters circling in the air.

They also said tank shells were fired into Gaza that set fire to fields.

Just hours later, sources in Gaza reported the Israeli air strike on suspected militants.

Israel has not commented on this, and it was not immediately clear if the firefight and the air strike were connected.

The Israeli military maintains an exclusion zone on the Gaza side of the boundary between Gaza and Israel, and troops regularly carry out military activity in the area and fire on Palestinians who approach the fence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18293186

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Yemeni Militants Say They Release 27 Soldiers

1 June 2012

SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni Islamist group linked to al Qaeda said on Friday it had released 27 soldiers taken prisoner, after they vowed to quit the U.S.-backed government army.

Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic law) said in a statement it had seized the soldiers last month in Abyan province in the south of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state.

Yemeni troops continued bombing targets in the Shaqra and Arqoub regions of Abyan for a fifth day on Thursday, part of an army offensive against the militants. There was no news of casualties.

Yemen's government has been battling al Qaeda-linked groups which took over areas of south and central Yemen during an uprising last year against veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh before he finally stepped down in February.

The army has regained control of some parts of Abyan, including parts of the provincial capital Zinjibar, and surrounds the town of Jaar, after militants overran them last year.

The regions are on Yemen's southern coast by the Arabian Sea, a key shipping route.

Last week a suicide bomber killed more than 90 soldiers in Sanaa in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in revenge for the operations against them.

Washington sees AQAP as a threat to international security and has thrown its weight behind Yemen's new president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. It has been using pilotless planes known as drones to kill militants.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Andrew Roche)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/01reuters-yemen-soldiers.html?ref=global-home&gwh=6DA4AA1D41B63296FDFEA7F17A9A85CF

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Flame: Israel rejects link to malware cyber-attack

By Dave Lee

31 May 2012

Israel has dismissed suggestions that it might be behind the Flame cyber-attack.

Several media reports linked comments made by the country's vice-prime minister with the malware, which has infected more than 600 targets.

However, a spokesman for the Israeli government told the BBC that Moshe Yaalon had been misrepresented.

Security experts said it was still too early to pinpoint the source of the attack.

Mr Yaalon, who is also Israel's minister of strategic affairs, discussed the attacks on Israel's military radio station, Army Radio.

"There are quite a few governments in the West that have rich high-tech [capabilities] that view Iran, and particularly the Iranian nuclear threat, as a meaningful threat - and can possibly be involved with this field," he said.

"I would imagine that everyone who sees the Iranian nuclear threat as a significant one, and that is not only Israel, it is the entire Western world, headed by the United States of America, would likely take every single measure available, including these, to harm the Iranian nuclear project."

When asked to clarify Mr Yaalon's comments by the BBC, a spokesman for the minister said: "There was no part of the interview where the minister has said anything to imply that Israel was responsible for the virus."

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18277555

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Arab World

 

Houla massacre 'may be crime against humanity': UNHRC

1 June 2012

Last week's killing of more than 100 civilians at Houla in Syria may amount to crimes against humanity, the UN high commissioner for human rights has said.

Navi Pillay urged the international community to "make all efforts to end impunity" and "ensure accountability for perpetrators" of such "atrocities".

Ms Pillay was addressing an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Earlier, opposition activists said there had been another mass killing of civilians by pro-government militiamen.

Thirteen factory workers were forced off a bus and executed by "shabiha" - the name given to these armed regime supporters - on Thursday in al-Buwaida al-Sharqiya, near the western town of Qusair, they added.

Several videos posted online showed bodies with severe wounds to the head and stomach, consistent with being shot at close range.

The activists' account cannot be independently verified, but twice in the past week UN observers on the ground have corroborated similar claims.

Individuals 'criminally liable'

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council, the world's top human rights body, began meeting in emergency session to discuss the violence Syria - the fourth time it has done so since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

The 47-member council is expected to condemn in the strongest possible terms the massacre in the Houla area of Homs province.

Residents of the village of Taldou said shabiha had been sent in early on Saturday after the Syrian army unleashed a barrage of heavy weapons late on Friday in response to a local anti-government protest.

Navi Pillay's office reported on Tuesday that UN investigators had found most of the 108 victims had been shot at close range or stabbed. No more than 20 had been killed by the tank and artillery fire which preceded the raid, it added.

In a speech to the Human Rights Council read out by a representative, Ms Pillay said she was "appalled by the atrocities committed in Houla".

"These acts may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes, and may be indicative of a pattern of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations that have been perpetrated with impunity."

Ms Pillay called on the Human Rights Council to "make all efforts to end impunity, to ensure accountability for perpetrators, and to provide adequate and effective remedies for the victims", and urged the Syrian government to protect civilians.

"I reiterate that those who order, assist, or fail to stop attacks on civilians are individually criminally liable for their actions. Other states have a duty to do all they can to prevent and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes."

"Once again, I urge the [UN] Security Council to consider referring the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court."

On Thursday, a Syrian government investigation into the Houla massacre blamed armed rebel groups seeking to trigger foreign military intervention.

The US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice, dismissed the finding as a "blatant lie", for which there was no factual evidence.

A resolution before the Human Rights Council condemns "the wanton killings of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse by pro-regime elements and a series of government artillery and tank shellings of a residential neighbourhood", and demands that Syria allow in human rights investigators and aid agencies immediately.

But, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says, despite pressure from European countries, there is no call in the draft resolution for Syria to be referred to the ICC.

Russia and China oppose that, as does the US, which believes only the Security Council should make such a move, our correspondent adds.

Syria is not a state party to the ICC. The court therefore has no jurisdication to indict its citizens without a Security Council referral.

Syria's representative attacked the resolution's sponsors, among them Turkey and Qatar, saying they bore responsibility for some of the deaths, because, he claimed, they had been supplying weapons to rebel groups.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to face pressure over Syria from the leaders of Germany and France when he visits Berlin and Paris. Russia has blocked Security Council action against Syria's government.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is meanwhile scheduled to meet representatives of the Syrian opposition in Turkey.

Mr Hague told the BBC that the situation was so grave and deteriorating so rapidly that all options were still on the table.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18295291

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11-year-old played dead to survive massacre in Syria

Jun 1, 2012

BEIRUT: When the gunmen began to slaughter his family, 11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home, soaking his clothes with his brother's blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.

The Syrian boy tried to stop himself from trembling, even as the gunmen, with long beards and shaved heads, killed his parents and all four of his siblings , one by one. The youngest to die was Ali's brother, 6-year-old Nader.

His small body bore two bullet holes — one in his head, another in his back.

"I put my brother's blood all over me and acted like I was dead," Ali said on Wednesday, his raspy voice steady and matter-of-fact , five days after the killing spree that left him both an orphan and an only child.

Ali is one of the few survivors of a massacre in Houla that killed 108 people.

Ali said about 11 gunmen entered the family home in the middle of the night and killed Ali's entire family.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/11-year-old-played-dead-to-survive-massacre-in-Syria/articleshow/13696893.cms

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Diehard militias who kill in the name of Assad in Houla

Peter Kellier

31 May 2012

The shabiha have been blamed for the massacre in Houla, but who is their paymaster, and who gives them orders?

"Women, children and old men were shot dead," Syria's foreign ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters this week. "This is not the response of the heroic Syrian army."

Then who did kill 108 people in Houla, including 49 children, in cold blood? The answer appears to lie with the armed civilian militias from nearby Alawite villages, who are known to Syrians as shabiha, from the Arabic word for ghosts.

The term initially referred to shadowy gangs of smugglers who grew up around the coastal city of Latakia in the 1970s, and whose immunity from law seemed to come from their tribal and village connections to the ruling Assad family.

These early shabiha thrived under the wary eye of President Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father, and for good reason. In 1980s, with Syrian troops occupying Lebanon and its economy crippled by goods shortages, smuggling goods across the Lebanese border became one of the best ways for well-connected Syrians to make money.

One result of this illicit economy was a reserve army of loosely employed, poor young men from the Alawite offshoot of Shia Islam that has proved very useful to a regime that has made paranoia about enemies, real and imagined, the cornerstone of its survival.

In the poor area of Mazzeh, west Damascus, groups of young, largely Alawite men live in accommodation built for them by Hafez al-Assad in the 1980s. The area is known as Mazzeh 86, after the year they arrived from the countryside on the promise of cheap food and subsidised accommodation.

As the uprising ignited in March 2011, the ranks of these so-called shabiha swelled, and they began to repay their debt to the regime by doing much of the heavy lifting work of suppressing dissent.

When about 20,000 people turned up for an impromptu opposition funeral rally in Mazzeh in February this year, for example, it was the shabiha who, according to demonstrators interviewed by the Guardian in Damascus, fired on the protesters.

Whenever the opposition have attempted any kind of funeral or rally in the capital, large lines of plain-clothed or khaki-clad men and boys armed with submachine guns appear in nearby streets awaiting an excuse to intervene.

But it was amid the chaos and sectarian tensions of revolutionary Homs that the shabiha really came into their thuggish own. Mohammed, a veteran and respected moderate opposition activist in the city whom the Guardian met in February, said the shabiha in Homs accompany the Syrian army on raids and at checkpoints, but appear to have their own leadership and command structure – and take orders from unknown officials elsewhere.

When soldiers storm a rebel area or move in to search it, the shabiha arrive with them, sometimes on buses, to terrorise and steal from the local, largely Sunni population.

"They dress in black, or alike in army khakis, but wear a yellow ribbon on their shoulder," Mohammed told the Guardian on Monday. On 13 May, according to Mohammed, the shabiha moved into his area of al-Shammas, formerly a relatively peaceable Homs neighbourhood, and perpetrated a massacre there; he doesn't know how many were killed.

As their numbers have grown and hundreds of thousands of Homs residents have fled the city, the growing ranks of shabiha have moved in to colonise whole neighbourhoods and steal goods and furniture from empty houses. "They're vultures," said Mohammed. "They leave nothing behind."

Another activist, Abu Rami, speaking from the Bab al-Sebaa area amid audible sniper fire on Monday, said the shabiha are largely drawn from Alawites from Homs and the villages around it. Often they work independently, either in gangs or as snipers on rooftops overlooking rebel areas.

About 90% of the thousands of shabiha in Homs, he estimates, are poor Alawite Muslims from Homs and the surrounding areas, and the result has been to aggravate existing tensions between Sunnis and Alawites in the city.

It's a risky business. The Free Syrian Army has killed many of these shabiha, he said, but many more are queueing up to take their place. With the economy reeling, many poor Alawites need the money; others will have been persuaded by the regime's argument that their country faces a conspiracy mounted by al-Qaida, the Gulf states and Nato, and the inevitable result will be a merciless, Sunni-led pogrom of revenge against their community.

But who is the paymaster, and who gives the orders? The answer lies in the country's recent history and its half-baked attempts at economic renewal.

As Syria retreated from Lebanon in 2005 and warmed to the west, it lumbered towards a dysfunctional kind of market economy. The result was to hand power to a new kind of businessman, usually Sunni, who managed to forge links with the Alawite-dominated clique that controls the tentacles of Syria's security state.

As profit moved away from smuggling and towards more legitimate business interests, a small core of well-connected operators grabbed control of industries, equipment, franchises and car dealerships – one of the central complaints of ordinary Syrians as the uprising has gathered momentum in the last year.

It's these same businessmen, many of them Sunni and not Alawite, who are now quietly passing money to the shabiha, mainly to protect their lucrative business privileges, but also to keep their political sponsors happy.

The shabiha owe everything to the regime, grumble the Damascus opposition, and they will do anything to protect it. In February, one Damascus-based activist told the Guardian he knew through friends that shabiha were being paid 1,500 Syrian pounds (£15) a day, and were getting so much work they looked tired all the time. Another activist, possibly exaggerating, estimated their day rate at between 2,500 to 5,000 Syrian pounds. But the state is not is paying for all this.

Abu Rami named two mid-level businessmen, one an Alawite living in the al-Qosair area of Homs, the other a Sunni living in Damascus, who he believes sponsor all the work of the shabiha in Homs. They work in conjunction with the head of security intelligence in the city, he said, who hires out his own men as shabiha or procures unemployed locals for the job.

None of this information is possible to verify, and Syrians are convinced that every successful businessman must somehow have sold his soul to the regime.

But not without reason. From the president's maternal cousin Rami Makhlouf downwards, the commanding heights of the Syrian economy are a series of protected fiefdoms controlled by those around the Assad clan and their trusted partners.

Some blue-chip firms in the west, which have been doing business in Assad's "modernising" Syria over the past decade, should also be getting nervous. In August last year one Damascus opposition activist presented a Guardian journalist with a list of the main business benefactors of the shabiha, put together on the basis of confidential conversations with Damascus businessmen. On it were men who had earned their money as exclusive agents, dealers or franchise holders of named blue-chip British, Japanese, German car companies. It is some of these profits that are being ploughed back into Syria's unofficial, paramilitary killing machine.

As the body count in Syria rises, the regime seems to be moving towards presenting itself as an honest broker, working hard to protect Syria's fragile sectarian mosaic and to keep different groups of "armed gangs" from one another's throats.

The idea is not entirely novel. It was during a previous, largely sectarian campaign of assassination against the regime led by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood between 1979 and 1982 that it had the idea of armed civilian militias the last line of defence.

But in those days, civilian militias could be drawn from the ranks of the ruling Ba'ath party. That they no longer can be tells a story about the utter atrophy of the party, which the Assad family used as a vehicle to win power, and its replacement by a network of family relationships, business interests and hired hands.

Peter Kellier is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in Syria.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/31/ghosts-syria-regime-shabiha-militias

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12 Syria workers killed in new 'massacre': Activists

Jun 1, 2012

BEIRUT: Syrian government forces summarily executed 12 civilians on their way home from work in a fertiliser factory in Qusayr, activists in the central town told AFP by telephone on Friday.

"The workers were on a bus when they were forced to stop at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Qusayr" late on Thursday afternoon, said Salim Kabbani of the Local Coordination Committees, which organise protests on the ground.

"Regime forces tied their hands behind their backs and shot them."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/12-Syria-workers-killed-in-new-massacre-Activists/articleshow/13702251.cms

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DMU Islamic Society of Leicester Cycle to raise £5000 for Syria

May 30, 2012

Fifteen members of De Montfort University Islamic society have pledged to raise £5000 towards the Syria crisis next month by completing a sponsored cycle event on the 5th of June from DMU in Leicester all the way to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. They plan for the route to take only two days covering a total of 200km.

All monies raised will go to the Syria emergency appeal through Ummah Welfare Trust, an international relief and development charity which run on a 100% donation policy.

Bilaal Khalifa, 23, a third year student of DMU studying Applied Criminology said, "With everything currently going on in Syria it is imperative that these people be helped in any way possible. I hope through the funds that we have raised and continue to raise, the people of Syria will benefit. Hopefully I can look back and say "I cycled from Leicester to Cardiff and I survived!"

Full report at:

http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/DMU-Islamic-Society-8216-riders-Shaam-8217-Cycle/story-16228081-detail/story.html

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A whiff of freedom as Egypt ends emergency law

Jun 1, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt's notorious emergency law has expired, ending 31 years of broad powers to detain and arrest for a police force accused of severely abusing its far-reaching authority.

Since former President Anwar Sadat's 1981 assassination, the security forces were empowered to detain and arrest people without charge, keep them locked up despite court releases and extract confessions under torture. Abuses almost always went unpunished. And at one point under the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak, human rights groups said there were more than 10,000 people in detention - many of them disappearing in Egyptian prisons.

"This is huge," said Hossam Bahgat, a human rights activist who had campaigned for years to lift the hated law. "What is really crucial is the message. The security forces operated under a culture that told them they were constantly above the law. Now they need to abide by the existing legislation and they won't enjoy any extralegal powers."

Last year's popular uprising that drove Mubarak from power was partially fueled by anger over police abuses of power and protesters vented against the symbols of the security agencies. The lifting of the law was a key demand by the pro-democracy youth groups that engineered the uprising 15 months ago.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypts-31-year-emergency-law-ends/articleshow/13699128.cms

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Lebanese Action Film Takes on Israel-Hezbollah War

1 June 2012

BEIRUT (AP) — The villain in Lebanon's new hit war movie: a cigar-smoking Israeli army colonel who sports a cowboy hat and a handlebar mustache and repeatedly orders troops to shell Lebanese villages. The heroes: residents of one such village who band together to fight Israeli troops.

The film, "33 Days," tells the story of the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in one front-line village and glorifies "the resistance" — shorthand among many Lebanese for Hezbollah and other groups that fight Israel.

The movie is unlikely to screen in Israel or the West. But in Lebanon, still officially at war with the Jewish state, it has drawn large crowds since opening on April 19. Audiences often cheer when Hezbollah rockets smash into Israeli tanks, indicating the hatred still aimed across the border six years after a war that began with a cross-border Hezbollah raid and killed 160 people in Israel and about 1,200 in Lebanon, reducing parts of south Beirut and many southern villages to rubble.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/ap-ml-lebanon-war-movie.html?ref=global-home&gwh=F503C2EEA607A2215A520FD9B3FCEE60

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New Syria 'mass killing' reported ahead of UN meeting

1 June 2012

Activists have released a video which they say shows another mass killing of civilians by a pro-government militia in Syria - the third in a week.

Thirteen factory workers were forced off a bus and executed by shabiha members in a village near Qusair, in the west of the country, they said.

Correspondents say the video shows a group of bodies with hideous injuries.

The UN Human Rights Council has meanwhile begun an emergency session to discuss the violence in Syria.

It is expected to blame pro-government forces for last week's massacre in Houla, in which more than 100 people died, including 49 children.

On Thursday, a Syrian government investigation into the killings blamed armed rebel groups seeking to trigger foreign military intervention.

The US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice, dismissed the finding as a "blatant lie", for which there was no factual evidence.

UN verification

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18293155

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UAE Islamists to fight court ruling on citizenship

1 June 2012

ABU DHABI: Seven religious activists jailed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will challenge a presidential decree to strip them of their citizenship after a court refused to order authorities to return their passports, their lawyer said on Thursday.

The UAE, a major oil exporter, has been cracking down on religious dissidents demanding reforms at home since Arab Spring uprisings began in the region last year. The Gulf Arab state, a US ally, revoked the men’s citizenship late last year, saying they posed a threat to national security. Some of the men had demanded greater powers for the Federal National Council, an elected body that advises the government. They were arrested for refusing to sign documents that asked them to “amend their status” by applying for residency visas in the UAE or seeking new nationalities, their families said.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\01\story_1-6-2012_pg4_6

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Syria blames rebels for Houla massacre

Jun 01 2012

Beirut : Syria today blamed up to 800 rebel fighters for the massacre in central Syria last week that killed more than 100 people, nearly half of them children, in its most comprehensive explanation to date of the bloodshed.

The narrative starkly contradicted accounts of witnesses who blamed “shabiha” or the shadowy gunmen who operate on behalf of President Bashar Assad's regime.

The UN also said it had strong suspicions those pro-regime gunmen were responsible for much of the carnage on Friday in a cluster of villages known as Houla.

Facing international outrage over the killings, Damascus launched its own investigation into the deaths and announced that special prayers for the victims would be held at mosques across the country tomorrow.

The UN chief warned of civil war and pleaded with the regime to stop its attacks. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Syria to stop the bloodshed and also warned of a protracted conflict.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/syria-blames-rebels-for-houla-massacre/956601/

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Makkah history protected by the house of God and the holy sites

SHEIKH SALEH BIN FOUZAN AL-FOUZAN

31 May 2012

Much talk is being made these days about the preservation of the archaeology and antiquities of Makkah as a measure to maintain its history. The loss of the history of Makkah is tantamount to the loss of the history of the entire Muslim Ummah. We say: The protection of Makkah and its sanctuaries is a duty on every Muslim through the upkeep of what Allah has bestowed on it including the Kaaba, the Holy Haram surrounding it and the holy sites where Muslim go for Haj. Allah has said: “Thy Lord does create and choose.”

Out of all locations, Allah has chosen Makkah because it contained the Ancient House, the secure Haram surrounding it and the holy sites. He says in his Holy Book: “Do they not then see that We have made a sanctuary secure, and that men are being snatched away from all around them?” In this secure Haram is the Ancient House, which God has made a save haven, and has made it imperative on people to face it during their prayers and a duty on them to go to it for Haj.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/makkah-history-protected-house-god-and-holy-sites

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Drone Attack Kills 11 in South Yemen: Residents

01 June, 2012

DUBAI (Reuters) - An unmanned drone killed 11 people who residents said they suspected of being Islamic militants as they met in a house in southern Yemen on Friday.

They said the men, who were thought to have included some foreigners, were inside a house in the town of al-Mahfad in Abyan province in south Yemen, where the United States and Yemeni army are trying to crush militants linked to al Qaeda.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/01reuters-yemen-drone.html?ref=global-home

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North America

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyber attacks against Iran

By DAVID E. SANGER

1 June 2012

WASHINGTON — From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?ref=world&gwh=C040E9B4C310595D2F3EFA4D547C8157

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Obama personally involved in ‘kill list' vetting

NARAYAN LAKSHMAN

1 June 2012

An unprecedentedly detailed account of U.S. President Barack Obama's personal involvement in vetting a “kill list” for drones has raised serious questions about whether the White House has been taking advantages of legal loopholes by using creative language to mask the high risk of innocent civilian deaths.

In a rare series of interviews to the New York Times granted by Obama administration officials past and present, it was revealed that the erstwhile liberal law professor who now occupies the Oval Office has “placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical”.

The fresh details about the White House's methodology for selecting kill targets in the Central Intelligence Agency's drone programme, often based in the remote tribal areas of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border or in Yemen, came close on the heels of a “drone defence” speech given by Mr. Obama's top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama's Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the U.S.' most secretive and controversial counterterrorism tools was “legal”, “ethical” and “wise”.

 Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3477183.ece

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US envoy slams 'reprehensible' Russia arms sales to Syria

Jun 1, 2012

UNITED NATIONS: US envoy Susan Rice on Thursday condemned "reprehensible" Russian arms deliveries to Syria as she stepped up US calls for increased international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

The US ambassador to the United Nations also accused the Damascus government of stating a "blatant lie" by denying it was involved in a massacre in which 108 people were killed.

A Russian ship carrying arms arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus last weekend, according to media reports and rights groups.

Russia is Syria's last main international ally and has defended Assad in UN Security Council debates on the uprising against him. Russia's main Mediterranean naval base in Tartus.

"With respect to the reported docking of a ship carrying Russian arms, this is obviously of the utmost concern given that the Syrian government continues to use deadly force against civilians," Rice told reporters at UN headquarters.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-envoy-slams-reprehensible-Russia-arms-sales-to-Syria/articleshow/13696560.cms

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US lawmaker demands accountability in drone attacks

Jun 1, 2012

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker on Thursday demanded accountability and transparency in drone strikes in countries like Pakistan, saying that such attacks undermine the morals, values and the strategic goals of the United States.

"The fact that they are conducted with complete impunity and with no accountability threatens to set a dangerous precedent that could unravel the very laws and international standards the US helped to create," Congressman Dennis Kucinich said.

In a statement, Kucinich said when Congress passed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, it did not authorise endless war against countries the US is not at war with.

He said the use of drones must be subject to the same legal constrains and oversight as any other weapon.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-lawmaker-demands-accountability-in-drone-attacks/articleshow/13696968.cms

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US hopes to resolve Pakistan land routes issue soon

1 June 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States continues to work with Islamabad towards restoration of Pakistani routes for Nato supplies into Afghanistan and hopes to resolve the issue soon, a State Department spokesman said.

“We do remain engaged with Pakistan on reopening these ground lines of communication. We want to and think that opening them would obviously be an important demonstration of Pakistan’s commitment to the international effort to ensure a prosperous, peaceful Afghanistan. So we are working diligently trying to make progress,” Deputy Spokesman at the State Department Mark Toner said.

He spoke amid media reports that a senior US official may next week join the American team in Islamabad that is negotiating a resolution to the six-month old issue with their Pakistani counterparts.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/06/01/us-hopes-to-resolve-pakistan-land-routes-issue-soon/

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Clinton Says Russian Inaction May Lead to Syrian Civil War

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and J. DAVID GOODMAN

1 June 2012

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signaled the Obama administration’s mounting frustration with Russia over the unending violence in Syria on Thursday, saying that Russia’s refusal to take decisive action against President Bashar al-Assad threatened to precipitate the very civil war that Russian diplomats have said they wanted to avoid.

“I think they are, in effect, propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition,” she said during a news conference in Copenhagen. Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, while not the harshest she has aimed at the Russians over Syria, came as the administration has made an effort to win Russian cooperation on a plan to negotiate Mr. Assad’s departure while leaving the state’s structures in place. The effort is based on the transition now under way in Yemen, where after months of unrest, President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand control to his vice president.

Mrs. Clinton said that she had held “numerous conversations” focused on Russia’s role in Syria in recent days, but that the Russians had shown little willingness to abandon Mr. Assad even in an orderly, negotiated settlement. Instead, she said, they cite the violent history of civil war in neighboring Lebanon.

“The Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war, because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic,” she said. “They often, in their conversations with me, liken it to the equivalent of a very large Lebanese civil war, and they are just vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence. I reject that.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/frustrated-clinton-says-russian-

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Europe

 

France: Muslims stone Christians in church during Mass

30 May 2012

No one will take much note of this. It is just one story among the thousands that together tell the tale of France's decline and Islamization. Eurabia Update: Here is my translation of "Carcassonne Des fideles caillassés pendant la messe a Saint-Joseph," by Yannick Bonnefoy in Midi Libre, May 27 (thanks to David):

Carcassonne: The faithful stoned during Mass at St. Joseph

Yesterday at 6:20PM, as Fr. Roger Barthes began to celebrate mass, four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service. Immediately, men began pursuing the young troublemakers, but in vain. They managed to vanish into thin air, heading towards the city La Conte.

http://europenews.dk/en/node/55183

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Kazakhstan: 13 Die at a Border Post

By ANDREW ROTH

1 June 2012

The scorched remains of 13 bodies have been discovered at a border post that burned down near the Kazakh-Chinese border, an official with the country’s border service confirmed Thursday. The bodies of 12 border guards and a local gamekeeper were found Wednesday near the post by Kazakh border troops, said the official, Turganbek Stambekov, a deputy to the director of the country’s border guard service, in a statement. At this time of year, 15 soldiers regularly serve at the border post, Mr. Stambekov said, and Kazakh security forces are searching for possible survivors of the fire. An investigation is under way, Mr. Stambekov said, but he offered no further details.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/asia/kazakhstan-13-die-at-a-border-post.html?ref=asia&gwh=2A221A6700AA3BF9820FB62DAFC3630D

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UN rights body set to call for full Houla inquiry

1 June 2012

GENEVA: The top UN human rights body is set to call on Friday for a full UN inquiry into a massacre in the Syrian region of Houla after putting initial blame on government bombardment and gunmen loyal to President Bashar Assad, diplomats said.

The 47-state forum in Geneva holds an emergency session on Friday - its fourth on Syria in a year - following last week’s slaughter of at least 108 people, nearly half of them children.

A draft resolution, circulated late on Thursday at the UN Human Rights Council, condemns the “killings confirmed by UN observers” in attacks that involved “the wanton killings of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse by pro-regime elements and a series of government artillery and tank shelling of a residential neighbourhood.”

The Council, which has repeatedly condemned Syria for its crackdown, is likely to adopt the resolution by a wide margin following international outrage at the killings, even if countries including China, Cuba and Russia may vote against it as in the past, Arab and Western diplomats said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/un-rights-body-set-call-full-houla-inquiry

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UN welcomes Sudan-South Sudan military pullout

1 June 2012

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday welcomed Sudan and South Sudan’s withdrawal of military forces from the disputed Abyei border region and called for the pullout of police, including from the area’s oil fields.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan last year as part of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war that killed 2 million people. But the neighbouring nations drew close to full-scale war over unresolved issues of oil revenues and their disputed border following South Sudan’s capture of the oil-rich town of Heglig in April.

Negotiations between the rivals fell apart following the capture of Heglig, which has since been retaken by Sudan. But talks under African Union auspices resumed this week and the Security Council said in a press statement after closed-door briefings and consultations that it welcomed the new talks.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said “we’re in a better place” than the “dire” situation last month.

“While many, many difficult issues remain and the progress in these talks is very nascent, the fact that they’re back at the table and continue to work through these issues is certainly better than the alternative,” she said.

Ms. Rice called the current situation “mixed,” noting that while military forces from both countries have withdrawn from Abyei and some Sudanese police are supposed to leave on Friday, the government has not announced its intention to withdraw the oil police.

She also noted allegations from both countries of military activity and skirmishes along the border.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3479229.ece

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UN report predicts increase in world’s displaced

1 June 2012

UNITED NATIONS: The number of people fleeing their homes and becoming refugees or displaced in their own countries will increase in the next 10 years as a result of a host of intertwined causes ranging from conflict and climate change to population growth and food shortages, according to a report Thursday by the UN refugee agency.  

”The State of the World’s Refugees,” covering the period 2006-2011, said a key change and dominant challenge is the increasing number of internally displaced people—some 26 million globally compared to around 15-16 million refugees who have crossed borders to another country and a further one million asylum seekers.

It said helping the internally displaced is becoming more costly and dangerous, citing Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq where access is difficult and conflict or criminality can present deadly risk.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/06/01/un-report-predicts-increase-in-worlds-displaced/

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U.N. Security Council Concerned by Lack of Aid Access in Sudan

1 June 2012

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council expressed concern on Thursday over a lack of access for aid to Sudan's border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting has been raging between the Sudanese army and rebels.

Sudan and South Sudan came close to all-out war last month when border fighting escalated in the worst violence since South Sudan's secession in July. Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Juba denies the claim.

The 15-member Security Council was briefed by senior U.N. officials on compliance by the former civil war foes with a May 2 resolution threatening sanctions if they failed to halt the escalating conflict and resume talks on a strong of disputes.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that while the situation between the two countries appeared to be "in a better place" than before the resolution, they were "seemingly on a hair trigger, so this is still quite a dangerous, quite a precarious situation, along the border."

She told reporters there was dire concern about the grave humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/05/31/world/africa/31reuters-sudan-southsudan-un.html?ref=global-home

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Russian Church Is a Strong Voice Opposing Intervention in Syria

By ELLEN BARRY

1 June 2012

MOSCOW — As the West sought to pressure the Kremlin recently to help stop the killing in Syria, diplomats from Damascus were ushered into the heart of one of Russian Orthodoxy’s main shrines.

Opening an exhibition devoted to Syrian Christianity in a cathedral near the Kremlin, they commiserated with Russian priests and theologians about their shared anxiety: What would happen if Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, was forced from power?

It is clear by now that Russia’s government has dug in against outside intervention in Syria, its longtime partner and last firm foothold in the Middle East. Less well known is the position taken by the Russian Orthodox Church, which fears that Christian minorities, many of them Orthodox, will be swept away by a wave of Islamic fundamentalism unleashed by the Arab Spring.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/europe/russian-church-opposes-syrian-intervention.html?ref=global-home

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/students-kicked-out-of-campus-dorms-in-south-africa-for-refusing-islam/d/7500

 

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