New Age Islam
Sat Dec 05 2020, 12:43 AM

Islamic World News ( 21 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Suicide attack on Afghan army centre kills 37

18 killed in fresh political violence in Karachi

Western Powers Launched a Second Wave of Air Strikes on Libya

Seven killed in Syria protests

Qur’an burnt in Florida church

Al-Qaida wants €90m ransom for French hostages

Young Indonesian Muslims join Aussie program to explore Islam

Pro-Gaddafi protesters mob UN chief in Cairo

Thousands protest in Syria

Gaddafi son dies in attack by Libyan jet

Gaddafi not the target as allied strike hits his compound

Anti-Islamism current in Australia: Study

American Warplane Crashes in Libya as Ground Fighting Continues

Western forces strike Libya as Gaddafi chokes Misrata

Indonesian militant admits taking funds for terror camp

Brits posing as Muslims to avoid paying stamp duty

Indian pays 'blood money' to save four counrtymen in Saudi Arabia

S Africa says no to regime change in Libya: Zuma

US sees few good options if Yemen government falls

Qatar, UAE in coalition striking Libya: Gulf bloc

Row over “targeting” Qadhafi

Gaddafi needs to go, says Obama

Why the West has hit Libya

Crisis deepens in Yemen

Putin, Medvedev spar over Libya

U.S. praises Russian cooperation

Europe divided over allied campaign in Libya

Obama calls Jordan on Libya, Bahrain unrest

Spain sends out fighter jets to intervene in Libya

Split in Nato over Libya mission

PAF warns of nuke arms race

Steam rises from stricken Japan plant; radiation worry grows

Iran will take advantage of Mideast unrest

US court martial after grisly Afghan photos aired

Israeli jets strike Gaza after Hamas offers truce

Time not ripe for US to leave Kabul: Zardari

Former Israeli President to be sentenced for rape

Top Yemeni generals defect, tanks deployed in Sanaa

India calls for stop to airstrikes on Libya

Pak positive, open minded about Home Secy-level talks: Envoy

Stop Bombing Start Talking

Panic in Japan as WHO warns of food radiation

Saudi Shia protests simmer as Bahrain conflict rages

Anti-Muslim current in Australia: study

Ethnic groups protest at wrong identification

Witness in Abu Bakar Ba'asyir trial admits receiving Rp 140 million

Indonesia visit to strengthen ties: Xanana

Britain refuses to rule out targeting Gaddafi

Egyptian Christians return to politics

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Suicide attack on Afghan army centre

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/suicide-attack-on-afghan-army-centre-kills-37/d/4322

 

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Suicide attack on Afghan army centre kills 37

Mar 22, 2011

KUNDUZ: A suicide attack on an army recruitment centre in northern Afghanistan killed 37 people on Monday, the third major assault in the area in less than a month, the deputy governor said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the militant Islamist group. Dozens more were wounded, officials said.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-14/south-asia/28687753_1_suicide-bomber-suicide-attack-kunduz

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18 killed in fresh political violence in Karachi

Mar 21, 2011

KARACHI: A fresh wave of political violence appears to have hit Pakistan's financial hub Karachi, with at least 18 people shot dead in the last 24 hours in different parts of the city.

Tension gripped parts of the city on Monday with three more deaths reported in different areas. Among those killed was a policeman on duty.

Shopkeepers were forced to pull down shutters and go home late afternoon after unknown motorcycle-borne men fired on some shopkeepers in the congested regal area.

"We saw at least four persons dressed in shalwar kameez and on two bikes who came and fired direct shots at some shops and screamed and abused us to close down shops," a shopkeeper, Mustafa said at a mobile market.

Policemen patrolling in vans later visited the area and assured the shopkeepers they would be protected and should not shut down their shops.

"Some shops closed down but others reposed faith in us," Asad Sheikh, a police official on duty said.

Karachi has in recent times seen a spate of political violence in which hundreds have been killed.

Target shootings have occurred repeatedly as tensions sore between the Muttaida Qaumi Movement which represents the Urdu speaking people, the Pushtoon speaking Awami National Party and the Aman (Peace) committee which claims to have the backing of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party in the city.

All the parties blame each other for instigating the violence but from time to time also point fingers at "external" forces for disturbing the peace of Karachi.

Television channels reported that a body was found in an abandoned car while a woman and a man were killed when unknown people fired on buses in the Korangi and Garden areas on Monday.

According to police, six people were injured when unknown armed men opened fire near Disco Bakery in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area last night.

The incident brought at a halt the business activities in the area. Two others were shot and killed by unidentified assailants in Kharadar area. The identities of the deceased could not be ascertained.

In Gulistan-e-Jauhar area, near Mosmiyat, one man was killed in firing incident while in a similar incident in Gulzar-e-Hijri area a policeman, Arshad, was shot dead.

Sharfuddin Memon, a consultant with the Sindh home ministry, confirmed the killings and said some extremist elements were also behind the violence.

Officials said 18 people have been killed over the last 24 hours in the city.

"These Jihadi groups are retaliating because the government is taking action against them," Memon said.

An office of a political party was also attacked with explosives in Soldier Bazar but the no loss of life occurred since the office was closed.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/18-killed-in-fresh-political-violence-in-Karachi/articleshow/7756773.cms

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Western Powers Launched a Second Wave of Air Strikes on Libya

Mar 22, 2011

While the UN resolution authorizing the enforcement of a no fly zone is aimed at protecting civilians and backed by the Arabs, it is also pushed by a mix of unstated personal and political factors rooted in Europe. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron defended committing British forces by declaring the action "necessary, legal and right" - just two years after a Labour government struck a deal that saw Britain release a cancer-struck Libyan convicted of terrorism charges from a Scottish jail, ostensibly on "compassionate grounds."

Ordinary Britons continue to be deeply uncomfortable at the freeing of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted for the 1988 bombing of a Panam jet that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland. The move was also slated by American politicians. The Libyan intervention, said Cameron's former speechwriter Tony Birrell, could be "the moment that forces a Prime Minister to make the tough calls that can end up defining them."

Even more than Cameron, it is French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has led calls for military intervention. His reasons could be far more personal than Cameron's: in 2007, Sarkozy became the first western leader in decades to welcome Gaddafi on an official state visit. With his approval ratings sinking to record lows last year and a presidential election due in summer 2012, Sarkozy has strong domestic political reasons to be seen to be acting swiftly and decisively.

Italy has more reasons to be wary of events in Libya than Britain or France. Libya's most important European economic partner, Italy sources some 25 percent of its oil imports and 10 percent of its gas from Libya and billions of Euros are tied up in infrastructure and security projects in the country.

Some strategic analysts, however, disagree that domestic political reasons characterize European action. "This is a European, American and Canadian action supported by a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians - they will deny that it is about Gaddafi," said Christian Le Miere of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

However, Le Miere told HT, the prospect of large-scale immigration from North Africa is an overriding concern in Europe, particularly Italy. The reason for the European activism was "proximity to Libya."

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Seven killed in Syria protests

Mar 22 2011

DAMASCUS: Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria, Xinhua reported.They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Darra town in which people demanded for reforms in Syria, Damascus Press news website reported.

The clashes erupted Sunday between the Syrian police and protesters after two young men reportedly killed by the security forces in the town. An eyewitness told Xinhua that the Syrian police had surrounded the town, to prevent people from entering it.

Dozens of protesters attacked the communication centre and the national hospital, denying the use of live bullets against the demonstrators, the website quoted a source as saying.

Al-Jazeera TV reported Sunday that the protesters also burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Darra.

A committee was formed by the interior ministry to investigate recent incidents and take the necessary measures to punish anyone who is proven responsible for having committed abuse during the incidents in Darra.

While much of the Arab world continues to see thousands of people taking to the streets with calls for political change, attempted protests in Syria in recent weeks have drawn much smaller crowds.

http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=176792

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Qur’an burnt in Florida church

Mar 22 2011

A controversial US evangelical preacher oversaw the burning of a copy of the Qur’an in a small Florida church after finding the Muslim holy book ‘guilty’ of crimes.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Terry Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Qur’ans on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks.

Sunday’s event was presented as a trial of the book in which the Qur’an  was found ‘guilty’ and ‘executed.’

The jury deliberated for about eight minutes. The book, which had been soaking for an hour in kerosene, was put in a metal tray in the centre of the church, and Sapp started the fire with a barbecue lighter.

The book burned for around 10 minutes while some onlookers posed for photos.

Jones had drawn trenchant condemnation from many people, including the US president, Barack Obama, secretary of state Hillary Clinton and secretary of defence Robert Gates, over his plan to burn the Muslim holy book in September.

Full report at:

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12431.html

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Al-Qaida wants €90m ransom for French hostages

Mar 22 2011

GAO (MALI): Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is demanding at least 90 million euros in a ransom for the release of four French hostages held since September, a source close to mediators said today.

The French people were kidnapped in September 2010 in neighbouring Niger, where France has a large stake in uranium mining, and are still being held hostage in the desert.

"The kidnappers are demanding at least 90 million euros (USD 128 million) to release the four French hostages still being held," said the Niger source close to talks taking place in northern Mali.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Al-Qaida-wants-90m-ransom-for-French-hostages/articleshow/7754669.cms

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Young Indonesian Muslims join Aussie program to explore Islam

Mar 22 2011

A delegation of young Indonesian Muslim leaders has departed for Australia on a bilateral exchange program aimed at strengthening an understanding of Islam and interfaith issues in both countries.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty said he hoped the visit would contribute to a better understanding in Indonesia of the cultural and religious diversity in Australia and the important role Muslims play in Australian society.

“Islam in Australia is a dynamic, evolving story with a rich history, and one of which our country can be extremely proud. Australian Muslims, made up of over 70 different ethnic backgrounds, including Indonesia, have brought with them new ideas, skills and cultural traditions and make an enormous contribution to contemporary, multicultural Australia.” the ambassador said in a press release received by The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Fahd Pahdepie from Jakarta, Achmad Ubaidillah from Bogor and Muzakkir from Balikpapan headed for Australia on Sunday to join the program that aims to provide opportunities to emerging leaders in the Indonesian Muslim community to engage with their counterparts in Australia on a range of important issues affecting people in both countries.

Participants of the program will also have the opportunity to tour the “You Am I” exhibition by Australian Muslim artists in Melbourne, sponsored by the Islamic Council of Victoria and Victoria’s Hume City Council. This is the first of three delegations from Indonesia scheduled to visit Australia under the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) Muslim Exchange Program 2011.

In May, five young Muslim leaders from Australia will make a reciprocal visit to Indonesia to learn about Indonesia’s diverse, democratic and tolerant society firsthand, and meet a wide range of different community representatives.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/21/ri%E2%80%99s-young-muslims-join-aussie-program-explore-islam.html

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Pro-Gaddafi protesters mob UN chief in Cairo

21 Mar 2011

Chanting "Down, Down USA, Libya, Libya," and carrying banners and the national flag of Gaddafi's Libya the protesters surged towards Ban and his 15-strong delegation that included a UN deputy secretary general and former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, the head of UN women.

The UN chief had been following in the footsteps of a string of international visitors to Cairo in recent weeks, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in touring the square which was the focus of mass protests that forced veteran president Hosni Mubarak from power last month.

Police and troops intervened to let the UN group make good their escape.

He was unhurt after the incident, the AFP correspondent said.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/8234/Egypt/Politics-/ProGaddafi-protesters-mob-UN-chief-in-Cairo.aspx

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Thousands protest in Syria

21 Mar 2011

The Syrian army deployed on Monday at the entrances to the southern city of Daraa as officials tried to calm passions following protests for freedom in which five civilians were killed, residents said.

Thousands of mourners marched at the funeral of 23-year-old Raed al-Kerad who died on Sunday, the latest of five protesters to be killed by security forces. Mourners chanted slogans demanding political freedom and an end to corruption.

A crowd chants anti-regime slogans during a funeral procession for a protester killed in Dara, south Syria in this still image taken from video March 20, 2011.

"God, Syria, freedom. The people want the overthrow of corruption," they chanted.

The slogan is a play on the words "the people want the overthrow of the regime," the rallying cry of the revolutions that overthrew the entrenched leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and spread across the Arab world.

The mourners later gathered at the al-Omari mosque in the old quarter of Daraa near the border with Jordan.

Full report at:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/fresh-clashes-in-syria-as-thousands-protest-assad-regime-1.350910

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Gaddafi son dies in attack by Libyan jet

Mar 22, 2011

 One of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s sons has died in a hospital in Tripoli, Opposition websites and Arab media reported on Monday. Khamis Gaddafi was reportedly injured Saturday when a Libyan Air Force pilot deliberately crashed his jet into the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli where Col. Gaddafi and some of his relatives are staying.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/india/gaddafi-son-dies-attack-libyan-jet-619

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Gaddafi not the target as allied strike hits his compound, says US

S Rajagopalan

Mar 22, 2011

The United States has asserted that Muammar Gaddafi is not the target of the current offensive even as an allied missile strike hit “military assets” within the Libyan leader’s compound on Sunday.

“At this particular point, I can guarantee that he (Gaddafi) is not on a targeting list,” said US Vice Admiral William Gortney during a Pentagon briefing and claimed the coalition strikes have been successful in degrading the military capability of Gaddafi forces.

The official, however, clarified that the strike on the Gaddafi compound was not carried out by the US. Subsequent reports said two British missiles struck the Gaddafi compound.

On the issue of targeting Gaddafi, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates went a step further saying that any such attempt would be “unwise”. Gates, speaking to reporters on his way to Russia, said, “I think that it’s important that

we operate within the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution.”

“If we start adding objectives, then I think we create a problem in that respect, Gates said, adding, “I also think it’s unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve.”

Gates’ comments came in the wake of his British counterpart Liam Fox’s initial refusal to rule out the possibility of targeting Gaddafi.

The US Defence Secretary also sought to downplay the US role in the coalition. “We will continue to support the coalition. We will be a member of the coalition. We will have a military role in the coalition. But we will not have the pre-eminent role,” he said.

Earlier, as US and British forces began raining missiles on Libyan air defences, President Barack Obama termed it a “limited military action” to enforce the UN Security Council resolution to protect the Libyan people.

“I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice, and it's not a choice that I make lightly. But we can't stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy,” Obama declared in televised remarks from Brazil in the midst of his Latin American visit.

“I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it,” he said and sought to reassure war-weary Americans that he would not send any ground forces into Libya.

The launch of Operation Odyssey Dawn coincided with the eighth anniversary of commencement of the Iraq war. Observers, however, point out that the UN Security Council resolution authorising military action excludes the prospect of any foreign occupation force inside Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325844/Gaddafi-not-the-target-as-allied-strike-hits-his-compound-says-US.html

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Anti-Islamism current in Australia: Study

Mar 22 2011

Sydney : A year-long study of religious freedom in Australia has revealed widespread distrust of Muslims and discrimination against pagans and homosexuals.

The report released on Monday by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that acceptance of religious difference had not become easier as the population became more diverse.

After taking more than 2,000 public submissions and consulting with more than 200 religious, secular and community groups, the report found there was a "pressing need" for education about religions to reduce ignorance and fear.

"There is a current of anti-Muslim discourse that suggests an entrenched hostility often related to overseas events," the report said in its conclusion.

"Significant distrust of Muslims and Islam was expressed by some," it added, saying there were reports of discrimination against Muslims and other religious minorities.

The report entitled 'Freedom of religion and belief in 21st century Australia' found a greater recognition of spiritual communities in Australia, such as pagan and indigenous beliefs, was needed.

It noted that people keeping nature-based spiritual pagan traditions reported high levels of prejudice, discrimination and a lack of recognition of their beliefs.

"The research process also uncovered some prejudice and hostility towards gay people, and also significant concern was expressed regarding employing gay people, particularly in faith-based schools," it said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765269/

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American Warplane Crashes in Libya as Ground Fighting Continues

March 22, 2011

WASHINGTON — An American F-15E fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight and one crew member has been recovered while the other is “in the process of recovery,” according to a spokesman for the American military’s Africa Command and a British reporter who saw the wreckage.

The crash was likely caused by mechanical failure and not hostile fire, the spokesman, Vince Crawley, told Reuters. Details of the incident remained sparse. The crash was the first known setback for the international coalition attacking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces in three days of strikes authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

The military campaign to destroy air defenses and establish a no-fly zone over Libya has nearly accomplished its initial objectives, and the United States is moving swiftly to hand command to allies in Europe, American officials said on Monday, but fighting continued on Tuesday as reports began to emerge of the crash of the American warplane.

“Just found a crashed U.S. warplane in a field. believe a mechanical failure brought it down,” a correspondent for Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Rob Crilly, said in a message on Twitter. “Came down late last night. Crew believed safe.”

The American military did not say where the plane crashed, but the British newspaper said on its Web site that it had landed in a field near Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital in the east of the country. A photograph showed the charred debris of the warplane surrounded by onlookers.

American, British and French warplanes have been flying missions since Saturday, stalling a ground attack by pro-Qaddafi forces in the east and hitting targets including air defenses, an airfield and part of Colonel Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli.

But the firepower of more than 130 Tomahawk cruise missiles and attacks by allied warplanes have not yet succeeded in accomplishing the more ambitious demands by the United States — repeated by President Obama in a letter to Congress on Monday — that Colonel Qaddafi withdraw his forces from embattled cities and cease all attacks against civilians.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/world/africa/23libya.html?_r=1&hp

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Western forces strike Libya as Gaddafi chokes Misrata

Mar 22 2011

TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi surrounded Misrata, the only big rebel stronghold in western Libya, killing at least nine people, cutting off its water and bringing in human shields, residents said on Monday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said a UN resolution authorizing military action in Libya resembled medieval calls for crusades and China stepped up criticism as Western forces prepared to switch from air strikes to air patrols. The first strikes at the weekend halted the advance of Gaddafis forces on Benghazi and targeted Libyan air defences to give Western warplanes control of the skies, but there have been no immediate rebel gains on the ground.

While Western governments wrangled, bloodshed continued on the ground despite a ceasefire decreed by Gaddafis military.

The people of Misrata went into the streets and to the (city) center, unarmed, in an attempt to stop Gaddafis forces entering the city, a resident told Reuters by telephone. When they gathered in the center the Gaddafi forces started shooting at them with artillery and guns. They committed a massacre. The hospital told us at least nine people were killed, the resident, who gave his name as Saadoun, added.

The military coalition enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya fired 10 to 12 missiles at targets in that country overnight, a spokesman for the US Africa Command said on Monday. The head of Britains armed forces denied Gaddafi was a target. A US official in Washington said the effectiveness of the British strike on the Gaddafi compound remained unclear.

Full report at:

http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?237448

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Indonesian militant admits taking funds for terror camp

Mar 22 2011

Jakarta : A top Indonesian terror suspect on Monday told a court he had received funds from key allies of radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to run the "Al-Qaeda in Aceh" militant training camp.

Abu Tholut, 49, widely believed to be one of the nation's most dangerous extremists, told a Jakarta court he used the 140 million Rupiah (USD 16,000) to buy firearms and bullets, pay the rent on a house and the downpayment on a car.

"I never asked but I received money... Rp 40 million from Ubaid and Rp 100 million from Abdul Haris," Tholut said during his witness testimony given via a video link at Bashir's trial.

Ubaid and Haris were former members of radical group called Jamaah Ansharut-Tauhid established by Bashir in 2008.

The 72-year-old preacher faces the death penalty over charges including that he led and financed the Aceh training camp, which had planned Mumbai-style attacks using squads of suicide gunmen against Westerners.

Prosecutors say he raised more than USD 140,000 to establish the cell, which was discovered in Sumatra, in February last year. Bashir denies the charges.

"I don't know Abu Tholut. I know nothing about the training in Aceh. I've never met Abu Tholut," he told the court following Tholut's testimony.

Tholut, who is also known under a series of aliases, was arrested in December suspected of playing a key role in setting up the camp, recruiting militants and raising illegal funds for terror activity.

Tholut received militia training in Afghanistan during the mujahedeen war against the Soviets in the late 1980s and became a leading figure in Southeast Asia's Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network on his return home.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765324/------

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Brits posing as Muslims to avoid paying stamp duty

Mar 22 2011

London : House buyers in the United Kingdom are reportedly using Sharia law to pose as Muslims to dodge stamp duty.

According to the Daily Express, a scheme, brought in by Labour in 2005, allows followers of Islam to buy property without paying the tax.

Paying interest is banned under Sharia law, so Muslims are allowed to buy a house and then sell it on to an offshore financial company.

They then lease the house from the company instead of taking out a mortgage, which would include interest payments.

Stamp duty, which is applicable to all properties worth 125,000 pounds and over, does not have to be paid on properties which are immediately sold on.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765321/

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Indian pays 'blood money' to save four counrtymen in Saudi Arabia

Mar 22 2011

Dubai : Cheril Krishna Menon, an Indian entrepreneur in Doha has offered ‘blood money’ to save the lives of four Indians who had been sentenced to death by a Saudi Arabian court.

Menon, has offered 6.80 million Qatari rials to save four Indian men convicted of killing an Indian compatriot in Aziziyah district, in the Riyadh province, in 2008.

The deceased, identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Ashraf, was from Karnataka, and four sentenced to death, all Keralites, were identified as Mohammad Fazaludeen, Mustafa Kunnath, Mohammad Mustafa and Zakir Hussain.

Menon agreed to make blood money payment following a plea from Opposition leader of the Kerala Legislative Assembly to save the lives of the four.

"I considered this a true humanitarian act as it involved saving four lives," the Gulf News quoted Menon, as saying.

Menon also said that he would make all possible efforts to further help the family of the deceased, if they approach him for any assistance.

Although the four have been pardoned by the victim's family, they have to spend five years in a jail for breaching public rights.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765323/

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S Africa says no to regime change in Libya: Zuma

Mar 22 2011

President Jacob Zuma on Monday said that South Africa does not support “the regime change doctrine” in Libya, and called for restraint from foreign countries enforcing a no-fly zone.“As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya,” said Zuma, one of five heads of state on a high-level African Union panel on Libya.

Zuma voiced support for the resolution by the UN Security Council imposing a no-fly zone over Libya—which South Africa, a non-permanent member of the council, voted for—but said it should be implemented “in letter and spirit”.

“Operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325837/S-Africa-says-no-to-regime-change-in-Libya-Zuma.html

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US sees few good options if Yemen government falls

Mar 22 2011

Washington : For two years, the Obama administration has had a relationship of convenience with Yemen: The US kept the Yemeni government armed and flush with cash. In return, Yemen's leaders helped fight al-Qaida or, as often, looked the other way while the US did.

That relationship is about to get a lot less convenient.

Of all the uprisings and protests that have swept the Middle East this year, none is more likely than Yemen to have immediate damaging effects on US counterterrorism efforts. Yemen is home to al-Qaida's most active franchise, and as President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government crumbles, so does Washington's influence there.

Saleh's 32-year hold on power has weakened during street protests over the past month. Several Yemeni diplomats abroad have turned against him. On Monday, three senior army commanders joined a protest movement calling for his ouster, and as rival tanks rolled through the streets of the capital, current and former government officials and analysts said Saleh's days appeared to be numbered.

“In the counterterrorism area, it will be a great loss,'' said Wayne White, a former senior State Department intelligence analyst.

Whoever replaces Saleh will inherit a country on the brink of becoming a failed state. There is a secessionist movement in the south. Pirates roam its waters. A rebellion in the north has been a proxy fight between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Half of Yemen's citizens are illiterate. A third are unemployed. Drinking water is scarce, yet the population is growing at one of the fastest clips in the world, far outpacing the government's ability to provide even the most basic services. Half the country lacks toilets.

With all that, the challenge for the US will be to persuade Yemen's next leader to continue an unpopular campaign against al-Qaida. Sheik Hamid al-Ahmar, a leading member of the opposition who has been mentioned as a possible president, has dismissed al-Qaida in Yemen as a creation of Saleh's government. The Obama administration, however, considers the group to be the most serious terrorist threat to the US.

The group, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, includes about 300 people sheltered by tribal allies in rugged, hard-to-travel country. The group was behind the nearly successful bombings of US cargo jets last fall and a passenger airliner on Christmas 2009. The attacks grabbed the attention of Washington, which previously had regarded the terrorist group as a threat only in the Middle East.

The Obama administration responded by stepping up airstrikes in Yemen and encouraging Saleh to carry out raids based on U.S. intelligence. Aid to Yemen more than doubled. Green Berets and Navy SEALs trained Yemeni counterterrorism forces, and US security teams arrived with airport screening equipment.

Last year, the CIA established a new department in the Counterterrorism Center to deal with al-Qaida in Yemen and al-Shabab in Somalia. The CIA station in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, meanwhile, has grown in recent years from an office of a few dozen people to a bustling station several times larger.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765712/

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Qatar, UAE in coalition striking Libya: Gulf bloc

22 Mar 2011

Abu Dhabi : Gulf Arab states rejected Iranian and other foreign interference in their internal affairs and said Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were taking part in Libyan military operations for "safety and security."

The head of the Gulf's main political bloc said, "Qatar and the United Arab Emirates remain part of the international military coalition seeking to halt Moammar Gadhafi's offensives in Libya.

The comment by Abdul Rahman bin Hamad al-Attiyah on Monday follows criticism by the Arab League's chief over the heavy missile barrages by US and European forces against Libyan targets.

Al-Attiyah said the two Gulf Cooperation Council states are part of the coalition, but did not clarify their role or whether they have taken part in warplane missions.

"We reject any intervention in our internal affairs and among these countries is Iran," Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Abdulrahman al-Attiyah told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi, responding to questions about Saudi and UAE troops helping the government in Bahrain.

Asked about UAE and Qatari involvement in a Western military operation against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, he said: "We are within the coalition for safety and security according to the U.N. resolution."

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765263/

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Row over “targeting” Qadhafi

Hasan Suroor

22 Mar 2011

LONDON: The British government was on Monday struggling to contain a growing trans-Atlantic row over the legality of targeting the Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi after Defence Secretary Liam Fox suggested he was a legitimate target.

Mr. Fox told the BBC that taking out Mr. Qadhafi was “potentially a possibility”. He said there was “a difference between someone being a legitimate target and whether you would go ahead with targeting”.

His remarks drew a sharp reaction from the U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates who said such a move would be “unwise”. He made clear that there was no question of “going after” the Libyan leader.

“The one thing that there is common agreement on are the terms set forth in the Security Council resolution. If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect,” said Mr. Gates.

Confusion prevailed with officials speaking in conflicting voices. Chief of the armed forces General Sir David Richards, insisted that Mr. Qadhafi was “absolutely not” a target and that it was not allowed under the U.N. mandate.

But Sky News claimed that according to a senior military source Mr. Qadhafi was a “legitimate military target”. The BBC also quoted “government sources” as saying it would be legal to target him if he threatened civilians.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/22/stories/2011032265841700.htm

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Gaddafi needs to go, says Obama

22 Mar 2011

US President Barack Obama has said that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi "needs to go", but asserted that the ongoing international air raids in support of a no-fly zone over Libya are not meant to achieve that goal. According to Xinhua, Obama said: "I have stated that it is US policy that Gaddafi needs

"We've got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy," he said, referring to US unilateral sanctions and push for international sanctions on the Gaddafi government.

But he stressed that the current US military action is in support of an "international mandate" from the UN Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Gaddafi, and the US will stick to that mandate.

Obama said this Monday in Chile during a joint press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

The UN Security Council resolution adopted last week authorized a no-fly zone over Libya to "protect civilians" of the country, which is different from the US policy to see the toppling of Gaddafi.

"There is going to be a transition taking place in which we are one of the partners among many who are going to ensure that no-fly zone is in force and that the humanitarian protection that needs to be provided continues to be in place," said the US president.

"After consultation with our allies, we decided to move forward, " he said, adding he expected the transition from military actions to establishing a no-fly zone to take place "in matter of days".

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/Gaddafi-needs-to-go-says-Obama/Article1-676099.aspx

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Why the West has hit Libya

Dipankar De Sarkar

22 Mar 2011

Away from principles of democracy, the need to secure oil supplies and tackle a history of appeasement toward Muammar Gaddafi are some of the less-publicised reasons for Europe taking on a leadership role in prodding the world to act over Libya, analysts say. Days into the enforcement of a no-fly zone and with the US continuing to take a backseat, there is much speculation over the surprising swiftness with which France and Britain have galvanised European military action on Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/europe/Why-the-West-has-hit-Libya/Article1-676042.aspx

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Crisis deepens in Yemen

22 Mar 2011

SANA'A: Tanks were deployed in the Yemeni capital on Monday as top Generals pledged allegiance to the “revolution” and the country's main tribal leader demanded President Ali Abdullah Saleh's exit.

But even as some of his closest allies abandoned him, the embattled leader refused to submit to calls for his resignation and claimed he had the support of the vast majority of people in the impoverished country.

Tanks took up positions in key locations across Sana'a including at the presidential palace, the central bank and the Ministry of Defence, but it was unclear what their orders were or who was in command.

In the first of a series of body blows to Mr. Saleh's authority, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the Northwest Military District which includes Sana'a, announced he had joined the “revolution”. “The crisis is getting more complicated and it's pushing the country towards violence and civil war,” the General said.

One by one, dozens of officers of various ranks stood at the tent city near Sana'a University, where demonstrators have kept vigil since February 21 in spite of a wave of attacks, and publicly pledged to support the revolution.

Sadiq al-Ahmar, who leads the Hashid tribal federation, the largest in deeply tribal Yemen and a crucial source of Mr. Saleh's power, told Al-Jazeera it was time for the embattled President to make a “quiet exit”. “I announce in the name of all the members of my tribe that I am joining the revolution,” Mr. Ahmar said,

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Himyar al-Ahmar and Governor of the key southern province of Aden Ahmed Qaatabi also resigned in protest at the treatment of demonstrators.

The defections came a day after Mr. Saleh sacked his Cabinet in a bid to placate opposition calls for sweeping reforms in the key U.S. ally.

As the pillars of his power apparently collapsed beneath him, Mr. Saleh sent Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi on an urgent mission to Saudi Arabia with a secret message for the King, the state news agency reported.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/22/stories/2011032265881700.htm

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Putin, Medvedev spar over Libya

Vladimir Radyuhin

22 Mar 2011

MOSCOW: Russia's ruling tandem showed signs of an open crack for the first time as President Dmitry Medvedev publicly scolded Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for harshly criticising the U.N. Security Council resolution allowing military action in Libya.

Mr. Putin condemned the resolution as a “deficient and flawed” document that reminded him of “medieval calls for crusades”. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Medvedev called Mr. Putin's remarks “impermissible”.

Speaking at a missile factory in central Russia on Monday, Mr. Putin said the U.N. resolution “effectively allows interference in a sovereign state” and called the Western intervention a “foreign invasion”.

In response, Mr. Medvedev defended the resolution as prompted by Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi's crimes and stood by Russia's decision to abstain in the Security Council vote rather than use the right of veto.

“Russia did not exercise [the veto power] for one reason: I do not consider this resolution to be wrong. Moreover, I believe that this resolution generally reflects our understanding of what is going on in Libya,” said Mr. Medvedev.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/22/stories/2011032265911700.htm

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U.S. praises Russian cooperation

Vladimir Radyuhin

22 Mar 2011

MOSCOW: U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates hailed Russia's “extraordinary” willingness to cooperate with the U.S. as he began a two-day visit to Russia on Monday.

Mr. Gates praised Russia for allowing transit of NATO troops and supplies across its territory to Afghanistan.

“Russia is an integral part of the northern distribution network for supporting our operations in Afghanistan,” Mr. Gates told reporters on his plane before landing in Saint Petersburg. “Russia's willingness to work with us in this I think is really extraordinary,” he added.

The U.S. defence chief cited Russia's decisions to side with the U.S. on Iran and North Korea and to abstain rather than block last week's U.N. resolution approving military action against Libya as further examples of unprecedented cooperation between the two countries. Russian sources said it was U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden who on a visit to Moscow last month persuaded the Russian leadership not to veto the U.N. resolution on a no-fly zone in Libya.

Mr. Gates expressed the hope that remaining differences between Washington and Moscow would be resolved in the same spirit of cooperation.

He offered to share launch information and setting up a joint missile data centre with Russia. Moscow has rejected this offer as insufficient and pressed for building a joint missile defence system for Europe.

Experts said the Russian leaders will demand an explanation from Mr. Gates about the military operation in Libya, which Moscow said exceeded the U.N. Security Council mandate for protecting the civilian population.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/22/stories/2011032265861700.htm

 

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Europe divided over allied campaign in Libya

22 Mar 2011

"It shouldn't be a war on Libya," said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, whose country is one of little more than a handful of European Union nations engaged in the three-day old campaign to protect Libyans from Muamer Gaddafi.

Italy, a former colonial power in Libya which enjoyed close political and economic ties with Gaddafi, nonetheless joined the alliance after dragging its feet, sending four Tornoado warplanes over Libya on Sunday and opening its bases to the international coalition.

But comments from Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa on Sunday, who suggested the air and missile strikes launched by the international coalition exceeded the bounds set by UN Resolution 1973, appeared to have dampened its enthusiasm.

"We want to verify very carefully all the actions undertaken in order to verify consistency with the (UN) resolution objectives," Frattini told reporters as he joined his counterparts for talks.

"Italy accepted to take part in the international coalition exactly to implement a ceasefire, the cessation of violence, and protection of the population."

Monday's ministerial meeting is the first test of the continent's unity over events taking place in Europe's backyard, though only a third of its members are actively involved in the Libya campaign.

Apart from Britain and France, leading the coalition with the United States, involved so far are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy and Spain.

At the talks, the EU is expected also to tighten the political and economic screws on Gaddadi with a new slate of sanctions against the Tripoli regime, as well as look at the potential for a humanitarian crisis.

But diplomatic sources who asked not to be identified reported difficulties in drafting a joint statement on Libya as divisions also emerged on a possible NATO role in upholding the UN resolution.

"Europe needs to come together behind the UN resolution to protect the Libyan people against the wrath of their rulers," said Britain's minister for Europe David Lidington.

Germany, at odds with the other two "big" EU powers Britain and France after refusing to vote in favour of Resolution 1973, joined the Brussels meeting criticising alliance action in Libya and saying it justified Berlin's decision to stay out in the cold.

 Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/2/8/8252/World/Region/Europe-divided-over-allied-campaign-in-Libya.aspx

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Obama calls Jordan on Libya, Bahrain unrest

22 Mar 2011

RIO DE JANERIO: President Barack Obama on Sunday called Jordan’s King Abdullah II, one of the main US allies in the Middle East, to discuss unrest in Libya and Bahrain, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon said.

Donilon spoke to reporters traveling with Obama, currently on a visit to Brazil.Explosions rocked Tripoli yesterday as allied forces tightened enforcement of a UN resolution aimed at halting Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s attacks on civilians in suppressing a month-long uprising.In Bahrain, the government said it regretted the "negative" response by opposition groups to an offer of talks aimed at ending a pro-democracy protest that police crushed this week.

Full report at:

 http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=176790

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Spain sends out fighter jets to intervene in Libya

22 Mar 2011

PARIS: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said Spain will take part in establishing a no-fly zone in Libya with four F-18 fighter jets that will carry out air patrol missions.

Spain will also send an F-100 frigate and a submarine for maritime surveillance to help impose an international arms embargo on the Muammar Gaddafi regime.

Zapatero made the announcement at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Paris, after taking part in a summit organised by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to coordinate military intervention in the North African country.

"Spain assumes its responsibility to enforce the UN resolution... and assumes its responsibility to protect the Libyan people," Zapatero said.

Zapatero has informed Spanish king Juan Carlos and opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy of the situation, and would appear Tuesday before parliament to seek ratification of the decision.

Full report at:

http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=176791

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Split in Nato over Libya mission

22 Mar 2011

TRIPOLI (Agencies) - A missile strike has destroyed a building in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, which Western officials say was one of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s command centres. However, cracks appeared in the Nato member states over military campaign in Libya.

Journalists were shown the wrecked building but it was not clear if there were any casualties. While the United States denied targeting Gaddafi, whose whereabouts were unknown Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule it out, saying it depended on “circumstances at the time”.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it would be “unwise,” and French defence ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire also said, “The answer is no,” when asked whether coalition forces would fire on the Libyan leader if they located him.

A coalition official told AFP the strike had destroyed the Libyan leader’s “command and control capability,” adding, “we continue to strike those targets which pose a direct threat to the Libyan people and to our ability to implement the no-fly zone” authorised by Resolution 1973.

Meanwhile, Nato ambassadors met in Brussels on Monday to try to resolve differences on possible alliance involvement in the campaign against Libyan leader. After weeks of deliberations, the ambassadors approved on Sunday an operations plan for Nato to help enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya, but they have yet to agree to implement it or to finalise plans for an alliance role in the no-fly zone. Speaking in Makkah on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey wanted several conditions met for a Nato role.

“Now the issue is Nato going into operation. If Nato is going into operation we have some conditions,” Erdogan said. “Nato should go in with the recognition and acknowledgement that Libya belongs to the Libyans, not for the distribution of its underground resources and wealth.”

“Our biggest desire is for this operation to be finished as soon as possible,” said Erdogan.

Diplomats say France has argued against Nato involvement on the grounds the alliance’s reputation had been damaged in the Arab world by the war in Afghanistan and because it was seen as dominated by the United States.

However, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday that Nato is ready to back up the international coalition intervening in Libya within “a few days.”

Several Nato nations, led by France, Britain and the United States, have taken part in air attacks on Libya, but the role of Nato as an organisation has been limited to expanded air surveillance.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/22-Mar-2011/Split-in-Nato-over-Libya-mission

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PAF warns of nuke arms race

22 Mar 2011

ISLAMABAD – Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman has said that Pakistan has reservations over US-India nuclear agreement because nuclear imbalance can be detrimental to regional peace.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Fissile Material Treaty (FMT): Possibility and Prospects’ held in Islamabad on Monday, Rao Qamar said that US-India nuclear agreement was biased and Pakistan was not ignorant to its defence. Rao was the chief guest and the key note speaker on the occasion. “If India increases the number of its nukes then Pakistan will have no option other than to reciprocate,” he said. Similarly, the defence budget could also be raised if India did so, he added.

He said that Pakistani nuclear arsenal was in safe hands and its command and control system was one of the world’s best systems. Pakistan wanted peace in the region and was playing vital role in this regard.

Rao said Pakistan was following a policy of peaceful co-existence in the region, but at the same time it could not remain oblivious to developments taking place in South Asia. The Air Chief said, “Pakistan is a reluctant entrant into the nuclear business. It decided to embark on a nuclear programme - not as a matter of choice, but out of compulsion.” As a nuclear weapon state, Pakistan is fully cognizant of its responsibilities, and has established effective and robust Command and Control structures along with comprehensive export control and regulatory regimes. “These are fully compatible with international practices and global regimes - and are acknowledged internationally. Pakistan will continue to maintain the policy of ‘minimum credible deterrence’, and does not wish to enter into nuclear arms race”.

He further said, “Pakistan considers conference on disarmament as the sole forum entrusted to negotiate disarmament agreements with a view to achieve complete and general disarmament and has always remained constructively involved in its proceedings,”

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/22-Mar-2011/PAF-warns-of-nuke-arms-race

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Steam rises from stricken Japan plant; radiation worry grows

22 Mar 2011

Global anxiety rose over radiation from Japan's earthquake-crippled nuclear plant, where rising smoke and haze from two of the most threatening reactors on Tuesday suggested the battle to avert a disastrous meltdown was far from won. The world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years playing out 240 km (1

 50 miles) north of Tokyo was triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami that left at least 21,000 people dead or missing.

Technicians working inside an evacuation zone around the stricken plant on Japan's northeast Pacific coast have attached power cables to all six reactors and started a pump at one of them to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods.

"We see a light for getting out of the crisis," an official quoted Prime Minister Naoto Kan as saying, allowing himself some rare optimism in Japan's toughest moment since World War II.

Kyodo news agency said steam appeared to be rising from reactor No. 2 and white haze was detected above reactor No. 3. There have been several blasts of steam from the reactors during the crisis, which experts say probably released a small amount of radioactive particles.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said later the smoke had turned to steam and it was deemed safe to continue work in bringing the plant under control.

Away from the plant, mounting evidence of radiation in vegetables, water and milk stirred concerns among Japanese and abroad despite assurances from Japanese officials that the levels were not dangerous.

TEPCO said radiation was found in the Pacific ocean nearby , not surprising given rain and the hosing of reactors with seawater. Some experts said it was unclear where the used seawater was ultimately being disposed.

Radioactive iodine in the sea samples was 126.7 times the allowed limit, while caesium was 24.8 times over, Kyodo said. That still posed no immediate danger, TEPCO said.

"It would have to be drunk for a whole year in order to accumulate to one millisievert," a TEPCO official said, referring to the standard radiation measurement unit. People are generally exposed to about 1 to 10 millisieverts each year from background radiation caused by substances in the air and soil.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Steam-rises-from-stricken-Japan-plant-radiation-worry-grows/Article1-676102.aspx

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Iran will take advantage of Mideast unrest

22 Mar 2011

Iran had shown an “extraordinary level of hypocrisy” by expressing support for reform in the Arab world while engaging in a “brutal crackdown” on its own protesters. –Photo by AFP

SANTIAGO: The United States expects Iran to take advantage of unrest in the Middle East, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on Monday.

“We do expect that Iran will try to take advantage of events,” Rhodes said. “We always monitor very closely.”

Rhodes said Iran had shown an “extraordinary level of hypocrisy” by expressing support for reform movements in the Arab world while engaging in a “brutal crackdown” on its own protesters.

Full report at:

Obama was in Chile for the second leg of his regional trip

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/21/western-powers-strike-libya-for-second-night.html

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US court martial after grisly Afghan photos aired

22 Mar 2011

SEATTLE: A soldier from a “rogue” US army unit accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport goes on trial Wednesday, two days after grisly photos of troops posing with dead bodies were published.

One of three pictures published by the German news magazine Der Spiegel shows Jeremy Morlock smiling over the corpse of an Afghan man he allegedly murdered in southern Afghanistan.

News reports say Morlock has agreed to plead guilty at his court martial to his role as part of an allegedly drug-addled rogue unit that slaughtered Afghan civilians in the explosive Kandahar region early last year.

The photos, recalling the notorious Abu Ghraib prison abuse images from Iraq, show Morlock and another soldier — Private Andrew Holmes, who also faces murder charges — holding up the head of a blood-spattered corpse.

Under military procedures, if Morlock enters a guilty plea on Wednesday the hearing would immediately go to the sentencing phase. An attorney for Morlock did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The court martial has already been postponed once, but Army spokeswoman Major Kathleen Turner, speaking after the surprise publication of the photos, said Morlock is still scheduled to go before the court on Wednesday.

Morlock is also the government’s star witness against four other soldiers accused over the execution of Afghan civilians — in particular the alleged ring-leader, Staff Sergeant Calvin R. Gibbs.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/22/us-court-martial-after-grisly-afghan-photos-aired.html

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Israeli jets strike Gaza after Hamas offers truce

22 Mar 2011

GAZA CITY: Israel staged air raids in Gaza overnight, wounding 17 people, Palestinian medics said Tuesday, after militants fired dozens of mortars over the weekend into southern Israel.

Palestinian medical sources said the victims mainly suffered light injuries and said two women and seven children were among those hurt.

An Israeli military spokesman said aircraft attacked a total of six targets.

“They were two terror tunnels, two arms manufacturing facilities and two other sites,” a spokesman told AFP, adding that the tunnels were intended for staging attacks under the border fence into Israel.

He said that the raids were in response to a wave of 56 rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel since Saturday.

Another tunnel was hit in a single and separate attack early Monday evening, the military said.

Palestinian witnesses said that among targets in the north and centre of the strip were a police post of Hamas, which rules Gaza, and a training facility of its military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which earlier offered to stop cross-border fire into Israel if the Israelis halted attacks on Gaza.

A factory producing construction materials and a metal workshop were also hit, while in southern Gaza there were at least three strikes in the vicinity of Khan Younis town, witnesses said.

One targeted a group of fleeing activists, one a building belonging to the town council and another an empty plot, they said, adding that no casualties were recorded.

Gaza residents reported receiving telephone calls from the Israeli military urging them to leave the vicinity of Hamas facilities.

Ezzedine al-Qassam, which lobbed about 50 mortar rounds into Israel on Saturday, made its truce offer in a statement released after Israeli aircraft made their first raid on the enclave on Monday evening.

It said Saturday’s barrage had been in response to an Israeli strike last week which killed two of its members, but that it was ready to call an end to the tit-for-tat violence if Israel also did so.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/22/israeli-jets-strike-gaza-after-hamas-offers-truce.html

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Time not ripe for US to leave Kabul: Zardari in WikiLeaks

22 Mar 2011

NEW DELHI: The US announcement of its proposed military pullout from Afghanistan had boosted anti-American forces in the country, President Asif Ali Zardari told Senator John Kerry and added that Washington could not afford to keep that time-line for troop withdrawal from Kabul, according to WikiLeaks cables partly published by The Hindu on Monday.

Based on a meeting in February last year, the cable to Washington by US Ambassador in Pakistan Anne Patterson gave an account of Mr Zardari’s economic worries and his perception of Iran’s role in the region.

“Kerry asked Zardari what effect President Obama’s announcement of a US drawdown date had had on the possibility of success in

Afghanistan. Zardari answered that it had given a boost to those fighting against the United States, but that they ‘live in illusion’.”

The cable added: “Zardari doubted that the US would actually leave Afghanistan in two and a half years, adding that ‘no one can afford that’.

Kerry asked if dialogue with the Taliban was possible. Zardari gave a qualified yes: in specific regions, like Quetta, dialogue might be possible, but on a larger scale it was not.”

Mr Kerry asked to what degree events in Iran have an impact in Pakistan. Mr Zardari said Iran needs to be engaged, and recounted his visit to Iran as an emissary of the free world.

Mr Kerry noted that with the December mosque bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistani terrorism had changed, Ms Patterson said. “He asked if

Pakistan was going to commit to doing whatever it takes to get rid of extremism. Zardari replied that he was thinking of the future and what will win people away from extremism in 10 or 15 years. He added, however, that he was ‘fighting a war on a shoestring budget’.”

Mr Kerry said the Pakistan government needed to rebuild the conflict-affected areas as soon as possible. “He explained that new roads, power plants, and health clinics need to go in quickly or any progress made in vanquishing the militants and extremists would be lost. Zardari agreed but added that the war went beyond these areas. He explained that when a US soldier leaves Afghanistan, he no longer fears for his life; when a Pakistani soldier leaves the conflict areas, however, he has to worry that militants might target him in his home in Punjab or Sindh.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/22/time-not-ripe-for-us-to-leave-kabul-zardari-in-wikileaks.html

 

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Former Israeli President to be sentenced for rape

22 Mar 2011

Moshe Katsav faces up to 16 years in prison when his sentence is handed down Tuesday. He says he is innocent.

Katsav was convicted in December of two counts of raping an employee when he was tourism minister in 1998.

The court also convicted him of sexually harassing two other women who worked for him when he was President, from 2000 to 2007.

Intense public pressure forced him to resign two weeks before his term ended.

The case has made history in Israel because Katsav is the highest-ranking official ever convicted of a crime.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/765711/

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Top Yemeni generals defect, tanks deployed in Sanaa

22 Mar 2011

Three army commanders, including a top general, defected on Monday to the opposition calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down as army tanks and armoured vehicles deployed in the streets of the Yemeni capital.

The most senior of the three officers is Maj Gen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a longtime confidante of Saleh and commander of the army's powerful 1st Armoured Division.

Units of the division deployed on Monday in a major square in Sanaa where protesters have been camping out to call for Saleh to step down.

All three officers belong to Saleh's Hashid tribe, which called on Saleh to step down yesterday, dealing his desperate attempts to cling on to power a serious blow.

The two others are Mohammed Ali Mohsen and Hameed al-Qusaibi, who both have the rank of brigadier.

News of the defections came one day after crowds flooded cities and towns across Yemen to mourn dozens of protesters killed Friday when Saleh's security forces opened fire from rooftops on a demonstration in Sanaa.

Al-Ahmar has been a close confidante to Saleh for most of the 32 years the Yemeni president has been in power. He is a veteran of the 1994 civil war that saw Saleh's army suppress an attempt by southern Yemen to secede four years after the two parts of the impoverished Arab nation united.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325839/Top-Yemeni-generals-defect-tanks-deployed-in-Sanaa.html

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India calls for stop to airstrikes on Libya

22 Mar 2011

India on Monday “regretted” airstrikes over Libya by US led international force and said the need of the hour was “cessation of armed conflict” and resolution of differences through a dialogue.

The Left parties too demanded a halt on the air strikes terming it as a “dangerous act of aggression” and demanding that India should seek a review of the UN resolution allowing such bombings.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna called upon all parties to abjure use of violence and said, “We view with grave concern the ongoing violence, strikes and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. We regret the air strikes that are taking place.”

Talking to reporters, he said, “I think the need of the hour is cessation of armed conflict. Air strikes will lead to harm to innocent civilians, foreign nationals and diplomatic missions and their personnel, who are still in Libya.”

Krishna said India believes that all parties and stakeholders should engage themselves in a peaceful dialogue through United Nations and other regional organisations and come to a settlement.

On whether the Government was taking any steps to protect Indians in countries such as Bahrain and Yemen, Krishna said, “The welfare and well being of Indians in these countries (Bahrain, Yemen) is uppermost in our agenda. We are closely monitoring developments in these countries.”

He said, “As and when the developments take place and as and when we feel it is no longer safe for Indians to continue there, then we will take the necessary follow-up action.”

On its part, the CPI(M) Politburo said, “The military strikes by the NATO forces comprising France, Britain and the United States are a dangerous act of aggression.

The NATO is now repeating what it did in Iraq, which led to deaths of millions of people and large-scale destruction. Already, 48 people are reported dead in the attacks on the first day.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325901/India-calls-for-stop-to-airstrikes-on-Libya.html

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Pak positive, open minded about Home Secy-level talks: Envoy

22 Mar 2011

Pakistan on Monday said it was positive and open minded about the Home Secretary-level talks with India scheduled for next week during which the two sides are expected to discuss issues covering terrorism and progress in 26/11 trial.

In the run-up to the meeting on March 28 and 29 here, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik met Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and discussed the agenda for the proposed talks, the first structured bilateral secretary-level meeting on counter-terrorism after India and Pakistan decided to resume comprehensive talks.

“I have come with the message for this very important meeting which is restart of the process (of dialogue) between the two countries. We are positive and open minded and I got the same message from the Indian side.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325899/Pak-positive-open-minded-about-Home-Secy-level-talks-Envoy.html

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‘ STOP BOMBING START TALKING’

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

22 Mar 2011

INDIA has disapproved the airstrikes on Libya by the western powers and has urged all parties to abjure the use of violence. “We view with grave concern the ongoing violence, strikes and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. We regret the airstrikes that are taking place,” external affairs minister S.M. Krishna said a day after his ministry issued a statement regretting the airstrikes.

Krishna’s statement came as the Libyan Opposition alleged that Muammar Gaddafi’s forces killed 11 people in the northern city of Misrata, while unconfirmed reports said one of the strongman’s sons had been killed in a missile strike on his Tripoli residential compound. Opposition sources reported the sound of explosions followed by smoke rising from the area of Bab al-Aziziyah, a Gaddafi stronghold. While Libyan officials said there were no casualties from the compound bombing, one of Gaddafi’s sons, Khamis, was reportedly injured in the attack.

Some Opposition groups claimed Khamis had died of burn wounds sustained during the attack. Gaddafi’s whereabouts were not known.

French government spokesman Francois Baroin said that two days of French strikes, which are part of Operation Odyssey Dawn to implement the UN resolution 1973, had “stopped Gaddafi in the development of massacring civilians”.

However, the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition said Gaddafi’s forces shelled the city of Alzentan, about 160km southwest of Tripoli.

Gaddafi had earlier called on his supporters to launch a peaceful march on the rebel-held city of Benghazi. But the rebels refused to negotiate to end the war.

Sharp divisions prevented Nato from adopting a plan on Monday for military airstrikes against Libya, as Turkish opposition blocked the alliance from approving a strategy. And European unity was further called into question at the European Union as Germany questioned the wisdom of the operation altogether.

A day after Turkey declined to support a military plan for the alliance to enforce a no-fly zone, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said support was possible but only if Nato’s operation does not turn into an occupation.

Full report at:

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2232011

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Panic in Japan as WHO warns of food radiation

22 Mar 2011

THE WORLD Health Organisation ( WHO) said on Monday that radiation in food after the earthquake damaged Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was more serious than previously thought.

This has eclipsed the progress in a battle to avert a catastrophic meltdown in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Engineers managed to rig power cables to all six reactors at the nuclear complex and started a water pump at one of them to reverse the overheating that has triggered the nuclear crisis.

Some workers were later evacuated from one of the most badly damaged reactors when smoke briefly rose from the site.

Subsequently, firefighters postponed spraying the nuclear reactor No. 3 with seawater.

But news of progress at the nuclear plant was overshadowed by mounting concern that radioactive particles already released into the atmosphere have contaminated food and water supplies.

“ Quite clearly it’s a serious situation,” Peter Cordingley, Manila- based spokesman for the WHO regional office, said.

“ It’s a lot more serious than anybody thought in the early days when we thought that this kind of problem can be limited to 20 to 30 kilometres ... It’s safe to suppose that some contaminated produce got out of the contamination zone.” Japan’s health ministry also urged some residents near the plant to stop drinking tap water after high levels of radioactive iodine were detected.

Cases of contaminated vegetables and milk have already stoked anxiety despite assurances from officials that the levels are not dangerous. The government has prohibited the sale of spinach from all four prefectures near the plant and banned selling of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture.

Full report at:

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2232011

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Saudi Shia protests simmer as Bahrain conflict rages

22 Mar 2011

Hundreds of young Shia  men marched down a commercial street in the Saudi city of Qatif, near the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry, pounding their fists in anger over their country’s military intervention in Bahrain.

‘With our blood and soul we sacrifice for you, Bahrain,’ they chanted as they walked, according to videos of a recent protest posted on the internet. Some wore scarves to conceal their faces. Others waved Bahraini flags.

‘People are boiling,’ one Shia  activist in Qatif said, asking not to be named for fear of arrest. ‘People are talking about strikes, demonstration and prayer to help the Bahrainis.’

The protests were in response to Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and most powerful Gulf Arab state, sending troops to Bahrain last week to help quell weeks of protests by majority Shia s in the Sunni-led monarchy. Bahrain’s opposition called it a declaration of war.

Riyadh, facing Shia  protests of its own, fears a sustained revolt in neighbouring Bahrain could embolden its own Shia  minority, which has long grumbled about sectarian discrimination, charges Riyadh denies.

The military intervention, however, appears to have only deepened Shia  resentment in the kingdom, where between 10 and 15 per cent of the 18 million Saudi nationals are Shias.

Leading Saudi Shia  cleric Sheikh Hassan al-Saffar has called for Gulf leaders to find a political solution.

Full report at:

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12434.html

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Anti-Muslim current in Australia: study

22 Mar 2011

A year-long study of religious freedom in Australia has revealed widespread distrust of Muslims and discrimination against pagans and homosexuals.

The report released Monday by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that acceptance of religious difference had not become easier as the population became more diverse.

After taking more than 2,000 public submissions and consulting with more than 200 religious, secular and community groups, the report found there was a ‘pressing need’ for education about religions to reduce ignorance and fear.

‘There is a current of anti-Muslim discourse that suggests an entrenched hostility often related to overseas events,’ the report said in its conclusion.

‘Significant distrust of Muslims and Islam was expressed by some,’ it added, saying there were reports of discrimination against Muslims and other religious minorities.

The report entitled ‘Freedom of religion and belief in 21st century Australia’ found a greater recognition of spiritual communities in Australia, such as pagan and indigenous beliefs, was needed.

Full report at:

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12425.html

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Ethnic groups protest at wrong identification

22 Mar 2011

The Human Rights Commission chairman, Mizanur Rahman, on Monday said if ethnic and minor communities like Dalits, Harijans, transsexuals and sex workers were not distinctly identified in the population and household census 2011, it would be a violation of human rights.

‘As citizens of the country it is their basic rights to be recognised,’ he told a seminar jointly organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation, non-govermental organisation FAIR and Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad at Dhaka Reporter’s Unity.

Mizanur Rahman assured that the commission would always assist people in establishing human rights in society.

He said this in response to allegations at a seminar titled ‘Necessity of law on elimination of racial discrimination to establish rights of marginalised society’ that the ethnic and minority people were not properly identified in the census.

Presenting keynote paper at the seminar organized to mark International Day for the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum secretary Rabindranath Saren alleged that nearly 19 Santal groups were registered as Hindus in the census questionnaire.

He said the Santals were a distinct ethnic community of the country and the non-recognition was a violation of their basic rights.

Representatives from the Dalits, Harijons, disabled, transsexuals, sex workers and other marginalised people called for enacting a law for elimination of racial discrimination to establish their rights in society.

National Law commission’s chairman M Shah Alam said the government should take positive move to stop racial discrimination and it would be a violation of the constitution if the minority groups were denied their rights.

Full report at:

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/national/12512.html

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Indonesia visit to strengthen ties: Xanana

21 Mar 2011

The governments of Indonesia and Timor Leste hope to improve bilateral ties, especially on matters concerning national borders and the economy, Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao says.

Gusmao is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday, during his four-day state visit to Indonesia from March 22 to 25.

“Indonesia and Timor Leste have very strong ties. We definitely want to see an improvement in bilateral cooperation through this visit,” Xanana said Tuesday, as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/22/indonesia-visit-strengthen-ties-xanana.html

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Britain refuses to rule out targeting Gaddafi

21 Mar 2011

British Foreign Secretary William Hague was speaking after Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the Libyan leader may be a legitimate target of international military action, which began Saturday to enforce a UN-imposed ceasefire and no-fly zone to protect civilians.

"The targeting that we do on these kind of strikes will always be in accordance with the UN resolution and that of course emphasises the protection of the civilian population," Hague told BBC radio.

"I'm not going to get drawn into the details of what or who might be targeted."

Asked whether Britain had the authority to kill Gaddafi if he continues to attack his own people, Hague replied: "I'm not going to speculate on the targets... that depends on the circumstances at the time."

On Sunday, Fox was asked whether Gaddafi was a legitimate target.

"Well, that would potentially be a possibility but you mention immediately one of the problems we would have, which is that you would have to take into account any civilian casualties that might result from that," he told the BBC.

In response to Fox's comments, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it would be "unwise" to have coalition forces try to kill Gaddafi.

"I think that it's important that we operate within the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution," he told reporters on a flight to Russia.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/8231/World/Region/Britain-refuses-to-rule-out-targeting-Gaddafi.aspx

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Egyptian Christians return to politics

21 Mar 2011

Since the January 25 revolution, Copts are starting to become politically active. Groups of Egyptian Christians held massive protests after the burning of a church in Atfeeh this month, and the referendum on the constitutional amendments saw huge numbers of Copts voting. But these high levels of participation and mobilization have raised tensions on the ground in Egypt.

The tense debate on whether to vote in favour of the constitutional amendments reached a point where many Muslims and Copts voted serving religious agendas.

In response to this, prominent political and religious figures approached Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, calling for a common dialogue. Egypt’s Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, and Deputy Prime Minister, Yehia El-Gamal, visited Pope Shenouda separately yesterday.

In addition to this, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Mohamed Badie, has for the first time called Pope Shenouda and offered to meet up with Coptic youth in an attempt to explain the Brotherhood’s ideas.

In general, some Copts chose to vote “no” in response to the massive Islamist campaign calling for a “yes” vote.

“Many Muslims voted “yes” to insure the continuation of Islamic rule, while many Copts voted “no” to abolish this,” Diaa Rashwan, Senior Researcher at Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, told Ahram Online. “If things continue this way during the parliamentary elections, Egypt is really under threat,” he added.

For Kamal Zakher, coordinator of the secular Copts Group, “When Copts saw all this dramatic stress from Islamists on voting “yes”, balanced by political leaders and intellectuals saying “no,” they went for a “no” out of fear of the Islamists’ agenda.”

“Saying that the Copts are the ones who said no is a sectarian idea; in fact, many intellectual Muslims shared the same vote with them.”

Moreover, the way the military responded to the issue of the church burning at Atfeeh this month has intensified the Copts’ fear of an Islamic advance in Egypt.

After the burning of the church, Copts protested and, “the army asked for the help of Salafi religious figure Mohamed Hassan to solve the issue in Soul village, which has increased the Copts’fear,” Zakher told Ahram Online. Hassan met with the villagers and convinced them that their church will be rebuilt. “I want to be granted my rights as a citizen, not after people’s approval,” said Nabil Gobrial, a lawyer.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/8264/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-Christians-return-to-politics.aspx

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/suicide-attack-on-afghan-army-centre-kills-37/d/4322




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