New Age Islam News Bureau
29 Dec 2011
• China kills ‘terrorists’ near Pakistan border
• Saudi women to run, vote without male approval
• Pakistan, India must prevent 'tripping of nuclear wire': Report
• India: Srinagar Imams stress on tackling social evils, apostasy
• Iranian House of Cinema ruled illegal
• Women's Rights Can't Flower in Arab Spring
• Islamists intensify Nigeria’s divisions
• Egypt’s Islamic Research Center wants Christian TV off air
• Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam slams call for demolishing seminaries
• Why target Cong, Muslims ask Anna
• Pakistan and India take steps to prevent accidental nuclear war
• Islamic revolution in Pakistan not far away: Jamaat e Islami chief
• American scientist’s car set on fire in Addu, Maldives
• Clergymen clash at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus
• MULLAH OMAR WAS NEVER ON FBI MOST WANTED LIST
• 26/11-like attack planned against Danish paper: NIA
• Islamophobia in United States still rising
• Bangladesh: Hunt down, lock up ‘razakars’: Coordinator of Awami League led grand alliance
• Sudanese general linked to genocide monitoring Syrian violence
• Kazakhstan probes police use of weapons after deaths
• Turkey air strike kills 35 near Kurdish village
• Bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan
• 12 terrorists killed in Orakzai, Kurram offensives
• Pakistan Media: There is no room in Pakistan for pseudo revolutionaries
• Safety concern: 'US to export all NATO cargo out of Pakistan'
• Zardari immunity under question
• Pakistan wants good relations with world community: FO
• Saudi Arabia to provide soft loan of US$ 172mn
• NATO vehicles caused Rs.150 bn damage to Pakistan highways
• Bangladesh PM opens distribution of free textbooks
• Pakistan would support an Afghan-led reconciliation: Gilani
• Afghan signs major oil deal with China
• Mubarak returns to court in landmark trial
• IRAN OFFICIAL SAYS `MISQUOTED' OVER WOMAN HANGING
• Muslim Youth Organisations Condemns Bombing in Nigeria
• Key military positions dismantled in Yemen capital
• Some Muslim leaders upset by NYPD spying refuse invitations to mayor’s interfaith breakfast
• Amid bloodshed, Hamas prepares to leave Syria
• Judiciary Chief Stresses Effects of Islamic Awakening on Western States
• Syria urged to give observers free hand
• Arab Spring spark is Times’ person of ’11
Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Support for scientific research rooted in Qur'an and Sunnah, symposium told
Support for scientific research rooted in Qur’an and Sunnah, symposium on Salafism told
By ALI BLUWI , ARAB NEWS
RIYADH: Dec 29, 2011 , Support for science and scientists, both financially and morally, is rooted in Qur’an and Sunnah, said professor Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Hassan in his paper: “The Salafist Vision on Backing Science and Scientists.”
Al-Hassan was one of the academics who presented their papers on the second day of the symposium on Salafism, Shariah and national demand at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.
Vice president of the university Ahmed bin Youssef Al-Darwish, in his paper on the doctrine of the righteous ancestor of rulers, argued that the ideal example for ruling is for all Muslims to be under one ruler. Yet, given the complexity of the environment, the diversity of rulers or imams is accepted. He stressed that people need rulers and defying them is banned according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
The Salafist approach and its attributes was the theme tackled in another paper presented by Ibrahim bin Nasir Al-Humoud. The most distinctive feature of this approach is that it is divine. He stressed that this divine approach is so obvious that it does not need interpretation. Other important features are thoroughness, moderation and comprehensive approach.
Mahmud Abdelhadi Dasouqi presented a paper on the attributes of the pioneers of the Salafi approach.
Interestingly, the paper presented by Muneerah of Princess Noura University argued that the Salafi doctrine is not specialized in a given Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Instead it encompasses all jurisprudence schools. Salafists belong to one faith even if they rely on different jurisprudence doctrines.
She recommended that students should take this into account and publicize this fact. She stressed that the doctrine of the “salaf” came into being in the early days of Islam. Also, Salafism as a concept originated in the second century with the emergence of different groups. She pointed to the stages of the approach and she argued that it went through ups and downs.
The adviser to the university rector, Bandar bin Fahd Al-Sweilm, chaired the sixth session that included four papers.
Rida Abu Shameh from Algeria presented a paper in which he stood up for those who accused Salafism as if it was a takfiri call. He also emphasized that moderation and balance does not mean religion must be left aside. He added moderation and being balanced means the implementation of God's religion in all domains and fields.
Ahmed Bu Ood, a philosopher from Morocco, presented a paper on Salafism, arguing that the insistence of some that Salafism is static is not correct. For him, the source of this impression is twofold. Belittling Salafism is tantamount to belittling Islam itself. The impression that Islam cannot cope with needs of modern human being is one reason. Another reason is the narrow and close understanding of some of those who call themselves Salafists. They demonstrate commitment to the text without being able to reinterpret things.
On Salafi position on extremism, Haya Al-Sheikh presented a paper on dealing with non-Muslims. She demonstrated that Islam was a religion of moderation and tolerance. While she clarified the tolerance of Islam toward non-Muslims, she distinguished between treating non-Muslims in a decent way and allying with them against other Muslims.
Lamya Al-Tawil presented a paper on how the Salafi approach deals with issue relevant to extremism. She clarified that Islam warned against extremism in all its forms.
In the seventh session, Saleh bin Abdullah bin Hamid, head of the supreme council for judiciary, touched on the link between the Salafist approach and the modern religious discourse.
Sheikh Abdurrahman bin Ali talked about the reality of the modern religious discourse in Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Badr Al-Hassan Al-Qasmi presented a paper in which he said the concept “religious discourse” appeared in a non-Islamic environment. He focused on Imam Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab and his focus on fighting dissent. He talked about the call to return to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Hidaya Ahmed Al-Shash presented a paper on Salafism, its principles and its position toward renewing religion. She recommended that there was a need to spread the proper concept of Salafism and renewal by introducing them in curricula in schools and universities.
China kills ‘terrorists’ near Pakistan border
BEIJING: Dec 30, 2011, The Chinese police shot dead seven people whom it described as " kidnappers" close to the country's border with Pakistan late on Wednesday.
The official media said there is speculation that the case of kidnapping was linked to religious extremism in Muslim-dominated areas close to "the Kashmir region controlled by Pakistan and India".
The police said they fired at "violent terrorists" who had kidnapped two people in the remote mountainous areas of Pishan county in Hotan prefecture. Hotan, which borders Pakistan, had witnessed riots in June in which 18 people were killed.
The two hostages were rescued after the police killed the seven extremists and injured four others. One police officer was killed and another wounded in the rescue operation. Xinjiang's local government did not release any more details.
The Chinese government is facing a dangerous separatist movement from a section of Muslim Uighurs seeking independent East Turkmenistan. The police reported in early December that the terrorists kidnapped and killed a Uighur Muslim for drinking alcohol, considered a taboo in Islam.
Saudi women to run, vote without male approval
RIYADH:Dec 29, 2011, Women in Saudi Arabia will not need a male guardian's approval to run or vote in municipal elections in 2015, when women will also run for office for the first time, a Saudi official has said.
The change signifies a step forward in easing the kingdom's restrictions against women, but it falls far short of what some Saudi reformers are calling for.
Shura Council member Fahad al-Anzi was quoted in the state-run al-Watan newspaper on Wednesday saying that approval for women to run and vote came from the guardian of Islam's holiest sites, the Saudi king, and therefore women will not need a male guardian's approval. The country's Shura Council is an all-male consultative body with no legislative powers.
Despite the historic decision by the king to allow women the right to participate in the country's only open elections, male guardian laws in Saudi Arabia remain largely unchanged. Women cannot travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian.
The country is guided by an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism.
Hatoun al-Fasi, a women's history professor in Riyadh, said just the announcement that Saudi women can run for office and vote without permission will stir debate.
"It's being brought up out of the blue and could open doors to discussions that we have enough of already," al-Fasi said.
While King Abdullah has pushed for some changes on women's rights, he has been cautious not to push too hard against ultraconservative clerics, who have in the past challenged social reforms. Saudi's ruling family draws its legitimacy from the backing of the kingdom's religious establishment.
The male guardianship laws are particularly stifling for women, Saudi female activist Wajeha al-Hawidar said.
"These laws make the woman like a child in all aspects of her life. She is not dealt with as an adult with a fully developed brain," al-Hawidar said.
The restrictions are practically all-encompassing.
Saudi women cannot study abroad unless a male guardian approves and accompanies them throughout their studies. Government-run hospitals are allowed to perform surgery on women only with approval from a male guardian, except in emergencies. Male guardians in Saudi Arabia are allowed to remove their daughters or sisters from school at any time. In the case that a father, uncle or brother is not available, mothers turn to their sons for approval to work or travel.
"Male guardianship laws are a problem that the Saudi woman has been dealing with for years. It's our number one demand that these laws be revoked," al-Fasi said. "It goes against the social rights that Islam gives women."
Al-Fasi and other Saudi women have been pushing the Saudi government for social reforms and greater rights for women, including to allow women the right to drive and for the dissolution of male guardianship laws. Saudi women have staged protests defying the ban.
Al-Hawidar said Wednesday's announcement means another barrier for women in Saudi Arabia has been lifted. However, she said the government might not see it through, because of expected resistance by those opposing such reforms.
"There are people in the government willing to listen reasonably, but people in society are not," al-Hawidar said. "They will hate you just for being different, and with these people there is no common language."
Pakistan, India must prevent 'tripping of nuclear wire': Report
ISLAMABAD, Dec 29, 2011: Talks between Pakistan and India to avert conflict is a step in the right direction, said a daily while observing that "the criticality of arrangements to ensure that there is no tripping of the nuclear wire cannot be underscored enough".
An editorial in the Daily Times Thursday said that the two countries had a history of hostility and conflict and three wars had been fought in a span of 50 years.
In such a scenario, "confidence-building measures (CBMs) to avert future military and nuclear conflict between archrivals Pakistan and India are a step in the right direction", it said.
Two-day talks were held here on nuclear CBMs. The two countries have extended the validity of their previous agreement to reduce the risk of accidents relating to nuclear weapons for another five years.
During the talks, Pakistan proposed moving heavy artillery 30 km away from the Line of Control (LoC).
"However, while this proposal may be a good one for ensuring peace in that region, it is ineffective unless complemented with a raft of other agreements drawn up to dissipate the tensions between the two sides," the editorial said.
It suggested making the LoC "porous so as to ease trade and travel across it".
"The way forward to preserving peace along the divide is by encouraging people-to-people contact through a liberalised visa regime, thereby making it a meeting point..."
The editorial went on to say that if "we are to live with weapons of mass destruction in a region with a volatile history, the criticality of arrangements to ensure that there is no tripping of the nuclear wire cannot be underscored enough".
"Together with the recent MFN status awarded by Pakistan to India and the meetings between the foreign ministers and prime ministers of the two countries, the CBM talks represent a sea change in the hitherto frozen state of affairs between the two countries since the 2008 Mumbai attacks as India has come back to the negotiating table and understood the need for mutual dialogue," it added.
India: Srinagar Imams stress on tackling social evils, apostasy
Srinagar, Dec 28: The Imams of various mosques here on Wednesday pledged to make efforts to rid the society of the various evils that have emerged as a major challenge to the present social set up.
The Imams hailing from various uptown localities like Rajbagh, Shivpora, Indra Nagar, Iqbal Colony, Indra Nagar, Sonwar, Gupkar Road and Batwara discussed various proposals on the issues like apostasy, moral waywardness and use of alcohol and narcotics. The conference was organized at Masjid Madina Iqbal Colony Indra Nagar.
‘Our society is faced with various problems but some serious evils need our immediate attention,” Convener of today’s conference Moulvi Shabir Ahmad said. He said that the Imams can play important role by educating the youth and the heads of the families to create an atmosphere where these evils do not create any further damage to our religious and social fabric.
“Issues like apostasy, moral waywardness and use of alcohol and narcotics need to be tackled on a war footing as these are leaving an indelible mark on our society,” Moulvi Imtiyaz Ahmad said. He said that youth need to involve themselves and create small social groups to educate the people about these evils and their impact on the society. The Imams also sought to set up of a central Bait-ul-Maal (community fund) so that those in need are taken care of. The Imams later appealed the people to contribute generously towards the Bait-u-Maal. The Station House Officer, Ram Munshi Bagh Police Station also participated in the Conference.
Iranian House of Cinema ruled illegal
TEHRAN, 29 December 2011 -- The Iran Public Culture Council (IPCC) has ruled the Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) is illegal, the Persian service of FNA reported on Wednesday.
The decision was made on Tuesday during an IPCC meeting, which was held to settle a lawsuit filed against the organization by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance early December.
IPCC is composed of 29 members including the culture ministry, representatives of the Interior Ministry, the Intelligence Ministry, and the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization.
No representative from the IHC was invited to the meeting.
The members were briefed by Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari about the activities of IHC at the meeting, Mansur Vaezi told FNA.
“Finally, due to the (Shamaqdaro’s) report, IPCC ruled the Iranian House of Cinema is illegal,” he added.
The IHC announced in a statement on Monday that it won’t collaborate with the Culture Ministry in organizing the Fajr International Film Festival, if the legal issues raised by the ministry are not settled.
Some semi official news websites deemed the statement a call for boycotting the festival, which is considered as Iran’s most important cinematic event.
The IHC, which is the Iranian cineastes’ guild, has been criticized by certain Iranian officials over the past few years for its independent stands on various issues.
In September, it was criticized for the issuance of a statement over the arrest of six Iranian documentary filmmakers, who have been accused of “collaboration with the BBC Persian service” in Iran.
Afterward, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance questioned the legitimacy of the IHC.
He said that the IHC had refused to inform the IPCC about some amendments made to its charter.
“Consequently, the guild faces a serious question about its legitimacy,” Mohammad Hosseini said.
Subsequently, Deputy Culture Minister Shamaqdari was assigned to file a lawsuit against the IHC.
“The official attitude toward the IHC was previously thought to be spontaneous, but today, it seems to be organized,” IHC Managing Director Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur said in October.
“Certain people are seeking to denigrate the Iranian cinema family and it seems that they are doing it on purpose,” he sighed.
Women's Rights Can't Flower in Arab Spring
The swing toward Islamism in the Arab Spring is deeply disturbing for liberal Egyptian women who see the country's election captured by religious parties that could strangle women's rights.
First and second-round reports indicate a landslide to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour Party, while the secular Facebook freedom fighters who triggered and personified the uprising were decimated.
These results are consistent with a Pew poll that showed 85 percent of Egyptian Muslims embraced Islam's influence in politics.
Regional elections are hindered by weak civil societies and non-representative electoral systems. The political landscape is also a battleground scarred with the competing ideologies of Arab nationalism, nascent democratic liberalism and Islamism, or political Islam, bolstered by decades of Iranian and petrodollar funding for export of radical ideology.
So far, the Arab Spring has not yielded reforms that promote women's rights. In Egypt, women were not invited to join a committee preparing amendments to the constitution, and many who rallied in Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day in March were subjected by soldiers to humiliating "virginity tests". Recently, an Egyptian court ruled such tests were illegal.
In Tunisia, the most liberal Arab state before the uprising, Islamists protested violently against a ban on enrolments of veiled women in college and also against the "blasphemous" animated film Persepolis, previously shown at a 2008 Tunisian film festival without causing concern.
Full Report at:
Islamists intensify Nigeria’s divisions
By Jon Gambrell -Associated Press
LAGOS, NIGERIA, December 28, 2011— Boko Haram’s insurgency started with robed men on motorcycles killing their enemies one at a time across Nigeria’s remote and dusty northeast.
Now the radical Muslim sect’s attacks have morphed into a nationwide sectarian fight.
It is taking on strategic targets such as the country’s United Nations headquarters and are striking on symbolic days - including Christmas attacks now two years in a row.
At least 39 people were killed when Boko Haram militants attacked two churches and set off explosions elsewhere Sunday, sparking panic and fears of mob violence.
The terrorist group, some of whose members have links to al Qaeda, wants to impose Islamic Shariah law across Nigeria - a country divided into a mostly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.
Boko Haram’s widening terrorist attacks, though, are only intensifying religious divisions in Nigeria.
Full Report at:
Egypt’s Islamic Research Center wants Christian TV off air
CAIRO: 29 December 2011, Egypt’s Islamic Research Center, led by Sheikh of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, is demanding that United States Christian television station al-Karma of insulting Islam and inciting religious violence in the country.
The offshoot of the Sunni Islamic world’s leading religious institution has also demanded that it be taken off air over what it described as “offensive” material directed at Muslims, daily al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Karma television channel is broadcasted into Egypt by the country’s state-run NileSat, thus making a potential case against the channel easier to ultimately remove the channel from Egyptian households.
The channel, however, is not among the most watched in Egypt, even among the Christian population.
“I have never heard of it, so maybe it isn’t really a big thing, but if al-Azhar is trying to attack it then who knows,” said Noha Fahmy, a young Coptic Christian woman living in Cairo. “To be honest, the more these kind of lawsuits happen the more divisions it will create,” she told Bikyamasr.com.
The Christian community in Egypt, predominantly Coptic Christian, account for some 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million population and have long demanded better treatment and an end to what they have called “marginalization” by the majority Muslim population.
On October 9, thousands of Christians took to the streets in Cairo after a series of church attacks in the south of the country demanding greater rights. The military opened fire on the protesters and ran them over with armored vehicles outside the state television building in what has become known as the “Maspero Massacre.”
At least 27 people were killed in the violence, which the military claims was not done by their soldiers, despite video online showing the opposite.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam slams call for demolishing seminaries
QUETTA: Dec 29, 2011, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) leader and senior minister Maulana Abdul Wasay has severely criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik over his statement about the demolition of unregistered seminaries and has dubbed him a ‘dubious character’. Maulana Wasay expressed his outrage against the interior minister during a speech in the Balochistan Assembly over the recent statement of Rehman Malik in which he said that all unregistered religious seminaries would be demolished.
The interior minister was a non-entity and he had been imposed on us, the minister told the House. “He often talks about action against religious seminaries and madaris and use of brute force in Balochistan, with the clear intention to sabotage the peace process there,” he said angrily. “Whenever there is any peace process underway for religious harmony and unity, Mr Malik is there to sabotage the process. Similarly, he sabotaged the reconciliation process in Balochistan with his objectionable statements,” Wasay added. He said that democracy would not be strengthened in the country with the presence of such questionable characters. Commenting on the prime minister’s recent statement in which he declared 2012 as the year of Balochistan, Wasay said that he expected worse days ahead for Balochistan. “No one should be dreaming or involved in wishful thinking that Balochistan in 2012 will be a better place,” he observed.
Full Report at:
Why target Cong, Muslims ask Anna
Zia Haq, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 29, 2011, For the second time, efforts of India Against Corruption to court Muslims have failed squarely, with prominent organisations in Mumbai slamming the doors on it. Responding to India Against Corruption's Arvind Kejriwal's appeal, Muslim organisations, for the first time ahead of key polls,
could be heard speaking favourably of the Congress, whose ratings in the community have been bolstered by a recent government decision on affirmative action for Muslims.
Why was Anna Hazare, the lead anti-graft campaigner, "targeting only the Congress" when all parties tend to be corrupt, they asked. Analysts say it is still too early to judge which way Muslims will vote in UP.
Desperate to shrug off anti-corruption icon Anna Hazare's alleged links with the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Kejriwal had met key Muslim leaders ahead of his fast in Mumbai.
In a joint statement, Muslim groups not only said they had "serious doubts" about Hazare's connections with the RSS, but also condemned him for "strengthening communal forces". Minority rights campaigner and film-maker Mahesh Bhatt was one of the signatories.
Keen on enlisting minority supporters in Mumbai, which has a significant Muslim population, Kejriwal emphasised that Hazare's fight was against corruption and Muslims were wholeheartedly invited.
The appeal fell flat. "Any movement that targets only the Congress is aimed at strengthening communal forces and the BJP," All India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Abdus Sattar Sheikh said.
Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind's Maharashtra president Mustaqim Ashan Azmi said Muslims were not convinced Hazare had links with the RSS. Jamiat's powerful all-India chief Arshad Madni said: "Hazare's campaign is for the right cause, but the intentions are wrong. He wants to directly strengthen communal forces."
Mumbai Aman Committee chief Farid Shaikh said: "Now that UPA has done something good for Muslims (reservation in jobs), communal forces are getting at it."
Muslims maintain that they perceive Hazare to be "friendly" with "anti-minority elements". In August, when Hazare held a similar protest in Delhi, Kejriwal and close aide Kiran Bedi had sought Muslim support, which too failed to move the community.
Pakistan and India take steps to prevent accidental nuclear war
By Rob Crilly,
Islamabad, 28 Dec 2011, Analysts believe the warming in relations comes as Pakistan's military looks to shift its focus from the eastern border to the west, where the US has begun withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
At the end of two days of talks in Islamabad, a spokesman also said Pakistan was ready to move heavy artillery back from the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two countries which runs through Kashmir.
The moves suggest relations are continuing to improve after talks were broken off in 2008, in the aftermath of coordinated raids by Pakistan-based terrorists who killed more than 160 people in Mumbai.
The meeting, the first of its kind in four years, finished with a recommendation that both countries renew an agreement to inform each other of missile tests, nuclear accidents or military exercises.
Relations between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, have been plagued by border and resource disputes, and accusations of Pakistani militant activity against India.
Two of the three wars between India and Pakistan have been fought over Kashmir, which both countries claim in full.
A 20-year separatist insurgency in Indian Kashmir has left tens of thousands dead and took the two countries to the brink of nuclear war in 2002.
The talks mean the two countries are likely to renew confidence building measures first set out in the Lahore Declaration of 1999.
Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst in Lahore, said Pakistan had begun to realise that a major source of insecurity lay along its western border and was keen to reduce the risk from India to its east.
"The progress reflects the Pakistan's military desire to defuse tension along the border," he said. "One reason for that is America withdrawing from Afghanistan, which is predicted here to have a destabilising effect on Pakistan, so they will want to move their focus to the Afghan border."
Islamic revolution in Pakistan not far away: Jamaat e Islami chief
South Asian News Agency (SANA) · December 28, 2011,
LAHORE, December 28, 2011: The Jamaat e Islami chief, Syed Munawar Hasan, has said that there was a strong longing for the blessed Islamic system in Pakistan as well and a Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco like revolution could not be ruled out here prior to the elections.
He was addressing large rallies organized by the JI Khyber P. at Karak and Sarai Norang. JI deputy chief, Sirajul Haq, JI provincial chief, Prof. Muhammad Ibrahim and oher local leaders also spoke on the occasion.
Syed Munawar Hasan said the need of the time was to boycott Zardaris, Gilanis and such others who were responsible for the present crisis in the country.
Besides, he said, the people would have to get rid of the US agents in our ranks in order to avoid memo scandals in future.
The JI chief said that there wont be any elections under President Zardari, and remarked that only Zard ( yellow) elections could take place under Zardari.
He said the nation would have to get out of the IMF and World Bank clutches to be able to end US interference. He said the US had met a crushing defeat in Afghanistan despite raining tons of gunpowder.
Syed Munawar Hasan said that the JI was fighting the dankness all around in the society with courage and determination.
He said the western system based on exploitation and revolt from Allah was finally dying and millions of the western people were protesting against that. He said, an Islamic system could be established only by defeating the US and its capitalist system.
He condemned the statement of the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman suggesting that winding up the nuclear programme was essential to ensure economic progress. He said this was only US- India – Israel agenda and added that the nation would never accept US slavery or Indian supremacy in the region.
Doubting the US announcements to quit Afghanistan by 2014, the JI chief said this was a plain lie as the US had no such intention as it desired to occupy the rich mineral resources of this region.
However, he said that if the US did not quit voluntarily, the valiant Afghans would wipe out the Americans on their soil and send their dead bodies home.
Syed Munawar Hasan said that the people changing parties at this juncture should inform the people of the misdeeds of their previous parties.
American scientist’s car set on fire in Addu, Maldives
By Hawwa Lubna
December 26th, 2011
The police are investigating an apparent arson attack on a car used by a team of American scientists conducting research in Addu.
South police division Commander, Superintendent Yoonus Sobah told Minivan News that police were alerted to the incident around 12:51am on Sunday. The fire was put out when the police team reached the scene.
Sobah said it is too soon to say whether the fire was a deliberate attack or a random incident.
“We are continuing the investigation. So far we have not found any evidence to prove the fire was set deliberately,” Sobah said.
The car was rented by the American research team involved in the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) project based on Gan in Addu atoll.
According to DYNAMO project Research Assistant Justin Stachnik, one of 13 American researchers currently in Addu, the car was parked outside the house they are currently residing in Hithadhoo.
He said the details of the incident remains “unclear”, and it was the neighbours who spotted the fire and put it out.
Full Report at:
Clergymen clash at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus
By Bernat Armangue-Associated Press
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP), December 28, 2011 — The annual cleaning of one of Christianity’s holiest churches deteriorated into a brawl between rival clergy Wednesday, as dozens of monks feuding over sacred space at the Church of the Nativity battled one another with brooms until police intervened.
The ancient church, built over the traditional site of Jesus‘ birth in Bethlehem, is shared by three branches of Christianity — Roman Catholics, Armenians and Greek Orthodox. Wednesday’s fight erupted between Greek and Armenian clergy, with both sides accusing the other of encroaching on parts of the church to which they lay claim.
The monks were tidying up the church ahead of Orthodox Christmas celebrations in early January, following celebrations by Western Christians on Dec. 25. The fight erupted between monks along the border of their respective areas. Some shouted and hurled brooms.
Palestinian security forces rushed in to break up the melee, and no serious injuries were reported. A Palestinian police spokesman would not immediately comment.
A fragile status quo governs relations among the denominations at the ancient church, and to repair or clean a part of the structure is to own it, according to accepted practice. That means that letting other sects clean part of the church could allow one to gain ground at another’s expense. Similar fights have taken place during the same late-December cleaning effort in the past.
Tensions between rival clergy at the church have been a fact of life there for centuries and often have been caught up in international politics.
In the 1800s, friction between the denominations at the church — each backed by foreign powers — became so fraught that Russian Czar Nicholas I deployed troops along the Danube River to threaten a Turkish sultan who had been favoring the Catholics over the Orthodox.
Those disagreements threaten the integrity of the church itself, which originally was built 1,500 years ago and parts of which have fallen into disrepair. Although the roof has needed urgent work for decades and leaking rainwater has ruined much of the priceless artwork inside, a renovation has been delayed all these years by disagreements among the three churches over who would pay.
Only recently, the Palestinian Authority brokered an agreement to move ahead with replacing the roof, and officials hope work will begin in 2012.
Mullah omar was never on FBI most wanted list
Dec 29, 2011
Mullah Omar's name has been “quietly removed“ from the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists, Pakistani media has claimed, prompting the US investigative agency to clarify that he had never figured in its list. Mullah Omar, who ruled Afghanistan during the Taliban regime in mid-90s, was never on the FBI's most wanted list but continued to be on a list of the state department, which has declared “up to $10 million“ on his head.
“So there is no question of him being removed from our list,“ said a spokesman for FBI, which maintains a list of most wanted terrorists responsible for attacks inside the US. His remarks came when asked about news reports appearing in Pakistani media that oneeyed Mullah Omar's name has been quietly removed from the most wanted terrorist list of the US. -PTI
26/11-like attack planned against Danish paper: NIA
New Delhi, Dec 29, 2011, Nearly a month prior to November 26, 2008, Pakistan-American David Coleman Headley and his handler in Pakistan discussed the prospect of an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark for publishing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, says the NIA chargesheet.
The successful execution of Mumbai attacks further emboldened the 26/11 conspirators who then started giving final touches for similar operation in Denmark where Sajid Majid, Abdur Rehman Pasha, Ilyas Kashmiri along with Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana played a pivotal role, claims National Investigation Agency (NIA) .
The chargesheet describes the plans to carry out attacks in Denmark as part of the larger conspiracy who were behind the Mumbai attacks. It was for this reason, Headley during his meetings before and after Mumbai attacks was instructed by Majid to carry out extensive surveillance work at Denmark and the project was named as Mickey Mouse Project (MMP), says the chargesheet.
The NIA did not deal with the Denmark conspiracy at length and made a brief mention about the incident and US trial of Headley and Rana for the same.
The chargesheet also says the original plan of LeT-HuJI was to send 12 terrorists to attack Mumbai through sea route and twice the conspirators changed the date of attack before fixing the date as November 26, 2008.
The last attempt by the conspirators based in Pakistan, to change the date of the attack at Mumbai was made during the Rana’s visit to India on November 13, 2008.
He was reportedly carrying the message for Headley from his handlers based in Pakistan, says the chargesheet.
Lashkar and ISI officials after the Mumbai attacks had plans to carry out more attacks in India. It is for the same reason, Headley made his ninth visit on March 7, 2009 and carried out surveillance at various places for the next 10 days.
Islamophobia in United States still rising
BY NISA ISLAM MUHAMMAD, STAFF WRITER
DEC 28, 2011
(FinalCall.com) - Hate in America continued in 2011 to be aimed at Islam and Muslims. From congressional hearings on the “radicalization” of Islam by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) to a report that revealed an anti-Islam network impacting views on Muslims to the release of 2010 FBI Hate Crime Statistics, which found an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes, to Lowes home improvement stores yanking ads from TLC’s “All American Muslim Reality Show,” Muslims felt the sting of Islamophobia.
The Council on American Islamic Relations documented the following incidents in 2011:
• A state legislator in Tennessee called for a ban on Muslims in the military.
The rise in hate against Muslims can be attributed to the rise in Islamophobia, according to the investigative study “Fear, Inc.” by the Center for American Progress. The study found a small group of so-called “experts” have undertaken the task of “profoundly misrepresenting Islam and American Muslims in the United States.”
• American mosques were targeted by threats posted online on an anti-Islam hate site, including the comment “I want [Muslim] blood on my hands” by an individual who claims he regularly drives past a Virginia mosque. In the past year, mosques or mosque construction sites in Massachusetts, Oregon, Ohio, New York, Iowa, Maine, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, California, and Michigan have been targeted by arson, vandalism or threats.
• An Illinois man who was reportedly perceived as “Middle Eastern” had his throat slit by an attacker wanting to “save his country.” A Texas Muslim had part of his ear bitten off by an attacker who allegedly questioned his name and national origin.
• An alleged attacker said “f*** Osama Bin Laden” during an assault on a Wisconsin man of Moroccan heritage.
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Bangladesh: Hunt down, lock up ‘razakars’: Coordinator of Awami League led grand alliance
December 29, 2011
Coordinator of Awami League-led grand alliance Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury on Thursday instructed the leaders and activists of the alliance to search door to door and lock up collaborators of Pakistani occupation forces in their houses.
“Go in your area, launch a massive hunt for the razakars and lock them up. We will take the next course of action against them,” Sajeda, also the Deputy Leader of the House, said while addressing a mass rally in front of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).
The grand alliance held the mass procession in the capital to voice their demand for immediate trial of the war criminals and call for resistance to what it called the opposition BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami’s "move to protect the war criminals by creating anarchy in the country".
Sajeda led the participants in swearing that they would not return home till trial of the last razakar.
Senior leaders of the 14-party grand alliance including Matia Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Rashed Khan Menon, Suranjit Sengupta, Hasanul Haq Inu, Dilip Barua and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya were among who attended the programme.
To join the cause, hundreds of leaders and activists of the alliance from all thanas, wards and unions of Dhaka started pouring into the venue hours before the programme was scheduled to start.
Buses, trucks and cars carrying them clogged the city streets, creating long tailback and causing sufferings for the commuters.
Frustrated being caught in jam for a long time, many passengers got down from buses and started walking to their destinations.
On December 20, the 14-party alliance decided to launch simultaneous political programmes across the country together with other like-minded parties, including the Communist Party of Bangladesh.
Sudanese general linked to genocide monitoring Syrian violence
By Ashish Kumar Sen-The Washington Times
December 28, 2011
A Sudanese general linked to genocide in Darfur is leading an Arab League team to Syria to monitor the regime’s compliance with a promise to end its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Gen. Mohamed Ahmad al-Dabi served as Sudan’s military intelligence chief, and President Omar Bashir appointed him as his representative in the western province of Darfur in the late 1990s.
In Darfur, Gen. al-Dabi recruited and armed Arab militias and set the building blocks for the mass killing of black Africans, said Omer Ismail, a Sudan analyst with the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group.
“He was one of the architects of the genocide in Darfur. Instead of going to Syria, he should be investigated by the ICC and held accountable for his deeds,” he added.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Gen. al-Dabi on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He denies the allegations.
Mousab Azzawi, chief coordinator with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said in an interview from London that Gen. al-Dabi’s presence undermines the credibility of the Arab League mission.
“Out of 340 million Arabs, they could not find one decent person to lead the observer mission?” he said.
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Kazakhstan probes police use of weapons after deaths
29 December 2011
Prosecutors in Kazakhstan have opened a criminal inquiry into the use of weapons by police after 16 protesters were killed earlier this month.
The deaths occurred in clashes between police and oil protesting workers in Zhanaozen on 16 and 17 December.
A "criminal enquiry into the use of weapons by the security forces" had been opened, the prosecutor-general's office said on Thursday.
The violence was the worst since Kazakhstan's independence 20 years ago.
The investigation comes after video footage emerged on the internet appearing to show security forces beating and shooting people.
Eyewitnesses said police fired on unarmed oil workers, who had been protesting for months, in the town of 90,000.
But police say they were forced to defend themselves. A 20-day curfew is in effect until 5 January.
"General prosecutors opened a criminal enquiry into the use of weapons by the security forces which were aimed at hitting (their targets) and caused death," the prosecutors' spokesman Nurdaulet Suindikov said in a statement.
"An investigation group headed by a special prosecutor will carry out the investigation to ensure impartiality," the statement added.
The move marks the first time since the incident that Kazakh prosecutors have accused the police of firing on the protesters. Last week Kazakhstan asked the UN to help investigate the violence.
Separately, the privately-owned Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency reports that 18 people accused of taking part in the disturbances and looting have been arrested.
The governor of the Mangistau region, where the clashes occurred, has reportedly been sacked, along with the local boss of the state oil firm.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev has fired his son-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, from his position as head of Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund, which holds stakes in the companies whose workers were striking.
Correspondents say Mr Nazarbayev is keen to maintain his country's reputation as a bastion of stability in central Asia.
Turkey air strike kills 35 near Kurdish village
29 December 2011
An air strike by Turkish warplanes near a Kurdish village close to the border with Iraq has left 35 people dead, officials say.
One report said that smugglers had been spotted by unmanned drones and were mistaken for Kurdish rebels.
The attack, on Wednesday night, took place near the village of Uludere in Sirnak province in south-eastern Turkey, according to Dogan news agency.
The Turkish military said it had targeted suspected Kurdish militants.
In a statement, Turkey's general staff said the area attacked on Wednesday night was inside northern Iraq and had no civilian population. It added that the raid was launched following information that the group planned to attack Turkish security bases.
Provincial governor Vahdettin Ozkan said initially that more than 20 people had lost their lives but his office later clarified that 35 had been killed and one wounded.
"A crisis centre is being formed at the scene and prosecutors and security officers were sent there," he told Anatolia news agency.
The mayor of Uludere was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that all the victims had suffered from burns.
Local officials said drums of diesel carried by the group had exploded.
Those killed had been using mules to cross the border when the incident happened, they said. It was also reported that they had been smugglers returning to Turkey from Iraq.
"We were on our way back when the jets began to bomb us," a survivor, Servet Encu, told the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.
Smuggling of fuel and cigarettes is said to be commonplace between villages along the Iraqi border. But rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have crossed the border into Turkey to stage attacks on Turkish forces.
After 24 Turkish soldiers were killed in PKK raids in October, Turkish forces responded with a series of air and ground attacks.
Bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan
KABUL: Dec 29, 2011, A roadside bomb attack killed three NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan, one of the deadliest flashpoints in the 10-year war against Taliban insurgents, the military said on Wednesday.
NATO’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not release the nationalities of the troops or give further details of the incident, which happened on Tuesday.
The deaths take to 561, the number of foreign troops, killed in Afghanistan so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on figures from independent website.
A total of 711 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan last year, the highest annual total since the US-led invasion in 2001 ousted the Taliban from power.
There are about 130,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, with 91,000 of them from the United States.
12 terrorists killed in Orakzai, Kurram offensives
PESHAWAR:Dec 29, 2011 Security forces on Wednesday attacked terrorists’ hideouts in Orakzai and Kurram agencies, killing 12 terrorists, local official sources said.
Troops pounded terrorists’ positions in Mamozai, Khadizai and Chapar Kali areas of Orakzai agency and killed seven terrorists besides destroying four terror safe houses. Over 40 rockets and a large number of landmines in a major search operation in Arhang, Zakhtun and Gandi Tal areas, have been recovered.
On the other hand, five suspected terrorists were killed in clashes with armed forces in Kurram Agency. Some unidentified miscreants on Wednesday destroyed government girl’s primary school with five-kilogrammes explosives in Somnat area of Shabqadar in Charsadda district. The school building was completely destroyed in the blast. However no loss of life was reported. Police started search operation and arrested three suspects belonging to Orakzai Agency. Similarly, terrorists dynamited two schools in Chalas area of Diamir. app
Pakistan Media: There is no room in Pakistan for pseudo revolutionaries
LAHORE, December 28, 2011 ? Television screens flashing "Breaking News" in jarring, blood red letters to heart-pounding music were genuinely alarming when Pakistan had a single state-owned TV channel. Now they're just a regular part of the news.
Long before NATO’s air attack on a Pakistani check post killed 24 soldiers, before the rise in US drone strikes targeting militants in north-west Pakistan, and before the upsurge in suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Pakistanis, Pakistan was bombarded with the output of dozens of news channels created by our new "free media." Along with proliferating media outlets and freedom came the threat of information-overload. Instead of being better informed by all this information, our not-so-literate citizens became mere consumers of free media in a free market system, where the supply of sensational news quickly met its demand.
There's a positive side to this. Once only those who could read a newspaper had access to information, but now almost the whole country can know, for instance, what’s cooking in the corridors of power, and anyone with a TV can be as well informed as any political analyst.
Though the current law-and-order situation, along with political and economic turmoil in the country, does not provide for an investment friendly environment, media outlets (both, print and electronic) find no better conditions in which to thrive. The principal objective of gaining higher TRPs than the competitors has brought news channels to a point where sensationalizing the facts is a standard part of their marketing strategy. In an attempt to stand out from others, each channel gathers a group of panelists with varied stances and provides them a platform to unleash their discontent and conflicting views. Anchored by senior journos and analysts, these talk shows occupy the primetime. Masses follow these shows religiously, and their opinions on a matter often copy the various televised versions of the story.
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Safety concern: 'US to export all NATO cargo out of Pakistan'
By Waqar Satti
Dec 29, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Barely a month after Pakistan’s retaliatory decision to block Nato supplies for the coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan, the United States has decided to export all its cargo, including military hardware and arms, out of Pakistan.
Sources told Express News that the break in supplies has frustrated US authorities to the point where they are now weighing various options to move around the cargo stranded at various locations in Pakistan.
“It has been a month since the Nato attack which resulted in the port and border closures with no resolution in sight, the US government intends to have all import unit cargo that is currently staged at different Container Holding Yards (CHYs) moved back to Karachi port or the nearest CHY to the port. Once we receive approval, all unit cargo will be exported out of Pakistan,” wrote Anita Rice, Chief of the OCCA SWA (595th Trans Brigade, NSA Bahrain) in an email to all ‘concerned’ persons.
“To ensure smooth transition from import to export cargo in the Pakistan Customs Clearance System (PaCCS) and Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) computer systems, documents are required to be submitted to the US consulate in Karachi,” Anita added in the email.
“We require all USC-6 (universal contract 2006) carriers to submit the required documents to the US consulate, Karachi (firstname.lastname@example.org) for cargo/supplies currently staged outside the port for export,” the email read.
According to sources, US cargo, stranded in Pakistan, is worth millions of dollars and US authorities have serious concerns over the safety of the cargo as it includes hammer vehicles, dumpers, anti-aircraft guns, special carriers of anti-aircraft guns, vehicles specially built to jam communications, cranes and sophisticated weapons.
“We will compile information for submission to Pakistan customs for amendment for cargo export,” Rice said in her email, providing US Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Heath’s contact number for further assistance.
Furthermore, it was learnt that the US was using Pakistani routes to supply cargo to its military forces fighting in Afghanistan since 2006 under USC-6 (universal contract 2006). Under this arrangement, US military personnel were engaged in loading and unloading of cargo while no physical checking was being carried out by Pakistani authorities.
When approached by ExpressNews, Rice refused to comment. Heath was also not available to share his version on this report.
Zardari immunity under question
Dec 29, 2011
The million dollar question in Pakistan these days is: Does President Asif Ali Zardari enjoy blanket immunity under the Constitution? The Pakistan People’s Party says the President cannot be tried in any court as he enjoys immunity under the Constitution.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, the cases closed under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance have been reopened.
The reopened cases also include several cases against President Zardari. The Opposition parties have been demanding trial of President Zardari in several graft cases. The cases against Mr Zardari were mainly registered during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister in the 1990s. The legal team of the federation has so far failed to get a Supreme Court judgement on whether Mr Zardari has immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution, except verbally claiming that the president enjoys immunity under the Constitution.
In various cases involving President Zardari, the Supreme Court has repeatedly given clear hints that immunity for President Zardari is still an undecided issue and anyone seeking it would
have to come to the Supreme Court for a judgement.
The court has also observed on various occasions that the Constitution does not give blanket immunity to anyone. However, the federation’s legal team has not yet asked the Supreme Court for immunity. The issue of immunity was first raised by former National Accountability Bureau chairman Naveed Ahsan before the Supreme Court while appearing in a case.
Pakistan wants good relations with world community: FO
ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): Pakistan Thursday said it wants good relations with the international community including the United States but cannot compromise on its national sovereignty and integrity. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit in his weekly briefing said on Thursday, “Pakistan wants good relations with the United States based on mutual respect and dignity” adding that there will be no compromise on national integrity and sovereignty. He however said, Pak-US relations remained tense and experienced ups and down during the current year due to some incidents including Raymond Davis, Abbottabad and the Salala check post attack of November 26.
Refuting the impression that Pakistan and United States are not on talking terms, the spokesman said, “We are on speaking terms with US and trying to put our relations back on track.”
The spokesman said Parliamentary Committee on National Security is reviewing Pak-US relations and Prime Minister Gilani has said that its recommendations would be presented to joint session of the parliament for final approval on the issue of revisiting the relations with United States.
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Saudi Arabia to provide soft loan of US$ 172mn
SLAMABAD: 29 December,2011, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Thursday signed two agreements worth US$ 172 million (Riyal 645 million) soft term loans for construction of infrastructure for Malakand region and import of Urea fertilizer in Pakistan.
Agreements to this effect were signed here at Economic Affairs Division (EAD) by Abdul Wajid Raja Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, and the Saudi Fund for Development, represented by Eng.
Yousef Ibrahim Al-Bassam, Vice Chairman and Managing Director.
Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Abdul Aziz Alghadeer and senior officials of the government of Pakistan were also present on the occasion.
According to details, the first agreement is a soft loan worth US$ 72 million (Riyal 270 Million) allocated for financing Reconstruction of Malakand Region Project.
The project is aimed to improve roads in Malakand region and contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing the level of education and health standards for people in this region of the country.
The second agreement is for the import of Urea Fertilizers that will benefit the agriculture sector by enhancing production and maximize farmers income.
The agreement will also help produce additional food by enhancing the yield of existing under cultivation land rather than bringing additional land under cultivation.
The amount of financing to be provided under this signed agreement is US$ 100 million (Riyal 275 million).
Eng. Yousef Ibrahim Al-Bassam on the occasion mentioned to the commitment of Saudi government reflected in these agreements, towards supporting the sincere and continued efforts of the Pakistan government in promoting the well being and economic prosperity of its people.
He added that it will also deepen the bilateral cooperation and enhance the good relations the two countries are enjoying.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary EAD, Abdul Wajid Rana thanked Government of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Fund for Development for their support to Pakistan for its development.
NATO vehicles caused Rs.150 bn damage to Pakistan highways
ISLAMABAD:29 DEC, 2011, Pakistan has calculated that vehicles carrying NATO supplies in containers caused damage worth Rs.150 billion to its highways over the past 10 years.
Communications Minister Arbab Alamgir Khan told Dawn that the National Highways Authority (NHA) carried out a survey to assess the cost of the damage.
The survey showed that NATO vehicles caused Rs.15 billion worth of damage every year to national highways and the total damage from 2002 to 2011 was calculated at a staggering Rs.150 billion.
Islamabad blocked the NATO supplies passing through Pakistan following the Nov 26 NATO airstrike in Mohmand Agency that left two dozen soldiers dead. An outraged Pakistan had also boycotted an international conference in Bonn that focussed on Afghanistan's future and directed the US to vacate the key Shamsi airbase that was used to launch drone strikes.
Arbab said they have written to the Foreign Office and the Planning Commission about the damage and asked them to take up the matter with NATO in Afghanistan.
The minister said roads and highways in Pakistan were not designed to bear such extensive load.
NATO containers and oil tankers weighing 60-70 tonnes use three main routes -- Karachi-Kalat-Quetta-Chaman, Karachi-Dera Ghazi Khan-Dera Ismail Khan-Kohat-Peshawar-Torkham and the Grand Trunk Road from Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore.
Bangladesh PM opens distribution of free textbooks
Dhaka, December 29, 2011, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday formally inaugurated free distribution of school textbooks among students up to secondary level for the 2012 academic year.
She handed over a set of new textbooks to 15 students of five educational institutions under primary, secondary, madrasa and technical education at a ceremony at Gono Bhaban in the morning.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, who was present at the function, handed to the prime minister a set of seven new books of class VI, VII and VIII.
Speaking on the occasion, the premier said a modern time-befitting education is being demanded and the government is working relentlessly to this end.
Emphasising on flourishing the talents of the students by applying science and ICT education to cope with changing situation, she said that without such education the development of the country would not be possible.
Terming the students as the future leaders of the country, Hasina hoped that they would build themselves as worthy citizens by acquiring proper education.
She said that books are now being printed and distributed through open and international tenders by breaking the syndicate to ensure that the students do not face any hassle in getting their books on time. It also improved the quality of the books and reduced the printing cost.
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Pakistan would support an Afghan-led reconciliation: Gilani
ISLAMABAD: Dec 28, 2011, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today that his country will support any reconciliation process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and does not destabilise Pakistan.
Pakistan does not want a repeat of the situation at the time of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Gilani said during a meeting with Tholhath Ibrahim, the Defence Minister of Maldives.
At that time, Pakistan was "left alone in the lurch to bear the burden of three million Afghan refugees whom the world had forgotten", he said.
Gilani said Pakistan was keen to see Afghanistan as a stable, prosperous and independent country because "Pakistan's stability was intertwined with the stability of our western brotherly neighbour".
He further said Pakistan wants to improve its relations with its neighbours, especially the SAARC countries.
Afghan signs major oil deal with China
MIRWAIS HAROONI, Reuters
KABUL, DEC. 28, 2011, Afghanistan signed a deal with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) on Wednesday for the development of oil blocks in the Amu Darya basin, a project expected to earn the wartorn state billions of dollars over two decades. The deal covering drilling and a refinery in the northern provinces of Sar-e Pul and Faryab is the first international oil production agreement entered into by the Afghan government for sev eral decades. “In 30 days from now they (CNPC) will shift their experts and equipment to the site,” mining minister Wahidullah Shahrani told a news conference. “The practical work will start in October 2012.” The contract is valid for 25 years.
It marks the second major deal for China in Afghanistan after Metallurgical Corp of China signed a contract in 2008 to develop the huge Aynak copper mine south of Kabul, which is due to start producing by the end
of 2014. State-owned CNPC and joint venture partner Watan Group, a diversified Afghan company, will explore for oil in three fields in the basin — Kashkari, Bazarkhami and Zamarudsay —which are estimated to hold around 87 million barrels of oil. For now, CNPC has only rough estimates of how much it is likely to invest in the project, said Lu Gong Xun, president of CNPC’s international branch. “We can only give you a rough number for initial investment.
Based on my experience it should be aroundMinimum of $400 million,” he said.
Under the contract, CNPC will agree to pay a 15 percent royalty on oil, a 20 per cent corporate tax and give up to 70 per cent of its profit from the project to the Afghan government. CNPC will also pay rent for land used for its operations.
“If the oil price stays at around $100 dollars over the next 23 years and if oil found in those fields is 87 million barrels, we estimate that our income from this project will be at least
$7 billion,” the Afghan mining minister said.
Indian and Chinese bidders have been front-runners for deals to develop Afghanistan’s vast mineral deposits, which are valued at up to $3 trillion, worrying Western firms that have hesitated to invest there due to security concerns. The mines minister said information on bidding rounds for oil blocks in the northern Balkh province will be released at the end of February and for western Herat province by mid-2012.
Mubarak returns to court in landmark trial
CAIRO,Dec, 29, 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, charged with the killing of protesters and abuse of power, was wheeled into court on a hospital trolley on Wednesday as his trial resumed after a delay of almost two months while lawyers demanded a new judge.
Many Egyptians hope the trial will heal some of the scars of his autocratic rule and help the country find stability after nearly a year of political turmoil under the military generals who replaced him in power.
But the multitude of witnesses and the complexity of the charges mean the case could drag on for months, perhaps years. Mr Mubarak, his two sons, the former interior minister and senior police officers face charges ranging from corruption to involvement in the deaths of hundreds of
protesters in the uprising that unseated him.
“The court has responded to all the defendants’ lawyers requests,” said lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr, who represents families people who died in the uprising. “Egypt has guaranteed for Mubarak a very
fair trial, the judge has ensured that all the basics of justice are there ... No one should object the final verdict” The former leader was brought into the court on a hospital trolley, covering his eyes with his arm and surrounded by the police.
Iran official says `misquoted' over woman hanging
AFP, Dec 29, 2011
An Iranian official who raised the possibility of hanging a woman convicted of adultery rather than stoning her to death says he was misquoted, according to media on Wednesday.
Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the justice chief for East Azarbaijan province, at the weekend brought attention back to the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose 2006 stoning sentence for adultery brought international condemnation.
Fars news agency on Sunday published an interview with Mr Sharifi in which he said he told justice authorities “we did not have facilities for stoning her.” Mr Sharifi said the reply from the chief of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, was: “If there are no facilities for stoning according to sharia, it could be changed to hanging.” Other clerics were to be consulted on the issue, he said. But Mr Sharifi now says his comments were misinterpreted.
Muslim Youth Organisations Condemns Bombing in Nigeria
KATSINA - The coalition of Muslim youth groups in Katsina State have joined others to condemn the recent bombings and violence across the nation.
The groups included the National Council of Muslim Youth Organization (NACOMYO), Muslim Corpers’ Association of Nigeria (MCAN) and Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN).
Addressing a news conference on behalf of other groups in Katsina, the NACOMYO National President, Mr. Lawal Maidoki, described the incidents as inhuman and dastardly.
“We have observed with shock the incessant spate of violence in the country in recent times, which has not only claimed many innocent lives, but also made life difficult and miserable for the rest of the citizenry.
“This unfortunate development has taken another dimension with the Christmas day bombings, which led to the death of many Nigerians.
“We totally condemn the dastardly act which is in total departure from the spirit and fundamentals of Islam.’
Maidoki said that Nigerians, irrespective of their religious background, must ensure that peace, tolerance and respect for other people’s right to life and religion, were adopted as their guiding principles in all their actions.
He charged Nigerians to contribute towards the sustenance of peace in the country and enjoined the authorities to conduct unbiased investigations to unveil and punish the perpetrators.
He advised the security agencies to rise to their responsibilities to improve the security situation in the country, to restore the confidence of Nigerians in their ability to protect lives and property.
While commiserating with the families of the victims, the president also called on the government and the general public to assist the victims.
Key military positions dismantled in Yemen capital
SANAA:Dec 29, 2011, Military positions separating Yemen’s warring forces in central Sanaa were dismantled on Wednesday in a show of faith by both sides that they want to halt nearly a year of fighting to topple the president.
Bulldozers crashed through the walls of sandbags fortifying the fighters’ positions on a main street in Hasaba, a flashpoint area where tribal leader Sadeq al Ahmar’s compound is located and the site of fighting between his and outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces, including units led by Saleh’s son.
However, underscoring how volatile the country remains, one person was killed and three wounded when gunmen loyal to a pro-Saleh security chief based in the suburbs of Sanaa opened fire on a group of that chief’s subordinates, who had revolted against him and demanded he be sacked, a security source said.
Separating the country’s many warring forces is central to a plan brokered by Yemen’s wealthier neighbours to ease Saleh from power and avoid civil war they fear could give al Qaeda a foothold in Yemen.
The move by a military committee to separate the forces comes a day after Washington, which long backed Saleh as part of its counter-terrorism strategy, said it was weighing giving Saleh a visa to undergo medical treatment in the United States.
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Some Muslim leaders upset by NYPD spying refuse invitations to mayor’s interfaith breakfast
By Associated Press,
NEW YORK — Several Muslim leaders have declined invitations to the mayor’s annual year-end interfaith breakfast, saying they’re upset at police department efforts to infiltrate mosques and spy on Muslim neighborhoods.
The imams and activists said in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg that they’re disturbed at his response to a series of stories by The Associated Press detailing New York Police Department intelligence-gathering programs that monitored Muslim groups, businesses and houses of worship.
Bloomberg has defended the NYPD, saying last week it doesn’t take religion into account in its policing.
Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser acknowledged Wednesday that about a dozen people turned down the breakfast invitation. But he said “a couple dozen” more said they plan to attend.
The letter to Bloomberg contained the names of several dozen Muslim leaders and organizations and said they believe such police measures “threaten the rights of all Americans, and deepen mistrust between our communities and law enforcement.”
“Mayor Bloomberg, the extent of these civil rights violations is astonishing, yet instead of calling for accountability and the rule of law, you have thus far defended the NYPD’s misconduct,” the letter said.
The Muslim leaders said they appreciate the mayor’s staunch support a year ago during an uproar over a planned Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. But they said they were disappointed by what he said after the AP stories since August about the police department’s efforts to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods and mosques with aggressive programs designed by a CIA officer who worked with the department after the Sept. 11 attacks.
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Amid bloodshed, Hamas prepares to leave Syria
By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) Dec 29, 2011 — Alarmed by bloody unrest in Syria, the Hamas militant group has pulled out many of its lower-level cadres from its Damascus headquarters and made contingency plans to move its leadership to locations across the Middle East, senior Hamas members have told The Associated Press.
The Hamas members say the group remains appreciative of Syrian leader Bashar Assad and there is no immediate intention to abandon their base in Damascus. But they confirmed that dozens of low and midlevel members have already left Syria as the security situation grows increasingly precarious.
"Most of Hamas has left Damascus. We have a plan B for leaving if things deteriorate," said a senior Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing the inner workings of the secretive group.
Hamas, an Iranian-backed Palestinian group, has been based in Syria for more than a decade. Assad has allowed Hamas, branded a terrorist group by Israel and the West, to use his territory for military training, and provided a valuable headquarters in the heart of the Arab world.
But the uprising in Syria has put Hamas in a difficult place. The U.N. estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in violence since March, and Hamas is wary of being associated with the government crackdown.
If Hamas does pull out completely, the move could force it to change the way it operates since the leaders would become dispersed across the region and their new hosts may not give them as much freedom. Hamas' supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, for instance, is set to go to Qatar, a Gulf state with close ties to the U.S. Other leaders would go to Egypt, another American ally, while others would end up in Lebanon, Turkey or the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
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Judiciary Chief Stresses Effects of Islamic Awakening on Western States
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said that the waves of Islamic Awakening in the region have left profound impacts on the western policy.
"The Islamic Awakening which has started in Islamic countries has created a political earthquake in the western countries," Larijani said, addressing a meeting with Foreign Ministry top officials, heads of the Iranian missions abroad and ambassadors.
"The quake has shaken many political and social foundations and presented rival foundations for them in a way that they have shaken the West," he added.
He stated that principles of the western liberal democracy have been shaken by Islamic thoughts.
Addressing the same meeting, Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that popular uprisings and revolutions in the region are backed by deep roots in Islam and Islamic identity.
"The great movement of nations signifies that they are awake, and based on massive and unquestionable realities this awakening enjoys Islamic background," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader underscored that the Islamist parties' victory in the recent and upcoming elections in the regional countries as "another sign of the Islamic nature of the regional revolutions".
Ayatollah Khamenei further stated that developments in the world show that the political alignment in the world is experiencing essential change, and called on the Iranian diplomacy apparatus to closely monitor the ongoing development.
Syria urged to give observers free hand
DAMASCUS: Dec 29, 2011,Arab monitors revisited the flashpoint Syrian city of Homs Wednesday and headed to other protest hubs as world powers warned Damascus not to hinder their mission, aimed at revealing the truth about a crackdown on dissent.
More bloodshed was reported as army defectors killed at least four Syrian soldiers in the southern province of Daraa, two civilians were shot dead in Homs’ Baba Amro quarter, another in Hama and one during protests in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.Also reported were arrests and gunshot injuries in Idlib province and more shooting injuries, with three suspected fatalities, in a village near Damascus.
Accusations that the regime was trying to hide the facts from the monitors were punctuated by France, which claimed the team was not being allowed to see what was happening in Homs as repression continued there.
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Arab Spring spark is Times’ person of ’11
London, Dec. 28, 2011, Britain’s the Times newspaper on Wednesday named as person of the year Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian whose self immolation inspired uprisings that toppled dictators across the Arab world and shook the region’s remaining autocracies.
Bouazizi set himself alight in 2010 after officials confiscated the unemployed 26-year-old’s unlicensed grocery cart, reportedly slapping and insulting him. His desperate act struck a chord with millions of Arabs living with few job prospects or avenues for change under
“The Times today names Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor who became the inspiration for the Arab Spring, as its person of the year,” the paper said on its front page.
“Bouazizi was no revolutionary, yet his lonely protest served as the catalyst for a wave of revolts that have transformed West Asia.” Bouazizi’ death from his wounds in January prompted protests across Tunisia, forcing autocratic President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.
Soon afterwards, millions took to the streets in
Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere to protest against repression, corruption, poverty and joblessness.
The uprisings unseated despots in Libya, Egypt and Yemen as well as Tunisia, while Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s writ is disintegrating and other authoritarian rulers in the region are eyeing the tide of public anger with nervousness.
In an October interview with Reuters, Bouazizi’s mother Manoubia urged the new leaders to honour her son’s sacrifice by helping poor people like him.