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Islamic World News ( 16 Aug 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Taliban Order Stoning Deaths in Bold Display

60 killed, 125 hurt in suicide attack outside Iraq recruitment centre

Israel has 'eight days' to hit Iran nuclear site: US envoy

Terrorist tapes found under CIA desk

Afghanistan gives $1 million to Pakistan flood victims

‘Terrorists planning to target key officials in Islamabad’

India says still pursuing Iran ‘peace pipeline’

Saudi Arabia raises $20.5 million in flood aid

If Afghanistan dissolves security firms, guards will join Taliban, some predict

Palestinian who attacked Turkish Embassy captured

Arabs distance themselves from Ground Zero Mosque

Pak sends 51 questions to Delhi on Headley dossier

No contamination, Zam-zam water is safe, says Saudi Arabia

Backing Muslims' Right To Build Centre Not An Endorsement: Obama

Bomb aimed at Iranian pilgrims kills 5 in Iraq

Looking for cardboard and wood to cook in Ramadan

Terrorists Gathering In Lahore

Israeli soldier puts photos of blindfolded Palestinians on Facebook

Hamas sides with Obama, endorses mosque!

Obama Again Comes Down on the Side of Islam

Obama warns Erdogan over Iran stance

Terrorists may attack Islamabad, Lahore: Pak intl agencies

Suicide Bomber Attacks Police in North Caucasus

Nobel laureates support woman facing execution

Shelter helps abused Muslim women in Kabul? No. In Riyadh? No. Where? In Tulsa.

Nine Taliban commanders surrender in Bajaur Agency

Rahman sings the CWG theme song

Production warrants against IM terrorists

PDP chief Madani arrested in Bangalore blast case

Manmohan to meet Mufti, Mehbooba

More protests, clashes in Kashmir

A mother, a son and Kashmir's education tragedy

NATO claims killing Al-Qaeda operative

Afghan Archaeologists Find Buddhist Site as War Rages

Kyrgyz army involved in mob violence

Bangladesh: Jamaat leaders seek repeal of law

Afghanistan war strategy ‘fundamentally sound’: Petraeus

Taliban Commander Among Five Killed In Afghanistan

Gitmo detainee ordered released

King orders fundraiser for Pakistan flood relief

Naif calls for effective strategy to fight drugs

Iran to build 10 protected nuclear sites

Lebanon tries to retain Arabic in polyglot culture

Afghan security firms given 4 months to disband

Ground Zero mosque polarizes US

Cairo to use computerised call to prayer after complaints over tuneless muezzin

Taliban Call for Joint Inquiry into Civilian Afghan Deaths Considered

Yemen places security forces on heightened alert

Farooq ‘ mocks’ son for joining the elite shoegate club

Another Pak terrorist killed in Rajouri

CWC Concerned Over Valley

J&K violence a new chapter in history of separatism: CWC

Flood victims resort to protests as relief lags

E-mail account of Indian envoy to Uzbekistan hacked

Bosnian lab helps Iraq unearth war secrets

Qaeda tells France it will avenge its fighters

Sudan expels five UN/ICRC staff from West Darfur

Poll: US news media trust falling

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 13th anniversary observed

New wave threatens Moenjodaro, Bhutto mausoleum

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taliban-order-stoning-deaths-in-bold-display/d/3299

 

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Taliban Order Stoning Deaths in Bold Display

Aug 17, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban on Sunday ordered their first public executions by stoning since their fall from power nine years ago, killing a young couple who had eloped, according to Afghan officials and a witness.

Notes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other areas of conflict in the post-9/11 era. Go to the Blog »

The punishment was carried out by hundreds of the victims’ neighbors in a village in northern Kunduz Province, according to Nadir Khan, 40, a local farmer and Taliban sympathizer, who was interviewed by telephone. Even family members were involved, both in the stoning and in tricking the couple into returning after they had fled.

Mr. Khan said that as a Taliban mullah prepared to read the judgment of a religious court, the lovers, a 25-year-old man named Khayyam and a 19-year-old woman named Siddiqa, defiantly confessed in public to their relationship. “They said, ‘We love each other no matter what happens,’ ” Mr. Khan said.

The executions were the latest in a series of cases where the Taliban have imposed their harsh version of Shariah law for social crimes, reminiscent of their behavior during their decade of ruling the country. In recent years, Taliban officials have sought to play down their bloody punishments of the past, as they concentrated on building up popular support.

“We see it as a sign of a new confidence on the part of the Taliban in the application of their rules, like they did in the ’90s,” said Nader Nadery, a senior commissioner on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “We do see it as a trend. They’re showing more strength in recent months, not just in attacks, but including their own way of implementing laws, arbitrary and extrajudicial killings.”

The stoning deaths, along with similarly brazen attacks in northern Afghanistan, were also a sign of growing Taliban strength in parts of the country where, until recently, they had been weak or absent. In their home regions in southern Afghanistan, Mr. Nadery said, the Taliban have already been cracking down.

“We’ve seen a big increase in intimidation of women and more strict rules on women,” he said.

Perhaps most worrisome were signs of support for the action from mainstream religious authorities in Afghanistan. The head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz Province, Mawlawi Abdul Yaqub, interviewed by telephone, said Monday that stoning to death was the appropriate punishment for an illegal sexual relationship, although he declined to give his view on this particular case. An Ulema Council is a body of Islamic clerics with religious authority in a region.

And less than a week earlier, the national Ulema Council brought together 350 religious scholars in a meeting with government religious officials, who issued a joint statement on Aug. 10 calling for more punishment under Shariah law, apparently referring to stoning, amputations and lashings.

Failure to carry out such “Islamic provisions,” the council statement said, was hindering the peace process and encouraging crime.

The controversy could have implications for efforts by Afghan officials to reconcile with Taliban leaders and draw them into power-sharing talks.

Afghan officials, supported by Western countries, have insisted that Taliban leaders would have to accept the Afghan Constitution, which guarantees women’s rights, and not expect a return to Shariah law.

The stoning deaths were confirmed by Afghan officials in the area on Monday. Mahbubullah Sayedi, a spokesman for the Kunduz governor’s office, condemned the executions, and said there was ample provision in Afghan law for prosecuting someone if they were accused of adultery or other social crimes.

“We have courts here, and we can solve such cases through our judicial organizations,” he said. “This act is against human rights and against our national Constitution.”

The couple eloped when the man was unable to persuade family members to allow him to marry the young woman. She was engaged to marry a relative of her lover, but was unwilling to do so, according to Mr. Khan.

Mohammed Ayub, the governor of nearby Imam Sahib district, also confirmed the stoning deaths, which took place in the local bazaar in Mullah Quli village, in Archi district, a remote corner of Kunduz Province close to Tajikistan.

The couple eloped to Kunar Province, in eastern Afghanistan, staying with distant relatives, but family members persuaded them to return to their village, promising to allow them to marry. (Afghan men are legally allowed to marry up to four wives). Once back in Kunduz, however, they were seized by the Taliban, who convened local mullahs from surrounding villages for a religious court.

After the Taliban proclaimed the sentence, Siddiqa, dressed in the head-to-toe Afghanburqa, and Khayyam, who had a wife and two young children, were encircled by the male-only crowd in the bazaar. Taliban activists began stoning them first, then villagers joined in until they killed first Siddiqa and then Khayyam, Mr. Khan said. No women were allowed to attend, he said.

Mr. Khan estimated that about 200 villagers participated in the executions, including Khayyam’s father and brother, and Siddiqa’s brother, as well as other relatives, with a larger crowd of onlookers who did not take part.

“People were very happy seeing this,” Mr. Khan maintained, saying the crowd was festive and cheered during the stoning. The couple, he said, “did a bad thing.”

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, praised the action. “We have heard about this report,” he said, interviewed by cellphone. “But let me tell you that according to Shariah law, if someone commits a crime like that, we have our courts and we deal with such crimes based on Islamic law.”

Mr. Nadery, from the human rights commission, pointed to a string of recent such cases of summary justice by the Taliban. In northwestern Badghis Province on Aug. 8, a 41-year-old widow, who was made pregnant by a man she said promised to marry her, was convicted of fornication by a Taliban court. She was given 200 lashes with a whip and then shot to death, according to Col. Abdul Jabar, a provincial police official, who said the killing was ordered by the local Taliban commander, Mullah Yousef, in Qadis district.

President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omer, said: ““President Karzai was deeply saddened and grieved when he heard that news. Nine years ago and we still see the Taliban doing events like that in Badghis.”

Time magazine focused widespread indignation on Afghanistan recently by putting on its cover a picture of an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan Province whose nose and ears were cut off by her Taliban husband after she had fled her child marriage to him.

Amnesty International condemned the latest stonings, calling them the first such executions since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. “The Taliban and other insurgent groups are growing increasingly brutal in their abuses against Afghans,” said Sam Zarifi, anAmnesty International official.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/world/asia/17stoning.html

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60 killed in Baghdad blast

17 August 2010

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday among hundreds of army recruits who had gathered near a military headquarters in an attack officials said killed 60 and wounded 125, one of the bloodiest bombings in weeks in the Iraqi capital.

The massive blast took place around 7:30 a.m. just outside the former Iraqi Ministry of Defense building that now houses the army’s 11th division headquarters. The site receives about 250 new recruits each week as Iraqi security forces try to bolster their ranks to prepare for the U.S. military’s looming withdrawal after seven years of war.

Blown-off hands and legs could be seen among pools of blood at the scene, which Iraqi soldiers closed off. U.S. helicopters hovered overhead as frantic Iraqis showed up to search for relatives.

At least two recruits who witnessed that attack raised the possibility that a car had also exploded at the scene, which could account for the high death toll. But a military spokesman blamed the deaths on a single suicide bomber.

“We were sitting there, and somebody began shouting about a parked car,” said one of the recruits, Ali Ibrahim, 21, who suffered minor shrapnel wounds in the blast. Ibrahim said he had been waiting to get into the headquarters to secure a job since around 3 a.m.

“Then the explosion happened and I was thrown on my back,” he said after his release from the hospital. “It was a tragic scene.”

The recruits were gathered in an open area next to Maidan Square in central Baghdad as they waited to be let through the main gates in small groups, according to two Iraqi police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. At least three soldiers were among the dead and eight among the wounded, the police officials said.

Officials at four Baghdad hospitals confirmed the casualties. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Iraqi Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press that the blast was caused by a single suicide bomber who detonated his vest among the packed crowd. He put the casualty count at 39 killed and 57 wounded. Varying casualty counts are common in the chaotic aftermath of massive attacks.

Al-Moussawi blamed al-Qaida for enlisting the bomber, whose upper body was found at the scene, he said.

As many as 1,000 army recruits were gathered at the division headquarters, he added, because Tuesday was to be the last day for soldiers to sign up at the unit.

“We couldn’t get another place for the recruits,” al-Moussawi said. “It was difficult to control the area because it’s an open area and because of the large number of recruits.”

Iraqi security forces have been trying to boost their numbers as the U.S. military begins to leave the country. All but 50,000 U.S. troops will go home by the end of August, with the rest to follow by the end of 2011 under a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.

But insurgents determined to highlight the Iraqi government’s struggle to protect the nation have been stepping up attacks in recent weeks.

Iraqi army, police and other security forces have been targeted, but civilians also have been killed by the hundreds.

This summer has seen a spike in violence in Iraq. Data from the Iraqi defense, interior and ministry officials show that July marked the bloodiest month since May 2008, with more than 500 killed, although tallies compiled by The Associated Press and the U.S. military were lower.

August, which saw the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, has also been deadly. Two bombs that set off a power generator and ignited a fuel tank on Aug. 7. killed 43 people in a downtown market in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August291.xml&section=middleeast

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Israel has 'eight days' to hit Iran nuclear site: US envoy

Aug 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: Israel has "eight days" to launch a military strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former USenvoy to the UN has said.

Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia's help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant's core.

At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.

"Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they're in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it," Bolton told Fox Business Network.

"So if Israel is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days."

Absent an Israeli strike, Bolton said, "Iran will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor."

But when asked whether he expected Israel to actually launch strikes against Iran within the next eight days, Bolton was skeptical.

"I don't think so, I'm afraid that they've lost this opportunity," he said.

The controversial former envoy to the United Nations criticized Russia's role in the development of the plant, saying "the Russians are, as they often do, playing both sides against the middle."

"The idea of being able to stick a thumb in America's eye always figures prominently in Moscow," he added.

Iran dismissed the possibilities of such an attack from its archfoes.

Foreign MinistryspokesmanRamin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that "these threats of attacks had become repetitive and lost their meaning."

"According to international law, installations which have real fuel cannot be attacked because of the humanitarian consequences," he told reporters at a news conference in Tehran.

Iranian officials say Iran has stepped up defensive measures at the Bushehr plant to protect it from any attacks.

Russia has been building the Bushehr plant since the mid-1990s but the project was marred by delays, and the issue is hugely sensitive amid Tehran's standoff with the West and Israel over its nuclear ambitions.

The UN Security Council hit Tehran with a fourth set of sanctions on June 9 over its nuclear programme, and the United States and European Union followed up with tougher punitive measures targeting Iran's banking and energy sectors.

The Bushehr project was first launched by the late shah in the 1970s using contractors from German firm Siemens. But it was shelved when he was deposed in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It was revived after the death of revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, as Iran's new supreme leaderAli Khamenei and his first president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, backed the project.

In 1995, Iran won the support of Russia which agreed to finish building the plant and fuel it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israel-has-eight-days-to-hit-Iran-nuclear-site-US-envoy/articleshow/6325488.cms#ixzz0wrpKziIc

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Terrorist tapes found under CIA desk

By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO

August 17, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The CIA has tapes of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh being interrogated in a secret overseas prison. Discovered under a desk, the recordings could provide an unparalleled look at how foreign governments aided the U.S. in holding and questioning suspected terrorists.

The two videotapes and one audiotape are believed to be the only remaining recordings made within the clandestine prison system.

The tapes depict Binalshibh's interrogation sessions at a Moroccan-run facility the CIA used near Rabat in 2002, several current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the recordings remain a closely guarded secret.

When the CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two other al-Qaida operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being waterboarded in 2005, officials believed they had wiped away all of the agency's interrogation footage. But in 2007, a staffer discovered a box tucked under a desk in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and pulled out the Binalshibh tapes.

A Justice Department prosecutor who is already investigating whether destroying the Zubaydah and al-Nashiri tapes was illegal is now also probing why the Binalshibh tapes were never disclosed. Twice, the government told a federal judge they did not exist.

The tapes could complicate U.S. efforts to prosecute Binalshibh, 38, who has been described as a "key facilitator" in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. If the tapes surfaced at trial, they could clearly reveal Morocco's role in the counterterrorism program known as Greystone, which authorized the CIA to hold terrorists in secret prisons and shuttle them to other countries.

More significantly to his defense, the tapes also could provide evidence of Binalshibh's mental state within the first months of his capture. In court documents, defense lawyers have been asking for medical records to see whether Binalshibh's years in CIA custody made him mentally unstable. He is being treated for schizophrenia with a potent cocktail of anti-psychotic medications.

With military commissions on hold while the Obama administration figures out what to do with suspected terrorists, Binalshibh has never had a hearing on whether he is mentally fit to stand trial.

"If those tapes exist, they would be extremely relevant," said Thomas A. Durkin, Binalshibh's civilian lawyer.

The CIA first publicly hinted at the existence of the Binalshibh tapes in 2007 in a letter to U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in Virginia. The government twice denied having such tapes, and recanted once they were discovered. But the government blacked out Binalshibh's name from a public copy of the letter.

At the time, the CIA played down the significance, saying the videos were not taken as part of the CIA's detention program and did not show CIA interrogations.

That's true, but only because of the unusual nature of the Moroccan prison, which was largely financed by the CIA but run by Moroccans, the former officials said. The CIA could move detainees in and out, and oversee the interrogations, but officially, Morocco had control.

CIA spokesman George Little would not discuss the Moroccan facility except to say agency officials "continue to cooperate with inquiries into past counterterrorism practices."

Moroccan government officials did not respond to questions about Binalshibh and his time in Morocco. The country has never acknowledged the existence of the detention center.

Morocco has a troubled history of prison abuse and human rights violations. A government-created commission identified decades of torture, forced disappearances, poor prison conditions and sexual violence. And this year's State Department report on Morocco notes continued accusations of torture by security forces.

But current and former U.S. officials say no harsh interrogation methods, like the simulated drowning tactic called waterboarding, were used in Morocco. In the CIA's secret network of undisclosed "black prisons," Morocco was just way station of sorts, a place to hold detainees for a few months at a time.

"The tapes record a guy sitting in a room just answering questions," according to a U.S. official familiar with the program.

That would make them quite different from the 92 interrogation videos of Zubaydah and al-Nashiri being subjected to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics.

Binalshibh was captured Sept. 11, 2002, and interrogated for days at a CIA facility in Afghanistan. Almost immediately, two former CIA officials said, Binalshibh exhibited mental instability that would worsen over time.

When FBI agents finally had a chance to interview Binalshibh, they found him lethargic but unharmed.

"He had a certain toughness about him, like he didn't care," said Raymond Holcomb, a retired FBI agent who spent five days alongside the CIA with Binalshibh in Afghanistan and wrote about it in a forthcoming book, "Endless Enemies: Inside FBI Counterterrorism."

Though Binalshibh was uncooperative during his early interrogations, his interviews formed the foundation for parts of the 9/11 commission report. One official said he also provided intelligence about a plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport.

Binalshibh spent five months in Morocco in late 2002 and early 2003, the first of three trips through the facility during his years in CIA custody.

Since his incarceration was established at Guantanamo Bay in 2006, Binalshibh has appeared increasingly erratic. Court records show him acting out, breaking cameras in his cell and smearing them with feces.

He has experienced delusions, believing the CIA was intentionally shaking his bed and cell, according to court records and interviews. He has imagined tingling sensations like things were crawling all over him and developed a nervous tic, obsessively scratching himself.

Nine years after his capture, there is no indication when Binalshibh and other admitted 9/11 terrorists will face military or civilian trials.

Binalshibh and other accused 9/11 conspirators have openly admitted their roles, praising the attacks. Binalshibh and the others have asked to plead guilty, a move that would head off any trial and almost certainly guarantee the videotapes never get played in any court.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081700373.html?hpid=moreheadlines

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Afghanistan gives $1 million to Pakistan flood victims

17 Aug, 2010

KABUL: Impoverished Afghanistan on Tuesday donated one million dollars to help the victims of unprecedented floods in Pakistan, an official said.

Finance minister Hazrat Omar Zakhailwal handed a cheque to Pakistani ambassador Mohammad Sadiq at the end of a press conference in Kabul.

“Even though this aid amount is far less than what is really needed by the flood victims...our government wants to express its solidarity with our brothers and sisters hit by floods,” the minister said.

Torrential monsoon rain triggered catastrophic floods which have affected a fifth of the country, wiping out villages, rich farmland, infrastructure and killing an estimated 1,600 people in the nation's worst ever natural disaster.

The United Nations last week launched an immediate appeal for 460 million dollars to cover the next 90 days and UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Pakistan at the weekend, calling on the world to quicken its aid pledges.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-afghanistan-aid-to-pakistan-qs-06

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‘Terrorists planning to target key officials in Islamabad’

17 Aug, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Terrorists are planning to target judges, parliamentarians and top military officials in Islamabad, Inspector General of Police Islamabad, Syed Kaleem Imam, told media representatives on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters outside the parliament, he said certain terrorist groups had been issuing death threats to police officials and other key figures in the government.

“On the basis of intelligence information, security has been beefed up at sensitive locations in the federal capital,” the IGP said.

Moreover, efforts were underway to capture the accomplices of the terrorist who was killed in a police encounter in Islamabad’s G/8 sector, he said.

Imam further said that given the situation in the federal capital, the number of security check posts in the city could not be decreased.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-terrorists-plan-target-govt-officials-qs-08

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India says still pursuing Iran ‘peace pipeline’

17 Aug, 2010

NEW DELHI: Energy-hungry India said on Tuesday it was still hoping to import natural gas from Iran through a much-delayed pipeline, but said contentious issues such as pricing must be resolved.

The long-stalled 7.5-billion-dollar transnational gas pipeline, dubbed the “peace pipeline”, was supposed to carry gas from Iran, which has the world's second-richest gas reserves after Russia, to Pakistan and then India.

But India has hesitated to join the project because of repeated disputes about prices and transit fees and its volatile relationship with Pakistan.

“We are making all efforts. The project is not sidelined,” junior petroleum and natural gas minister Jitin Prasada told parliament.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/india-says-still-pursuing-iran-peace-pipeline-jd-02

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Saudi Arabia raises $20.5 million in flood aid

17 Aug, 2010

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has raised 20.5 million dollars in aid on the first day of a national campaign for flood-striken Pakistan, state news agency SPA said Tuesday.

King Abdullah kicked off the campaign by donating 20 million riyals (5.33 million dollars), and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz offered 10 million riyals, press reports said.

The third in line to the throne, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, gave five million riyals to the cause, according to the reports.

The oil-rich kingdom has already sent 16 planeloads of relief supply to Pakistan, Arab News daily said, adding that it had pledged to provide 100 million dollars in aid.

The United Nations warned Tuesday of a “second wave of death” in Pakistan while aid agencies struggled to raise money to help the 20 million people hit by the nation's worst-ever natural disaster.

Fresh rains have threatened further anguish for the millions affected by three weeks of flooding that has engulfed about one quarter of the country, including its rich agricultural heartland.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/03-saudi-arabia-raises-205-million-in-flood-aid-ss-07

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If Afghanistan dissolves security firms, guards will join Taliban, some predict

By David Nakamura

August 18, 2010

KABUL -- The Watan Group's trained fighting force of 2,000 men, armed with rifles and rockets, battles daily to secure the most dangerous roads in Afghanistan so that critical supply convoys can reach U.S. and NATO troops.

As many as 50 guards are killed in Taliban ambushes each month, during fighting so fierce that the Afghan army and police force often refuse to help, said brothers Ahmad and Rashid Popal, who own the Watan Group.

Now, Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to do away with Watan and 51 similar firms, both foreign and domestic, which employ more than 24,000 guards working mostly for Western entities. Karzai, who calls the independent fighting forces "thieves by day, terrorists by night," has set a four-month timeline to dissolve the companies and bring their workload under his government's control.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081701285.html?hpid=moreheadlines

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Palestinian who attacked Turkish Embassy captured

By AMI BENTOV and MARK LAVIE

August 17, 2010

TEL AVIV, Israel -- A Palestinian who broke into the Turkish Embassy in Israel trying to take hostages and demanding asylum was turned over to Israeli authorities late Tuesday, ending a tense standoff.

Seven hours after he forced his way into the embassy, the attacker was escorted out of the embassy and bundled into an Israeli ambulance. Wearing a light blue shirt and limping slightly from an apparent gunshot wound, he raised his arms briefly and shouted before Israeli police and paramedics subdued him.

An hour earlier, the Turkish government said it had the situation in hand.

"Our embassy guards neutralized the individual as he tried to take the vice consul as hostage after shouting around for asylum," the Turkish statement said, adding he was armed with a knife, a gasoline can and a gun that turned out to be a toy.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor identified the attacker as Nadim Injaz, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Ramallah. Israeli police said Injaz was recently released from prison after serving time for an attack on the British Embassy four years ago, also to seek asylum.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081702817.html?hpid=moreheadlines

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Arabs distance themselves from Ground Zero Mosque

By DAVID E. MILLER

Aug 17, 2010

The recent statement by US President Barack Obama supporting the right of Muslims to establish a mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan has stirred much debate in the United States.

But what do Arab Muslims think about the so-called “ground-zero mosque”?

“Many Muslims fear that the mosque will become a shrine for Islamists, which would remind Americans of what Muslims did on 9/11,” Dr. Gamal Abd Al-Gawad, director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo told The Media Line.

“Some people express concern that if the mosque will be built, it will harm Muslims and Islam in America. It’s not good for Muslims and Islam to be in the heart of such a controversy,” he added. 

Abd Al-Gawad said that people in the Arab world prefer to keep their distance from the Manhattan mosque issue, viewing it primarily as an internal American matter.

“The prevalent trend is that it’s about tolerance and liberals in the US, not about Islam itself,” he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article104957.ece

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Pak sends 51 questions to Delhi on Headley dossier

Amitav Ranjan

Aug 18 2010

New Delhi : First 30, now 51. That’s the number of questions that Pakistan has raised in response to India’s last dossier on Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley and his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack along with Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed.

Last week, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry sent a note verbale to the Home Ministry, raising 51 questions related to Headley’s nine trips to India. This was in response to the Delhi dossier to Islamabad, seeking action against Saeed for his direct involvement in the 26/11 attack.

Sources said Islamabad has sought “credible evidence” of all that New Delhi claims it has against Saeed after the interrogation of Headley by a team of the National Investigation Agency in Chicago.

It seeks details of his visits, official versions of people whom he came in contact with while scouting 26/11 targets.

The questions include whether Delhi had knowledge about Headley’s visits to India between 2006 and 2009 or if he was under surveillance then. Islamabad has sought answers on whom Headley met in India, including details about his meetings with Rahul Bhatt in Mumbai.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-sends-51-questions-to-delhi-on-headley-dossier/661847/

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No contamination, Zam-zam water is safe, says Saudi Arabia

Sarah Khan

17 August 2010

Saudi (Jeddah) - Saudi Arabia denied Monday the contamination of Zamzam water, which is distributed to visitors of Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah.

Saudi Hajj Minister Dr. Fuad Al-Farisi said the reports on the water's contamination were false, adding that the ministry sent samples of the water for testing, which proved that it was safe.

He stressed that the ministry regularly examines all containers of Zamzam water in coordination with three governmental bodies.

This year, three kinds of Zamzam water will be distributed; a 330-milliliter container upon arrival, a 1.5-liter container upon departure, and 20-liter containers, which will be distributed at the residents of pilgrims during Hajj, he pointed out.

Throughout the Hajj season, a total of 1.5 million water containers will be distributed, he said.

He stressed that Saudi authorities were ready to receive the pilgrims whose number is expected to be 1.7 million this year.

About 20,000 buses will be provided for the pilgrims, he added.

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Backing Muslims' Right To Build Centre Not An Endorsement: Obama

17 August 2010

The US President, Mr Barack Obama, has clarified that his defence of Muslims' right to build an Islamic complex near New York's Ground Zero site of 9/11 attack was not an endorsement of the controversial proposal that has drawn flak from both Republicans and Democrats.

Speaking to reporters during a family vacation visit to Panama City, Florida, Mr Obama reiterated the stand he took on Friday night at a White House iftar dinner observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion," Mr Obama was quoted as saying in various media reports.

But he went on to explain that he was not endorsing the construction of the Islamic centre.

"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there," he said. "I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding."

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/backing-muslims-right-build-centre-not-endorsement-obama-166

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Bomb aimed at Iranian pilgrims kills 5 in Iraq

Aug 17, 2010

BAGHDAD: A car bomb exploded on Monday in a town northeast of the Iraqi capital while a bus full of Iranian Shiite pilgrims was passing, killing five people and wounding nine, security officials said.

The blast in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, was the latest in a series of attacks testing the mettle of Iraqi security forces as US troops prepare to end combat operations at the end of August before a full withdrawal next year.

Four of the dead were Iranian pilgrims, who have flocked to Iraq’s Shiite religious sites in the hundreds of thousands since the US-led invasion removed Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. Saddam banned Shiite rites and fought an eight-year war with Shiite-ruled Iran in the 1980s.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article104120.ece

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Looking for cardboard and wood to cook in Ramadan

17 August 2010

SANA’A, August 14 — With the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, Zahra finds herself obliged to

search for wood and cardboard to cook iftar for her family. Zahra lives in Al-Kadan, a remote urban area to the

north of Hodeida, a coastal city 200 km west of Sana’a.

She cannot buy a gas cylinder, because gas suppliers in her area hold the monopoly over it and sell it for up to

YR 2,000 (USD 10) per cylinder. For Zahra, this is exorbitant.

“Each year, when Ramadan comes, prices go up and gas suppliers who store it sell it for the price that they like,”

Zahra said.

The country has been experiencing a number of price hikes since the early 1990s due to political tensions,

economic crises, and the government’s commitment to the economic adjustment program with the International

Monetary Fund, according to the 2008 Yemen Cross-sectoral Youth Assessment Report by USAID Yemen.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=34595

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Terrorists Gathering In Lahore

Aug 17th, 2010

Islamabad, Aug. 16: Over 300 hardliners and their mentors from across Pakistan have gathered in Lahore and are living in Afghan and Pashtun-populated localities, according to a media report on Monday.

The hardliners, including more than 100 members of six terrorist groups, entered Lahore and hired residences in the past few months, intelligence agencies had informed police.

The Daily Times newspaper quoted its sources as saying several high-profile hardliners are hiding in posh localities across the city.

The intelligence reports stated that “several businesses across the city are being run by these hardliners, and the authorities concerned are not taking any proper action despite having knowledge of all such activities”.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/terrorists-gathering-lahore-241

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Israeli soldier puts photos of blindfolded Palestinians on Facebook

Aug 17, 2010

A former Israeli soldier posted photos on Facebook of herself in uniform smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners, drawing sharp criticism from the Israeli military and Palestinian officials.

 In one photo, she is sitting with her legs crossed beside a blindfolded Palestinian man who is slumped against a concrete barrier. His face is turned downwards, while she leans toward him with her face upturned.

Another shows her smiling at the camera with three Palestinian men with bound hands and blindfolds behind her.

The incident was a reminder of the fraught relations between Israeli soldiers and the West Bank Palestinians under their control.

Israeli soldiers have run into trouble on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube before.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7949152/Israeli-soldier-puts-photos-of-blindfolded-Palestinians-on-Facebook.html

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Hamas sides with Obama, endorses mosque!

By Greg Sargent

Tue, 2010-08-17

In case you were wondering where the right is headed today...

The angle here is that one of the criticisms of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Islamic center, is that he refused to call Hamas a terrorist organiztion. And here's Hamas standing up for the Imam's mosque, in firm agreement with Obama. Hamas, Rauf, and Obama all agree: Build the mosque!

In reality, of course, Obama did not "endorse" the Islamic center. Rauf is widely seen as a moderate, and he has condemned terrorism. And here's what Rauf actually said about Hamas:

Full report at:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/breaking_hamas_sides_with_obam.html

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Obama Again Comes Down on the Side of Islam

Tue, 2010-08-17

Barack Obama has come out in favor of building the Ground Zero (Cordoba) Mosque in Manhattan.

Obama’s comments affirming that he supports the mosque being constructed adjacent to Ground Zero were directed not only at the Muslims seated at the Iftar dinner in the White House but also more importantly at Muslims everywhere.  Obama was again seeking political credit with Muslims and particularly those in the Middle East.

Obama said the Ground Zero Mosque not only could be constructed because our laws allowed for Muslims to freely practice their religion in places of their choosing but also because it will show that the United States is now more tolerant of others under the Presidency of Barack Obama.  Obama basically told the world that the American people were religious bigots and he was going to make it all better.

Full report at:

http://lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/may/2010-08-17/obama-again-comes-down-side-islam

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Obama warns Erdogan over Iran stance

17 August 2010

US President Barack Obama has warned the Turkish prime minister that Ankara's position on Israel and Iran could lessen its chances of obtaining US weapons, a report says.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to buy American drone aircraft to attack separatist Kurdish rebels after the US military withdraws from Iraq at the end of 2011, the British daily Financial Times reported.

The terrorist rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has bases in the mountains in the north of Iraq, near the Turkish border.

"The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill (Congress)," a senior US administration official was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

These questions centered on "whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally," said the official.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/138869.html

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Terrorists may attack Islamabad, Lahore: Pak intl agencies

17 August 2010

Pakistani intelligence agencies have warned that the local Taliban, the Jandullah group and others banned militant groups have plans to target foreigners, embassies and Shia clerics and worship places in major cities in the country, including capital Islamabad.

They have warned the outfits are also planning to target places of worship in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Okara and Karachi. The agencies have also warned of attacks on leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement at the party’s public meetings, district police lines and offices of Divisional Police Officers, Urdu daily Aaj Kal quoted sources as saying. They said the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has tasked one Abu Adil Mujahid to carry out attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/276489/Terrorists-may-attack-Islamabad-Lahore-Pak-intl-agencies.html

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Suicide Bomber Attacks Police in North Caucasus

By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ

Aug 17, 2010

MOSCOW — A suicide attack on a police checkpoint in Russia’s violence-plagued North Caucasus region on Tuesday killed two officers and injured several others, according to Russian news reports.

The attack occurred in North Ossetia, a mostly Christian region of the North Caucasus, where violence in recent years has been rare. Suicide bombings and other violence against police and government officials occur frequently in the majority Muslim regions of the North Caucasus, which includes Chechnya.

Police released few immediate details of the attack on Tuesday, but the prosecutor general’s office confirmed that two police officers and the suicide bomber had died in the blast. A source with the North Ossetia police told the Interfax news agency that a man in his 20s blew himself up when he was stopped by police at a checkpoint close to the border with Ingushetia, a volatile Muslim republic that has had uneasy relations with North Ossetia in the past.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/world/europe/18russia.html?ref=world

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Nobel laureates support woman facing execution

17 August 2010

Tehran: Public figures including Nobel laureates and Hollywood stars published a letter of support Monday for Iranian mother-of-two Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani who is facing execution for adultery.

“Urgent intervention is necessary to prevent an execution that observers believe is imminent,” said a text published in France’s Liberation newspaper, signed by dignitaries including Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka and Jody Williams. Other names included Czech author Milan Kundera, pop star and anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof and actresses Juliette Binoche and Mia Farrow. They called for “the renunciation of any kind of execution, freedom without delay and recognition of her innocence,” after Mohammadi-Ashtiani, 43, last week made an apparently coerced televised confession.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\17\story_17-8-2010_pg20_3

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Shelter helps abused Muslim women in Kabul? No. In Riyadh? No. Where? In Tulsa.

Aug 17, 2010

Question for the Tulsa Muslim community: Why does such a relatively small population need a dedicated Muslim women's shelter for domestic abuse? Where are husbands getting the idea that good women are obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded, and from those from whom you fear disobedience -- oh, wait... "Tulsa shelter helps abused Muslim women," by Bill Sherman for Tulsa World, August 15 (thanks to Twostellas):

She was pencil-thin and so weak from mental and physical abuse, she needed help getting up stairs.

Her husband kept her under video surveillance 24 hours a day, a virtual prisoner in her own home, and once held a knife to her throat.

This Jordanian woman found refuge in the Surayya Anne Foundation home, Tulsa's only Muslim women's shelter. She is now separated from her husband, who remains in Tulsa, and is back with her family in Jordan.

Full report at:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/shelter-helps-abused-muslim-women-in-kabul-no-in-riyadh-no-where-in-tulsa.html

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Nine Taliban commanders surrender in Bajaur Agency

17 August 2010

KHAR: Twenty-nine militants, including nine senior commanders allied with Afghan insurgent leader Qari Ziaur Rehman surrendered to security forces, the military said on Monday.

A military spokesman told the media that five of the commanders, Khan Afzal, Rahim Sayed, Mand Ali, Zahir Shah and Roohullah, were “very close” to the wanted Afghan Taliban leader. These militants surrendered voluntarily to the security forces in Charmang valley of Nawagai tehsil. The military allowed the local media to meet the militants at a fort in Charmang.

“We are seeing an increase in militants surrendering for the last two months in Charmang,” Major Zabih said, adding, “We are getting closer to eliminating the Qari Ziaur Rehman group from the area.”

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\17\story_17-8-2010_pg7_3

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Rahman sings the CWG theme song

Madhur Tankha

17 August 2010

NEW DELHI: Music maestro A.R. Rahman has lent voice to the Commonwealth Games theme song, ‘Swagatham', which exudes energy and talks about winning and not giving up.

Presenting the story of making the song, at a news conference here on Monday, Mr. Rahman said: “When you hear the song you feel like India is calling you. I want the crowd to sing along. We have put in a lot of hard work and we are all very excited to turn it into a memorable experience. I am still working on it and am curious to know how older, intelligent people, who have years of wisdom, will react to it.”

The song, essentially in Hindi with a sprinkling of English words, has been approved by the Group of Ministers. “I presented it to them last evening [Sunday] and they were excited....I am the lead singer. The song has an international appeal but it is not in the mould of ‘Waka Waka' (Shakira's FIFA World Cup song). It is all ready but wait for another 10 days. I feel that you should get the full feel of the song only at the event.” He added that the song was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/17/stories/2010081755412200.htm

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Production warrants against IM terrorists

17 August 2010

New Delhi: A trial court on Monday issued production warrants against three suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists,who are at present in judicial custody in Gujarat,for their alleged role in the serial blasts in the capital in 2008.

Chief metropolitan magistrate Kaveri Baweja sought the presence of the three accused Saifur Rehman,Mohd Arif and Arif Badruddin before the court on September 7.The court directed Sabarmati Jail authorities in Ahmedabad to produce the accused,who are wanted in all five cases registered in connection with the September 13 blasts in the capital in which 26 people were killed and 135 injured.

While 11 accused have been in custody of Delhi Police at different points of time after being arrested,these three accused have never been brought to the capital for interrogation.According to police,the three accused were involved in hatching the conspiracy to carry out the explosions.

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PDP chief Madani arrested in Bangalore blast case

17 August 2010

KOLLAM (KERALA): Ending the eight-day long suspense, PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madani was on Tuesday arrested amid high drama from his camp by the Karnataka Police in connection with the 2008 Bangalore blast case.

Hours before the deadline set by the Bangalore court was to expire, a Karnataka Police team executed the non-bailable arrest warrant as Madani emerged from his orphanage-cum-madrassa complex at Anwarassery here.

Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police Omkarayya executed the warrant against Madani with the support of Kerala Police shortly after the PDP leader said he would be surrendering in a local magistrate court.

As Madani came out in a vehicle from his camp after mid-day prayers, a heavy contingent of Kerala Police in riot gear blocked the vehicle to facilitate the Karnataka officials to effect the arrest.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/PDP-chief-Madani-arrested-in-Bangalore-blast-case/articleshow/6323605.cms

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Manmohan to meet Mufti, Mehbooba

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

17 August 2010

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in Delhi soon to elicit their views on the prevailing situation in the Valley and also seek their suggestions on how to defuse the crisis.

The meeting -likely to be held on Friday -is significant since both Mufti and Mehbooba have so far stayed away from any process initiated to bring a semblance of normalcy in the strife-torn state.

The PDP had boycotted both the all-party meets -first convened by Abdullah in Srinagar on July 12 and the second by the PM in Delhi on August 10.

On his part, Singh -who will visit Leh ravaged by August 6 flash floods on Tuesday -had expressed his willingness to meet the Muftis separately to discuss ways and means to restore calm in Kashmir.

Hindustan Times

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More protests, clashes in Kashmir

17 August 2010

Police and paramilitary personnel opened fire on a group of slogan-shouting youth in south Kashmir’s Tral pocket on Monday evening even as curfew and separatist-sponsored shutdown crippled normal life in Kashmir Valley. Clashes between police and demonstrators took place at more than a dozen places in the valley, sources said. The clashes between the agitated youngsters and the police were going on for the entire day in Tral town. Sources said that police and paramilitary CRPF burst teargas shells to chase away the protestors. When the slogan-shouting youth continued to engage the security personnel, they opened fire. At least, six agitators have been injured in the incident. A local resident Muhammad Ramzan said that the injured were taken to local hospital but the CRPF personnel barged into the hospital and damaged infrastructure.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/276481/More-protests-clashes-in-Kashmir.html

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A mother, a son and Kashmir's education tragedy

Praveen Swami

17 August 2010

Islamist radical Asiya Andrabi wants schools and colleges shut. Her son wants a passport to study abroad

In June, some private schools briefly reopened, but shut down again after Andrabi's warning

Secessionists have long insulated their children's education from the troubled region's politics

SRINAGAR: Last month, Kashmiri Islamist leader Asiya Andrabi lashed out at parents worried about the consequences the weeks of violent street protests she has spearheaded might have for their children.

“Losses of life, material and the education of children,” she said in a July 13 statement, “are inevitable in our freedom struggle. But these cannot be reasons to make compromises. The material sacrifices made by students, cart-pushers or daily-wage labourers have no value when compared to those who are ready to make the supreme sacrifice for the cause of freedom.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/17/stories/2010081764371400.htm

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NATO claims killing Al-Qaeda operative

17 August 2010

KABUL —The NATO force in Afghanistan said Monday it had killed an Al-Qaeda cell leader after he was pinpointed by alliance aircraft while carrying out an attack on a police post. In other incidents linked to the Al-Qaeda-sponsored Islamic insurgency five Afghan civilians and a handful of rebels were killed in a string of weekend clashes, Afghan authorities said.

Abu Baqir, described as “a dual-hatted Taliban sub-commander and Al-Qaeda group leader”, was killed on Sunday when his truck was targeted in an airstrike in northern Kunduz province, a hotbed of the insurgency. Another militant was also killed and several others captured while seeking treatment for their injuries in a local hospital, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. It did not give further details about the Al-Qaeda commander.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/17/FrontPage/index.php?id=6

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Afghan Archaeologists Find Buddhist Site as War Rages

Aug 17, 2010

KABUL (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday.

"There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colourful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins," said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department.

"Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory," he said.

"We need foreign assistance to preserve these and their expertise to help us with further excavations."

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/08/17/world/international-uk-afghanistan-buddhist-relics.html

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Kyrgyz army involved in mob violence

17 August 2010

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan— A prominent human rights group said Monday that Kyrgyzstan’s armed forces abetted and may even have actively taken part in violence by ethnic Kyrgyz mobs against the minority Uzbek community that left at least 370 people dead in June.

Human Rights Watch said many witnesses reported seeing individuals in camouflage attacking Uzbeks and using armoured military vehicles to remove improvised roadblocks barring entry into Uzbek neighbourhoods.

“This pattern raises serious concerns that some government forces either actively participated in, or facilitated attacks on, Uzbek neighbourhoods by knowingly or unwittingly giving cover to violent mobs,” the report said.

The report by the New York-based group is the most ambitious attempt to date at an independent survey of the causes and consequences of the clashes, which also sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from their homes to neighbouring Uzbekistan.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August813.xml&section=international&col=

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Jamaat leaders seek repeal of law

17 August 2010

Two detained Jamaat-e-Islami war crimes suspects have petitioned the High Court to revoke the first amendment to the constitution that paved the way for war crimes trial.

In the writ petition, assistant secretaries general Mohammad Qamaruzzaman and Abdul Kader Molla argued that those sections of the act are inconsistent with the constitution and demanded that some sections of the International Crimes Tribunal Act should be repealed.

Abdur Razzaque filed the plea on Monday with the bench of justices Abdul Wahhab Miah and Quazi Reza-ul Hoque.

The court will hear the appeal on Tuesday, he said.

British health authorities recently warned Britons from using Zamzam water or transferring it to the United Kingdom, claiming it was contaminated and caused illness.

Global Arab Network

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Afghanistan war strategy ‘fundamentally sound’: Petraeus

17 August 2010

KABUL: In his first six weeks as the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen David H Petraeus has seen insurgent attacks on coalition forces spike to record levels, violence metastasise to previously stable areas, and the country’s president undercut anti-corruption units backed by Washington. But after burrowing into operations here and traveling to the far reaches of this country, Petraeus has concluded that the US strategy to win the nearly nine-year-old war is “fundamentally sound”, the Washington Post reported.

In a wide-ranging hour-long interview, he said he sees incipient signs of progress in parts of the volatile south, in new initiatives to create community defense forces and in nascent steps to reintegrate low-level insurgents who want to stop fighting.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\17\story_17-8-2010_pg7_9

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Taliban Commander Among Five Killed In Afghanistan

17 August 2010

Five Taliban insurgents, including their commander, were killed in Afghanistan's Ghazni province by Afghan and Nato-led troops, police said on Monday.

"Afghan and international troops raided Taliban hideouts in Muqar district on Sunday night; as a result five militants, including their commander Mullah Salim, were killed," provincial police chief Khayal Baz Shirzai told Xinhua.

Taliban militants have yet to comment. The insurgents who have vowed to intensify their activities against Nato-led forces had fired several rockets to Ghazni city, Ghazni's provincial capital, last week.

http://www.asianage.com/international/taliban-commander-among-five-killed-afghanistan-149

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Gitmo detainee ordered released

17 August 2010

(CNN) -- A U.S. district court judge in the District of Columbia Monday ordered the United States to release a detainee held for nearly nine years at the military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ruled that the federal government had "failed to demonstrate that the detention of [Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif] is lawful."

Kennedy heard oral arguments on the matter in early June.

Significant portions of Kennedy's 28-page ruling -- including some whole pages -- are redacted. But the document makes clear that Kennedy agreed with Latif's arguments that documents and other evidence used against him were not reliable and that the government's belief that a man he met with was an al Qaeda recruiter is incorrect.

"Latif's story is not without inconsistencies and unanswered questions," Kennedy wrote, "but it is supported by corroborating evidence provided by medical professionals and it is not incredible.

Full report at:

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King orders fundraiser for Pakistan flood relief

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Aug 17, 2010

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia launched a nationwide fundraising campaign on Monday for Pakistan's flood victims, on the instructions of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif said.

King Abdullah inaugurated the campaign by giving SR20 million while Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, donated SR10 million and Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif SR5 million to the fund.

"We have instructed all regional governors to set up subsidiary committees to collect donations and encourage businessmen and other citizens to participate actively in the campaign, which is named after King Abdullah," Prince Naif told the Saudi Press Agency.

He said potential donors could deposit their money in account No. Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article104110.ece

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Naif calls for effective strategy to fight drugs

By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN

17 August 2010

JEDDAH: Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif has called for an effective strategy to tackle drug addiction and eradicate this “most dangerous social evil.”

Addressing a meeting of the National Committee to Combat Drugs on Sunday, Prince Naif called for more studies and research to confront the spread of drugs among young Saudi men and women.

“We all know that this is an important issue and its deserves scientific studies by experts. We have adequate facilities for that at our universities and hospitals,” the prince said.

Some Saudi universities have established academic chairs to conduct research on various aspects of drug abuse in the country. “We need more chairs in order to set out an effective strategy to combat drugs in the Kingdom,” he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article104163.ece

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Iran to build 10 protected nuclear sites

Aug 17, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran said Monday it plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment sites inside protected mountain strongholds, with construction on the first starting in March, in continuing defiance of international efforts to curb its nuclear development.

Enriching uranium creates fuel for nuclear power plants but can also, if taken to higher levels, produce the material for weapons and Iran's growing capacity in this process is at the center of its dispute with the international community.

The UN Security Council has already passed four sets of sanctions against Iran to try and force it to stop enriching uranium.

“The new enrichment facilities will be built inside mountains,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization. Revelations a year ago of a previously undisclosed enrichment facility in a secret mountain base near the city of Qom inflamed international suspicions over Iran's enrichment program.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article104123.ece

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Lebanon tries to retain Arabic in polyglot culture

Aug 17, 2010

BEIRUT: Maya Sabti’s children were born and raised in Lebanon but they speak only broken Arabic and cringe when presented with an Arabic book to read.

“I try to get them interested, but I don’t blame them that they’re not,” said Sabti, whose children are 8 and 10. “Mobile phones, Facebook, movies — all that’s important to them is in English.”

In Lebanon, where everyday conversations have long been sprinkled with French and English, many fear the new generation is losing its connection to the country’s official language: Arabic. The issue has raised enough concern for some civil groups to take action.

“Young people are increasingly moving away from Arabic, and this is a major source of concern for us,” says Suzanne Talhouk, 33, a Lebanese poet who heads “Feil Amer,” an organization launched last year to promote Arabic.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article104122.ece

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Afghan security firms given 4 months to disband

Aug 17, 2010

KABUL: Afghanistan's president is setting a four-month deadline for private security companies to cease operations in the country, his spokesman said Monday.

A presidential decree will later detail the process through which the companies should cease operations, spokesman Waheed Omar told reporters in Kabul.

President Hamid Karzai has said repeatedly in recent months that these companies undermine government security forces, creating a parallel security structure. Contractors perform duties ranging from guarding supply convoys to personal security details for diplomats and businessmen.

The imminent decree expedites action that Karzai had promised in his inauguration speech in November, when he said he wanted to close down both foreign and domestic security contractors within two years.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article104124.ece

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Ground Zero mosque polarizes US

Aug 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama’s comments on Friday and Saturday concerning the right to build a mosque near Ground Zero have sharply divided the right and the left here, with Republican strategists continuing the assault on Sunday talk shows.

Republicans’ decision to rally against the proposed mosque reflects a larger shift within the party against Islam. Under the leadership of former US President George W. Bush who, despite having led the march to war in Iraq, continued to court Muslims and called Islam a religion of peace.

With Bush now out of the picture many Republicans have openly sought to cultivate fear and hostility toward Islam and translate it into electoral advantage in November.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article104056.ece

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Cairo to use computerised call to prayer after complaints over tuneless muezzin

Aug 17, 2010

Cairo is to synchronise the call to prayer across the city's 4,500 mosques using computers to put an end to out of tune and out of time muezzin.

For more than a millennium, the competing calls to prayer intoned from Cairo's thousands of minarets have been one of the city's most distinctive features.

The government this weekend begins a long-heralded project to synchronise the five daily calls to prayer across the city.

Neighbourhood by neighbourhood, the ministry of religious endowments is linking all of the mosques in the city, the largest in the Arab world, to a central computerised feed.

"Egyptians have a problem with timing," said Sheikh Salem Abdel-Galil, the ministry official behind the proposal.

Full report at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/7944575/Cairo-to-use-computerised-call-to-prayer-after-complaints-over-tuneless-muezzin.html

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Taliban Call for Joint Inquiry into Civilian Afghan Deaths Considered

Jon Boone

Aug 17, 2010

UN and Nato cautiously consider proposal, which follows reports of high levels of civilian deaths caused by insurgents

NATO and the United Nations are cautiously considering a Taliban proposal to set up a joint commission to investigate allegations of civilians being killed and wounded in the conflict in Afghanistan, diplomats in Kabul have told the Guardian.

The Taliban overture, which came in a statement posted on its website, will revive a divisive debate about whether to conduct any formal talks with insurgents who are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and whose assassination campaign now kills one person a day on average.

The Taliban statement called for the establishment of a body including members from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, UN human rights investigators, Nato and the Taliban.

Full report at:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/08/16-6

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Yemen places security forces on heightened alert

By SAEED AL-BATATI

Aug 17, 2010

SANA’A: Yemen’s Ministry of Interior instructed on Monday security bodies in the republic to be on alert and to intensify security measures around vital facilities, the ministry website said yesterday.

The ministry stressed the importance of keeping the security forces vigilant as to face all possibilities including terrorist attacks.

“The Ministry instructed security forces in  the governorates of Hadramout, Abyan, Shabwa, Mareb, Jawef and Sa’da to be on red alert to foil any terrorist attack that targets the stability of society.”

The warning comes almost week from an earlier warning from the ministry ordering the security forces in the governorates to be on alert after dawn prayers in Ramadan.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article104109.ece

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Farooq ‘ mocks’ son for joining the elite shoegate club

17 August 2010

UNION minister Farooq Abdullah mocked his own son Omar Abdullah a day after a “ mentally unstable” and suspended Jammu and Kashmir policeman hurled a shoe at the chief minister in Srinagar at an Independence Day function.

“ He ( Omar) has joined an elite club of former US President George W. Bush, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, home minister P. Chidambaram and a few others with this shoe. It is a wonderful thing,” the senior Abdullah said.

The statement is perhaps the most damning indication of how isolated Omar has become as he has been consistently seen as a man who has not listened to the seniors in his party.

He is said to have sidelined even Farooq.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Another Pak terrorist killed in Rajouri

17 August 2010

The intense gunfight raging between a group of heavily armed Pakistani militants and the joint team of security forces ended on Monday with the elimination of a third foreign militant in Bagla forest area of Thanna Mandi tehsil in Rajouri district.

Two militants and an Army jawan died on Sunday while an Indian army Major, an SPO and a civilian were critically wounded in the gunfight which erupted on Saturday morning. According to a police spokesman, “The three militants were Lashkar-e-Tayyeba cadre and were Pakistani.”

The militant killed on Monday has been identified as Abu Ali, a foreign mercenary. One of the two militants killed on Sunday has been identified as Uzefa Kamar of Pakistan and another one is still unidentified, the police spokesman said.

Security forces recovered three AK rifles with 12 magazines, one satellite phone, six mobile phones and two grenades from the site.

Meanwhile, search and combing operations were continuing in the area to track down more militants suspected to have been moving in the area, the spokesman added.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/276488/Another-Pak-terrorist-killed-in-Rajouri.html

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CWC Concerned Over Valley

Aug 17th, 2010

The CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party, on Monday expressed concern over the current situation in the Kashmir Valley where “some elements are misguiding youths”.

The meeting, which was called to finalise a schedule for the Congress president’s election, discussed the situation in the Valley. Home minister P. Chidambaram was specially called to brief the CWC about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir where the party is sharing power with the National Conference in the Omar Abdullah government.

Besides Mr Chidambaram, Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni and R.K. Dhawan were said to spoke on it.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/india/cwc-concerned-over-valley-304

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J&K violence a new chapter in history of separatism: CWC

Aug 17, 2010

NEW DELHI: Concern over the deteriorating situation in Kashmir on Monday reached the Congress Working Committee, the party's apex decision-making body, with leaders expressing worry over what they saw as a new chapter in the history of separatism in the volatile state.

The trend of unrestrained violence with stone-pelting and police firing, which has led to over 50 deaths in two months, was seen as different from militancy which guided the sentiment in sections of J&K.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi threw the issue open to CWC by saying "situation has taken a serious turn".

The chief's comment showed how the hopes the leadership had harboured after the successful assembly elections had been rattled by the events since Omar Abdullah took over amid high hopes in end-2008.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/JK-violence-a-new-chapter-in-history-of-separatism-CWC/articleshow/6322519.cms#ixzz0wq0eXEga

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Flood victims resort to protests as relief lags

17 August 2010

JAFFARABAD— After causing vast flood devastation in Baluchistan’s District Jaffarabad, thousands of families are trying to flee by every available mean of transport to take refuge in other places on Monday. The flood flow from Jacobabad, after creating havoc in Jaffarabad’s District Headquarter Dera Allah Yaar, has hit Usta Muhammad and Gandakha.

According to details, after overflowing from the Jamali Bypass, flood water has entered Goth Jamali, ex Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali’s village and Kashmore Kot. Approximately 13,000 rural houses of Dera Allah Yaar have been devastated by the flood. The Deputy Commissioner of Jaffarabad, Dr. Ahmad Jamali, told that flood water has entered into thousands of houses in Sohbatpur, Usta Muhammad and Gandakha. People have been instructed to vacate these areas immediately.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/17/FrontPage/index.php?id=1

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E-mail account of Indian envoy to Uzbekistan hacked

17 August 2010

NEW DELHI—The computer networking system, installed in the Indian Home Ministry, has been facing a severe virus attack that could cause destroying important and confidential data sending the security agencies in a state of extreme worry. According to sources, some unknown hackers hacked the internet account of the Indian ambassador to Uzbekistan and then dispatched virus-attached E-mails to some officials of the Indian Home Ministry sending the security establishment in a tizzy.

The “malicious” E-mail contains a dangerous Malware, Trojan, which allows the hacker remote access to the user’s computer system, according to sources. Investigators suspect that hackers in a foreign country have cracked the E-mail ID of the ambassador and used his account to send the virus.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/17/FrontPage/index.php?id=4

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Bosnian lab helps Iraq unearth war secrets

17 August 2010

Officials in Baghdad estimate that 350,000 human remains are hidden in mass graves throughout the country. Human rights groups say it could be close to a million

One of the cleaning ladies in the building won’t enter the room where the vials are stored because she can feel the restless souls inside them. But for 33-year-old biologist Amela Jamakovic, the 11 vials, each containing a few grains of bone powder that look like sand, are her daily assignment.

She’s part of a team of six at the laboratory of the International Commission for Missing Persons in Sarajevo that’s on a daunting mission, analysing DNA from bones found in mass graves from atrocities or natural disasters around the world and matching it to lost lives.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\17\story_17-8-2010_pg4_9

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Qaeda tells France it will avenge its fighters

17 August 2010

RABAT - Al Qaeda’s North African wing has warned France it will avenge its fighters killed in a raid by French troops in the Sahara desert last month.

In a statement posted on radical Islamist forums, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb called French President Nicolas Sarkozy an “enemy of Allah”.

It urged tribes in the desert region straddling Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Algeria to join in the fight against “the sons and agents of Christian France”.

The group, which has said it had executed the 78-year-old French hostage Michel Germaneau after the raid failed to free him, told Sarkozy:

“To the enemy of Allah (God) Sarkozy I said: You missed the opportunity and opened the gate of horror for your country.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August825.xml&section=international&col=

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Sudan expels five UN/ICRC staff from West Darfur

17 August 2010

KHARTOUM - Sudan has expelled five U.N. and ICRC workers from West Darfur state, a U.N. official said, in the latest confrontation with international organisations in a region with the world’s largest aid operation.

Sudan’s relationship with foreign aid agencies and the U.N.- African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) has long been tense, with expulsions and obstruction often the reward for anyone reporting on rights abuses during the seven-year rebellion.

After the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur last year, he expelled 13 aid organisations. Khartoum says they gave the ICC evidence concerning Darfur.

“The heads of the UNHCR (U.N. refugee agency) and FAO (Food and Agriculture) agencies in West Darfur as well as the head of UNHCR agency in Zalengei have been asked to leave,” Abdallah al-Fadil, head of UNAMID in West Darfur, told Reuters on Monday.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August818.xml&section=international&col=

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Poll: US news media trust falling

17 August 2010

A new poll in the United States has shown that three-quarters of Americans do not trust the country's newspapers and television news.

The findings are from Gallup's annual Confidence in Institutions survey published on Friday, which has found that 75 percent of the respondents do not have confidence in newspapers, with 78 percent distrusting television news.

The Gallup surveyed 1,020 people on 16 US institutions and gave an error margin of four percentage points.

The dismal results showed that the American near-record low confidence in news media came ahead of Health Management Organizations and big business.

The survey found the military rated best and US Congress rated worst out of the 16 institutions tested.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/138760.html

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 13th anniversary observed

17 August 2010

ISLAMABAD—It has been 13 years since legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan passed away due to a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital, London, on Saturday, August 16, 1997. To pay their tributes to this globally renowned devotional music maestro, the people from Pakistan and all over the world observed the 13th anniversary of the unique legend of the world of music on Monday.

Nsurat Fateh Ali Khan was primarily a singer of qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). He featured in Time magazine's 2006 list of 'Asian Heroes'. He was born on October 13, 1948 in the city of Faisalabad in a Punjabi family. He was the fifth child and first son of Fateh Ali Khan, a musicologist, vocalist, instrumentalist, and Qawwal. In 1979, Khan married his first cousin, Naheed (the daughter of Fateh Ali Khan's brother, Salamat Ali Khan); they had one daughter, Nida.

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/0810/17/CityPage/index.php?id=9

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New wave threatens Moenjodaro, Bhutto mausoleum

By Saeed Shah

17 Aug, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: The ruins of Moenjodaro and Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, where prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are buried are directly in the path of the rampaging floods, officials warned on Monday.

They said the floodwaters were now at the town of Larkana, threatening the nearby Bhutto family mausoleum, a huge marble structure topped with domes, and the sprawling Moenjodaro, one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus valley civilisation, a Unesco world heritage site.

Rediscovered in 1922, Moenjodaro was one of the most sophisticated cities of its time. The water is closing in both from the Indus river and from a breach in an irrigation canal further north.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/new-wave-threatens-moenjodaro,-bhutto-mausoleum-780

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taliban-order-stoning-deaths-in-bold-display/d/3299


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