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Islamic World News ( 11 May 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Third Secular Blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, Hacked To Death in Bangladesh

 

 

 

 

 

A Nusra Front terrorist detonates a truck bomb at the Jisr al-Shughur hospital. (Daily Star photo)

 

 

 

 

South Asia

Third Secular Blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, Hacked To Death in Bangladesh

9 Soldiers Martyred, 83 Militants Killed In Fresh Military Operations in Afghanistan

5 civilians killed, 3 wounded in landmine explosion in Kandahar

'Is Bangladesh Going To Be The Next Pakistan Or Afghanistan?'

Up to 6,000 Rohingya, Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea

 

Arab World

ISIS Publishes Manual on ‘How to Survive In the West’

40 Takfiri Terrorists Dead as Syrian Troops Make Gains in Jisr Al-Shughur

Al-Nusra Front Asks for ISIL Help to Survive in Qalamoun Fight

Iraqi Army Flushes out ISIL Terrorists from Strategic Areas in Hamrin

Iraq: ISIS demolishes ruins to cover up looting operations

Kurdish Peshmerga general among four killed in Iraq blast

5 million Syrians at risk from explosive weapons: NGO

Lebanon Calls For Halt to Israeli Violations

 

Mideast

Yemen’s Health Ministry: 19 Dead in Saudi Airstrikes in Sana’a

Turkey says training of Syrian rebels delayed

Israeli general sees common interests with Hamas

Despite leading war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia mostly untouched

Yemen humanitarian ceasefire to begin

Yemen Houthi rebels say they shot down Morrocan warplane

 

Pakistan

Armed Clashes Leave Six Dead, 11 Injured In Shikarpur, Kandhkot

Dir By-Election: WPC Condemns Denial of Women Right to Vote

K-P supporters conduct sit-in outside Parliament House

PM recommends Sitara-e-Pakistan for diplomats killed in Gilgit crash

Govt preparing to rig PP-196 by-polls: Qureshi

 

Africa

Dozens Killed In Tribal Clashes in Sudan’s East Darfur: MP

Nigeria: Buhari, Chadian Leader Mull Plan to Tackle Boko Haram

Girls raped, boys forced to become soldiers in Sudan conflict

Rebels kill eight Malian soldiers: Humanitarian, security sources

Wary of chaos in Libya and Mali, Algeria targets southern smuggling

 

Europe

Turkey and Saudi Arabia Shock Western Countries by Supporting Anti-Assad Jihadists

Promote Moderation At Home Before Preaching It Globally: UK Envoy to Malaysia

Western nations back Libyan ‘national unity’

Spain arrests two suspected of distributing ISIS propaganda

Mideast nuclear weapons ban proposal stumbles

French Muslim student of Algerian descent returns to school in characteristic outfit

 

India

To reach out to Muslims, BJP Men Parrot Modi’s Message on Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti

Urdu-Medium Schools Must Teach Marathi: Maharashtra Minister

 

Southeast Asia

Protect Children from Sexual Abuse, Not Acquit Rapists, UNICEF Tells Malaysia

Anti-hysteria kit shows Muslims can’t tell supernatural from science, IKIM scientist says

At Least Six Suspects Arrested in Benjina Human Trafficking Case

 

North America

Pakistani Generals 'Sold' Bin Laden To US: Report

Canada: Free Speech for Offending Muslims Not Opposing Israel

U.S. Senate calls on Iran to release detained Americans

US, Saudi Arabia play down rift

US supporter of Islamic State gets 4-1/2 years in prison

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/third-secular-blogger,-ananta-bijoy-das,-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh/d/102918

 

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South Asia

 

Third Secular Blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, Hacked To Death in Bangladesh

AFP | May 12, 2015

DHAKA: A masked gang wielding machetes hacked a secular blogger to death on Tuesday in north-eastern Bangladesh in the third such deadly attack since the start of the year, police said.

"Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30am this morning. We have learnt that he was a writer," deputy commissioner of Sylhet police Faisal Mahmud told AFP.

Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers' association, told AFP that Das was "an atheist and wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona," a website which used to be moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was himself hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in February.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Third-secular-blogger-hacked-to-death-in-Bangladesh/articleshow/47243653.cms

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9 Soldiers Martyred, 83 Militants Killed In Fresh Military Operations in Afghanistan

May 12 2015

Nine soldiers have embraced martyrdom while 83 militants have been killed in fresh military operations.

A statement issued Tuesday morning by the Ministry of Defence states that nine soldiers embraced martyrdom due to a landmine explosion and insurgent fire in past 24 hours. But the statement does not contain information about the exact location of the incidents.

The statement further states that 83 militants were killed in separate military operations conducted across the country including Farah, Nangarhar, Maidan Wardak, Nimroz and Helmand provinces in past 24 hours.

Dozens of insurgents also wounded in confrontations with security forces. 400 kilograms of explosive materials recovered and 23 different types of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) discovered and defused by the security forces during these operations. The statement adds.

http://www.khaama.com/soldier-martyred-21-militants-killed-in-fresh-military-operations-3331

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5 civilians killed, 3 wounded in landmine explosion in Kandahar

May 12 2015

FiKandaharve civilians have been killed and three others wounded in a landmine explosion in southern Kandahar.

Officials say the explosion took place in a border area between Arghastan and Marouf Districts around 10:00 AM this morning.

Civilians suffered casualties after the vehicle they were traveling in ran over a landmine.

The explosion left five people killed and three others including a woman wounded.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion.

This comes as United Nations has sought all sides involved in the ongoing war in Afghanistan to refrain from acts harming civilians.

There was eight percent increase in civilians casualties in Afghanistan in the first quarter of current year compared to the first quarter of 2014.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were identified as the second major cause behind the increase in a report issued by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in April.

http://www.khaama.com/breaking-news-5-civilians-killed-3-wounded-in-landmine-explosion-in-kandahar-3334

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'Is Bangladesh Going To Be The Next Pakistan Or Afghanistan?'

May 12 2015

"No one from the Bangladesh government has reached out to me"

On a recent evening in a Midwestern US city, a middle-aged woman with bandaged arms and a missing thumb entered a crowded restaurant. Nearby, children coloured with crayons. Waiters rushed by.

The maimed woman, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, scanned the room nervously. The Atlanta financial executive has been hiding since Islamic militants wielding machetes attacked her on February 26 in her native Bangladesh.

During the assault, her husband – the Bangladeshi-American secular activist and blogger Avijit Roy – was hacked to death. Bonya sustained four head wounds, and her left thumb was sliced off. On May 3, the Indian-born head of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for a string attacks in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including Roy's.

The murder of Roy, an atheist who published a popular and provocative blog, marks an escalation by Islamist militants for control of Bangladesh. Religious fundamentalists are competing daily with secular government officials for power in the majority-Muslim country, one of the world’s largest and poorest democracies.

In her first extensive interview since the attack, Bonya criticised the Bangladeshi government for not responding more aggressively to her husband’s slaying.

“This was well planned, choreographed – a global act of terrorism,” she said. “But what almost bothers me more is that no one from the Bangladesh government has reached out to me. It’s as if I don’t exist, and they are afraid of the extremists. Is Bangladesh going to be the next Pakistan or Afghanistan?”

'Walking a fine line'

In an interview, Sajeeb Wazed, the son of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said his mother offered private condolences to Roy’s father. But the political situation in Bangladesh is too volatile for her to comment publicly, he said. Roy was an avowed atheist; the book he was promoting when he was killed is titled “The Virus of Faith.”

“We are walking a fine line here,” said Wazed, an informal consultant for the ruling party, the Awami League. “We don’t want to be seen as atheists. It doesn’t change our core beliefs. We believe in secularism,” he said. “But given that our opposition party plays that religion card against us relentlessly, we can’t come out strongly for him. It’s about perception, not about reality.”

A spokesman at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington said he did not know why no one from his government had yet to contact Bonya, who, like her late husband, is a dual Bangladeshi-US citizen.

“We are shocked at the killing of Avijit Roy and have taken all measures to find the culprits responsible for this heinous act,” said spokesman Shamim Ahmad. “Bangladesh is committed to fighting and ending extremism in all its forms.”

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation deployed agents to Dhaka and is working with Bangladeshi authorities, an FBI spokeswoman said. Agents met most recently with Bonya in the United States on Friday, Bonya said.

Wazed said Roy’s death came during a three-month period when 160 people died in bus bombings in Dhaka, and shortly before explosions near the prime minister’s motorcade. Wazed blamed political opponents who, he said, seek to destabilise his mother’s government.

“To us, Avijit Roy is no different than the 160 others that have been killed,” he said. “We want to bring all the killers to justice. I understand why [his wife] is upset. My mother has been targeted by these same fundamentalists."

Free thinker

Well known in his native Bangladesh, Roy was largely anonymous in his suburban Atlanta neighbourhood, where the couple lived since 2006.

By day, he worked as a Verizon software engineer. At night, he was a prolific writer, emerging as a leading critic of religious extremism in Bangladesh.

Roy, 43, wrote eight books and moderated a blog called Mukto-Mona (Free Thinker). To some, he was a provocative atheist, but his blog also reflected a strong belief in the value of civil debate, said his stepdaughter, Trisha Ahmed, 18.

“My dad was building a community of secularists who thought rationally,” she said. “He wanted to start a conversation and see where it would go."

Roy was a young child during the formative years that followed Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The war had roots in colonialism and religion. Although Pakistan and Bangladesh shared neither a border nor common language, they had been joined as one in 1947, as the British departed the subcontinent. The demarcation was largely based on one factor: most who lived in Pakistan and Bangladesh were Muslim.

Bangladesh was founded as a secular country, but US and Bangladesh officials said the Islamic fundamentalist influence began to increase in the 1990s as wealthy Arabs began building hundreds of religious schools. The same officials say militant influence also increased as waves of Bangladeshis who had moved to the Persian Gulf as labourers returned home with stricter Muslim views.

Roy’s activism began around 2000, after he moved to Singapore for graduate school. He moderated a Yahoo email group and the blog followed, said Bangladeshi-British activist Rayan Rashid.

“It was a pioneering group, quite popular, long before Facebook and Twitter,” said Rashid. “He was patient, witty, elegant and mature in dealing with dissidents. His goal was to win them over.”

A threat

In 2002, while in Singapore, Roy noticed a blog post from a US woman who wrote of religion, “I don’t understand how people can believe in fairy tales.” It was Rafida Ahmed, who would become his wife.

“A lot of people attacked me online for that post,” she recalled. “I was a tech manager in Atlanta at the time, a single mom. I was intimidated and didn’t respond. The next day, someone named Avijit Roy is defending me.”

They dated long distance for years, and he reluctantly moved from Singapore to Atlanta in 2006: Bonya would not leave the United States until her daughter completed high school. Roy held a doctorate in biomedical research, but found it easier to get a lucrative job and a US visa as a software architect, his wife said.

After Trisha Ahmed was in college, the couple, by then married and US citizens, decided to visit Dhaka. The two departed in mid-February.

“We knew that anything can happen in a country like that, and we took precautions,” Bonya said. “There was only one threat against him but we didn’t take it seriously. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gone.”

Final days

Roy was a star attraction at the book fair. On a tranquil morning before his murder, he outlined a book he planned to write with Bonya, and took her on a rickshaw tour of his childhood neighbourhood. He exchanged Facebook messages with his stepdaughter, sharing in her excitement at attending a US college lecture by the feminist Gloria Steinem.

“We were really, really happy,” said Bonya, who had edited her husband’s books in Atlanta, but had not seen his influence first-hand in Bangladesh. “He had finally gotten to show me – in Bangladesh – how and why his work was so important.”

Violence against secularists continues. On March 30, a Roy supporter, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in Dhaka by religious extremists.

After Roy’s murder, a Dhaka man who had posted online threats was detained but not charged. Dhaka police have said they believe the Roy and Rahman murders were committed by the militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team.

“This looks much scarier than we originally thought,” Bonya said.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2015/may/11/bonya-bangladesh-going-be-next-pakistan-or-afghanistan#sthash.8Vzfa3Ky.dpuf

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Up to 6,000 Rohingya, Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea

May 12, 2015

Hundreds of migrants abandoned at sea by smugglers in Southeast Asia have reached land and relative safety in the past two days. But an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar remain trapped in crowded, wooden boats, migrant officials and activists said. With food and clean water running low, some could be in grave danger.

One vessel that reached Indonesian waters early Monday, was stopped by the Navy and given food, water and directions to Malaysia.

Worried that boats will start washing to shore with dead bodies, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the United States and several other foreign governments and international organizations have held emergency meetings, but participants say there are no immediate plans to search for vessels in the busy Malacca Strait.

One of the concerns is what to do with the Rohingya if a rescue is launched. The minority group is denied citizenship in Myanmar, and other countries have long worried that opening their doors to a few would result in an unstemmable flow of poor, uneducated migrants.

“These are people in desperate straits,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch in Bangkok, calling on governments to band together to help those still stranded at sea, some for two months or longer. “Time is not on their side.”

The Rohingya, who are Muslim, have for decades suffered from state-sanctioned discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which considers them illegal settlers from Bangladesh even though their families have lived there for generations.

Attacks on members of the religious minority, numbering at around 1.3 million, have in the past three years left up to 280 people dead and forced 140,000 others from their homes. They now live under apartheid-like conditions in crowded camps just outside the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, where they have little access to school or adequate health care.

The conditions at home — and lack of job opportunities — have sparked one of the biggest exoduses of boat people since the Vietnam War.

Chris Lewa, director of the non-profit Arakan Project, which has been monitoring boat departures and arrivals for more than a decade, estimates more than 100,000 men, women and children have boarded ships since mid-2012.

Most are trying to reach Malaysia, but recent regional crackdowns on human trafficking networks have sent brokers and agents into hiding, making it impossible for migrants to disembark — in some cases even after family members have paid $2,000 or more for their release, she said.

Lewa believes up to 6,000 Rohingya and Bangaldeshis are still on small and large boats in the Malacca Strait and nearby international waters.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/asia/up-to-6000-rohingya-bangladeshi-migrants-stranded-at-sea/

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Arab World

 

ISIS publishes manual on ‘How to Survive in the West’

11 May 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has published a manual entitled “How to Survive in the West” which advises its followers to use the website of British advocacy agency Cage for tips regarding surveillance, raids and interrogations.

The advocacy group has come under scrutiny in recent months, and is accused of being apologetic for terrorism and ISIS after the group’s leader Asim Qureshi called “Jihadi John,” who was filmed beheading American journalists, a “beautiful young man.”

The organization made media headlines when the identity of “Jihadi John” was revealed in February as Mohammed Emwazi. The group appeared to defend him, claiming that he had been harassed by international security services prior to his travels to Syria.

For its part, Cage has described itself as “an independent organization working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror” and has spoken out against the UK’s anti-terrorism laws.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/05/11/ISIS-publishes-manual-on-How-to-Survive-in-the-West-.html

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40 Takfiri Terrorists Dead as Syrian Troops Make Gains in Jisr Al-Shughur

May 12 2015

At least 40 terrorists have been killed in heavy fighting between the Syrian army and the Takfiri groups in the Northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur, Idlib, a source said.

A senior Syrian military official, preferring to remain anonymous, said on Tuesday that the Takfiri terrorists suffered major losses in Jisr al-Shughur as the army troops clashed with the militants in a hospital complex.

The source added that also a number of Syrian soldiers lost their lives during the clashes.

The latest developments came after the Syrian army lunched a major offensive to free some 250 besieged soldiers and their families in the complex.  

On May 10, the terrorists started a fresh assault on the National Hospital, following two bomb attacks which destroyed the hospital’s right wing.

During the assault, the militants entered one of the hospitals buildings but were forced to retreat after the military carried out 22 airstrikes around the complex.

The Syrian Army has defended its country against insurgents since 2011 when a huge number of foreign terrorists flocked to the Middle-Eastern country.

In spite of certain western states' military and financial supports for the militants, the Syrian troops have been able to push them back from many areas across the country.

Military estimates show the fall of militancy in Syria is not far.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940222000833

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Al-Nusra Front Asks for ISIL Help to Survive in Qalamoun Fight

May 12 2015

The Al-Nusra Front has demanded ISIL leaders to help the terrorist group stand against the joint operations of the Syrian army and Hezbollah forces in the Southern region of al-Qalamoun, sources close to the ISIL said on Monday.

Saer al-Qalamouni was quoted by the Lebanese al-Safir newspaper as saying that the al-Nusra terrorist group attempted to join the war in Qalamoun under the name of Jaish al-Fath so that it will not bear the responsibility for any possible defeat against Hezbollah and the Syrian forces.

He said there are many proofs to show that the al-Nusra Front has urged certain ISIL leaders and commanders in Qalamoun to help the al-Nusra in the war against the Syrian army and Hezbollah.

Qalamouni who claimed to be a media activist close to the ISIL said that there are two documents proving that Abu Malik al-Teli, the al-Nusra ringleader in Qalamoun, has requested ISIL to rush to his aid in the clashes with Hezbollah and Syrian forces' attacks in the Hills of Asal al-Ward.

He said that the ISIL terrorists have already withdrawn from Asal al-Ward but are still being equipped militarily.

The Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters in a series of operations which started near the al-Qalamoun mountainous region near the Lebanese border regained control of many strategic areas, including Assal al-Ward, on Sunday.

Tens of Takfiri terrorists, specially members of the Al-Nusra Front, were killed in heavy clashes with Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters.

The Syrian army also destroyed tens of vehicles of the Al-Nusra Front in the clashes.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940221001224

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Iraqi Army Flushes out ISIL Terrorists from Strategic Areas in Hamrin

May 12 2015

The Iraqi army, backed by volunteer fighters, has succeeded in flushing out ISIL terrorists from various areas in the Hamrin Mountains in the Eastern province of Diyala, a military source said.

A senior Iraqi military official, preferring anonymity, said that the Iraqi troops managed to liberate several strategic areas from the control of the ISIL after killing large groups of them.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940222000595

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Kurdish Peshmerga general among four killed in Iraq blast

12 May 2015

A roadside bomb blast killed a Kurdish Peshmerga major general and three of his bodyguards in Iraq's Daquq region on Tuesday, senior officers said.

The device exploded as Major General Salah Dilmani was touring the Peshmerga front against the Islamic State group south of the city of Kirkuk, Lieutenant Colonel Ismail Hamid said.

The explosion "led to his martyrdom and that of three of his bodyguards", peshmerga Colonel Burhan Sheikha said, adding that the blast also wounded five people.

The attack took place in Atshana village near Daquq, about 200 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The peshmerga forces of Iraq's autonomous northern region of Kurdistan have been battling ISIS jihadists on several fronts, from Iraq's northwestern borders with Syria to areas just northeast of Baghdad, near the border with Iran.

Sheikha said Dilmani was the commander of the Peshmerga 118th brigade.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/Kurdish-Peshmerga-general-among-four-killed-in-Iraq-blast-.html

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5 million Syrians at risk from explosive weapons: NGO

May 12 2015

The lives of more than five million Syrians, including two million children, are at risk from explosive weapons used in the conflict, a non-governmental organisation said on May 12.

Handicap International warned that explosive weapons were being widely used in heavily populated areas in violation of international law, and that unexploded ordnance posed a long-term threat.

"In total, 5.1 million people -- including two million children -- are living in areas highly affected by the use of explosive weapons, creating an immediate and long-term threat to their lives," the NGO said.

It said use of the weapons by all parties to the conflict was having "dreadful consequences for civilians."     

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/5-million-syrians-at-risk-from-explosive-weapons-ngo-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=82290&NewsCatID=352

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Lebanon Calls For Halt to Israeli Violations

May 12 2015

The Lebanese army urged a halt to the Israeli violations of Lebanon's sovereignty, and demanded the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The call was made during a Monday meeting of military officials from Lebanon, Israel and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the Southern Lebanese city of Naqoura about the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.

"The Lebanese delegation presented (a list of) Israeli violations by air, ground, and sea, demanding (that) they halt immediately," the Lebanese Army said in a statement.

Brigadier General Mohammad Janbeh, who headed the Lebanese delegation, also demanded the full implementation of the UN resolution.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940222000735

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Mideast

 

Yemen’s Health Ministry: 19 Dead in Saudi Airstrikes in Sana’a

May 12 2015

Saudi aerial bombardments have claimed the lives of more than 19 people in the capital city of Yemen, Yemen's Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.

According to a report by the ministry, the Saudi jets targted residential areas in different areas across Sana'a on Tuesday, leaving at least 19 people dead and 109 others injured.

One of the areas which was heavily pounded by the kingdom's attacks was Nahzah neighborhood.

Late on Monday, the Saudi fighter jets targeted an arms depot in al-Naqam region on the Eastern outskirts of the capital, leaving more than 15 civilians dead and 200 others wounded in neighboring areas.

A thick smoke from the massive raids blanketed the Sana'a skies and the strikes left the capital's streets littered with debris.

In a bid to facilitate aid deliveries to the improvised country, Yemen's Ansarullah and army accepted on Sunday a five-day humanitarian ceasefire proposed by Saudi Arabia.

“Following mediation from friendly countries to establish a humanitarian truce... we announce our agreement,” said Colonel Sharaf Luqman, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces.

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940222000604

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Turkey says training of Syrian rebels delayed

12 May 2015

Turkey’s foreign minister says the start of a joint Turkish-U.S. program to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group has been delayed.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview on Turkish state television Monday that the program has been pushed back due to technical reasons and not because of any disagreement with the United States. He did not say when the program would start.

Turkey and the U.S. reached a deal on training and arming the rebels in February after several months of negotiations. Turkish officials had previously said training would begin in March but later pushed the start date to May.

The U.S. Defense Department has said it is aiming to train 5,000 Syrians a year for three years in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/Turkey-says-training-arming-of-Syrian-rebels-delayed.html

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Israeli general sees common interests with Hamas

12 May 2015

Israel and Hamas share common interests, and the Palestinian Islamists must stay in power in the Gaza Strip to prevent the enclave descending into chaos, an Israeli general was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Major-General Sami Turgeman's remarks, reported in the top-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, cast Hamas in a more pragmatic light than comments about the group usually made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war last July and August, and Netanyahu has likened the group to ISIS insurgents sweeping Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

But speaking to the heads of Israeli villages on the Gaza periphery, Turgeman said Hamas seeks stability and "does not want global jihad" -- an umbrella term Israel uses for Islamic State, al Qaeda and their off-shoots.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/Israeli-general-sees-common-interests-with-Hamas.html

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Despite leading war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia mostly untouched

 May 12, 2015

If not for the huge propaganda posters and the state media, you would never know this was a country at war, in much the same way that life in the United States sometimes seemed distant from the conflict in Iraq.

Khatim Umm Salem’s quiet, secure life betrays no signs of the war taking place just a few miles away. In the mornings, the elderly woman sits in front of a fan outside her tiny shop in the old market of Najran. In the evenings, she listens to the Quran on the radio. She sleeps with the door unlocked, since all her neighbours know her.

When asked about the war, she shrugs and makes a prayer. As a widow, she receives free health care and the little she needs, 1,000 Saudi riyals or $267, from the government each month.

“Sometimes I make a profit, sometimes I don’t,” says the Saudi villager, who does not know how old she is.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/despite-leading-war-in-yemen-saudi-arabia-mostly-untouched/article7197147.ece

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Yemen humanitarian ceasefire to begin

12 May 2015

Saudi Arabia’s proposed five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen is due to start later on Tuesday after more than six weeks of airstrikes in the Arab country.

The truce, which was first announced during a mutual press conference between the Saudi foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State, is expected to begin at 11.00 p.m.

"We have made a decision that the ceasefire will begin this Tuesday, May 12, at 11.00 p.m (2000 GMT) and will last for five days subject to renewal if it works out," Saudi’s Adel al-Jubair said last during the conference.

Jubair said the proposed five-day humanitarian truce depends on the Houthis respecting the ceasefire.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/Riyadh-s-truce-in-Yemen-to-begin-for-five-days-.html

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Yemen Houthi rebels say they shot down Morrocan warplane

May 12, 2015

Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels said  that they shot down a warplane of the Saudi-led coalition, shortly after Morocco said one of its fighter jets had gone missing on a sortie.

"The air defence of the tribes shot down a warplane over Wadi Nushur, in Saada," the rebels' northern stronghold, Houthi news channel Al-Masirah said, broadcasting images of tribesmen celebrating around the wreckage of a plane.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/129954/World/Region/Yemen-Houthi-rebels-say-they-shot-down-Morrocan-wa.aspx

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Pakistan

 

Armed clashes leave six dead, 11 injured in Shikarpur, Kandhkot

May 12 2015

SHIKARPUR: At least six people were killed and 11 others injured in armed clashes in Shikarpur and Kandhkot areas on Tuesday.

According to police, an armed clash took place between two groups over a land dispute in Shikarpur in which six people were killed and two others sustained injuries. The exchange of fire was underway till the filing of this report.

Similarly, two more groups locked horns over a land dispute in Abdur Rehman Donki area of Kandhkot, injuring nine people. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Identities of the deceased and the injured were yet to be known.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-184490-Armed-clashes-leave-six-dead,-11-injured-in-Shikarpur,-Kandhkot

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Dir by-election: WPC condemns denial of women right to vote

May 12 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) has taken a serious notice of women being barred from voting in several areas of the Lower Dir PK-95 constituency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) during the recently held by-election.

MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik, the WPC Secretary, has condemned the denial of women’s right to vote during the election where the two major candidates belonged to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami National Party (ANP).

While quoting the example of the 2011 by-election in the Kohistan-I (PF-61) constituency, she said a similar act was committed by the candidates in connivance with the local Jirga for denying the women’s right to vote. She condemned the manipulative approach of the political parties as well as their candidates to their own advantage to stop women from voting to in the name of religion and culture.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/12-May-2015/dir-by-election-wpc-condemns-denial-of-women-right-to-vote

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K-P supporters conduct sit-in outside Parliament House

May 12 2015

Security arrangements were made prior to the arrival of the supporters and many of the routes around the Parliament House were cordoned off.

“We are united in fighting for our rights,” Khattak said while addressing media.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam decided not to take part in the provincial government’s demonstration in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/885011/k-p-supporters-conduct-sit-in-outside-parliament-house/

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PM recommends Sitara-e-Pakistan for diplomats killed in Gilgit crash

May 12 2015

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recommended on Monday to hand over civil gallantry award, Sitar-e-Pakistan for the diplomats killed in the recent Gilgit crash, Express News reported.

Addressing a condolence ceremony in the wake of the Mi-17 helicopter crash in Naltar Valley of Gilgit, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan has lost many of its great friends in the tragic incident.

“I have conveyed to them my profound condolences to them…Express my deep sense of grief,” he said.

Norwegian envoy Leif H Larsen, Philippines ambassador Domingo D Lucenario Jr, wives of Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and two pilots were killed in the incident while Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish and Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink sustained injuries.

“No words can express the deep anguish and distress Pakistan feels after the incident,” the prime minister said.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/884523/pm-recommends-sitara-e-pakistan-for-envoys-killed-in-gilgit-crash/

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Govt preparing to rig PP-196 by-polls: Qureshi

May 12 2015

MULTAN: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has changed the venue for a meeting after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) barred national assembly and provincial assembly members from addressing public gatherings within the jurisdiction of PP-196.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a press conference that he had met with ECP official Israr Ahmed Khan over the issue.

He said the PTI had originally planned an election meeting in Qasimpur on May 15 but following ECP’s directives, the meeting had been moved to Multan Railway ground. Qureshi said the government was misusing public resources to influence the polls in favour of its preferred candidate.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/884789/govt-preparing-to-rig-pp-196-by-polls-qureshi/

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Africa

 

Dozens killed in tribal clashes in Sudan’s east Darfur: MP

12 May 2015

Dozens of people were killed in clashes between two Arab tribes in Sudan’s troubled East Darfur state, a politician told AFP.

Fighting broke out between the Rezeigat and Maaliya groups around the Abu Karinka area of East Darfur state, the latest in a series of bloody ethnic and tribal conflicts in the region.

“The Rezeigat killed 60 people in their attack on the Maaliya and when the Rezeigat departed they left behind them 36 dead bodies and a number of wounded who have not been counted yet,” said Hamdan Tirab, a member of the state’s parliament for Abu Karinka, said by telephone.

Access to Darfur is strictly limited, so it is not possible to independently verify the toll.

Fighting “started at around 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and continued until dusk, and heavy weapons and government vehicles were used,” Tirab said.

A Rezeigat leader said on condition of anonymity: “We lost 40 of our men in the fighting that took place in the Abu Karinka area today, but I do not know how many were killed from the other side”.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/05/12/Dozens-killed-in-tribal-clashes-in-Sudan-s-east-Darfur-MP.html

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Nigeria: Buhari, Chadian Leader Mull Plan to Tackle Boko Haram

May 12, 2015

Abuja — The President-Elect General Muhammadu Buhari and the visiting Chadian President, Idris Derby on Monday held discussions on how both countries will collaborate to find lasting solution to the security threat posed by Boko Haram.

Buhari who met with Derby for about 40 minutes behind closed doors at his temporary office in the Defence House, Abuja, told Journalists said the discussions centred around concerns over cross border insurgency activities and the damaging impact on the infrastructure and business life of the people.

He said both leaders agreed that as soon the administration come into being, a comprehensive review of the security situation will carried out with to taking new measures to restore regional stability.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201505120135.html

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Girls raped, boys forced to become soldiers in Sudan conflict

May 12 2015

Gunmen in South Sudan have raped girls, seized boys to become soldiers and torched towns in some of the heaviest fighting seen in the 17-month-long civil war, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Over 300,000 civilians have been left without "life-saving aid" in the northern battleground state of Unity, after the UN and aid agencies pulled out due to a surge in fighting, with over 100,000 forced to flee their homes.

The UN peacekeeping mission said it was "increasingly concerned" about reports from Guit and Koch counties in Unity state of "towns and villages being burned, killings, abductions of males as young as 10 years of age, rape and abduction of girls and women, and the forced displacement of civilians".

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/girls-raped-boys-forced-to-become-soldiers-in-sudan-conflict#sthash.AToV0nDE.dpuf

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Rebels kill eight Malian soldiers: Humanitarian, security sources

May 12, 2015

Eight Malian soldiers were killed in the country's restive desert in an ambush by fighters from the west African nation's main Tuareg-led rebel alliance, humanitarian and security sources said.

The attack comes against the backdrop of an upsurge in violence in northern Mali which United Nations peacekeepers have warned is threatening a peace accord between the rebels and government due to be signed on Friday in Bamako.

"During an ambush of the Malian army by the rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) between Timbuktu and Goundam on Monday morning, eight Malian soldiers were killed and several wounded," an official from a charity in the area said.

The source said two Malian army vehicles had also been set on fire while the rebels lost one of their vehicles.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/129999/World/International/Rebels-kill-eight-Malian-soldiers-Humanitarian,-se.aspx

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Wary of chaos in Libya and Mali, Algeria targets southern smuggling

11 May 2015

Fearing armed chaos in neighboring Libya and renewed conflict in Mali, Algeria’s army is shifting focus from fighting Islamist militants at home to the Sahel border smuggling that feeds them in the region.

Since last month, the Algerian military says it has arrested more than 650 suspected smugglers on its borders with Libya, Mali and Niger in a campaign to tighten the largely desolate and trackless desert frontiers with the Sahel to its south.

“Algeria’s army is aware that fighting terrorism in the Sahel is useless if you do not include fighting smugglers,” security analyst and writer Anis Rahmani said.

Algeria, a major OPEC oil and gas exporter, managed to neutralize an Islamist insurgency only at the cost of thousands of lives in the 1990s and became a seasoned U.S. ally in the fight against Sahel armed factions.

Militant attacks in Algeria are now rare compared with a decade or more ago, but authorities appear to be taking extra precautions against spillover from the worsening disorder in adjacent countries.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/analysis/2015/05/11/Wary-of-chaos-in-Libya-and-Mali-Algeria-targets-southern-smuggling.html

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Europe

 

Turkey and Saudi Arabia shock Western countries by supporting anti-Assad jihadists

 May 12, 2015

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments.

The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Isis which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.

The decision by the two leading allies of the West to back a group in which al-Nusra plays a leading role has alarmed Western governments and is at odds with the US, which is firmly opposed to arming and funding jihadist extremists in Syria’s long-running civil war.

It threatens to trump Washington’s own attempt to train pro-Western opposition fighters, announced by President Barack Obama a year ago but finally launched only last week. The number of fighters involved is small and, crucially, the State Department insists that they would take the field against Isis and not against the regime.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-crisis-turkey-and-saudi-arabia-shock-western-countries-by-supporting-antiassad-jihadists-10242747.html

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Promote Moderation At Home Before Preaching It Globally: UK Envoy To Malaysia

May 12 2015

Malaysia must promote moderation at home before preaching it on the international stage, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell told a forum last night.

"Moderation is a global agenda. Each of us has to look at how we manage moderation at home. How can we preach moderation in the global stage if we don't practice it at home?"

The Ipoh-born Treadell, who arrived in Malaysia as the British high Commissioner in October last year, said the nation will be under greater scrutiny internationally as it was elected as a non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), among other accolades.

"International rhetoric must be matched by what happens at home in terms of tolerance and moderation," she said in her opening address at The Great Debate: Everything in Moderation held in Kuala Lumpur.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/promote-moderation-at-home-before-preaching-it-globally-says-uk-envoy#sthash.qK2YW34A.dpuf

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Western nations back Libyan ‘national unity’

12 May 2015

The United States and five European nations reaffirmed their commitment to Libyan "territorial integrity and national unity" Monday, as the North African nation works toward a unity government to emerge from chaos.

"We reiterate that Libya's challenges can only be addressed by a government that can effectively oversee and protect Libya's independent institutions," Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States said in a joint statement.

Libya has an elected parliament and an internationally recognized government based in the far eastern city of Tobruk, and a rival government and legislature backed by Islamists in Tripoli.

The United Nations has been brokering negotiations since January on a deal to form a national unity government.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/West-backs-Libyan-integrity-and-national-unity-.html

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Spain arrests two suspected of distributing ISIS propaganda

12 May 2015

Spanish police arrested two people on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Barcelona on suspicion of distributing Islamic State propaganda, the interior ministry said.

The two suspects used several online profiles to disburse their own material and official content from the militant group, the ministry said in a statement, giving no further details.

Spain has arrested more than 40 people for suspected militant-related activity this year and is working to prevent radicalized young Muslims joining armed groups in Syria or Iraq or attacking targets at home.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/05/12/Spain-arrests-two-suspected-of-distributing-Islamic-State-propaganda.html

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Mideast nuclear weapons ban proposal stumbles

2 May 2015

A U.N. attempt to work out a ban on nuclear weapons in the Middle East was in jeopardy after Egypt complained on Monday about the lack of progress and demanded the resignation of the Finnish coordinator of the initiative.

Western officials said Arab proposals drafted by Egypt for a major nuclear non-proliferation conference at United Nations headquarters in New York could torpedo the process and push Israel to walk away.

Israel neither confirms nor denies the widespread assumption that it controls the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Israel, which has never joined the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), agreed to take part in NPT meetings Monday as an observer, ending a 20-year absence.

The head of Egypt’s delegation, Assistant Foreign Minister Hashim Badr, rejected any suggestion that Cairo was a spoiler and insisted that he wanted to move the process forward, not kill it.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/Mideast-nuclear-weapons-ban-proposal-stumbles-at-U-N-.html

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French Muslim student of Algerian descent returns to school in characteristic outfit

 May 12, 2015

Sarah K, the 15-year-old school girl who was banned from attending classes for wearing long skirts, sparking an uproar in France and the world over, has returned to school in her characteristic outfit.

Sarah stepped into the Leo Lagrange junior-high school in northeastern France Monday, wearing a grey floral printed skirt, confident as ever that her skirt choices had nothing to do with the business of the state.

Last month, the French Muslim student of Algerian descent had been suspended from school by the headmaster, Maryse Dubois, for wearing a similar long skirt and was asked to change her outfit and then come back to school.

Full report at:

http://www.dailysabah.com/europe/2015/05/12/french-muslim-student-of-algerian-descent-returns-to-school-in-characteristic-outfit

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India

 

To reach out to Muslims, BJP Men Parrot Modi’s Message on Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti

May 12, 2015

A message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent on annual “Urs” of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in April this year is being used by leaders in BJP to reach out to Muslims. Leaders from the Weavers’ Cell of the party read out Modi’s written message to convince the minority community that neither Modi nor the BJP were anti-Muslim and regard all the communities with equality.

Modi had issued the message on April 21 and, a day later, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had presented a ‘Chaadar’ on behalf of the PM to the Dargah of the Sufi saint at Ajmer Sharif on the occasion of 803rd annual Urs. Naqvi had also read out Modi’s message.

“India has been a land of sages, saints and prophets for thousands of years. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti carried forward this tradition and gave message to all the people belonging to different religions to live with love and peace,” the message reads.

In the message, Modi had further said that Khwaja’s message of peace and harmony was relevant even today.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/to-reach-out-to-muslims-bjp-men-parrot-modis-message-on-khwaja-chisti/

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Urdu-medium schools must teach Marathi, Maharashtra revenue minister Eknath Khadse says

TNN | May 12, 2015

AURANGABAD: State revenue minister Eknath Khadse on Monday stoked a controversy, saying Urdu-medium schools not teaching Marathi on a mandatory basis would be derecognised.

"Urdu-medium schools must teach Marathi. The mother-tongue should not be considered as optional subject, but should be taught compulsorily. Schools that will not teach Marathi would face stern action," Khadse told the media after a review meeting of the Aurangabad division.

The statement has raised many an eyebrow, as stakeholders said Marathi is already being taught in Urdu-medium schools in line with a government policy framed more than two decades ago.

Former MLA Siraj Deshmukh, who is the general secretary of the state-level association of Urdu Education Society, told TOI that Khadse must have made the statement "out of poor information". He said, "As per the state rules and regulations, these schools cannot skip teaching Marathi," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Urdu-medium-schools-must-teach-Marathi-Maharashtra-revenue-minister-Eknath-Khadse-says/articleshow/47240867.cms

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Southeast Asia

 

Protect children from sexual abuse, not acquit rapists, Unicef tells Malaysia

May 12 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Child rights group Unicef today expressed “deep concern” over a Malaysian court’s decision to acquit a convicted child rapist, and reminded Malaysia of its commitment to Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Highlighting the trauma that often accompanies cases of sexual abuse involving minors, it said that due process must be applied to ensure all offenders are brought to justice.

“Children in Malaysia need, and have a right to, legal and judicial processes that clearly identify sexual acts between a child and an adult as sexual abuse by the adult, and that punishes all perpetrators of such abuse.

“Under the Child Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a girl or boy under the age of 18 is considered a child, and must be protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation,” Unicef Malaysia said in a statement.

Section 376 of the Penal Code defines statutory rape as sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16, regardless of consent.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/protect-children-from-sexual-abuse-not-acquit-rapists-unicef-tells-malaysia#sthash.XT7xrDKv.dpuf

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Anti-hysteria kit shows Muslims can’t tell supernatural from science, IKIM scientist says

May 12 2015

The anti-hysteria kit sold by a university for RM8,750 demonstrates the continued existence of animism among local Muslims who still believe the psychological phenomenon is because of “possession by evil spirits”, a local scientist has said.

In an opinion piece published by The Star, Dr Shaikh Mohd Saifuddeen Shaikh Mohd Salleh from the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia’s (IKIM) Centre for Science and Environment Studies pointed out that such belief was rooted in the paganism that predates the arrival of Islam.

“As a consequence, we find that the Malay-Muslim community could not differentiate between the animistic concept of being possessed by evil spirits and the modern psychiatric understanding of hysteria,” he wrote.

The kit sold by Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) is touted as being based on the Quran and hadith, though its makers did not elaborate how.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anti-hysteria-kit-shows-muslims-cant-tell-supernatural-from-science-ikim-sc#sthash.7bq1QLYi.dpuf

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At Least Six Suspects Arrested in Benjina Human Trafficking Case

May 12 2015

Jakarta. At least six suspects have been arrested for their alleged involvement in human trafficking and slavery at a foreign-owned fisheries company in Benjina, Maluku.

Adj. Sr. Comr. Arie Dharmanto, head of the human trafficking unit at the National Police’s criminal investigation bureau, said on Tuesday that four Thai nationals and two Indonesians had been arrested between last Friday and Monday in connection to the Benjina case, as reported by news portal CNNIndonesia.com.

Arie said police had detained the four at the Pusaka Benjina Resources (PBR) office in Maluku without resistance.

Full report at:

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/at-least-six-suspects-arrested-in-benjina-human-trafficking-case/

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North America

 

Pakistani generals 'sold' bin Laden to US: Report

May 12, 2015

WASHINGTON: Senior Pakistani army generals and top ISI honchos purportedly hosted Osama bin Laden in an Abbottabad hideout since 2006 before selling him out to the US in 2011 after a Pakistani intelligence officer betrayed him for the $25 million bounty, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed.

In a 10,000-word piece in the London Review of Books, Hersh, famed for his exposes on US excesses during the Vietnam War and after, also alleges that the US raid on Abbottabad was pretty much a cakewalk after Pakistan's then top generals, Army chief Pervez Ashfaq Kayani and ISI head Ahmad Shuja Pasha, cooperated with the Americans under both threats and inducements, including personal blandishments.

President Obama, Hersh suggests, milked the episode for domestic political gains, including a second term re-election, after reneging on US promises to Pakistan about when and how the raid would be revealed to the world.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-generals-sold-bin-Laden-to-US-Report/articleshow/47240216.cms

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Canada: Free Speech for Offending Muslims Not Opposing Israel

May 12 2015

The Harper government is intent on using hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel, media reports said.

Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions, The Intercept reported.

If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic and another measure of the Conservative government’s lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The government’s intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a “zero tolerance” approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), which was begun in 2006 at the request of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.

Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada’s updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws “anywhere in the world.”

Full report at:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940222000985

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U.S. Senate calls on Iran to release detained Americans

12 May 2015

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution Monday calling for Iran to release three American citizens being held in the country, Agence France Presse reported.

The non-binding measure, which passed 90 votes to zero, urges the White House to use all tools available to seek and obtain the return of the detained Americans.

The detainees include pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.

A fourth American, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, remains missing after mysteriously vanishing in Iran some eight years ago.

President Barack Obama had pressed Tehran in March for the return of the four Americans.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hoped the resolution would send a strong message to leaders in Tehran.

He spoke particularly about Abedini, who has been jailed for more than two years for the “supposed crime of building and operating an orphanage,” adding that he has been beaten and held in solitary confinement.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/12/U-S-senate-calls-on-Iran-to-release-detained-Americans-.html

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US, Saudi Arabia play down rift

May 12, 2015

The White House and Saudi Arabia scrambled to quell talk of a diplomatic rift Monday, after King Salman pulled out of a summit with President Barack Obama at the eleventh hour.

Senior US and Saudi officials appeared in public to insist the Gulf royal's decision was not a snub nor part of a deeper crisis in never-easy ties that date back decades.

Obama had invited six Gulf leaders to the presidential retreat, amid suspicions that Washington is no longer committed to their security and is not doing enough to stop Iran's destabilizing actions across the region.

Only two leaders, from Qatar and Kuwait, are now slated to attend.

The US president has warned the deeply conservative monarchies that they must reform, and has launched nuclear talks with their arch-foe Iran.

With just days before Wednesday's meeting at the White House and Thursday's gathering at Camp David, Riyadh said it would instead send Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and the king's influential son Mohammed bin Salman.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/130008/World/Region/US,-Saudi-Arabia-play-down-rift.aspx

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US supporter of Islamic State gets 4-1/2 years in prison

May 12, 2015

A Virginia woman was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for lying to US investigators about using social media to promote and recruit for the militant Islamic State group.

Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29, of Glen Allen, Virginia, pleaded guilty to the charge in January.

She admitted that between approximately June and November last year she used several Facebook accounts to promote the group and claimed to have Islamic State contacts in Syria.

During that time she was in a relationship with an unidentified foreign national outside the United States, whom she tried to help travel to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

They communicated almost daily on Facebook until he backed out of the trip after their relationship ended in September.

Coffman listed "jihad for Allah's sake" under her "work and education" on Facebook, according to the FBI, and was in contact online with individuals she believed were ISIS facilitators in Syria.

An FBI undercover agent posing as an Islamic State sympathizer began meeting with Coffman last July.

When she was questioned by federal investigators in November 2014, she lied about her relationship with the foreign national and her activities in support of the militant group.

A lawyer for Coffman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/129983/World/International/US-supporter-of-Islamic-State-gets--years-in-priso.aspx

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/third-secular-blogger,-ananta-bijoy-das,-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh/d/102918

 

 

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