New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 04:34 AM

Islamic World News ( 10 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Tsunami slams into Japan after massive earthquake, hundreds dead

Gen Kayani lauds role of PAF in war on terror

Anti-communist, anti-Ahmadiyah

Jordanian boy’s death spirals into political controversy

White House: Muslims are part of solution

Gaddafi forces ‘recapture’ Zawiyah

France recognizes Libyan opposition group, Russia cuts arms sales to Qaddafi

Libya’s oil production near complete halt: Eni

Gaddafi forces enter key oil port

US military ready for no-fly zone in Libya

NATO launches 24-hour surveillance of Libyan air space

GCC blasts Qaddafi govt as ‘illegitimate’

BBC team blindfolded and beaten by Gaddafi forces

Tension reigns as Karachi braces itself for strike

Walking away from Pakistan to have dire results: Clinton

India, Pak test fire nuclear-capable missiles

Trial on for Indonesia's firebrand Islamic cleric

EU extends sanctions on Gadhafi's Libya regime

Jaish commander, aide killed

Full-scale attacks launched in Libya

Russian warning on Libya

Hillary to visit Egypt

Islamic radicalisation hearing in US stokes tempers

Gaddafi threatens offensive, ignores diplomatic moves

Libya rebels retreat east, say fight in Ras Lanouf

No threat seen to stability of Kingdom

Al-Haramain charity awaiting appeal verdict in US court

Saudi oil customers seek steady supply

UN accuses Israel of kidnapping Palestinian

US lawmaker urges Muslims to combat radicalization

Moroccan king says constitution to be revised

Saleh offers news concessions, protests continue

GCC foreign ministers pledge SR75 billion aid to Oman and Bahrain

Justice for Niyamat Ansari

Saudi soldier airlifted to Riyadh

‘Dubai has recovered from downturn’

Russia protects EU from most Arab gas cuts

Saudi Arabia ‘has enough gas for petchem projects’

Pakistan requests increased Haj quota

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/tsunami-slams-into-japan-after-massive-earthquake,-hundreds-dead/d/4269

 

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Tsunami slams into Japan after massive earthquake, hundreds dead

AP: Friday, 11 March 2011

A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed into Japan's eastern coast today, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people. Widespread fires burned out of control.

Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii and warnings blanketed the Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire US West Coast.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the north-eastern coastal city of Sendai. Another 88 were confirmed killed and at least 349 were missing. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of the disaster.

The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23ft (7m) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter.

"The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

The government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in Onahama city to evacuate because the plant's system was unable to cool the reactor. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at any.

Japan's coast guard said it was searching for 80 dock workers working on a ship that was swept away from a shipyard in Miyagi prefecture.

Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions because of the tsunami that crashed ashore, swallowing everything in its path as it surged several miles inland before retreating. The apocalyptic images of surging water broadcast by Japanese TV networks resembled scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.

Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses or scraping under them and snapping power lines along the way. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water. Ships anchored in ports crashed against each other.

The highways to the worst-hit coastal areas were severely damaged and communications, including telephone lines, were snapped. Train services in northeastern Japan and in Tokyo, which normally serve 10 million people a day, were also suspended, leaving untold numbers stranded in stations or roaming the streets. Tokyo's Narita airport was closed indefinitely.

Jesse Johnson, a native of the US state of Nevada, who lives in Chiba, north of Tokyo, was eating at a sushi restaurant with his wife when the quake hit.

"At first it didn't feel unusual, but then it went on and on. So I got myself and my wife under the table," he told The Associated Press. "I've lived in Japan for 10 years and I've never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It's gotten to the point where I don't know whether it's me shaking or an earthquake."

Waves of muddy waters flowed over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires spread through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.

More than 300 houses were washed away in Ofunato City alone. Television footage showed mangled debris, uprooted trees, upturned cars and shattered timber littering streets.

The tsunami roared over embankments, washing anything in its path inland before reversing directions and carrying the cars, homes and other debris out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

"Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. "We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment."

He said the Defense Ministry was sending troops to the quake-hit region. A utility aircraft and several helicopters were on the way.

A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture and burned out of control with 100ft (30m) flames whipping into the sky.

From northeastern Japan's Miyagi prefecture, NHK showed footage of a large ship being swept away and ramming directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city.

NHK said more than 4 million buildings were without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.

Also in Miyagi, a fire broke out in a turbine building of a nuclear power plant, but it was later extinguished, said Tohoku Electric Power Co. the company said.

A reactor area of a nearby plant was leaking water, the company said. But it was unclear if the leak was caused by tsunami water or something else. There were no reports of radioactive leaks at any of Japan's nuclear plants.

Jefferies International Limited, a global investment banking group, said it estimated overall losses to be about $10 billion.

The US Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10km), about 80 miles (125km) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380km) northeast of Tokyo.

A tsunami warning was extended to a number of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Latin American nations, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities ordered an evacuation of coastal communities, but no unusual waves were reported.

Thousands of people fled their homes in Indonesia after officials warned of a tsunami up to 6ft (2m) high. But waves of only 4 inches (10 centimeters) were measured. No big waves came to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, either.

The first waves hit Hawaii about 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) Friday. A tsunami at least 3ft (1m) high were recorded on Oahu and Kauai, and officials warned that the waves would continue and could become larger.

In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. The tremor bent the upper tip of the iconic Tokyo Tower, a 1,093ft (333m) steel structure inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Osamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit.

It sent bookshelves and computers crashing to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls.

"I've been through many earthquakes, but I've never felt anything like this," he said. "I don't know if we'll be able to get home tonight."

Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks. It also showed a glass shelter at a bus stop in Tokyo completely smashed by the quake and a weeping woman nearby being comforted by another woman.

Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday that caused no damage.

Hiroshi Sato, a disaster management official in northern Iwate prefecture, said officials were having trouble getting an overall picture of the destruction.

"We don't even know the extent of damage. Roads were badly damaged and cut off as tsunami washed away debris, cars and many other things," he said.

Dozens of fires were reported in northern prefectures of Fukushima, Sendai, Iwate and Ibaraki. Collapsed homes and landslides were also reported in Miyagi.

Japan's worst previous quake was in 1923 in Kanto, an 8.3-magnitude temblor that killed 143,000 people, according to USGS. A 7.2-magnitude quake in Kobe city in 1996 killed 6,400 people.

Japan lies on the "Ring of Fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching around the Pacific where about 90 percent of the world's quakes occur, including the one that triggered the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 nations. A magnitude-8.8 temblor that shook central Chile last February also generated a tsunami and killed 524 people.

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Gen Kayani lauds role of PAF in war on terror

March 11, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said on Thursday that the role of Pakistan Air Force had been critical in the war on terror.

Speaking as chief guest at a re-equipment ceremony of No 5 Squadron of Pakistan Air Force held at the Shahbaz PAF Base in Jacobabad, he said: “Pakistan Army fully appreciates the high level of professionalism displayed by the PAF in all counter-terrorist operations.”

According to a press release issued by the PAF here, the army chief said: “As you know, Pakistan is at war with terrorists who have disrupted peace and stability in the region and threatened our way of life. Pakistan Armed Forces have been battling these elements since 2004.

These operations have been conducted through unprecedented close cooperation and support of the PAF.”

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said the first decade of 21 century had seen the PAF transforming into a modern and versatile force.

“Our focus has shifted from the traditional threat-based development to development based on capabilities enhancement. Our effort has been to cover the entire spectrum of air warfare to counter all internal as well as external challenges.”

The air force chief reaffirmed that the PAF would always provide effective support to the land forces in their operations both against internal and external enemies.

“With the induction of Block 52 F-16s, AEW, aerial re-fuellers and a multi-layered air defence system, the PAF now has the capability to respond to various threats being faced by nation, with efficiency and safety,” he said.

“We have a mission to maintain peace with honour in this volatile region in these uncertain times. It is PAF`s commitment to the nation that despite all odds, our resolve to defend the country shall remain unshakable. Whenever required, we will employ our assets, including these F-16s, to defend our nation and its freedom, against any aggressor, be it external or internal,” the air chief said

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/11/gen-kayani-lauds-role-of-paf-in-war-on-terror.html

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Anti-communist, anti-Ahmadiyah

11 March 2011

Anti-communist, anti-Ahmadiyah: Hundreds of parents and children under the United Muslim Alliance (GUIB) stage a protest in Surabaya on Thursday. The group protested against the minority Ahmadiyah sect and a perceived rise in communism. (JP/wahyoe Boediwardhana)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/10/anti-communist-anti-ahmadiyah.html

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Jordanian boy’s death spirals into political controversy

By ABDULLAH OMAR

Mar 11, 2011

AMMAN: The death of Tamer Al-Ajarmeh, the 12-year-old victim of a collapsed garage roof, has spiraled from a personal family tragedy into a political and legal controversy over Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel.

Islamist and other opposition groups have taken up the cause of Al-Ajarmeh, whose death they blame on Israel. Jordan’s professional associations, which represent hundreds of thousands of doctors, engineers, nurses, lawyers and others, have condemned what they described as “tame reaction” by the government. The pressure has prompted Jordanian authorities to launch a formal investigation into the death.

Few facts have been established about the case. What is known is that Al-Ajarmeh was playing with his cousin Bara somewhere on or near a tin roof covering a garage in the village of Naour, about 30 miles west of Amman late last month when the sound of a large explosion reverberated throughout the city, the Jordan Valley, and the northern part of the kingdom.

Many people assumed an earthquake hit the kingdom, but officials were quick to rule out the possibility. Local news agencies were awash with speculation over the source of the sound. Tamer’s mother said the two children were playing on top of the roof when it collapsed, while the father said they were playing under it.

Either way, Bara survived with some injuries, but Tamer succumbed to his wounds in an Amman hospital several days later. A police investigation said Al-Ajarmeh died of internal bleeding and a brain hemorrhage.

“As soon as the sound was heard, the house’s foundations shook and we heard the garage collapse. My boy was playing on the roof when it collapsed on him and his cousin, Bara,” recounted Mohammad Al-Ajarmeh, Tamer’s father and a member of an influential tribe in west Amman. “It can’t be a coincidence that the explosion occurred just before the roof collapsed.”

Government officials admit they are in the dark over the mysterious blast. Sources close to the government have said Israel detonated a 100-ton explosive late February as part of a military exercise, but they said it would be hard to link the blast to the incident.

“We don’t have any proof that Israel was behind the collapse of the house, although we are convinced it was a result of the explosion,” said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

But Tamer’s death rapidly emerged into a political cause linked to grievance over political and economic policies. Pictures of Tamer were carried by demonstrators in downtown Amman on March 4 as the opposition took a swipe at the government and the parliament over what they said was a tepid reaction to the death of a Jordanian.

“Al-Ajarmeh must be avenged. Where is justice?” read one banner raised by two young men from the boy’s hometown of Naour.

Abdullah Obeidat, president of the Jordan Engineers Association, said his group has also initiated an investigation into the impact of the explosion. Professional associations often serve as political platforms in Jordan and elsewhere in the Arab world, where political activity by parties and non-government organizations is restricted.

Last week, the prosecutor’s office for South Amman opened an investigation.

Activists have also linked the death of Al-Ajarmeh to Justice Minister Mjali’s demands to release Daqamseh, whose cause is a favorite among Islamists.

Daqamseh is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. The former Jordanian soldier opened fire on the schoolgirls while they were visiting the border territory of Baqoura, an area returned to Jordan under a 1994 peace accord but then leased back to Israel.

“This is the perfect occasion to have Daqamseh released,” said Obeidat. “After all, Israel shows lack of respect to the kingdom and the peace treaty through such provocative actions. We need to send a strong message by releasing this hero.”

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311514.ece

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White House: Muslims are part of solution

Mar 11, 2011

WASHINGTON: Ahead of a controversial Congressional hearing on radicalisation of Muslims in the United States, the White House has said the Obama administration believes that Muslims in the country are part of the solution and not a problem.

"We believe Muslim Americans are part of the solution, they are not the problem. It is through the helpful cooperation of Muslim Americans that we are able to effectively address this issue," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. However, the Obama administration, he said, supports Congressional hearings on this issue.

Representative Keith Ellison, first Muslim elected to the US Congress, broke down in tears while offering an emotional testimony in a controversial hearing on homegrown Islamic terrorism.

Democrat Ellison had been asked by Representative Peter King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, to testify despite his clear opposition to King's controversial investigation of the radicalization of American Muslims.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/White-House-Muslims-are-part-of-solution/articleshow/7676785.cms

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Gaddafi forces ‘recapture’ Zawiyah

March 11, 2011

Pro-and anti-Gaddafi forces were on Thursday locked in fierce battles in several Libyan cities amid reports that the strategic oil town of Zawiyah had been recaptured by Government troops, as France became the first State to recognise the Opposition national council which is seeking a no-fly zone over the country.

68-year-old Muammar Gaddafi’s forces claimed that they had recaptured Zawiyah, 50 km west of the capital Tripoli, after an intense fighting. However, the rebels rejected the claim.

Witnesses were quoted as saying by media reports that Zawiyah was now under the control of forces loyal to Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years.

A resident who fled the city was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera that “there was no one in the streets, the town is completely deserted, and there are snipers on the roofs.”

Local residents said the city had been under sustained attack from pro-Gaddafi forces, aided by tanks and war planes, amid reports of intense fighting in another town Ras Lanuf, where an oil installation had gone up in flames.

Al Jazeera said a steady volley of mortar and rocket fire covered the sky with dark smoke in Ras Lanuf. “Pro-Gaddafi forces unleash a savage counter-offensive against the town of Ras Lanuf.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323490/Gaddafi-forces-%E2%80%98recapture%E2%80%99-Zawiyah.html

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France recognizes Libyan opposition group, Russia cuts arms sales to Qaddafi

Mar 10, 2011

RAS LANOUF, Libya: Libya’s opposition battled for military and diplomatic advantage against Muammar Qaddafi’s regime on Thursday, winning official recognition from France and hitting government forces with heavy weapons on the road to the capital.

France became the first country to formally recognize the rebels’ newly created Interim Governing Council, saying it planned to exchange ambassadors after President Nicolas Sarkozy met with two representatives of the group based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

“It breaks the ice,” said Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman. “We expect Italy to do it, and we expect England to do it.” Germany said it froze billions in assets of the Libyan Central Bank and other state-run agencies. The US , UK, Switzerland, Austria and other countries have also frozen Qaddafi’s assets.

“The brutal suppression of the Libyan freedom movement can now no longer be financed from funds that are in German banks,” Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said.

Both sides in Libya are lobbying for support from Western countries as their leaders debate whether to protect the rebels from Qaddafi’s air force by putting a no-fly zone over some or all of the country. Britain and France have backed the rebels’ calls for a no-fly zone, but the Obama adminstration has expressed deep reservations about involvement in another conflict in the greater Middle East.

NATO said it had started round-the-clock surveillance of the air space over Libya, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a meeting of EU foreign ministers would discuss how to isolate the regime.

Russia cuts off arms to Libya

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311075.ece

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Libya’s oil production near complete halt: Eni

Mar 11, 2011

LONDON: The chief of Eni, the biggest gas exporter from Libya, said oil production across the battle-torn country is near a complete halt and that the Italian company’s output is down to little more than supplying power to Libyan households.

Libyan exports normally account for around 2 percent of world supplies, but the violent clashes between forces loyal to longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi and rebels have split the country in half and crippled its lucrative energy sector.

Paolo Scaroni told analysts in London that he nevertheless expects the production disruptions to be temporary as both sides in the fight have an interest in resuming exports.

Eni’s own production was down by two thirds, Scaroni said.

What is still running is mostly gas extraction to generate electricity, and turning that off would just create more problems for civilians, he said.

“The electricity is not for Mr. Qaddafi. It is for the Libyan people,” Scaroni said.

Eni executives are in touch with Italian officials, who are in turn consulting with the European Union. “So far, we have been encouraged to continue production,” Scaroni said.

The company has nevertheless suspended activity at offshore gas facilities as well as production at its Bu Attifel oil field due to insufficient staff.

During normal periods, Eni exports about 12 percent of its natural gas from Libya via the Greenstream pipeline, which also has been suspended.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article311642.ece

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Gaddafi forces enter key oil port

March 11, 2011

A rebel vehicle is hit by a shell fired by soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, during a battle along the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jiwad. - Source: Reuters

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have entered the oil port of Ras Lanuf in the east of the country and are fighting for control of the town, rebels have said.

Contacted by Reuters in the early hours by telephone from Brega to the east, rebel fighter Ibrahim al-Alwani said he and comrades still in Ras Lanuf had seen government troops in the town centre.

"I saw maybe 150 men and three tanks," he said. "I can hear clashes."

Mohammed al-Mughrabi, who described himself as a spokesman for the rebels but declined to give his exact location, said government troops had landed by boat near the Fadeel hotel in Ras Lanuf, where clashes were in progress.

"Four boats carrying 40 to 50 men each landed there. We are fighting them right now," he said.

A fighter in Brega, who declined to be identified, said comrades in Ras Lanuf reported government forces had entered by boat and in tanks.

Yesterday, government warplanes and gunboats bombarded rebel positions in Ras Lanuf, more than 500 km east of Gaddafi's stronghold.

Full report at:

http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/gaddafi-forces-enter-key-oil-port-4057630

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US military ready for no-fly zone in Libya

March 11, 2011

It will only take a couple of days for the US military to establish a “no-fly” zone over Libya if the international community decided in favour of such a move, a top American General said on Thursday.

Commanding General of the United States’ Joint Forces Command Raymond Odierno noted that the Libyan crisis would not be resolved quickly and could go on “for a very long time.”

“We can react very quickly to all this if we have to. We are prepared to do that. I believe within a couple days, we would probably be able to implement a no-fly zone,” Odierno said at the Harvard Kennedy School here. Odierno added that any response to the turmoil in Libya must have international backing and support. On deploying tanks or anti-aircraft equipment in Libya to tackle the crisis, the General said such a decision would be more complicated. “Bringing in heavy equipment, that is a whole different kind of escalation. I am not sure we are quite there yet. I am not sure how willing we are to do that,” Odierno said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323487/US-military-ready-for-no-fly-zone-in-Libya-Top-American-General.html

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NATO launches 24-hour surveillance of Libyan air space

Mar 10 2011

New Delhi : NATO spy planes on Thursday mounted a 24-hour air space surveillance over Libya, as British Defence Secretary Liam Fox hinted that a no-fly zone could be enforced without wiping the North African nation's air defences.

Three Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft are airborne over the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast keeping track of all Libyan fighters, NATO officials said here.

The surveillance was put into operation around noon today and came as Libyan Air Force fighters carried out the heaviest bombing of rebel positions at Ras Lanuf in the east and captured the key western city of Zawiyah, 50-km from the capital Tripoli.

In growing signs that a US and NATO combine military action may be imminent, the British Defence Secretary said that a no-fly zone over Libya was possible without hitting at Libyan air force bases and air defence systems.

In contrast to comments by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Fox said a no-fly zone like that was enforced over Iraq between 1991-2003, could also be imposed over Libya.

Fox told the BBC Radio that the aim of the western forces would require a demonstrable need, a strong legal basis and broad international and regional support.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/760637/

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GCC blasts Qaddafi govt as ‘illegitimate’

Mar 11, 2011

RIYADH/PARIS: The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stressed on Thursday that the Libyan regime of Muammar Qaddafi is illegitimate and that contacts should be initiated with the rebels.

“The (GCC) foreign ministers council stresses that the existing Libyan regime is illegitimate and calls for the need to initiate contacts with the interim national council,” a statement said following a GCC foreign ministers’ meeting in Riyadh. The alliance urged Arab League foreign ministers, who are due to meet in Cairo on Saturday, “to shoulder their responsibilities in taking necessary measures to stop the bloodshed.”

The council condemned Qaddafi’s use of heavy weapons  and foreign mercenaries to kill innocent civilians as criminal acts. It accused Qaddafi of violating human rights and the international law.

The bloc vowed to deal “decisively” with threats to any member’s security.

“The GCC believes that any threat to the security of any member state harms the security of all states and will be dealt with decisively and immediately, without hesitation,” they said in a statement read out at the end of a meeting in Riyadh.

“The GCC states and peoples totally reject any attempts for foreign interference in its affairs and declare they will firmly curb those trying to foment sectarian rift,” said the statement issued after the foreign ministers’ one-day meeting.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy favors airstrikes on Qaddafi’s command base, a source said Thursday, as France became the first country to formally embrace Libya’s rebels. At an EU summit he will propose “striking an extremely limited number of points which are the source of the most deadly operations” by Qaddafi’s forces, said a source close to discussions, who asked not to be named.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311824.ece

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BBC team blinfolded and beaten by Gaddafi forces

Mar 10, 2011

A BBC news team was detained and beaten up by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces after being accused of spying.

LONDON: A BBC news team was detained and beaten up by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces after being accused of spying, the British broadcaster reported Thursday.

The three men, who were trying to reach the violence-torn western city of Az Zawiya, were beaten with fists, knees and rifles, and subjected to mock executions by members of Libya's army and secret police.

The men were detained Monday and held for 21 hours, but have now left Libya, the report said.

Libya has been witnessing massive anti-government protests since Feb 14. The protesters are demanding the ouster of Gaddafi who has ruled the north African country for almost 42 years.

The three of them were taken to a huge military barracks in Tripoli, where they were blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten.

One of the three, Chris Cobb-Smith, said: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line -- facing the wall.

"I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me.

"Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed."

A second member of the team -- Feras Killani, a correspondent of Palestinian descent -- is said to have been singled out for repeated beatings.

The captors told him they did not like his reporting of the Libyan popular uprising and accused him of being a spy, the BBC said.

The third member of the team, cameraman Goktay Koraltan, said they were all convinced they were going to die.

During their detention, the BBC team saw evidence of torture against Libyan detainees, many of whom were from Zawiya.

"I cannot describe how bad it was. Most of them (other detainees) were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs. They were screaming," Koraltan said.

A senior Libyan government official later apologised for the treatment to the BBC team.

The BBC said it "strongly condemns this abusive treatment".

"The safety of our staff is our primary concern especially when they are working in such difficult circumstances and it is essential that journalists working for the BBC, or any media organisation, are allowed to report on the situation in Libya without fear of attack," said a statement from Liliane Landor, languages controller of BBC Global News.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/BBC-team-blinfolded-and-beaten-by-Gaddafi-forces/articleshow/7669583.cms

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Tension reigns as Karachi braces itself for strike

March 11, 2011

KARACHI: As Karachi braced itself for a strike called by the Pakistan People`s Party in protest against the Supreme Court verdict annulling the appointment of Justice (Retd) Deedar Shah as NAB chairman, tension gripped various parts of the city on Thursday night when armed men on motorbikes roamed the streets in different commercial areas, scattered incidents of arson were reported and gunfire claimed the life of a political worker and left several people injured.

Armed men intercepted two buses near Bilawal Chowrangi, at a stone`s throw from the Bilawal House, the camp office of President Asif Ali Zardari. They asked the passengers to get off and set the vehicles on fire.

“Two fire-tenders took nearly half an hour to put out the fire,” an official at the DHA fire station said. The Clifton police kept quiet about the identity of the perpetrators and reasons behind the incident that took place in the heavily-guarded locality and spread panic leading to a complete shutdown.

Within a couple of hours, four more vehicles were torched in different areas.

A bus was set ablaze in Ranchore Line area and another two buses met the same fate near Kakri Ground and Juna Masjid in Lyari. A truck was intercepted and set on fire on the ICI Bridge.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/11/tension-reigns-as-karachi-braces-itself-for-strike.html

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Walking away from Pakistan to have dire results: Clinton

March 11, 2011

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Thursday that the consequences of walking away from Pakistan were always disastrous.

Emphasising the importance of continued US assistance to Pakistan, Secretary Clinton told a congressional panel that the Obama administration was trying to “deepen our relationship” with Pakistan.

“There are many challenges confronting us, but we know what happens when we walk away from Pakistan. We did it before, and the results, unfortunately, were quite dire for us,” she warned.

The United States suspended its economic and military assistance to Pakistan in 1990 over its nuclear programme. Senior US officials and regional experts now admit that the sanctions created a situation that allowed groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda to flourish. A resolution moved in the US House of Representatives earlier this week urges Pakistan to release CIA contractor Raymond Davis or brace itself for a freeze on all monetary assistance. Secretary Clinton, however, opposes such sanctions, warning that doing so would hurt US interests.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/11/walking-away-from-pakistan-to-have-dire-results-clinton.html

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India, Pak test fire nuclear-capable missiles

March 11, 2011

India Friday successfully test-fired its homegrown nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles Prithvi-II and its naval version Dhanush from different locations off the Orissa coast, on a day Pakistan too tested its nuclear-capable Hatf-II ballistic missile.

The Prithvi-II was fired from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district, about 230 km from state capital Bhubaneswar at 10.50 a.m.

The Dhanush was launched at 10.03 a.m. from a warship anchored off the Puri coast in the Bay of Bengal.

"Both were fantastic missions, 100 per cent successful" ITR director S.P. Dash told IANS, adding that the tests were carried out as part of training exercises of the armed forces.

The two almost simultaneous user-tests come a week after India successfully tested its ballistic missile interceptor on March 6, as part of its efforts to develop a shield against enemy missiles.

Prithvi II, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 350 km, is a variant of India's first indigenously-built ballistic missile. It is one of the five missiles being developed under India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

The missile, with a flight duration of 483 seconds reaching a peak altitude of 43.5 km, has the capability to carry a 500 kg warhead.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323689/India-Pak-test-fire-nuclear-capable-missiles.html

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Trial on for Indonesia's firebrand Islamic cleric

Ali Kutarumalos

11 March 2011

Raging cleric: Militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir gestures as he talks to his lawyers during his trial at a district court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP/Achmad Ibrahim)

An Indonesian court decided Thursday to go ahead with the trial of a radical Islamic cleric who allegedly helped fund and recruit foot-soldiers for a new al-Qaida-styled terror cell.

The legal team for Abu Bakar Bashir had argued that the South Jakarta District Court had no authority to try the 72-year-old, the case against him was politically motivated and the charges vaguely defined.

Presiding judge Herri Swantoro rejected that, however, telling prosecutors to start preparing more than 130 witnesses for the trial, which resumes next week.

Bashir - co-founder of the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, blamed for many of the deadliest attacks in the predominantly Muslim nation - faces a maximum penalty of death if found guilty.

He is accused of helping set up, fund, arm and mobilize militants for a new terror cell uncovered one year ago in westernmost Aceh province as part of efforts to carve out an Islamic state.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/10/trial-indonesias-firebrand-islamic-cleric.html

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EU extends sanctions on Gadhafi's Libya regime

11 March 2011

The European Union is hitting the regime of Moammar Gadhafi with more financial sanctions just as France says it is recognizing the Libyn opposition's Interim Governing Council and plans to exchange ambassadors with it.

The EU extended its financial sanctions, adding five financial institutions whose assets and resources will be frozen to a list of more than two dozen individuals close to the Libyan leader.

France became the first counry to recognize the opposition group. President Nicolas Sarkozy met with two representatives of the transition council, based in the eastern city of Benghazi, which was taken over by rebels in a deadly uprising against Gadhafi.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/10/eu-extends-sanctions-gadhafis-libya-regime.html

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Jaish commander, aide killed

Shujaat Bukhari

The bodies of chief commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad Sajjad Afghani and his aide, who were killed in an encounter with the security forces in Srinagar on Thursday, lying inside a police vehicle.

SRINAGAR: The police on Thursday achieved a major success when chief commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad Sajjad Afghani alias Qari Hamaad, a Pakistani national, was killed in an encounter in Srinagar city.

Official sources said that on a tip-off the police laid a trap on the foreshore road of Dal Lake in the afternoon. “On a tip-off, we deputed a party to the area and the car in which he [Afghani] was travelling was intercepted,” said a senior police officer.

Afghani and an accomplice, identified as Umar Bilal (a resident of Pakistan), fired at the party, resulting in the encounter.

Both the militants were killed and a girl, who was passing by, received minor injuries. The officer said Afghani was one of the longest serving militants in Kashmir and had recently moved to Srinagar from Sopore. “He was trying to establish a network in the city to carry on with his plans of creating disturbances,” he said.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the slain militants.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/11/stories/2011031165361700.htm

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Full-scale attacks launched in Libya

Atul Aneja

BENGHAZI: Pro-Qadhafi forces have launched a full-scale offensive against Opposition forces, as the latter appeared to retreat from several locations which had previously been held by them in Libya's oil-rich east.

Opposition forces are grimly battling the troops loyal to the Libyan strongman, Muammar Qadhafi, for control over Zawiyah — a strategic oil town 50 km from the Capital Tripoli. Heavy fighting has also been reported from the oil cities of Ras Lanuf, Brega and Ajdabiya. “The revolutionaries control the centre of Zawiyah, and Qadhafi's forces are surrounding it. It's 50-50,” Al Jazeera quoted a resident who had fled the city as saying.

Some among the Opposition fear that in case Zawiyah is overrun, it might provide the regime the flexibility to divert some of its tanks towards the oil cities of the east.

By Thursday evening, more bad news had begun to flow regarding the Opposition's position along the eastern frontlines. Agency reports said that anti-Qadhafi forces were fleeing the oil port of Ras Lanuf following sustained attacks from the regime. AFP quoted a dissident fighter as saying: “We've been defeated. They are shelling and we are running away. That means that they're taking Ras Lanuf.” Opposition fighters said they had been told, by engineers at Ras Lanuf, that poisonous gas was being flared to prevent a humanitarian disaster, in case the refinery was directly hit.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/11/stories/2011031165561800.htm

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Russian warning on Libya

Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Russia warned against foreign meddling in Libya and called for an “independent assessment” of the situation in the North African country.

“Intervention in internal affairs, especially military interference, is unacceptable” in Libya or any other state, said Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday. “Any rash action, based on models that may be applicable in other parts of the world, could create serious problems that will then have to be sorted out by the African countries themselves,” Mr. Lavrov said at a press conference with his Congolese counterpart in Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed a decree banning the “export, sale and delivery to Libya... of all kinds of weapons and associated materials”, as required by a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last month.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/11/stories/2011031156731800.htm

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Hillary to visit Egypt

 

WASHINGTON: U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Egypt and Tunisia next week to press democratic reforms in the wake of rebellions that ousted the two countries' long-time autocratic rulers. She will also meet members of Libya's opposition who are fighting to topple Muammar Qadhafi.

Ms. Clinton will be the first U.S. Cabinet-level official to visit either Egypt or Tunisia since the unrest began. Ms. Clinton said she will also meet Libyan opposition figures in the U.S. and when she travels to Egypt and Tunisia. The U.S. has confirmed talks with groups organising in Libya's east. — AP

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/11/stories/2011031156791800.htm

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Islamic radicalisation hearing in US stokes tempers

Mar 11 2011

Washington : Muslim Americans must do more to combat Islamic radicalisation as al Qaeda targets them to help carry out terrorism plots, a lawmaker said on Thursday as he convened hearings critics said unfairly singled out Muslims.

Peter King, the chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee who convened hearings to examine Islamic radicalisation, has accused the Muslim community of refusing to cooperate with law enforcement and charged that preaching in some US mosques was leading to radicalisation.

"To combat this threat, moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community," King said. "Today, we must be fully aware that home-grown radicalisation is part of al Qaeda's strategy to continue attacking the United States."

The hearings spotlight increasing concerns about the threat of home-grown terrorism and attempts by al Qaeda to recruit from mosques in the United States to carry out attacks in this country and abroad.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/761034/

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Gaddafi threatens offensive, ignores diplomatic moves

Mar 11 2011,

Tripoli : Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son told rebels on Thursday they faced a full-scale assault to crush their three-week-old uprising as troops, tanks and warplanes punched into the rebel-held east of the country.

It's time for action. We are moving now, Saif al-Islam told Reuters in an interview. Time is out now... we gave them two weeks (for negotiations).

As he spoke, Gaddafi's forces intensified their counter-attack on the insurgent heartland, bombarding rebel positions in the oil port of Ras Lanuf. Warplanes also hit Brega, another rebel-held oil hub further east.

Gaddafi forces and rebels also fought in the streets of the western town of Zawiyah, close to Tripoli, which has changed hands several times in recent days. Residents described scenes of carnage, with women and children among the dead.

As the military momentum appeared to turn against the rebels, who had set their sights on advancing to the capital, foreign powers were at odds over how to end the turmoil and force Gaddafi out.

Gulf Arab countries said Gaddafi's government was no longer legitimate and France and Britain jointly called on the European Union to recognise the rebel council based in Benghazi.

Despite a flurry of meetings, foreign governments came no closer to deciding on action. The United States and NATO's head expressed doubt over the wisdom of imposing no-fly zones without full international backing and a legal justification.

The African Union rejected any form of foreign intervention but said it was sending a delegation of five heads of state to Libya soon to try to arrange a truce in the hostilities.

In a sobering view of the bloodiest of the uprisings now shaking the Arab world, U.S. National Intelligence chief James Clapper said in Washington that Gaddafi was in this for the long haul and was likely to prevail.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/761035/

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Libya rebels retreat east, say fight in Ras Lanouf

Mar 11, 2011

RAS LANOUF, Libya: Libyan rebels pulled back their last main checkpoint in Ras Lanouf on Friday, setting it up 15-20 km (10-13 miles) to the east, and said their forces were fighting troops loyal to Muammar Qaddafi in the oil town.

Rebels began a frantic retreat from the strategic oil port on Thursday amid fierce barrages of tank and artillery fire from Qaddafi’s loyalistsin a counteroffensive that has reversed the opposition’s advance toward the capital of Tripoli and now threatens its positions in the east.

“This is our last checkpoint, ahead are clashes. The clashes are in the residential area (of Ras Lanouf),” rebel fighter Youssef Mohannad told Reuters on Friday at the checkpoint near an oil refinery where smoke still poured out of one stack, suggesting some production was continuing.

Other rebels around him said there had been an air, sea and land attack on Ras Lanouf, one of the main oil terminals in the area.

Contacted by Reuters in the early hours from Brega to the east, rebel fighter Ibrahim Al-Alwani said he and comrades still in Ras Lanouf had seen government troops in the town center.

“I saw maybe 150 men and three tanks,” he said. “I can hear clashes.”

Mohammed Al-Mughrabi, who described himself as a spokesman for the rebels but declined to give his exact location, said by phone government troops had landed by boat near the Fadeel hotel in Ras Lanouf, where clashes were in progress.

“Four boats carrying 40 to 50 men each landed there. We are fighting them right now,” he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article312870.ece

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No threat seen to stability of Kingdom

Mar 11, 2011

JEDDAH: A number of ambassadors in Riyadh have challenged reports of instability in the Kingdom.

Speaking to Delhi-based daily, Business Standard, India’s Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad said Indian business executives should have “no apprehensions” about the Kingdom. “Indian investors can participate in Saudi Arabian projects with complete confidence and satisfaction that they will be welcomed by the business community,” he said. The disturbances happening in other Arab states had not impacted on Saudi Arabia, he said.

British Ambassador Sir Tom Phillips underscored the public’s warm reception of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s return to his country after some months abroad for medical treatment as a sign of the country’s stability. “The crowds that lined the streets to welcome King Abdullah back to Riyadh last month were a vivid demonstration of the popularity of King Abdullah,” he told Arab News. “The series of royal decrees that were announced that day showed the king’s determination to maintain the process of reform and to continue to meet the aspirations of the Saudi people.”

The ambassador was referring to the $29.5 billion package of social programs announced by the king as he returned home, including a 15 percent pay rise to employees of the government — the largest employer of Saudis — unemployment assistance and consumer debt relief.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article311828.ece

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Al-Haramain charity awaiting appeal verdict in US court

By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

Mar 11, 2011

RIYADH: Attorneys representing the defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation criticized the US government for designating the Saudi-based charity as a “global terrorist organization” without spelling out the charges against it in 2004.

Attorney David Cole made this argument before a US court during a hearing on Wednesday about the US government’s seizure of assets belonging to the US chapter of Al-Haramain that led to a protracted legal battle.

The case is being heard by a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in the state of Oregon. Attorneys for the charity asked the court to give their client another chance to defend itself.

The US Treasury Department labeled Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation of Oregon as having ties to terrorist groups and having direct links with Osama Bin Laden. The charity has been in court for years trying to clear its name from the terror list.

Thomas H. Nelson, another attorney of Al-Haramain, told Arab News that the primary activity that the Ashland branch of the charity engaged in was Islamic work, “in this case the distribution of Qur’an and Islamic literature in the US.” He said the US government claimed without any substantial proof that Al-Haramain “supported Islamic fighters against the Russian occupiers in Chechnya.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article311710.ece

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Saudi oil customers seek steady supply

By KHALIL HANWARE

Mar 10, 2011

JEDDAH: Although the global oil market is facing supply disruption due to unrest in Libya, fellow OPEC member, Saudi Arabia is expected to keep its contracted oil supply volumes to most customers in Europe unchanged in April from March.

"Aramco had communicated with us about additional supplies but we have not explored that option. We did not ask for more because we do not need any more Arab Heavy barrels," Reuters quoted one European customer, who asked not to be named. "There will be no change in our allocation from March."

The customer, a regular buyer of Libyan oil that also has a term contract with Saudi Arabia, received notice of its crude oil supply allocation from Aramco ahead of others.

Libya normally produces about 1.6 million barrels per day of light, low-sulfur crude oil. But the unrest in the North African country has resulted in an estimated loss of 1 million bpd of output.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, said late in February it would fill in any supply shortage caused by the political unrest in Libya, Reuters said.

Three other customers said they expected to receive a notice from Saudi Aramco about their April allocations next week, and that they had asked for the same volume as March.

One of them said many European refineries have been forced to cut oil product output due to weak refining margins rather than buy more oil when North Sea benchmark Brent crude has remained high, near $115 a barrel, Reuters said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article311717.ece

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UN accuses Israel of kidnapping Palestinian

By MARIA DANILOVA

Mar 10, 2011

KIEV: The Palestinian engineer vanished from a Ukrainian train in the middle of the night. Now, the United Nations refugee agency confirms his wife’s fears that he is being held in prison by the Israeli secret service, most likely after being kidnapped nearly three weeks ago.

Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, went missing “under unknown circumstances” in the early hours of Feb. 19 after boarding a train in the eastern city of Kharkiv bound for the capital Kiev, according to Viktoria Kushnir, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry. He was in Ukraine applying for citizenship.

Maksim Butkevych, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine, said Abu Sisi has been in custody in Israel since shortly after his disappearance. The UN agency believes he was abducted and illegally transported by Israeli security forces, perhaps with the aid of Ukrainian counterparts.

“We don’t know details of his trip from Ukraine to Israel — let’s put it this way,” said Butkevych. “But unfortunately, what happened looks like a violent abduction and not a legal extradition or any other legal action on the part of authorities.” Abu Sisi’s Ukrainian wife, Veronika, 32, alleges the Israeli secret service Mossad carried out the abduction in order to sabotage a key electric power plant in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where he worked as a senior manager.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311537.ece

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US lawmaker urges Muslims to combat radicalization

By JEREMY PELOFSKY

Mar 10, 2011

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaeda is targeting Muslim Americans for recruits to terrorism and the community must do more to combat radicalization, a lawmaker said on Thursday as he opened hearings that have been criticized as a witch hunt.

Peter King, the chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee who called the hearings, has accused the Muslim community of refusing to cooperate with law enforcement and charged that preaching in some US mosques was leading to radicalization.

"To combat this threat, moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community," King said. "Today, we must be fully aware that homegrown radicalization is part of Al-Qaeda' strategy to continue attacking the United States."

King denied accusations that the hearings were "radical or un-American" and said there was no comparison between the threat by Al-Qaeda and neo-Nazis, environmental extremists and other "isolated madmen."

The New York congressman has been criticized by religious and civil rights leaders as going on a witch hunt for focusing on a single community, but he has defended the hearings, citing the open attempts by al Qaeda militants to recruit its members to launch attacks.

He has pointed to some individuals who have gone overseas to try to join militant groups, the attempt by a Saudi student caught in Texas as he was trying to build bombs and the failed attempt by a Pakistani-born US citizen to detonate a car bomb in New York's bustling Times Square last year.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article311694.ece

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Moroccan king says constitution to be revised

Mar 10, 2011

RABAT, Morocco: King Mohammed VI said Wednesday that Morocco will revise its constitution for the first time in 15 years, aiming to strengthen democracy in the face of a push across the Arab world.

In a rare TV and radio speech to the nation, the popular monarch said a new commission would suggest constitutional revisions to him by June, and the overall project would be put to Moroccan voters in a referendum.

“By launching today the work of constitutional reform, we embark on a major phase in the process of consolidation of our model of democracy and development,” said the king, wearing glasses, a sober black tie and a dark suit. He was flanked by his brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and his 7-year-old son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan.

Some Moroccans poured into the streets of Rabat, the capital, to celebrate after the speech, blaring car horns and waving the North African country’s single-star flag.

But the overall reaction to the country’s first constitutional revision since 1996, and the first since Mohammed VI took the throne following his father’s death in 1999, wasn’t immediately clear. The speech, which was only announced hours earlier, came as many people in the football-crazy country tuned in to watch the latest European Champions League contests.

A major question was whether the constitutional changes on tap will involve the highly contested Article 19, which largely underpins the near-absolute power that the king has in Morocco. It enshrines the monarch as “the defender of the faith” — Islam — and “guarantor of the perpetuation and the continuity of the state,” as well as respect for the constitution.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311208.ece

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Saleh offers news concessions, protests continue

By SAEED AL-BATATI

Mar 10, 2011

SANAA: Yemen’s beleaguered President Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged on Thursday to rewrite the constitution and delegate more powers to a new parliamentary system of governing, but did not say whether he would leave or not as thousands of protesters press for his departure.

In a speech, locally touted as “historical” to solve the current political crisis, Saleh presented his initiative to an assembly of thousands of pro-government supporters who converged on a stadium in the capital Sanaa from across the country.

His proposal includes writing a new constitution that would separate powers and will be brought to vote before the end of this year. The new constitution to be written by a committee of political and social figures.

Saleh proposed converting the country’s presidential system into a parliamentary one that gives all executive powers to a government elected by Parliament and introducing a powerful decentralized local government system by early 2012.

Days after his forces clashed with demonstrators, Saleh said that he gave his orders to the government to fulfill the demonstrators’ demands and to protect them. Saleh stated that the opposition was going to throw out his offer, which is why he appealed directly to the nation.

Since the success of two uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the troubled leader has offered a series of concessions to absorb the anger of ordinary Yemenis. Saleh vowed in the past that he would not stand for a new term or hand over power to his son.

He also raised salaries and slashed taxes in an attempt to shore up his support and defuse popular anger.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article311534.ece

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GCC foreign ministers pledge SR75 billion aid to Oman and Bahrain

By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

Mar 11, 2011

RIYADH: In a major move to calm anti-government protests in Oman and Bahrain, the foreign ministers of the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) approved an SR75-billion aid package to create jobs and implement a range of development projects in the two Gulf states.

"The funds will be allocated for development projects over the next 10 years in the Gulf states," said Foreign Minister of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The announcement was made after a meeting of the Gulf foreign ministers hurriedly convened at the GCC General Secretariat here on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal.

"The aid package will be divided equally between the two Gulf states—Bahrain and Oman," said Al-Nahyan.

The package will be used to generate jobs for the young population, who have been complaining that their governments are not doing enough for them.

"The aid will also be utilized for housing and infrastructure projects," said Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa. He said that the funds will help to improve the living standards of poorer citizens in the two countries.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article311816.ece

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Justice for Niyamat Ansari

11 March 2011

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent murder of NREGA activist Niyamat Ansari in Kope Gram Panchayat (Latehar District, Jharkhand), as well as a similar attempt — the same day — on the life of his associate Bhukhan Singh.

Briefly, this murder was the culmination of a series of acts of harassment, including at least one earlier attempt on Bhukhan and Niyamat's lives. Bhukhan and Niyamat fearlessly continued to fight for the rights of NREGA workers and to stand up against the nexus of corruption and crime in the area. Niyamat was killed just a few days after he and others exposed a flagrant NREGA scam in Rankikalan Gram Panchayat.

We are dismayed by the insidious allegations that have been made about Niyamat in sections of the mainstream media, attempting to project him as a “criminal” to divert attention from the real issues and culprits. These reports were factually incorrect and the concerned publication carried an apology the following day.

We are most disturbed to learn from reliable sources that the murder was executed by a local Maoist squad. In fact, the South Latehar sub-zonal committee of the CPI (Maoist) itself claimed responsibility for it and attempted to justify the murder by making absurd allegations such as Niyamat and Bhukhan being police informers. Are we to understand from this incident that there is truth in the rumour of a nexus between the local Maoist squad of that area and corrupt contractors involved in the loot of NREGA funds?

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/11/stories/2011031155151500.htm

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Saudi soldier airlifted to Riyadh

Mar 11, 2011

RIYADH: Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif ordered a wounded Saudi soldier airlifted from the Eastern Province to the Interior Security Forces Hospital in Riyadh. Private Hamid Al-Qahtani of the Special Emergency Forces was injured and was admitted to the King Fahd Medical Complex in Dhahran recently.

Deputy Gov. of the Eastern Province Prince Julawi bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaad, who was present at the King Abdul Aziz Airbase, wished the solider speedy recovery, the Saudi Press Agency. The ill soldier’s brother was also present at the airport. The cause of the injury was not disclosed

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article311650.ece

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‘Dubai has recovered from downturn’

Mar 11, 2011

DUBAI: Dubai has recovered from the economic downturn, its ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said.

Sheikh Mohammed, whose remarks were posted on his official website on Wednesday, also said that while many government agencies performed well during the financial crisis, others failed to meet expectations.

"We are not in the process of holding departments accountable, what's done is done," said Sheikh Mohammed in a statement on his website.

Dubai is struggling to emerge from a crippling debt crisis which erupted openly in 2009 after its flagship conglomerate Dubai World said it would seek a $26 billion debt standstill.

The glitzy Gulf Arab emirate needed a last-minute $10 billion bailout from neighbor Abu Dhabi and has been busy restructuring key state-linked firms' debts.

Sheikh Mohammed said the crisis required a financial regulatory system to oversee government departments but will not curb future development.

"We must look forward and find ways to work freely without hindrance," he said.

Meanwhile, the central bank governor said on Thursday the UAE has not seen capital outflows due to unrest in the region, adding that inflationary pressures would not be of concern despite high oil prices.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article311751.ece

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Russia protects EU from most Arab gas cuts

Mar 11, 2011

LONDON: Europe has barely noticed the loss of Libyan gas since violence flared and workers fled in late February, thanks largely to Russia, but fears remain of wider unrest in the Arab world hitting bigger suppliers.

Russia has eagerly made up for the loss of about 2 percent of Europe’s gas since Libyan exports stopped in late February.

Just two winters ago Russia caused Europe’s biggest ever energy crisis by cutting off about a fifth of the region’s gas supply.

Reduced Libyan oil output, and fears of further contagion in the energy-rich region, drove Brent crude to nearly $120 a barrel on Feb. 24. Prices have since remained at levels not seen since before the global economic crisis in 2008.

But after modest rises when Libyan flows into Italy first stopped on Feb. 22, European gas prices have been fairly stable.

Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom has seized the chance to sell more to Europe, its oldest customer whose appetite has been dampened by depression and a deluge of Qatari liquid gas (LNG).

“Our Russian friends were extremely quick to up supplies and, to be fair, they have been playing this role for decades,” Ian Cronshaw, head of energy diversity at the International Energy Agency (IEA)

“That flexibility, because of their sheer size and their ability to move production up and down quite rapidly, is extremely valuable to Europe.”

Cronshaw, whose department advises Europe’s biggest economies on energy security, said that with the notable exceptions of the Russian gas crises of 2006 and 2009 Moscow had been a reliable supplier.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/economy/article311654.ece

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Saudi Arabia ‘has enough gas for petchem projects’

By MUHAMMAD AL-SULAMI

Mar 11, 2011

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has enough natural gas to supply planned petrochemical projects, a top Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry official said.

“All projects under development and all the existing plants producing today are fully supplied,” ministry adviser Prince Faisal bin Turki added.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the First Saudi Forum on Downstream Petrochemical and Mineral Industries that concluded in Yanbu on Wednesday.

Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) Chairman Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thunayan opened the two-day forum.

The commission organized the forum with the aim of exploring the opportunities within the Kingdom’s downstream petrochemical sector to play a central role in the diversification of the economy.

Prince Faisal indicated that only companies with a “committed” expansion scheme would receive new gas allocation and that the type of feedstock, whether it’s liquid or natural gas, would depend on the project.

The topics discussed at the forum included Saudi opportunities for a diversified economy, role of the Middle East in the global chemical landscape, supply and demand of feedstocks, research and development, long-term needs of the mineral value chain to develop the downstream sector, mineral mapping of Saudi Arabia and growth potential, opportunities in speciality chemicals for future transformation, and the need for market stability.

Many experts from Saudi Arabia and abroad attended the event.

http://arabnews.com/economy/article311320.ece

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Pakistan requests increased Haj quota

Mar 11, 2011

JEDDAH: Minister of Haj Fouad Al-Farsy met on Thursday with a Pakistan Haj delegation headed by Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and discussed the arrangements for the forthcoming Haj.

The visiting minister requested for enhancement of the Haj quota for Pakistani pilgrims from 158,000 to 179,000, provision of special services to facilitate the pilgrims and “help to prevent the recurrence of the past difficulties to which the Saudi side agreed,” the Consulate General of Pakistan said in a press statement.

Al-Farsy assured the minister that the Kingdom would provide all possible facilities to the pilgrims. “We want to see Pakistan stable, strong and prosperous,” he said.

Al-Farsy underlined the need for Pakistan to provide appropriate training and conduct an awareness program for its pilgrims. He also advised appropriate adjustments in PIA's flights for avoiding delays in its schedules and services.

The Saudi minister also underlined the need to complete the process of hiring of accommodation for pilgrims well in time and stressed that pilgrims from Pakistan and other countries need to strictly follow instructions by the Ministry of Haj.

Pakistan's Ministry of Religious Affairs' Secretary Shaukat Hayat Durani and Consul General Abdul Salik Khan also attended the meeting.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article311706.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/tsunami-slams-into-japan-after-massive-earthquake,-hundreds-dead/d/4269


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