New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 17 March 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

US to strike Iran N-plants?

Challenger overtakes Iraq PM in overall vote count

US 'fully recognises' India's role in Afghanistan: Rao

New terror strategies have cops worried

Israel ends closure of West Bank

US military: Goal still to capture Osama bin Laden alive

Scholar calls for new women-only floors in Grand Mosque

Saudia Arabia: Pet dogs abandoned by owners end up in streets

Cultural bonanza at Janadriya

Women lawyers to handle family disputes: Al-Eissa

Farmer Discovers Himyarite Water Tunnel In Dhamar

Indus water dispute: Pak may rope in British lawyer

Key al-Qaida planner believed killed in Pakistan: US official

'US in common struggle with India, Pakistan against terrorism'

Kasab retraction an afterthought: Nikam

Indo-Bangla JRC meet today to discuss Teesta water sharing

Headley may rat on Lashkar aide to escape death

Cops: Mumbai duo novices in terror world

NSA: India to continue its relief work in Afghanistan

Pakistan censor board bans 'Lahore' release

Iran, Pakistan clinch gas pipeline deal

Increase LoC trade frequency: J&K

Terrorism: Americans indicted in Pakistan

12 dead in Pakistan violence

11 dead in fresh Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria

Once-barred Muslim scholar to speak in NY

Report: 'Jihad Jane' Confesses to Terror Plot

Muslim gangs imposing sharia law in British prisons

Group Launches Investigation Into Imam's Death

OIC official calls for implementation of peace agreement in RP

Yemen-American imam calls for US Muslim revolt

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-to-strike-iran-n-plants?/d/2593

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US to strike Iran N-plants?

Mar 18, 2010

LONDON: Stepping up its preparations for a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the United States is transporting hundreds of 387 'bunker-buster' bombs to its air base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, a media report claimed on Wednesday.

The US government signed a contract in January with Superior Maritime Services to transport 10 ammunition containers to Diego Garcia from Concord, California, the Sunday Herald reported.

The shipment includes 195 smart, guided Blu-110 bombs and 192 Blu-117 900kg bombs. The key Iranian nuclear facilities are underground and both these type of bombs are effective against reinforced or underground facilities.

The US and Israel have repeatedly asserted that they do not rule out a military action to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions and that they are keeping all the options on the table.

Contract details for the shipment were posted on an international tenders' website by the US navy. "They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran," Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London, said.

"US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours," Plesch, who is the co-author of a recent study on the US preparations for an attack on Iran, stressed.

The final decision on whether to launch an attack would be in the hands of US president Barack Obama. He may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel, Plesch argued.

"The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely,"Plesch said, adding, "The US is using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran's actions."

Diego Garcia is a British territory about 1,000 miles south of India and Sri Lanka but is used as a US military base as part of an agreement reached in 1971.

The British ministry of defence has said in the past that the United States government would need permission to use Diego Garcia for offensive action. It has already been used for strikes against Iraq during the 1991 and 2003 Gulf wars.

About 50 British military staff are stationed on the island, with more than 3,200 US personnel. Part of the Chagos Archipelago, it lies about 1,000 miles from the southern coasts of India and Sri Lanka, well placed for missions to Iran.

The US department of defence did not respond to a request for a comment, the report carried by the Sunday Herald said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-to-strike-Iran-N-plants/articleshow/5695976.cms

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Challenger overtakes Iraq PM in overall vote count

March 18, 2010

BAGHDAD: A secular coalition challenging the Iraqi prime minister in the country's historic parliamentary elections has narrowly pulled ahead for the first time in the overall vote count, although it still trails in the crucial province-by-province count.

The Iraqiya coalition, led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, seemed to be gaining momentum, taking a 9,000 vote lead nationwide, according to new totals released on Wednesday. But with about 20 percent of the votes still to be counted from the March 7 election, it was unclear whether that margin would give Allawi more seats in Parliament, which will determine who will lead the government.

The news came as Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and his State of Law coalition accused election officials of manipulating vote counts and called for a recount, a candidate from his bloc said. It was the prime minister's first challenge to the results, and his bloc drew a link between its accusations and Allawi, accusing some electoral commission staff of having allegiances to groups backing Al-Maliki's rival.

Iraq's vote counting has been winding and chaotic, with ballot results being portioned out piecemeal by election officials and almost immediately subject to fraud accusations. The winner will be tasked with forming a government that will oversee the country as US forces go home.

Crucially, with 79 percent of votes counted, Al-Maliki's coalition was still winning in seven of Iraq's 18 provinces — including all-important Baghdad — compared with five for Allawi. That could prove important since Parliament seats are apportioned mainly by how well coalitions do in the provinces, not according to overall vote total.

Still, the momentum apparent in Allawi's overall, nationwide lead could be troubling the prime minister and his coalition, raising questions about how strong their lead is.

The new vote results did not alter the picture much for the religious Shiite Iraqi National Alliance and the main Kurdish coalition, which lead in three provinces each.

However, in the province of Tamim, Allawi was beating his main challenger, the Kurdish coalition, by only five votes.

The province is home to the disputed city of Kirkuk, which is hotly contested among its Kurdish, Arab and Turkomen population.

Allawi, a secular Shiite, has drawn on considerable Sunni support, likely due to his nonsectarian stance and repeated condemnations of the influence of Iraq's powerful Shiite neighbor, Iran. Al-Maliki has drawn on support in the Shiite south as well as in the capital.

With so much at stake, several leading candidates have raised accusations of fraud.

Before Tuesday's tallies were released, Iraq's prime minister accused election officials of manipulating vote counts and called for a re-count, a candidate from his bloc said.

The prime minister's allegations surfaced in a complaint letter to Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission, saying Al-Maliki's bloc “received reliable information that supervisors of the electronic counting center” are linked to rival groups contesting the race, including some supporting Allawi.

Ali Al-Adeeb, a candidate on Al-Maliki's slate, said his coalition is accusing the counting center of doctoring the numbers and is calling for a recount based on tallies done in the country's more than 50,000 polling stations before their ballots were sent to Baghdad.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, which is signed by Al-Maliki. It says the political allegiance of the counting center's supervisors undermines “their neutrality in administering such a momentous and crucial process” as the tallying of the votes.

The letter singles out Hazim Al-Badri, the electronic counting center's manager, claiming he is a member of a Sunni group allied with Allawi.

Al-Badri could not be reached for comment.

The letter also says the prime minister's coalition has information linking employees recently fired from the counting center to the same group. It calls for an investigation into the political ties of all officials and employees at the counting center and argues that final results should not be released until all complaints are investigated - “however long it takes.” The counting process has been fraught with claims of fraud, mostly from the opposition. Others have criticized the electoral commission for disorganization and delaying results.

“Because it's so tight, it's more tense and you are going to see more allegations of fraud. People could try to use that as a political weapon,” said Michael Hanna, an analyst on Iraqi affairs at the Century Foundation in New York.

He said Al-Maliki's allegations could reflect the prime minister's coalition realizing their lead is not as strong as once believed.

“It's hard not to be cynical about some of these claims, most of them actually,” he said.

Electoral commission official Saad Al-Rawi confirmed the commission had received Al-Maliki's complaint but said it was one of many to come in without concrete evidence.

Al-Rawi said six workers at the counting center were fired, but for incompetence and entering incorrect data into the computers.

Independent Iraqi observers and UN officials advising the commission say they have seen no evidence of widespread fraud that could undermine the outcome, though some worry the slow count could fuel suspicion.

Others suspect Al-Maliki's complaints have less to do with fraud concerns and more to do with improving his position for the months of political wrangling likely to follow the release of official results.

No bloc is likely to win a majority, meaning the winning candidate will have to ally with rival blocs to form a government.

“Al-Maliki is not in control of the situation and the tighter the race, the more coalition building he will have to do once he likely comes out first,” said analyst Toby Dodge with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article31409.ece

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US 'fully recognises' India's role in Afghanistan: Rao

March 18, 2010

Underlining the importance of stability in Afghanistan for regional security, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Thursday said Washington "fully recognises" India's role in the war-torn country and reiterated that New Delhi will not be "scaling down" following the recent attacks targeting Indians.

"The United States fully recognises that India has legitimate interests in Afghanistan. It appreciates the

development work we do there," Rao told PTI in New York.

"It appreciates that we are force of stability and moderation in our region. We are not scaling down in

Afghanistan," she added.

Rao is visiting New York after her meeting with top Obama Administration officials in Washington including

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterpart, Bill Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs where

they discussed a host of issues on Indo-US relations.

In Washington, Rao emphasised that India had a stake in Afghanistan's future amidst of growing speculations the New

Delhi is being sidelined in the Washington's Af-Pak policy.

Rao also spoke out against the distinction of "good Taliban and bad Taliban" in light of recent developments that

see Washington and the Karzai government planning on engaging with certain members of the Taliban to induct them in

country's polity.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/US-fully-recognises-India-s-role-in-Afghanistan-Rao/H1-Article1-520371.aspx

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New terror strategies have cops worried

Mateen Hafeez

Mar 18, 2010

MUMBAI: New strategies being used by terror bosses across the border have Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and Mumbai police worried, because tracking local suspects is becoming harder.

One of the new modus operandi appears to be using people who have never before travelled to Pakistan or the Middle East. The latest arrests — Abdul Latif Rashid, 29, and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz, 23 — were allegedly told that they would be taken to Pakistan after they committed acts of terror in Mumbai.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/5696181.cms

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Israel ends closure of West Bank

18 MARCH 2010

JERUSALEM: Israel on Wednesday lifted its tight restrictions on Palestinian access to Jerusalem’s holiest shrine and called off an extended West Bank closure after days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

While Israel moved to end the lockdown, it also kept thousands of the police officers on alert as an uneasy calm settled over the holy city.

The violence took place against the backdrop of deep Palestinian frustration over a yearlong standstill in peace talks and dovetailed with the worst US-Israeli diplomatic feud in decades.

On Tuesday, the US and Israel signalled they were trying to move beyond the crisis that erupted when Israel announced plans to build 1,600 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem during vice-president Joe Biden’s visit last week.

Israel, citing intelligence reports, cancelled the restrictions on Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, a day after the heaviest violence in months broke out across the city.

Hundreds of Palestinians set tires and garbage bins ablaze and lobbed rocks at the Israeli riot police, who responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.

The unrest was set off by persistent rumours that Jewish extremists were planning to take over the compound.

The hilltop compound is also home to Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, the place where the biblical Jewish temples once stood.    

The Asian Age, New Delhi.

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US military: Goal still to capture Osama bin Laden alive

Mar 18, 2010

WASHINGTON: The top US commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that it remains the goal of US troops to capture Osama bin Laden alive and "bring him to justice."

The comment by Gen. Stanley McChrystal to reporters was in contrast to remarks made a day earlier by Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder told Congress that the chances of capturing bin Laden alive were "infinitesimal" because he would probably be killed by US forces or by one of his own fighters.

Bin Laden's whereabouts have longed vexed US officials. But his elusive status has recently taken on new meaning as President Barack Obama pushes to try suspected terrorists in civilian courts instead of more secretive military tribunals.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com5696216.cms

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Scholar calls for new women-only floors in Grand Mosque

18 March 2010

JEDDAH: A professor of Islamic jurisprudence at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh has called for the construction of extra floors just for women at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in order to prevent them from mingling with men during tawaf (circling of the Holy Kaaba) and prayers."Mingling of sexes is not allowed in the Grand Mosque and outside the mosque according to the Shariah," Dr. Yousuf Al-Ahmed told Arab News.

"There are two types of mingling of sexes; mingling that takes place casually in the passages and at the Jamrat in Mina; and permanent mingling that takes place during tawaf causing congestion and harm to women," Al-Ahmed told Arab News.

Al-Ahmed called for the building of separate floors for women after demolishing the expansions carried out during the Ottoman era and the rule of King Saud, adding that it would create more room for the increasing number of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah.

Full report at: Source: Arab news

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Saudia Arabia: Pet dogs abandoned by owners end up in streets

By ARJUWAN LAKKDAWALA

March 18, 2010

The regular sight of dogs in the back of flashy cars as they drive down the affluent streets of Jeddah and Riyadh on a Wednesday or Thursday evening is testament to this change in attitudes.

Unfortunately it can also be a thoughtless fashion statement. There is increasing evidence that dog owners have little understanding of the responsibility and care a pet needs. After all, living creatures are not the same as accessories.

Else Boggary, who has been living in the Kingdom since 1965, says that over the years she has consistently found abandoned pets that have been mistreated.

“Many owners buy small puppies but when they grow out of them the animals are abandoned,” she told Arab News.

“Once I found a dog who had been abandoned with a collar-like thing around his neck. The dog had survived on scraps and as it grew the collar had tightened until it started choking him.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article31455.ece

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Cultural bonanza at Janadriya

GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah inaugurated the 25th National Heritage and Culture Festival at Janadriya, 45 km north of the capital city, on Wednesday.

The two-week event opened with a spectacular camel race. “This cultural fair is a realization of our nation’s identity and to feature our values and heritage with a mission to make it known to one and all,” said Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the National Guard’s deputy commander for executive affairs, speaking at the event.

He added that a large number of programs have been lined up and that over one million visitors are expected. “All preparations have been made to make the festival a grand success,” he said.

Prince Miteb said that about 1,000 artists from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, as well as France, have been invited to take part in the annual event.

At Janadriya village itself, King Abdullah gave away prizes to the winners of the first round of the camel race.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article31509.ece

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Women lawyers to handle family disputes: Al-Eissa

By MD RASOOLDEEN

March 18, 2010

The Ministry of Justice will allow women lawyers to only take up cases involving family disputes, including divorce and child custody, subject to the implementation of a new bill,” the minister announced at a meeting held at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI).

He explained that women lawyers will not be permitted to participate in other court proceedings.

The meeting, presided by RCCI President Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy, was organized by the RCCI’s Lawyers Committee headed by Nasser Al-Shuhaibani.

Al-Eissa said women lawyers are presently allowed to practice in specific areas and that the new vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has paved the way to extend this.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article31509.ece

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Farmer Discovers Himyarite Water Tunnel In Dhamar

March 18, 2010

DHAMAR, March 13 — A farmer has discovered a water tunnel dating back to the Himyarite era or earlier in the Al-Zabal valley, Maifa’a,  Ans, Dhamar.

The farmer was digging a well with a bulldozer 100 km south of Sana’a when he stumbled on the tunnel. The ancient Yemenis had constructed it for irrigation and to transfer water.

Farmer Anwar Al-Koli was looking for water and had brought a bulldozer to his farm to dig a well. The driver of the bulldozer decided to stop working when he came across some large rocks that prevented his work.

When little children went to fetch Al-Koli, he decided to remove the hard rocks. As he was taking the rocks out of the way, he discovered the tunnel five meters underground and decided to tell the authorities. An archaeological team was sent to check the location.

Archeologists have called the tunnel an outstanding example of ancient engineering designed to use water economically. This tunnel was established as one of many other ways to save water, such as the Marib Dam.

Full report at: http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=33731

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Indus water dispute: Pak may rope in British lawyer

ASHIS RAY

Mar 18, 2010

LONDON: Pakistan is reportedly considering to rope in a Pakistan-born London lawyer, Kaiyan Homi Kaikobad, in the event it approaches International Court of Arbitration to arbitrate on India's alleged violation of the Indus Waters Treaty.

New Delhi has consistently refuted any violation, but Islamabad maintains that India is building various barrages and dams amounting to 15-20% diversion and pilferage of the waters. This, Pakistan claims, is affecting agriculture in Pakistan to the tune of $12 billion.

Kaikobad, a law professor at Brunel University and a specialist in title to territory both land and maritime, neither confirmed nor denied the reports. "I cannot discuss the matter," said Kaikobad, who is recognised for his work on adjudication and arbitration.

Sources said a partner in Mandviwalla and Zafar, a Karachi law firm, has sent some background material on the dispute to Kaikobad. Dispute resolution and arbitration is among the firm's area of authority.

It's unclear whether Islamabad has officially sought Kaikobad's services. The Pakistani High Commission in London declined to comment.

Islamabad has lately raised a rumpus over the treaty and suggested the issue was a "core" dispute with India along with Jammu & Kashmir.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indus-water-dispute-Pak-may-rope-in-British-lawyer/articleshow/5696044.cms

 

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India to engage with Iran on Afghanistan

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: India will shortly hold high-level discussions with Iran as part of its strategy to hold consultations with all regional stakeholders to stabilise Afghanistan and develop alternate energy transit sources and routes.

New Delhi is currently holding consultations with Uzbekistan, which shares ethnic ties with a section of the Afghan people. And before that, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Kyrgyzstan to discuss, among other things, how the country's leadership is looking at the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur visited another Central Asian country Turkmenistan, again to discuss Afghanistan and energy issues, diplomatic sources say.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/18/stories/2010031863731200.htm

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Key al-Qaida planner believed killed in Pakistan: US official

Mar 18, 2010

WASHINGTON: A US drone strike in Pakistan last week appears to have killed a top al-Qaida planner who Washington believes helped organize December's deadly suicide bombing at a CIA base in Afghanistan, US officials said on Wednesday.

The CIA has stepped up the intensity of unmanned aerial drone attacks and intelligence-gathering operations in Pakistan since the Dec. 30 bombing, which killed seven of the spy agency's employees at a heavily fortified US base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost.

"We have indications that Hussein al-Yemeni -- an important al-Qaida planner and facilitator based in the tribal areas of Pakistan -- was killed last week," a US counterterrorism official said. "He's thought to have played a key role in the attack on December 30th at Khost."

The Khost bombing, the second-most deadly in CIA history, was carried out by a double agent linked to al-Qaida who was recruited by Jordanian intelligence. US intelligence officials have vowed to avenge the attack.

CIA Director Leon Panetta, in an interview with the Washington Post published on its website on Wednesday, said attacks against al-Qaida in Pakistan's tribal regions appear to have driven Osama bin Laden and other leaders deeper into hiding, leaving the organization incapable of planning sophisticated operations.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Key-al-Qaida-planner-believed-killed-in-Pakistan-US-official-/articleshow/5696098.cms

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'US in common struggle with India, Pakistan against terrorism'

Mar 18, 2010

WASHINGTON: The United States says engaged as it is in a common struggle with Pakistan and India against terrorism, it's encouraging all round cooperation through strategic dialogues with the two South Asian neighbours.

"We have a very rich, strategic dialogue with India," State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday when asked about what the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao discussed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterpart Undersecretary of State Bill Burns Tuesday. 

The official, however, could not say what specific issues were discussed between Rao, Clinton and Burns. When reminded that before coming to the State Department, Rao had delivered a blunt warning to Pakistan to stop terrorism targeted against India, Toner again didn't have a specific readout.     

"I can certainly imagine that they did talk about dialogue between Pakistan and India, and better cooperation," he said. "And of course we're encouraging cooperation on all levels. And we're engaged in strategic dialogues to that end." 

Asked why Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake was visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan along with India when Af-Pak region was the domain of US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, the official said they had different roles.     

Being the special envoy Holbrooke had visited the region eight, nine times as "that's proper and right that he would do so," Toner said. "But that said, Assistant Secretary Blake is obviously engaged in that issue as well."         

"Blake, I think, is just also trying to get a sense of what's going on on the ground so he can be better informed in his role."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-in-common-struggle-with-India-Pakistan-against-terrorism/articleshow/5696544.cms

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Kasab retraction an afterthought: Nikam

18 March 2010

Mumbai: Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Wednesday argued before the special sessions court, trying the 26/11 case, that the judicial confession statement of gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab was voluntary, and that his retraction later was an afterthought and hence ought to be discarded.

Kasab's judicial confession was recorded over three days, February 18, 20 and 21 in 2009.

Mr. Nikam said the magistrate who recorded Kasab's confession testified in court that she had sought to assure herself that the accused was deposing voluntarily. During cross-examination, Mr. Nikam pointed out, defence had not brought out that the confession had been extracted or that the police had subjected Kasab to physical torture in a bid to obtain the statement. Referring to the presence of a police guard in the magistrate's chamber during the recording of the statement, the prosecutor said his role was “passive.” His being attached to the court made the constable independent of the investigation.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/18/stories/2010031863290900.htm

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Indo-Bangla JRC meet today to discuss Teesta water sharing

New Delhi/Dhaka

Teesta water sharing and review of the Ganga treaty are some of the issues expected to come up when the India-Bangladesh Joint River Commission (JRC) meets here on Thursday after a gap of five years during which the two sides will also try to iron out differences on other water-related issues.

The Indian side will be led by Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal while the Bangladeshi delegation will be headed by Ramesh Chandra Sen in the two-day deliberations of the ministerial-level Commission. The Commission had last met in 2005.

“The focus of the meeting would on Teesta water sharing. At present, Bangladesh receives almost all the water as it is not being used by India but after the ongoing construction of a barrage on the river is completed, some water will be utilised by us as well,” Water Resources Secretary UN Panjiyar said.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/242883/Indo-Bangla -water-sharing.html

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Headley may rat on Lashkar aide to escape death

Chidanand Rajghatta

Mar 18, 2010

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley aka Daood Gilani, accused of scouting targets that led to the Mumbai terrorist attack of 26/11, will plead guilty to charges, in what is seen by Indian officials as a deal with the US authorities which may help him dodge death sentence in exchange for information on fellow Lashkar terrorist Tahawwur Hussain Rana.

Headley, 49, an LeT operative who had pleaded not guilty to the 12-count superseding indictment filed against him on January 14, has moved for a "change of plea" hearing on Thursday before US district judge Harry Leinenweber, the court said in a one-paragraph filing.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com5695634.cms

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Cops: Mumbai duo novices in terror world

Mateen Hafeez

Mar 18, 2010

MUMBAI: Two suspects picked up by Maharashtra's ATS for allegedly plotting to target the ONGC headquarters seem to be a pair of novice in the terrorist world.

According to investigators, Latif Sheikh and Riyaz Ali had failed to understand the instructions given to them by their Pakistani handlers. That could have led to their failure in implementing the terror blueprint at the ONGC headquarters.

Telephone conversations recorded by security agencies show that the Pakistani "Uncle" had been instigating the two suspects to set the ONGC's office on fire. But the duo were in a huge dilemma on how to carry the fuel needed for the operation inside the building.

The anti-terrorism squad on Wednesday recorded the statements of a shop owner from Mangaldas Market, where Latif had been working for the last eight months. But not too Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cops-Mumbai-duo-novices-in-terror-world/articleshow/5696179.cms

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NSA: India to continue its relief work in Afghanistan

Mar 18, 2010

NEW DELHI: Dispelling any doubt over Indian engagement in Afghanistan in the face of rising threat perception, national security adviser Shivshankar Menon said on Wednesday that India is going to continue with its relief and reconstruction programme. Menon said that what India was doing in the country was in keeping with the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people.

"What we are doing in Afghanistan is in response to what the people there want. We will continue to do what we are doing -- restore economy and democracy and help the Afghan people lead normal lives. We will find ways to do it,'' said Menon, while releasing the book `India's National Security Annual Review 2009' by Satish Kumar.

Since the attack on Indians in Kabul on February 26, there has been constant speculation over whether or not India is going to scale down its operations. India has pledged $1.3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan.

When asked about the status of engagement with Pakistan after the recent foreign secretary-level talks, Menon ruled out the resumption of the composite dialogue process anytime soon. The former foreign secretary quoted Albert Einstein to say that "if we knew what we were doing we wouldn't call it research''.

"Just going back to the composite dialogue process doesn't make sense; you have to learn from history. We are talking to explore what we can do but it needs two hands to clap. Let's see where we can take it from here,'' said Menon.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NSA-India-to-continue-its-relief-work-in-Afghanistan/articleshow/5695341.cms

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Pakistan censor board bans 'Lahore' release

Meena Iyer

Mar 18, 2010

MUMBAI: Bollywood films are a huge craze across the border. But this week's release, director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan's 'Lahore', has been denied a release in Pakistan. Ironically the film itself talks of a peace initiative between India and Pakistan and some portions have been shot in Lahore in 2009.

Based on kickboxing sport, the critically acclaimed film — which has made it to several international festivals (Houston, Singapore) — has been denied a release because authorities in Pakistan reportedly don't approve of the title. In addition, they feel Indian films show Pakistan in a negative way. Though the director tried to take a step ahead in bringing down barriers and also stay with the title 'Lahore', this has gone against him.

The director says, "I had to shoot the Pakistan portions with a foreign crew because visas for Indians would have been a problem. However, shooting went off smoothly and we even had local Pakistanis working on our film.

Rashid Khwaja, a leading exhibitor, was happy with the way we handled the emotions and he was keen to release this film in his country." However, Sanjay was told that Pakistan censor board objected to certain scenes: especially one where a Pakistani girl asks for forgiveness from an Indian character. Also the title 'Lahore' didn't go down well with the board.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-censor-board-bans-Lahore-release/articleshow/5696172.cms

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Iran, Pakistan clinch gas pipeline deal

Atul Aneja

Provision for India's participation made

DUBAI: Iran and Pakistan have signed in Turkey, the final agreement to launch the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline with a provision for India's possible participation in the project at a later date.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iran and Pakistan on Tuesday signed two provisions in Istanbul that would set in motion the broader Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA). The news agency said the two countries signed the Operational Agreement(OA) and the Heads of Agreement (HOA), which deals with details regarding the transportation of gas to India “if and when India decides to join the project”.

Under the provisions of the HOA, Pakistan will have the right to charge the transit fee for the transportation of gas to India. The transportation fee will be calculated in accordance with international practices, IRNA said.

Iran, in line with the provisions of the deal will provide Pakistan 750 million cubic feet of gas per day for the next 25 years, to generate 4000MW of electricity, the agency said. IRNA cited Pakistani analysts as saying the project could have a far reaching impact if India and China decided to participate in it. The 900-km pipeline is being built between Asalouyeh in southern Iran and Iranshahr near the border with Pakistan and will carry the gas from Iran's South Pars field.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/18/stories/2010031863871400.htm

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Increase LoC trade frequency: J&K

Shujaat Bukhari

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir government has recommended to the Union government that the frequency of trade across the Line of Control (LoC) be increased from two days a week to four days. The list of items being traded may also expand.

This was stated by Minister for Industries and Commerce S.S. Salathia in a written reply to Langete Abdur Rashid in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The government has urged the Centre to take measures to facilitate financial transactions for trading and the Union Finance Ministry is looking into this, he said.

The State had also asked the Centre to increase the number of trading days from two days a week to four days and the “Ministry of Home Affairs is looking into the matter.”

Besides clarifying on the confusion created on some items, the Ministry of Commerce is also looking at the possibility of expanding the list of trading items, the reply said.

Over 37,000 applications

Mr. Salathia said that more than 37,000 applications were received for travel across LoC from both sides and most of them were cleared. He said that 19,797 applications from Indian nationals had been received till February 15, 2010 and of them 19,036 were disposed of.

Similarly, 17,230 applications were received from PoK nationals of which 14,725 were disposed of. From January 2009 to January 2010, a total of 411 Indian nationals and 1,180 Pakistani nationals had crossed the LoC on Muzaffarabad bus service and via the Teetwal Karnah crossing point.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/18/stories/2010031864122000.htm

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Terrorism: Americans indicted in Pakistan

18 March 2010

Lahore: Five young American Muslims were on Wednesday indicted by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for funding militants and plotting terror attacks in the country, a charge if proved could see them getting life-term.

Judge Mian Anwar Nazir of the anti-terror court in Sargodha in Punjab province framed charges against the accused — Ramy Zamzam (22), Waqar Hussain Khan (22), Ahmed Abdullah Minni (20), Iman Hasan Yemer (17) and Omar Farooq (24) and adjourned the case till March 31.

The five, arrested last year by Pakistani police, were produced before the judge in the district jail amidst tight security.

The youths, who can be jailed for life if found guilty, denied the seven terrorism-related charges against them read out by the judge.

A U.S. embassy counsellor was also present during the hearing.

Khalid Khwaja, counsel for the accused, submitted an application to the court that said the lives of the five Americans could be in danger if they are handed over to the U.S..

He said that if the U.S. provides a guarantee about the safety of the Americans, the Pakistan government could then be allowed to extradite them.

Following their arrest last year, police booked the youths for planning terror attacks in Pakistan and for planning to travel to Afghanistan to fight U.S.-led forces. — PTI

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/18/stories/2010031863821400.htm

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12 dead in Pakistan violence

17 MARCH 2010

Islamabad/peshawar ,March 17: At least 12 people — five security officials and seven militants – died on Wednesday in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas in clashes and US missile strikes. “Five security personnel were martyred (killed) in militants attack at a joint checkpost in Khyber agency,” a security official said. “The militants attacked the checkpost with hand grenade and guns. The five security men included three FC (Frontier Corps) men and two policemen,” he added.

Separately, on Wednesday, two US missile strikes killed at least seven militants in North Waziristan. The exact identity of the militants was unclear and it was not immediately kno-wn whether they included any high-value targets. Just a day after killing 11 Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, US drones swooped again on the Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region eliminating seven more militants.

Full report at: The Asian Age, New Delhi.

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11 dead in fresh Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria

By Christian Purefoy,

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- Attackers killed at least 11 people Wednesday in a region of Nigeria that has been convulsed by violence between Muslims and Christians, an official said.

Muslim herdsmen, some dressed in military uniforms, attacked a predominantly Christian village at about 1 a.m. Wednesday near the city of Jos, close to where a machete-wielding Muslim group killed hundreds in a mostly Christian town this month, said Choji Gyang, special adviser on religious affairs to the governor of the Nigerian state of Plateau.

Opinion: We will fight for the soul of Nigeria

The dead included women and children, he said. The attackers, from the Fulani ethnic group, also injured at least four people and stole 120 cattle from the village of Kyi, he said. Two people are missing.

Full report at: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/03/17/nigeria.violence/

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Once-barred Muslim scholar to speak in NY

March 18, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - A prominent Muslim scholar will speak in Manhattan next month - his first U.S. appearance since a State Department ban was lifted.

Tariq Ramadan will appear on a panel April 8 at The Cooper Union college.

He was barred under the Patriot Act after donating money to a Swiss charity. The United States said it supported Hamas. Ramadan said the charity had no connection to the Palestinian militant group.

In January, the State Department said Ramadan and another Muslim scholar could reapply to travel to the United States.

Ramadan, who is Swiss, teaches contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University in England.

He'd been offered a professorship at the University of Notre Dame when his visa was pulled in 2004.

Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Report: 'Jihad Jane' Confesses to Terror Plot

18 Mar 2010

(Fox News) - The Pennsylvania woman who called herself "Jihad Jane" in alleged efforts to help Islamic terrorists, confessed to the FBI about her involvement in a plot to kill a Swedish artist who offended Muslims, according to reports cited by Fox News on Thursday.

Colleen LaRose, 46, confessed to federal agents shortly after her arrest at Philadelphia International Airport in October, where she arrived from London, according to the newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A law enforcement source told the paper LaRose's trip to Europe included a visit to Ireland, where she met with co-conspirators. Her lawyers declined to comment on the report.

On Thursday, LaRose makes her first court appearance since the stunning indictment last week. She is expected to plead not guilty.

Just days after LaRose's father died last August, she stole her boyfriend's passport and fled to Europe without telling him, making good on her online pledge to try to kill in the name of Allah, according to the indictment.

From June 2008 through her Aug. 23, 2009, departure, the woman who also called herself "Fatima Rose" went online to recruit male fighters for the cause, recruit women with western passports to marry them, and raise money for the holy war, the indictment charged.

She had also agreed to marry one of her overseas contacts, a man from South Asia who said he could deal bombs and explosives, according to e-mails recovered by authorities.

He also told her in a March 2009 e-mail to go to Sweden to find the artist, Lars Vilks.

Some terrorism experts wonder if LaRose posed any serious threat to Vilks - or was simply a lost soul.

Source: Fox News

Muslim gangs imposing sharia law in British prisons

18th March 2010

Officers at Britain’s high-security Long Lartin Jail have received reports of Muslim inmates forcing younger inmates to convert to Islam, while a Muslim gang has begun to enforce sharia law in the prison. The report says a similar gang culture is brewing at other high-security prisons in the UK.

Speaking to Radio Five Live’s Donal Macintyre show, an officer from the prison told how younger prisoners were targeted for forced conversion to Islam by the Muslim gangs.

‘They went along because they were intimidated. They genuinely weren’t of the Muslim faith. I knew one lad quite well, who was approached by the radical Muslims and he changed.  He was being controlled and bossed around and he wasn’t even allowed to look at me or speak to me.

Full report at: © CCFON 

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Group Launches Investigation Into Imam's Death

Sarah Cwiek

Luqman Ameen Abdullah Muslim Alliance of North America

SOUTHFIELD, MI (Michigan Radio) - The Michigan Council on American Islamic Relations says police agencies are still withholding information about the circumstances surrounding a Muslim Imam's death.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot and killed during an FBI raid in Dearborn last year. Officials say he led a separatist Muslim group that trafficked guns and was killed after shooting at FBI agents.

But the Council questions why Abdullah's body was moved after he was shot. They say the FBI hasn't provided photos of the actual crime scene.

Lena Masri the Council's attorney. She says many in the Muslim community are still suspicious about the killing.

"This is the first time in US history where a Muslim religious leader was shot and killed by the government," Masri says. "This is an issue of concern for the broader Muslim community."

Dearborn Police are investigating the shooting, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Deivision is reviewing an internal FBI investigation. The FBI maintains it acted properly.

© Copyright 2010, Michigan Radio

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Organization of Islamic Conference official calls for implementation of peace agreement in RP

18, 2010

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A top official of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has called for the full enforcement of a 14-year-long peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

In a statement during the special Non-Aligned Movement ministerial meeting in Manila, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said the Philippine government and the MNLF must work together to achieve the full implementation of the agreement.

The OIC backed the peace negotiations involving the MNLF that led to the signing of the landmark 1996 peace agreement which, according to the former rebel group, has not been fully enforced by the government.

Full report at: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=559141&publicationSubCategoryId=200

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Yemen-American imam calls for US Muslim revolt

By PAUL SCHEMM (AP)

CAIRO — A Yemeni-American Muslim preacher known for his ties to extremists operating in the U.S. called on American Muslims in a new audio message to turn against their government because of its actions against Muslims around the world.

Anwar al-Awlaki's latest message, excerpts of which were aired on CNN Wednesday, described his own radicalization after U.S. operations against Muslims and called on those in the U.S. to follow his path.

"I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim," he said in his American-accented English.

SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist Web Sites, confirmed the existence of the audio message when contacted by The Associated Press.

"To the Muslims in America I have this to say, how can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful coexistence with a nation responsible for the tyranny and crimes against your own brothers and sisters?" he asked. "How can you have loyalty to a government leading the war against Islam and Muslims?"

Full report at: Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-to-strike-iran-n-plants?/d/2593


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