New Age Islam
Thu Oct 22 2020, 05:01 AM

Islamic World News ( 23 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Western airstrikes silence Gaddafi guns in Misrata

 12 more killed in target killings in Karachi

Three rockets leave four dead in Quetta

3 Nato trailers torched in Balochistan

Karzai appeals Taliban not to attack schools

Malir Cantt escapes rocket attack; mosque damaged

Suicide car bomb kills five in north-west Pakistan: Police

Fifteen dead in new clashes in southern Syria city

Street play, demonstration remember Bhagat Singh

NATO fire kills Afghan child

‘Time is now for talks to end Afghan war’

Muslims, Christians reach ‘peace deal’ in Badami Bagh

Muslim and Christian Dalits victims of religious apartheid sanctioned by the state

Five killed in Hangu suicide blast; 25 hurt

Libyan troops target rebels after air force 'destroyed'

Yemeni Parliament gives President emergency powers

Sharif ‘ accepted’ Pak hand days after 26/ 11

Gaddafi eyes exit deal

Syrian forces kill 6 in mosque attack: residents

Abdullah calls world community to give water security top priority

UN must take notice of Quran desecration’

Gaddafi resumes Misrata attacks

Islam 'used' for political gain in Turkey, leaked cables say

Europe’s foreign policy in line of fire over Libya

Karzai urges Taleban not to burn schools

US divided on Obama’s Libyan push

Jamia University's minority status under scanner

Hindus from Bangladesh are welcome: Gadkari

Libyan Air Force destroyed

Wars no solution to Pakistan, India problems: Gilani

Pakistan Day celebrated with fervour & enthusiasm

Kadhafi aides exploring way out of crisis

EU summit split on Libya, upset by Portugal

Blast at military base east of Tripoli: witnesses

UK withdraws embassy officials from Yemen

Governor, CM visit Mazar-e-Quaid

Western air strikes fail to dislodge Gaddafi armour

 Qadhafi beats even Saddam in the loathing stakes

War & peace: 'Nobel' Obama fights to defend intervention

At least 15 killed in Syrian city of Daraa: Activists

PM resigns, nation in political crises

Gaddafi defiant as fresh explosions rock Tripoli

Battle lines in Libya remain static

Syrian protesters shot dead

Yemeni President given emergency powers

Gaddafi appears in public, vows to fight on

Six killed in fresh Syria clashes

Gaddafi forces roll back, rebels try to organize

Bomb explodes in central Jerusalem, 31 wounded

Nepal Christians protest to demand burial grounds

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Western airstrikes silence Gaddafi guns in Misrata

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/western-airstrikes-silence-gaddafi-guns-in-misrata/d/4330

 

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Western airstrikes silence Gaddafi guns in Misrata

MAR 24 2011

TRIPOLI: Western warplanes silenced Muammar Gaddafi’s artillery and tanks besieging the rebel-held town of Misrata on Wednesday after an American admiral warned that the Libyan leader’s armour was now in the cross-hairs.

Breathing defiance, Gaddafi earlier said Western powers carrying out air strikes on Libya were “a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history”.

While four nights of Western airstrikes hit Libyan air defences and an armoured column in the east, Gaddafi’s tanks had kept up their shelling of Misrata in the west, killing dozens of people this week.

At least two explosions were heard in the capital Tripoli before dawn on Wednesday and Gaddafi looked set to dig in for the long haul.

In the east, disorganised and badly equipped rebels fighting to end Gaddafi’s rule have failed to capitalise on foreign air strikes and have been pinned down outside Ajdabiyah, 90 miles west of Benghazi.

Meanwhile, NATO countries failed to agree on Wednesday for the Western military alliance to take over command of military operations in Libya from the US, a NATO diplomat said.

After ambassadors of the 28-nation alliance held a third day of meetings in Brussels, the diplomat said, “No decision on anything.”

Problems remained over the relationship between enforcing a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya and military operations to protect civilians, and how broad the mission should be, he said. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg1_4

 

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12 more killed in target killings in Karachi

 

KARACHI: The ongoing series of target killings claimed at least nine more lives on Wednesday, including that of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) activist, in separate incidents in the provincial metropolis.

An activist of MQM was shot dead in front of his house near Mehfooz Sheermal House in the limits of Garden police station. Muhammad Ali, 25, the victim, was the resident of Waseem Terrace.

He was standing in front of his apartment, when two armed men stalked him and sprayed him with bullets. He died on the spot. The assailants, however, managed to escape from the scene.

Scores of MQM workers rushed to the hospital. DSP Sahib Shah said that it was an incident of target killing.

Tension gripped the entire area following the incident. All shops and markets at Ranchore Line, Pan Mandi, Jodia Bazaar and surrounding areas were closed. Unidentified armed men opened fire on a passenger bus in Walika Chowrangi in the limits of SITE police station, claiming one life.

Rashid, 24, the victim, was the resident of Qasba Colony Orangi Town. He was going home on a Safari coach, which was attacked by unidentified armed men. He received a bullet on his head and died on the spot.

Saleem Akhter, 26, was killed on Shah Waliullah Road in the remits of Baghdadi police station. Police officials said Akhter arrived in the area to target someone else but himself fell victim to target killing.

A driver of a trawler was killed while at least four others, including a personnel of a secret agency, were injured in a firing incident on Ayesha Manzil in the limits of Gulberg police station.

The deceased was identified as Abdul Qadeer, 40, and the injured included Sain Kalado, Lal Hussain and Abdul Hafeez. A watchman was shot dead in Malir Tanki Market in the jurisdiction of Saudabad police station. Ghulam Wali, 45, the victim, was on his duty, when unidentified armed men targeted him.

Separately, a man was gunned down while another was injured in Ayub Goth in the limits of Sohrab Goth police station. Ghulam Haider, 50, the victim, was the resident of Ayub Goth.

A young man was gunned down near his house near Memon Mosque Hussain abad in the jurisdiction of Azizabad police station.

Shehzad Memon alias Bhayya, 25, the victim, was sitting near his house in Block 3 Azizabad, when unidentified armed men sprayed him with bullets and escaped.

A young man was shot dead near his house in New Karachi sector 5 M. Salman, 28, the victim, was the resident of Sector 5 M New Karachi.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg7_1

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Three rockets leave four dead in Quetta

MAR 24 2011

QUETTA: Three rocket attacks on the provincial capital on the eve of Pakistan Day left four people, including a traffic police inspector, dead and 18 others injured.

The main casualties occurred at the Saryab level crossing. “Three rockets fired from the overlooking mountains landed and exploded in different parts of Quetta with a big bang,” said a police official

“One of the rockets exploded at Saryab level, a roundabout that usually experiences massive traffic jams, causing causalities,” he said, adding, the blast left 18 people injured. The deceased and injured were taken to the Government Sandeman Hospital.

The second rocket hit a house near Chaman Patak area damaging the roof of the house. The third rocket crushed the door of a house in Khaliqabad area.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg1_7

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3 Nato trailers torched in Balochistan

MAR 24 2011

SIBI: Unidentified armed men attacked and torched three trailers in an area near Sibi carrying supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan. “Six unidentified gunmen riding on two bikes opened fire at three Nato trailers in Kambri Bridge area near Sibi,” said Levies Force sources, adding that after firing, the attackers set the trailers on fire. Later, the attackers managed to escape from the scene. Levies Force immediately reached the site and cordoned off the area to trace out the attackers. The incident caused suspension of traffic on Karachi-Quetta national highway for an hour, however, later, it was cleared. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg7_8---

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Karzai appeals Taliban not to attack schools

MAR 24 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday again urged the Taliban to join peace negotiations and pleaded with them to stop attacking schools in the war-torn country, The Afghan government and its international partners have in recent weeks been avidly pursuing peace talks with the Taliban, but it is still unclear whether the insurgents are willing to engage in such a process. “We are not afraid of guns and bombs,” Karzai said in an emotional speech marking the first day of school after Afghan New Year holidays. “But don’t burn the schools of your sons. Don’t burn the schools of your daughters.” As he has done more insistently in recent weeks, Karzai addressed the Taliban directly, in Dari and in Pashto, the mother-tongue of the Taliban. “The school you’re burning — it’s your school,” said the Afghan leader. “Don’t destroy the future of this poor suffering nation that finally has some opportunities. Don’t destroy it.” School campuses and their employees have been targeted by the Taliban, which has repeatedly threatened to attack anyone working with international troops or the Afghan government, deemed by rebels as an illegitimate client state. “Come and be happy in your country. It’s your house. It’s your homeland,” Karzai said in his speech at Amani High School in Kabul. “It’s free. Come and take part in elections. Nominate your name for the presidency or for the parliament. Like anyone, you can win and get votes.” Many members of the insurgency boycotted elections last summer, but American and Afghan officials are holding out hope that a multinational reconciliation process is in the offing, with the goal being to draw the Taliban into peace negotiations. It is unclear, however, whether the Taliban are willing to engage in such a process, where such talks would take place, or who would represent the amorphous movement. Karzai described education as a common good that even the Taliban should embrace, and he offered the examples of Japan and India, countries that struggled with poverty and conflict in the past, invested heavily in education, and now exert a powerful influence in the world. The Taliban decimated secular education during their five year rule, converting most schools into religious madrassas and banning female education. According to the CIA World Factbook, less than one-third of Afghans are literate. School enrollment has dramatically increased since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, but the Afghan government estimates 4 out of 10 school-aged children do not regularly attend school.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=an&nid=879

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Malir Cantt escapes rocket attack; mosque damaged

MAR 24 2011

KARACHI: Malir Cantonment escaped a rocket attack that damaged a mosque near Kala Pul here in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Unknown men from Dur Muhammad Goth fired two rockets to target Malir Cantonment but they missed the target, police said. One rocket hit the wall of a mosque in the limits of Saudabad police station, while other hit a crop field in Malir area. SHO Saudabad Mohammad Ali said the rescue teams, personnel of law enforcement agencies (LEAs)and a bomb disposal squad rushed to the scene and started search operation. He said no body was injured in the attack, however, the rocket slightly damaged an eight-foot wall of Jamia Masjid Mustafa near Kala Pul. After the incident, scores of people belonging to Ahle Sunnat group took to the streets and chanted slogans against LEAs and the attack. They also burnt tyres on a road in protest against the attack.

SHO Malir Raja Tariq told Daily Times that the militants, who fired two Russian-made rockets DMR107-MM, mishandled the explosive devices, missing the target of Malir Cantonment. He said a separatist party to express resentment on the occasion of Pakistan Day might have carried out the attack. He said each rocket contained around 400 grams of explosive material.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg12_7

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Suicide car bomb kills five in north-west Pakistan: Police

Mar 24, 2011

PESHAWAR: A suicide car bomb targeting police on Thursday killed five people and wounded 25 others in a restive northwestern Pakistani town, police said.

The incident took place in Doaba town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Hangu district, which has a troubled history of sectarian violence.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Suicide-car-bomb-kills-five-in-north-west-Pakistan-Police/articleshow/7778089.cms

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Fifteen dead in new clashes in southern Syria city

MAR 24 2011

DARAA: Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters, fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that began before dawn, witnesses said.

At least six were killed in the early morning attack on the al-Omari mosque in the southern agricultural city of Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets in calls for reforms and political freedoms, witnesses said. An activist in contact with people in Daraa said police shot another three people protesting in its Roman-era city center after dusk. Six more bodies were found later in the day, the activist said.

Inspired by the wave of pro-democracy protests around the region, the uprising in Daraa and at least four nearby villages has become the biggest domestic challenge since the 1970s to the Syrian government, one of the most repressive in the Middle East. Security forces have responded with water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. The total death toll now stands at 22.

As the casualties mounted, people from the nearby villages of Inkhil, Jasim, Khirbet Ghazaleh and al-Harrah tried to march on Daraa Wednesday night but security forces opened fire as they approached, the activist said. It was not immediately clear if there were more deaths or injuries.

Democracy activists used social-networking sites to call for massive demonstrations across the country on Friday, a day they dubbed ‘‘Dignity Friday.’’

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was alarmed by the violence and ‘‘deeply concerned by the Syrian government’s use of violence, intimidation and arbitrary arrests to hinder the ability of its people to freely exercise their universal rights.’’

Heavy shooting rattled Daraa throughout the day, and an Associated Press reporter in the city heard bursts of semi-automatic gunfire echoing in its old center in the early afternoon.

The London-based Syrian Human Rights Committee reported on its website, quoting sources in Daraa, that Syrian authorities shot and killed soldier Khaled al-Masri for refusing orders to take part in storming al-Omari mosque. The report could not be independently confirmed.

State TV said that an ‘‘armed gang’’ had attacked an ambulance in the city and security forces killed four attackers and wounded others and was chasing others who fled. It denied that security forces had stormed the mosque, but also showed footage of guns, AK-47s, hand grenades, ammunition and money that it claimed had been seized from inside.

A video posted on Facebook by activists showed what it said was an empty street near al-Omari Mosque, with the rattle of shooting in the background as a voice shouts: ‘‘My brother, does anyone kill his people? You are our brothers.’’ The authenticity of the footage could not be independently verified.

Full report at:

The grip of Syria’s security forces is weaker on the border away from the capital, Damascus.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/24/fifteen-dead-in-new-clashes-in-southern-syria-city.html

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Street play, demonstration remember Bhagat Singh

MAR 24 2011

LAHORE: Scores of passers-by joined civil society activists in watching ‘Chipen Ton Pehlan’ staged near Shadman Chowk on Wednesday in connection with the 79th anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom.

Written by Davinder Daman and directed by Huma Safdar, the one-hour street play was arranged by Punjab Lok Rahs.

Reviving the old tradition of Nukar Theatre, the play portrayed Bhagat Singh’s struggle against British imperialism.

The cast included Punjab University Mass Communication Department students Hammad Afzal (Bhagat Singh), Adil Aziz (Boga sweeper), Adnan (advocate Pran Nath Metha) Mohsin Ali Danish (jailer Akbar Khan), Tayyab and Akmal (jail officials) while Sobia Zaidi and Huma Safdar performed choreography.

At nearby Shadman Chowk roundabout, civil society activists held a demonstration under the umbrella of Institute for Peace and Secular Studies.

Carrying placards, the demonstrators joined by Labour Party Pakistan activists demanded that the Shadman Chowk be renamed after Bhagat Singh who was hanged there on March 23, 1931. They also raised slogans like `Inqilab Zindabad,’ Bhagat Teray Khoon Se Inqilab Aaey Ga,’ and ‘Amriki, Arab Samraj Murdabad’.

They also informed Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi that the Punjab government had been approached in 2001 that Bhagat Singh should be recognised as one of the heroes of independence movement and Shadman Chowk be renamed after him, but no action was taken.

Mr Hashmi assured the demonstrators that he would take up the matter with federal and Punjab governments. He said that a block in the ETPB offices would be named after Bhagat Singh on Thursday.

The ETPB would also give award to a Sikh on the occasion of Baisakhi every year who would have contributed to the cause of independence.

Also, the Punjabi Language Movement observed the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh at its Shama Chowk office on Wednesday.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/24/street-play-demonstration-remember-bhagat-singh.html

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NATO fire kills Afghan child

MAR 24 2011

KHOST: An Afghan child was shot and killed by international forces targeting terrorists in the restive east of the country on Wednesday, police said, triggering a NATO investigation. Coalition forces opened fire from the air on a car carrying a group of terrorists in eastern Khost province but accidentally struck another vehicle, killing the child, provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Esahaqaai told journalists. He said two other civilians were injured in the incident in Khost, one of the biggest flashpoints in the 10-year Taliban insurgency that erupted after the 2001 US-led invasion brought down their regime. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg7_10

 

Time is now for talks to end Afghan war’

MAR 24 2011

KABUL: A new report said that the war in Afghanistan has reached a stalemate and the best time to jump-start a political settlement with the Taliban is now. The report was issued on Wednesday by a public policy research institution called New Century Foundation. It said the US and Afghanistan’s neighbours, especially Pakistan, must play key roles in any negotiations. It also said that demands that the Taliban sever ties with al Qaeda should be goals, not preconditions for talks.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=1552267

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Muslims, Christians reach ‘peace deal’ in Badami Bagh

By Afnan Khan

MAR 24 2011

LAHORE: Muslim clerics and hardliners, who held at least three rallies on Tuesday and tried to attack a church in Badami Bagh, agreed to avoid doing so on a condition that the church should conclude its services and rituals as per routine. The “peace deal” was reached through the efforts of local police.

To settle the matter, a peace committee, comprising 14 people including four Christians and ten Muslims, organised by the Badami Bagh Police Station SHO as per the directions of police high-ups, took a decision that the church authorities would suspend its activities, especially at the time when Muslims living in the area offer prayers.

The people pointed out that a Christian in the area kept reciting verses from the Bible while passing through streets and demanded that he be barred from doing so in order to ensure peace of mind to Muslim residents of the area.

Separately, local police sources told Daily Times that the peace deal was signed by “posing threats and putting immense pressure on local Christians who simply succumbed to the pressure for being left alive and untouched, hence promising to follow the SHO’s and the peace committee’s directions”. They also said, “It was quite ironic that the same people who were members of the peace committee also led mobs against Christians, one of them being a cleric Zubair from Madina Mosque, who called on local Muslims to unite and attack the church over accusations that the church had deliberately burnt papers containing Quranic verses, which were found on a nearby garbage heap on Tuesday morning.”

However, representatives of Christians in the peace committee told Daily Times that they were very happy with the decision of the committee and local police authorities as their on time intervention had avoided a big chaos.

They also said that Christians would never want to come into a conflict with their Muslim brothers, as they believed in peace and harmony as per Christ’s saying of “putting the second cheek forward if somebody slaps you on the first”.

Separately, rights activist and Community Development Initiative Chief, Asif Aqeel, told Daily Times that the police had played a partial role during the incident, although they should be appreciated for their on time intervention, which protected local Christians from a violent mob which burnt tyres and was planning to attack the church. Aqeel also said that those who instigated violence through loudspeakers and led extremist rallies deserved to be booked for violating Punjab Loudspeakers and Amplifier Ordinance and Section 153 of the Pakistan Penal Code for instigating riots and provoking people to attack a community.

The peace committee formed under the supervision of the SHO comprised former Nazim Mushtaq Mughal (chairman of the committee), Hajji Bao Muhammad Rashid, Bazaar Union President Abdul Ghafoor of Chaddar Bazaar, Bazaar Union Secretary Ustaad Muhammad Younus, Advocate Chaudhry Nazir Ahmed, former councilor Chaudhry Saeed Ahmed, Maulvi Muhammad Zubair Qureshi, Zuhoor Hussain Shah, Paster Sadiq Bhatti, former councilor Zulfiqar Ali, Khalid Shehzad, Mehboob Kuchianwala, former councilor Chaudhry Aqil Javed, Hajji Amjad Ali and Gulzar Anjum.

The committee was constituted with the purpose of maintaining peace in the area and also to investigate whether the desecration of the holy verses of the holy Quran was an accident since there is a box put opposite to the Full Gospel Assembly church where worn out pages of holy books are placed instead of throwing them away.

However, the SHO told Daily Times that the committee comprised credible people of the area and was successful in maintaining peace in the area in the wake of tension over the issue.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg7_26

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Muslim and Christian Dalits victims of religious apartheid sanctioned by the state

BY Yoginder Sikand

MAR 24 2011

In 1935, the British, in response to growing demands from the oppressed castes led by Babasaheb Ambedkar, arranged for a number of castes, whose names were specified in a schedule (hence called Scheduled Castes), to be given reservations in government jobs and elected bodies. These castes, numbering several hundred, had historically been treated as despised untouchables, considered both by the wider society as well as the Hindu religion as sub-humans or worse. They were not defined by any religion. They included a number of castes or sections thereof whose ancestors had converted over the centuries to various religions, such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism, in search of liberation from the tyranny of the Hindu, or more specially, Brahminical religion.

Recognising the legitimacy of the demands of the oppressed castes for reservations as a means for representation, the Constitution of India continued with the special provisions for the Scheduled Castes under Article 341, but in 1950, a presidential order specified that no person professing any religion other than Hinduism would be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste.

This patently anti-secular and grossly anti-democratic order was stiffly resisted by non-Hindu Dalits. In the face of strong protests over the years, the Indian state was compelled to extend Scheduled Caste status to Sikh and Buddhist Dalits. Yet, it continues to deny the same to Christian and Muslim Dalits. This is a clear violation of the constitutional rights of these groups that number in the tens of millions. It is a patent act of discrimination on the basis of religion engaged in by the Indian state itself, clearly revealing its pro-Hindu bias. It compels Dalits to identify themselves (often against their will, given the degraded status that Hinduism consigns them to) as ‘Hindus’, thereby artificially inflating Hindu numbers. This is the price that they have to pay in order to receive the crumbs of state patronage. Although the Brahminical texts, the basis of what is called ‘Hinduism’ clearly do not recognise Dalits as members of the Hindu society, treating them as ‘polluting’ outcastes, as outside the four-fold varna system, by insisting that the Dalits identify themselves as ‘Hindus’ if they wish to enjoy Scheduled Caste status, the Indian state has, in one stroke, engaged in a massive act of religious conversion, more aptly described as ‘religious bribery’, converting through the force of law, millions of people to a religion that is predicated on their degradation and the brutal denial of their humanity. According to the law, if a Christian or Muslim Dalit converts to ‘Hinduism’, he is automatically entitled to Scheduled Caste status. This is another way in which the Indian state acts as a Hindu missionary agent, its secular pretensions notwithstanding.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\24\story_24-3-2011_pg7_29

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Five killed in Hangu suicide blast; 25 hurt

March 24, 2011

HANGU: At least five policemen have been killed and as many as 25 others sustained injuries as a result of a powerful explosion – apparently a suicide blast, near Doaaba police station here in Hangu early on Thursday, Geo News reported.

According to reports, a suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden vehicle stormed at the Doaaba police station, ripping through the building, which killed five policemen and injured 25 more.

Law Enforcement Agencies (LAE) officials have reached the crime site and kicked off rescue efforts as the poor injured police officials are being rushed to hospital for medical attainment.

More reports were coming till filing of this news reports.

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13065

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Libyan troops target rebels after air force 'destroyed'

March 24, 2011

NEAR AJDABIYA: Libyan forces pounded rebel cities on Wednesday with tank fire forcing civilians to flee as a top British officer said Moamer Kadhafi's air force had been almost obliterated.       

As an armada of NATO warships patrolled Libya's coast to enforce an arms embargo against Kadhafi, fresh efforts to hand the alliance command of the military operations collapsed after days of sometimes acrimonious debate. 

A NATO diplomat said the 28-nation alliance would try again on Thursday to reach a decision on whether NATO should take charge of the operation launched on Saturday by Britain, France and the United States.

But nations were already hailing the success of the air strikes, with British Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell saying Libya's air force has been almost totally obliterated and "no longer exists as a fighting force."

US officials are also openly speculating whether the continued pressure will force Kadhafi out of power after four decades in control.      

At the end of a day of bitter fighting in key rebel strongholds, pro-Kadhafi forces pounded a hospital in the western city of Misrata, a rebel spokesman said. 

Witnesses also reported a huge blast at a military base in the Tajura residential neighbourhood some 32 kilometres (20 miles) east of the capital, while anti-aircraft fire was heard as warplanes thundered over Tripoli.         

The official news agency said coalition raids on Tajura killed "a large number" of civilians.

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13056

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Yemeni Parliament gives President emergency powers

March 24, 2011

Yemen’s parliament enacted sweeping emergency laws on Wednesday after the country’s embattled President asked for new powers of arrest, detention and censorship to quash a popular uprising demanding his ouster.

The move escalates the showdown between US-backed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and the movement that has unified military commanders, religious leaders and protesting youth in demands for his immediate departure. The law suspends the constitution, allows media censorship, bars street protests and gives security forces 30 days of far-reaching powers to arrest and detain suspects without judicial process.

Its adoption was a virtual certainty because Saleh’s ruling party dominates the 301-seat legislature. Opposition and independent legislators stayed away from Wednesday’s parliamentary session along with dozens of lawmakers from Saleh’s own ruling party. Parliament said more than 160 lawmakers were present Wednesday.

There was no breakdown available of the vote, which was done by a show of hands amid chaotic scenes.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/326365/Yemeni-Parliament-gives-President-emergency-powers.html

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Sharif ‘ accepted’ Pak hand days after 26/ 11

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

MAR 24 2011

FORMER Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif had admitted to a US diplomat the involvement of his countrymen in 26/ 11 within days of the attack.

All this time, the Pakistani government was refusing to admit the role of its nationals in the Mumbai strike. It finally agreed that part of the attack was plotted in the country when India served it the first 26/ 11 dossier in January 2009.

Less than a fortnight after the attack, Sharif told visiting US senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham ( on December 6, 2008) that he was convinced Pakistanis were involved in the attack and that he would push for strict action against the extremists, a leaked US embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks has revealed.

According to the cable, Sharif pointed out that he had concluded the Lahore Declaration in 1999 with then Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and that the Pakistan Muslim League ( Nawaz) had refrained from making India a political issue.

“ Sharif told John McCain and Lindsey Graham on December 6 that his party had acted responsibly with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party to fight terrorism,” read the cable sent by acting principal officer Clinton Taylor of the US Consulate in Lahore.

“ He boasted that his party had refrained from using India as a political tool. ‘ We strongly condemned what happened in India, and want the issue to come to an end,’ he stated. ‘ If there is concrete evidence, we must take action’,” the cable said, quoting Sharif.

“ He described how he had listened to the phone call made by one of the attackers and even though the individual claimed he was Indian, Sharif heard a Pakistani accent. ‘ The people involved were from this country — I am convinced’,” he stated.

‘ We must take the strictest action against those elements.

Once India produces concrete evidence, we should go the whole hog,’ he declared,” Sharif is quoted in the cable.

The former PM’s stand, however, contradicts the stand of many from his native Punjab province.

Full report at:

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2432011

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Gaddafi eyes exit deal

MAR 24 2011

LIBYAN dictator Muammar Gaddafi may be looking for a way out of the crisis in his country and “ exploring” his future options, according to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

She said the US administration was receiving reports that the Colonel’s inner circle may have reached out to people in Europe and around the world to ask “ How do we get out of this?” “ Some of it is theatre,” Clinton said in an interview with ABC television’s Diane Sawyer. “ I’m not aware that he personally has reached out, but I do know that people allegedly on his behalf have been reaching out.” She said: “ A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It’s somewhat unpredictable.

But some of it we think is exploring.

“ You know, ‘ What are my options? Where could I go? What could I do?’ And we would encourage that.” That can be seen as a very definite hint that the US would broker a deal to put Gaddafi in exile.

However, the under- fire leader himself made a typically defiant appearance in his first public outing since the coalition intervention began.

He promised enthusiastic supporters at his residential compound in Tripoli: “ In the short term, we’ll beat them, in the long term, we’ll beat them.” Libyan state TV broadcast what it claimed was live coverage of the speech, which lasted less than five minutes.

“ This is an attack by Fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history,” Gaddafi said. “ I do not fear storms that sweep the horizon, nor do I fear the planes that throw black destruction.... My house is here in my tent.... I am here. I am here.” He urged all Islamic armies to join him.

State TV said Gaddafi was speaking from his Bab Al- Aziziya residential compound, the same one hit by a coalition cruise missile on Sunday night.

Despite his defiance, Western warplanes silenced Gaddafi’s artillery and tanks besieging the rebel- held town of Misrata on Wednesday after a US admiral warned that the Libyan leader’s armour was now in the cross hairs.

Gaddafi’s tanks had kept up the shelling of Misrata, killing dozens of people this week, and residents said a massacre was taking place with doctors treating the wounded in hospital corridors.

Snipers killed five people on Wednesday, they said. “ Before the strikes, tanks shelled the city... but now they haven’t fired a single round since the airstrikes,” Saadoun, a Misrata resident, said.

Full report at:

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2432011

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Syrian forces kill 6 in mosque attack: residents

MAR 24 2011

Syrian forces killed at least six people on Wednesday in an attack on a mosque in the southern city of Deraa, site of unprecedented protests challenging the president Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist rule, residents said.

Those killed included Ali Ghassab al-Mahamid, a doctor from a prominent Deraa family who went to the Omari mosque in the city’s old quarter to help victims of the attack, which occurred just after midnight, said the residents, declining to be named.

An official statement said Mahamidm, who was killed while he was in an ambulance that had arrived at the scene to rescue the injured, was ‘assaulted by an armed gang, which caused his martyrdom.’

‘Security forces confronted the armed gang near the Omari mosque, shooting several of its members and arresting others. A member of the security forces was killed,’ the statement said.

Before security forces attacked the mosque, electricity was cut off in the area and telephone services were severed. Cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ erupted across neighbourhoods in Deraa when the shooting began.

It was not immediately clear whether the protesters had any weapons.

The attack brought to 10 the number of civilians killed by Syrian forces during six days of demonstrations calling for political freedoms and an end to corruption in the country of 20 million. The ruling Baath Party has banned opposition and enforced emergency laws since 1963.

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12650.html

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Abdullah calls world community to give water security top priority

24 March 2011

Abu Dhabi - Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister called on the international community to place the water issue on top of its agenda given the increasing demand for drinking water and climate change. Speaking on the World Water Day, Shaikh Abdullah said ‘ The UAE believes the water issue needs urgent actions.

The water crisis, he affirmed, the crisis can be avoided and prevented.  ‘Being a desert country with scarce water resources, the UAE is striving to strike a balance between demand and supply in regards to its drinking water stock,’he noted.

He stressed the importance of international cooperation for sound use of water through a more efficient method, development of new technologies that can help in purification, distribution and protection of water in a way that helps the world address climate change challenges. ‘As we celebrate this day, we are optimistic about our capacity to overcome the crisis if we have the qualities of prudent leadership, cooperation and spirit of innovation.

‘The UAE urges the G 20 - as a platform that addresses tremendous challenges facing the world - to keep the water security at the top of its priority agenda,’he added.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/March/theuae_March664.xml&section=theuae&col=

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‘UN must take notice of Quran desecration’

24 March 2011

ISLAMABAD — Warning of a strong backlash, Pakistan has condemned the reported burning of a copy of the Holy Quran by a rogue Christian preacher in Florida, USA, and asked the United Nations to take cognisance of the gruesome act.

On instructions from the government, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon wrote a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and conveyed his country’s condemnation of the despicable act.

President Asif Ali Zardari started his annual address to the joint sitting of parliament with a note of condemnation against the desecration of the Holy Book.

“I call upon this august House to adopt a resolution urging the UN to address this issue for the sake of harmony and peace in the world,” Zardari said. He said the barbaric act was a serious setback to the efforts for promoting harmony amongst civilised communities.

Separately, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan expects the US administration and the American people as well as all civilised societies to take due cognisance of, and express their revulsion to, this sacrilegious act.

“Such sacrilegious acts go against the very concept of inter-faith harmony. There could be no justification for such acts. This has deeply hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and Muslims all over the world,” said Hina.

In his letter, Ambassador Haroon expressed Pakistan’s profound regret and deep concern over the increasing ?acts of Islamophobia and growing trends of intolerance and hatred towards Muslims as well as insults to their religious symbols and personalities.

The recent infamy, he added, is yet another manifestation of this trend, which has deeply hurt the religious feelings of Muslims in Pakistan and around the world. “While this reprehensible act is the work of extremists and is evidently designed to provoke dissent and discord among communities across the world, such sacrilegious acts also go against the very concept of inter-faith harmony and threaten the multicultural fabric of the societies and the brotherhood of the UN,” he said.

In Islamabad, the US embassy issued a statement condemning the act and said that the despicable act was done by a small group of people in Florida and does not reflect the general sentiment of respect towards Islam by the American people.

“The deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act and US commitment to freedom of religion and freedom of expression goes back to the founding of our nation and is enshrined in the constitution,” said US Ambassador Cameron Munter. “We absolutely reject religious intolerance in any form,” he added.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March1323.xml&section=international&col=

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Gaddafi resumes Misrata attacks

24 March 2011

TRIPOLI - Western warplanes hit Libya for a fifth night on Thursday, but have so far failed to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks shelling rebel-held towns or dislodge his armour from a strategic junction in the east.

Gaddafi’s tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and began shelling the area near the main hospital, residents and rebels said, resuming their attack after their guns were silenced in daylight hours by Western airstrikes.

Government snipers in the city, Libya’s third largest, were undeterred by the bombing raids though and had carried on firing indiscriminately throughout, residents said. A rebel spokesman said the snipers had killed 16 people.

“Government tanks are closing in on Misrata hospital and shelling the area,” said a doctor in Misrata who was briefly reached by phone before the line was cut off.

It was impossible to independently verify the reports.

A loud explosion was heard in the Libyan capital Tripoli early on Thursday and smoke could be seen rising from an area where a military base is situated.

“We heard another explosion just now. We see smoke rising. There are people on rooftops. It seems to be in a military area near the engineering college (in the Tajoura area),” said one resident, declining to be named.

The US military said it had successfully established a no-fly zone over Libya’s coastal areas and had moved on to attack Gaddafi’s tanks. The allies flew 175 sorties in 24 hours, with the U.S. flying 113 of those, a US commander said.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said France had destroyed some 10 Libyan armoured vehicles over three days.

The UN Security Council resolution he said, “stipulates that the coalition has all means available to protect the civilians. What’s threatening the population today is the tanks and artillery,” he said in an interview with Le Figaro.

The Libyan government denies its army is conducting any offensive operations and says troops are only defending themselves when they come under attack.

But a resident in Zintan, southwest of Tripoli said Gaddafi forces were bringing up more troops and tanks to bombard the rebel-held town. Rebels forces in the east meanwhile were still pinned down outside the strategic junction at Ajdabiyah after more than three days of trying to recapture it.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/March/international_March1327.xml&section=international

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Islam 'used' for political gain in Turkey, leaked cables say

March 23, 2011

Islam in Turkey is not “monolithic” and is politically divided, with both secularists and conservative Islamists trying to manipulate religion’s role in public affairs to their own ends, U.S. diplomats said in a newly leaked cable.

The June 27, 2003, diplomatic cable, released Wednesday by WikiLeaks’ Turkish partner, daily Taraf, also claimed the country’s Religious Affairs Directorate is suppressing Islamic beliefs that do not fit the official version.

The Turkish version of secularism is “180 degrees opposite” of the U.S. version as it is not one embraced by the people and protected by the Constitution but “divinized” by the Constitution and forced on the people, the cable also said.

According to the cable, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate and the institutions within its scope are not separated from the state but are to the contrary, an indivisible part of it.

It noted that the directorate was among the biggest official institutions in Turkey, with 90,000 personnel as of 2003, and that it employs all the imams in Turkey and controls the contents of their preaching. The directorate produces a “Kemalist Islam” that has little to do with the beliefs held in the “less elite” corners of Anatolia, the cable said, adding that the directorate is oppressing forms of Islam, including the pro-secular faction of Alevism, that do not fit the official version.

Fear of millions of ‘potential terrorists’ in Turkey

The Sunni Islamic doctrine has changed so little since the Middle Ages that there is not much difference between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Turkey, the Religious Affairs Directorate’s research office director, Niyazi Kahveci, told U.S. officials during a visit on Nov. 14, 1996, according to another recently leaked cable.

Although the Islamist Welfare Party, or RP, was the larger partner of the coalition in power that year, the pro-shariah community in Turkey was considered a “small minority” – though one that was growing in number – in a Nov. 18, 1996, cable sent to Washington. This approach had changed slightly, however, by the time another cable on the subject was sent to Washington nine years later.

“A leading Turkish national security analyst” told U.S. diplomats that “only 7 percent of Turkish citizens support radical forms of Islam,” a number the poll company ANAR, noted as being the one employed by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, put at 5 percent. “However, in a country of 70 million [people], even if half a percent of the population supports al-Qaeda-type terrorism, this would mean 350,000 potential terrorists,” the cable read.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkish-secularism-diametrically-opposed-to-us-wikileaks-cables-say-2011-03-23

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Europe’s foreign policy in line of fire over Libya

MAR 24 2011

As the international campaign against Moamer Gaddafi gathers strength, one target emerging in the line of fire is Europe’s much-vaunted and long-awaited common foreign policy.

Barely a year after launching an EU diplomatic service almost a decade in the making, leaders of the 27-nation bloc head for a two-day summit Thursday after ‘not a good week for EU unity’, as British conservative Euro MP Charles Tannock put it.

In a historic move, Germany broke ranks with its European Union partners by abstaining on last week’s Libya resolution at the UN Security Council, while Italy and others have shown growing irritation with coalition leaders Britain and France.

Split over the Libya campaign, not to mention future policy towards the bloc’s Arab neighbours, much flak for the lack of a single European voice is being directed at the Brussels chief of the fledgling EU diplomatic corps, Catherine Ashton.

At hearings of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee Tuesday, Ashton came in for a barrage of fire from MEPs. She heard everything from ‘We would like to see from you a more proactive approach’ to ‘your job is superfluous, it’s money thrown out the window’.

Analysts concede that Ashton has disappointed by taking a low-profile stand as EU mouthpiece rather than taking the initiative — all this in times of economic recession when many governments are cutting back on embassy staff, but paying for the EU corps.

‘It is not too late to set out a determined new plan for Euro-Arab cooperation,’ said Giles Merritt of the Friends of Europe think tank. ‘But that will not happen if Baroness Ashton remains a low-profile operator.’

But EU member states themselves are divided, said Andre Deletroz of the International Crisis Group. ‘So it’s difficult to ask Brussels to act alone or put up a common position.’

Tensions between member states were ‘less dramatic’ and ‘less impassioned’ however than in 2003 over Iraq, when France refused to join military action, he said.

‘The problem,’ Ashton herself said, ‘is the reality of 27 member states who are sovereign, who believe passionately in their own right to determine what they do, particularly in the area of defence, who will take different views.’

But many leading European politicians remain concerned over the bloc’s lack of unity in responding to events unfolding in its own backyard.

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12655.html

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Karzai urges Taleban not to burn schools

Mar 23, 2011

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday again urged the Taleban to join peace negotiations and pleaded with them to stop attacking schools in the war-torn country, The Afghan government and its international partners have in recent weeks been avidly pursuing peace talks with the Taleban, but it is still unclear whether the insurgents are willing to engage in such a process.

“We are not afraid of guns and bombs,” Karzai said in an emotional speech marking the first day of school after Afghan New Year holidays. “But don’t burn the schools of your sons. Don’t burn the schools of your daughters.”

As he has done more insistently in recent weeks, Karzai addressed the Taleban directly, in Dari and in Pashto, the mother-tongue of the Taleban.

“The school you’re burning — it’s your school,” said the Afghan leader. “Don’t destroy the future of this poor suffering nation that finally has some opportunities. Don’t destroy it.”

School campuses and their employees have been targeted by the Taleban, which has repeatedly threatened to attack anyone working with international troops or the Afghan government, deemed by rebels as an illegitimate client state.

“Come and be happy in your country. It’s your house. It’s your homeland,” Karzai said in his speech at Amani High School in Kabul. “It’s free. Come and take part in elections. Nominate your name for the presidency or for the parliament. Like anyone, you can win and get votes.”

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article327745.ece

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US divided on Obama’s Libyan push

March 24, 2011

S. Rajagopalan

Unlike America’s previous military engagements, President Barack Obama’s push on Libya has met with relatively limited public endorsement as of now. A poll released by Gallup says that 47 per cent of Americans have approved of the US and allied air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces, but 37 per cent disapproved of it and 16 per cent offered no opinion.

This level of approval is lower than that for the initial stages of the US’s past military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Somalia, Gallup said.

When President George W. Bush launched his Afghanistan operation in October 2001, nearly a month after the 9/11 terror strikes, the public approval was as high as 90 per cent. His Iraq invasion in March 2003 also received 76 per cent initial endorsement, but went down sharply in later years as the operation turned into a Vietnam-like quagmire for the US.

The public support for Obama’s current offensive in implementation of the UN Security Council resolution has been found to be even lower than the 71 per cent approval for President Ronald Reagan’s missile strikes against Libya itself back in 1986. That was in response to the Libyan bombing of a German nightclub that killed two American servicemen.

The poll, conducted on Monday, did not ask Americans’ specific reasons for approving or disapproving of the efforts against Libya, so the reasons for their subdued support are not clear, Gallup said, noting that support for military action fluctuates depending on how things go.

In the past, the public’s views on military actions have changed in response to the progress or lack of progress of those ventures. Usually, the longer the United States is involved in a military operation, such as the recent war in Iraq, the more support drops.

President Obama, meanwhile, has held further consultations with British and French leaders as part of his quest for an early transfer of the key role for America in the Libyan operation to an international coalition. France has so far been opposed to the idea of transferring the command-and-control of the operation to NATO.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/326368/US-divided-on-Obama%E2%80%99s-Libyan-push.html

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Jamia University's minority status under scanner

Mar 24 2011

New Delhi : The grant of minority status to Jamia Millia Islamia University by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) on Wednesday came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court which has sought responses from the Centre and others on a PIL.

"Issue notice to Human Resources Development Ministry, the Ministry of Minority Affairs... for February 22, a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said.

The high court on Wednesday admitted for hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) of Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of NGO 'Yuva Bharti Samiti', alleging that "the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, incorporates and establishes the university and dissolves the Jamia Millia Islamia Society, which was managing and running it, and the NCMEI has no jurisdiction or authority to declare it a minority institution."

Besides the ministries concerned, the court has also sought responses from the Vice Chancellor of the University, the teachers' association and five others including the students' union.

The NCMEI headed by Justice M S A Siddiqui had recently granted "minority" status to the University which will enable it to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslim students.

The Varsity will no longer have to give reservation to SC and ST students also, the panel, a quasi-judicial body, had said while allowing the petitions of students union, Jamia Old Boys Association and Jamia Teachers Association. The petitions were filed in 2006.

"The Act does not provide any special consideration for a person belonging to a particular community and the posts of chief policy making body (Anjuman)... are open to persons of all caste, creed and religion with no special consideration to Muslims...," the PIL said, adding grant of minority status defeated the purpose of the law which was enacted by Parliament.

"The university is a central university of national importance and is an alloy of secular Indian culture where members of all caste, creed and religions have been benefited and cannot be conferred with the status of minority institution," the petition, filed by advocates Rakesh and Santosh Kumar, said.

Earlier, the NCMEI had said Jamia would continue to enjoy the central university status and the only "minority central university" in the country, given its unique character.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/766639/

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Hindus from Bangladesh are welcome: Gadkari

Mar 23 2011

Silchar : BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said Hindus who faced religious persecution in Bangladesh were welcome anytime to the country and should be given citizenship status here.

Addressing two largely attended election rallies at Patharkandi and Ramkrishnanagar in South Assam's Barak valley that goes to the Assembly hustings on April 4, Gadkari said the BJP was firm on its stand that the Hindus from Bangladesh should be accepted even if they came after the cut off year of 1971.

"However, there was no question of giving citizenship to indigenous Muslims residing in the state for long and then those who have come after 1971 shall have to leave the country," Gadkari said in the minority-dominated areas near the Indo-Bangla border.

Launching a scathing attack on the ruling Congress both in the Centre and state, the BJP president said that corruption had become the rule of the day.

"The Congress was against any probe into all the corruption cases which will reveal their role", he alleged.

"Corruption will be the main election plank for BJP and we will be seeking mandate with a promise to provide good governance if voted to power", Gadkari said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/766327/

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Libyan Air Force destroyed

Mar 24, 2011

TRIPOLI: Western warplanes silenced Muammar Qaddafi’s artillery and tanks besieging the rebel-held town of Misrata on Wednesday and a British military official said Western forces had destroyed Libya’s Air Force and were flying with impunity across its airspace.

Saudi Arabia expressed strong support for the goals of the UN resolution on Libya and other Arab and Muslim states pledged to join the coalition against Qaddafi.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement that “Prince Saud (Al-Faisal) expressed strong support for the aims of UNSCR 1973 and the steps being taken by the international community to enforce it.” The foreign minister discussed developments in Libya and Bahrain with Cameroon late Tuesday.

Cameron also said Kuwait and Jordan would make logistical contributions to back efforts to protect civilians in Libya, emphasizing broad support for the operations.

NATO said Turkey has offered four frigates, a submarine and a support ship to help enforce the alliance’s mission to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya. The alliance had offers of 16 ships to implement a decision to launch the mission taken by NATO this week, Brig. Pierre St Amand told a news briefing in Brussels.

Breathing defiance, Qaddafi earlier said Western powers carrying out airstrikes on Libya were “a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history.”

The Western powers enforcing the UN resolution to protect Libyan civilians are struggling to agree on a coherent command structure including NATO after Washington said it wanted to hand over leadership of the campaign in the coming days.

While four nights of Western airstrikes hit Libyan air defenses and an armored column in the east, Qaddafi’s tanks had kept up their shelling of Misrata in the west, killing dozens of people this week. Residents said a “massacre” was taking place with doctors treating the wounded in hospital corridors. Government snipers killed 16 people on Wednesday, rebels said.

“Now with the airstrikes we are more optimistic,” Saadoun, a Misrata resident, told Reuters by telephone. “These strikes give us hope, especially the fact they are precise and are targeting the (Qaddafi) forces and not only the bases. Before the strikes, tanks shelled the city ... but now they haven’t fired a single artillery (round) since the airstrike.”

Prior to the Misrata strikes, US Rear Adm. Peg Klein said warplanes, which had been suppressing Libya’s air defenses, would now be sent out to attack Qaddafi’s tanks. “We are authorized, and the president made the nexus between the Security Council resolution and what he considers our legal mandate to attack those tanks. So that is the type of target that our strike aircraft will go at.”

British Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell said at a base in Italy that Western forces had destroyed Libya’s Air Force and were flying with impunity across its airspace, attacking ground troops wherever they threatened civilians.

The allies had flown 175 sorties in the last 24 hours, with the US flying 113 of those, Hueber said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article327960.ece

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Wars no solution to Pakistan, India problems: Gilani

MAR 24 2011

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said that his government would like to continue to work with the Government of India to resolve all outstanding issues peacefully and in just manner. “Wars are not solution, talks are the only way forward between Pakistan and India”, Gilani remarked while talking to the Indian Peace delegation led by the famous Indian Journalist Kuldip Nayar that called on him here at the PM House on Wednesday. The Prime Minister appreciated the contribution of the members of the civil society of both sides towards promoting the ideas of peace, friendship and development in the region particularly between India and Pakistan and said that he wanted to benefit from the wisdom of the civil society and peace activists in pursuing cordial neighbourly ties with India. The Prime Minister stated that the first priority of his government was the development and well-being of the people of Pakistan for which peace and stability in the country were critical. Pakistan hence wishes to have friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India and he had personally invested into peace process given his ancestral and family’s long-standing historical contributions in joint India war of liberation and India-Pakistan friendship, he added. The Prime Minister recalled his meetings with his Indian counterpart in Sharm El Sheikh in 2009 and in Thimphu in April last year and stated that he fully believed in the sincerity of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for resolution of all the disputes between the two countries through the peace process. He urged the politicians as well as media of both sides for their positive role in taking the peace process forward. The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction on the resumption of dialogue between the two countries by noting that Interior Secretaries of the two countries will meet in New Delhi next week to take up terrorism, drug trafficking and humanitarian issues. He stated that the Commerce Secretary of India would be visiting Islamabad towards the end of April whereas other segments of strategic dialogue were being scheduled to pave the way for the meeting of the two Foreign Secretaries followed by Foreign Minister of Pakistan’s visit to New Delhi in July.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=2208

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Pakistan Day celebrated with fervour & enthusiasm

MAR 24 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Day was celebrated with national fervor and enthusiasm on Wednesday. The day dawned with a thirty-one gun salute in the federal capital and twenty-one in the provincial metropolis.  Special prayers were offered after Fajr prayers for the solidarity and integrity of the country and unity of Muslim Ummah. A change of guard ceremony was held at the Mazar of Poet Philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal in Lahore this morning. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force took over the guards duty at the Mazar-e-Quaid. .  Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah visited the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi to pay homage to the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. They laid floral wreath and offered fateha for the departed soul. Large number of citizens and various social and cultural organizations also visited the Mazar of the Father of the Nation, laid floral wreaths and offered fateha. In Lahore, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari gave away medals and national awards to forty six persons for their outstanding performance in various fields.  In Quetta, the Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi at a ceremony distributed four national, twelve Excellency and four Youth awards among the personalities who have performed excellence in their respective fields in the province. In Azad Kashmir, quiz contests were held in the educational institutions. .   Girl guides and boy scouts rallies were also held to mark the day.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=ts&nid=2210

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Blast at military base east of Tripoli: witnesses

March 24, 2011

TRIPOLI: A huge blast was heard on Wednesday night on a military base in the Tajura region 32 kilometres (about 20 miles) east of the Libyan capital, witnesses told AFP.

Flame could be seen at the base after the blast, they said.       

State-run television later reported "crusader colonialists bombing some civilian and military locations in Tajura," without elaborating.        

Later the official Jana news agency also reported that the Tajura district was hit "for a second time tonight."         

Tajura is home to the most important Libyan military bases and was struck by allied forces on Saturday, the first day of the military operations launched against Libya to impose a UN no-fly zone on the country.      

The capital Tripoli, which had been eerily calm in the first part of the evening, was later shaken by sporadic anti-aircraft fire from 2030 GMT, a correspondent said. (AFP)

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13060

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UK withdraws embassy officials from Yemen

March 24, 2011

LONDON: The United Kingdom all but closed its embassy in Yemen Wednesday, urging Britons to leave the country as soon as possible to avoid getting caught up in the country's deepening unrest.

Britain's Foreign Office said it was leaving only a skeleton staff at its embassy in Yemen, calling on Britons still living in Yemen to "leave now" as the government would find it very difficult to offer them consular assistance if the situation worsened.

Yemen has seen increasingly bloody violence as its embattled leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, clings to power amid a wave of revolt sweeping the Arab world. Earlier Wednesday Saleh escalated his confrontation with protesters threatening to topple him, taking on emergency powers which suspend the constitution, bar protests and give security forces far-reaching powers of arrest.

The opposition has called the vote illegal and vowed to press on with its campaign, setting the stage for further violence in a country which has already seen dozens of demonstrators killed in clashes with authorities.

Britain has been advising its citizens to leave the country for nearly two weeks, but the Foreign Office said it was making Wednesday's announcement in light of "the increasing seriousness of the situation."

In a statement, it called on all parties in Yemen "to exercise the utmost restraint and take all steps necessary to defuse this situation." (AP

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13067

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Governor, CM visit Mazar-e-Quaid

March 23, 2011

KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Wednesday visited the Mazar-e-Quaid here on the occasion of Pakistan Day and offered Fateha.

Provincial ministers also accompanied them. Representatives of the three armed forces, deputy DG Rangers Sindh, Administrator Karachi and leaders of various political and social parties also visited the Mazar and offered Fateha.

Talking to media, the government and the CM stressed the need to follow the teachings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to ensure progress and prosperity of the country.

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=13047

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Western air strikes fail to dislodge Gaddafi armour

MAR 24 2011

Qaddafi’s tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness, resuming their attack after their guns were silenced in daylight hours by Western airstrikes. –Photo by AP

TRIPOLI: Western warplanes hit Libya for a fifth night on Thursday, but have so far failed to stop Muammar Qaddafi’s tanks shelling rebel-held towns or dislodge his armour from a strategic junction in the east.

Qaddafi’s tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and began shelling the area near the main hospital, residents and rebels said, resuming their attack after their guns were silenced in daylight hours by Western airstrikes.

Government snipers in the city, Libya’s third largest, were undeterred by the bombing raids though and had carried on firing indiscriminately throughout, residents said. A rebel spokesman said the snipers had killed 16 people.

“Government tanks are closing in on Misrata hospital and shelling the area,” said a doctor in Misrata who was briefly reached by phone before the line was cut off.

It was impossible to independently verify the reports.

A loud explosion was heard in the Libyan capital Tripoli early on Thursday and smoke could be seen rising from an area where a military base is situated.

“We heard another explosion just now. We see smoke rising.

There are people on rooftops. It seems to be in a military area near the engineering college in the Tajoura area,” said one resident, declining to be named.

The US military said it had successfully established a no-fly zone over Libya’s coastal areas and had moved on to attack Gaddafi’s tanks. The allies flew 175 sorties in 24 hours, with the US flying 113 of those, a US commander said.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said France had destroyed some 10 Libyan armoured vehicles over three days.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/24/1051894.html

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Qadhafi beats even Saddam in the loathing stakes

MAR 24 2011

BAGHDAD: From the United States to al Qaeda, the unanimous loathing for Muammar Qadhafi outweighs the world’s feelings for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein when he was ousted eight years ago in a US-led invasion.

“Qadhafi is incomprehensible and illogical, whereas Saddam Hussein was perhaps more cruel,” Ihsan al-Shamari, a university professor in Baghdad, told AFP.

“Saddam’s supporters in the Arab world considered him more rational and the context was different because Saddam portrayed himself as a hero of the Arab world” against the United States and Iran, he said.

In fact, never in recent years has a state leader been so widely detested.

For once, the United States, al Qaeda, and Iran, as well as the United Nations and other Western countries, find themselves on the same side in their abhorrence for the Libyan strongman.

When the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on Thursday authorising a no-fly zone and other measures to stop Qadhafi harming civilians in suppressing a revolt, China and Russia abstained instead of using their veto power despite their misgivings.

As a result, a coalition led by the United States, France and Britain launched military operations against Qadhafi on Saturday, reinforced by Arab League approval of a no-fly zone.

When exactly eight years earlier US and British troops invaded Iraq to topple Saddam, who had been in power since 1979, they did so without a UN mandate. That was because of a looming threat of a veto by France.

“We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy,” US President Barack Obama said Saturday to justify military action.

Perhaps few things can be odder than the United States finding itself on the same side of the fence as al Qaeda in their opposition to Qadhafi.

On March 13, Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan considered one of the main theorists of al Qaeda, called on his countrymen to continue their revolt against Qadhafi “without hesitation or fear.” The animosity between Qadhafi and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden dates back to 1996, when the militant group tried to assassinate the Libyan leader near his home city of Sirte.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/21/qadhafi-beats-even-saddam-in-the-loathing-stakes.html

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War & peace: 'Nobel' Obama fights to defend intervention

Chidanand Rajghatta,

MAR 24 2011

WASHINGTON: Musing over the irony of being a Nobel Peace Prize recipient while overseeing what is virtually a third war launched by the US in the last decade, President Obama on Tuesday cut short his visit to Latin America to try and bring clarity to an intervention that has divided the American people and the world.

Obama, under attack from Republicans, foreign policy pundits and even some of his own party men, is making the case that the intervention in Libya is in consonance with US values and interests, and it will be short, with Nato taking over the leadership role. It is needed save the lives of Libyan people from its leader.

Mindful of the growing disquiet at home about the US role, Obama said in San Salvador that he wanted to emphasize to the American people , because of the extraordinary US capabilities, many lives have already been saved in Benghazi, where there was the prospect of Gaddafi's forces carrying out his orders to show no mercy. "That could have resulted in catastrophe. Gaddafi's forces have pulled back because of this timely intervention," he said.

In an indication that this was a one-off case, Obama said it "doesn't mean that we can solve every problem in the world". It came about because the UN, the Arab League and also other countries in the Gulf said "we need to intercede to make sure that a disaster doesn't happen on our watch as has happened in the past".

Although polls show nearly 50% of Americans backing Obama's handling of Libya, he is being skewered by the commentariat, with even liberal voices such as Michael Moore and Jon Stewart asking searching question.

Some critics have suggested Obama should return the Nobel Peace Prize. "When I received that award, I specifically said there was an irony because I was already dealing with two wars," Obama told CNN. "So I am accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also someone who aspires to peace." Obama spoke to French President Sarkozy and UK PM Cameron to devise ways for Nato take the leadership role in the intervention.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/War-peace-Nobel-Obama-fights-to-defend-intervention/articleshow/7777755.cms

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At least 15 killed in Syrian city of Daraa: Activists

MAR 24 2011

DARAA: Human rights activists said at least 15 people were killed on Wednesday in the volatile Syrian city of Daraa, the focal point of a week of anti-regime protests.

Activists and residents said security forces opened fire on protesters outside the Omari mosque early Wednesday, after hundreds of people had gathered overnight to prevent police from storming it, and that shooting had continued sporadically over the course of the day.

One activist said "at least nine people were killed in the attack on the mosque, including a child, a woman and two members of the security forces," and that six more were killed in attacks on a funeral procession later in the day.

"At least thirteen were killed in the overnight attack on the mosque, and we estimate five or six were shot dead during the funeral procession," said another activist.

Earlier, an AFP reporter saw two bodies being brought into the city hospital shortly after gunfire broke out in the afternoon around the mosque, where activists have been holed up for a week.

An 11-year-old girl was also killed by a stray bullet when security forces allegedly opened fire on a funeral procession Wednesday for two of those killed overnight, the activist said.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad has promised to probe the Daraa killings, but analysts warn that the situation is turning increasingly volatile.

But state-run television reported that Assad had fired Daraa Governor Faysal Ahmad Khaltoum, days after young protesters burned down the local courthouse.

Daraa, a tribal city near the Jordanian border, has witnessed daily protests for the past week against the regime of Assad, whose Baath party has ruled Syria uncontested for 40 years.

Syria, a country infamous for its iron grip on security that is still under a 1963 emergency law banning demonstrations, is the latest state in the Middle East to witness an uprising against a long-running autocratic regime.

The official SANA news agency gave a different version of the overnight attack, saying it was carried out by an "armed gang" and left four people dead including a security force member.

"An armed gang after midnight attacked a medical team in an ambulance at the Omari mosque, killing a doctor, a paramedic and the driver," before police intervened and made some arrests, said the report.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/At-least-15-killed-in-Syrian-city-of-Daraa-Activists/articleshow/7776967.cms

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PM resigns, nation in political crises

MAR 24 2011

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced his resignation late on Wednesday, plunging the country into a political crisis that was expected to encourage Lisbon to seek an international bailout. The government was no longer "in a situation to govern", Socrates said after parliament rejected .

The only party to vote in favour of the package was Socrates' Socialist Party, which has 97 legislators in the 230-member parliament.

"This political crisis could have been avoided," the premier said, blaming the crisis on the "political game" played by the opposition.

Socrates made the comments in a televised speech after informing President Anibal Cavaco Silva of his decision to step down.

Cavaco Silva is to open talks with the political parties on Friday, while the current government would remain in office for the time being, the president's office said.

Cavaco Silva was expected to leave the country in the hands of a caretaker government until early elections are held in two months' time.

A political crisis would encourage Lisbon to seek a bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos warned earlier this week.

Socrates' resignation came on the eve of a key European Union summit on Thursday and Friday on restoring investor confidence in the eurozone.

The collapse of the government was expected to increase market pressure on Portugal and other economically weak eurozone countries. Portugal's borrowing costs soared earlier on Wednesday, with the yield for five-year bonds reaching the record level of more than 8 percent.

During the parliamentary debate, Teixeira dos Santos described new austerity measures as an "imperative necessity" to maintain the confidence of the EU and of financial markets in the Portuguese economy.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/europe/PM-resigns-nation-in-political-crises/Article1-677013.aspx

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Gaddafi defiant as fresh explosions rock Tripoli

MAR 24 2011

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday vowed to crush the "unjust aggression" mounted by western powers as fresh explosions rocked Tripoli and coalition forces set their eyes on halting Libyan tanks advancing towards rebel strongholds of Misurata, Ajdabiya and Zintan. "I am here. I am here. I am her

e," the 68-year-old Libyan leader shouted from a balcony to supporters who cheered him, asserting "we will not surrender".

The state TV said the Libyan ruler was speaking from his Bab Al-Aziziya residential compound, where a three-storey building housing his command and control centre was flattened by a cruise missile on Sunday night.

Making his first public appearance since the launch of coalition air strikes on his forces last Saturday, Gaddafi pledged victory and said he was ready to die as a "martyr" in Libya.

"In the short term, we'll beat them, in the long term, we'll beat them," thundered Gaddafi, who slammed the West, calling the attack an "unjust aggression" and giving no signs of yielding to international pressure to give up his 41-year rule of the oil-rich north African nation.

Two explosions were heard in Tripoli which came under attack by the coalition forces for the fifth day.

Reports reaching the Libyan capital said at least 17 people were killed in Misurata in fierce fighting between Gaddafi's forces and the rebels. Rebels claimed that more that 50 people including children were killed in the heavy shelling by government troops.

Intense fighting also raged for the town of Zintan where outgunned rebel forces were repeatedly thrown back by Gaddafi's forces.

Al Jazeera said that the siege by Gaddafi's forces of Misruta had almost entered the fourth week and the situation in the city was turning grim with shortage of food, water and medicines.

The Arab channel said that a similar situation prevailed in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, where neither side appeared to be making any breakthrough.

BBC said that divisions were appearing among the rebels, with some pressing for pushing on to Tripoli, while others wanted to take Ajdabiya and consolidate their hold in the East, hoping Libyan people in other cities will rise up and liberate themselves.

Gaddafi's aggressive posturing came even as US President Barack Obama ruled out any changes in the "Operation Odyssey Dawn" for Libya till Gaddafi was in power or till the time he changed his approach towards his own people.

"As long as Gaddafi remains in power, unless he changes his approach and provides the Libyan people an opportunity to express themselves freely and there are significant reforms in the Libyan government, unless he is willing to step down, that there are still going to be potential threats towards the Libyan people," Obama said.

Gaddafi in his rambling speech told his supporters that their country was being attacked by "crazed Fascists".

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/africa/Gaddafi-defiant-as-fresh-explosions-rock-Tripoli/Article1-676817.aspx

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Battle lines in Libya remain static

Atul Aneja

MAR 24 2011

DUBAI: A fresh wave of air raids by Western forces backed by a naval arms embargo has, so far, failed to shift the battle lines between lightly armed opposition forces and heavily armed troops loyal to Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi.

Over the last 24 hours, neither side has made tangible military gains across Libya. In besieged Misurata, Libya's third largest city 200 km east of capital Tripoli, two air strikes were launched on Wednesday to weaken the grip of pro-Qadhafi forces. The attacks managed to silence the heavy weapons that were targeting the opposition with sustained artillery and mortar fire. Yet, the raids have apparently not been powerful enough to encourage anti-Qadhafi forces to try and recover some of the lost military ground.

For nine days, Misurata has been denied water and electricity, residents say. Telecommunication links were snapped by the pro-Qadhafi forces nearly three weeks ago. A doctor at the central Misurata hospital said 13 residents had died on Tuesday, scaling up the total casualty toll to 90.

Air strikes have also been launched in Ajdabiyah, a strategically significant junction mostly held by pro-Qadhafi forces. However, the effectiveness of air raids in the city, and in an urban landscape in general, is far from clear. On Wednesday, Libyan forces were shelling opposition forces with greater intensity than the day earlier — a possible indication that the air strikes might not have impaired their supply lines. On the road to Ajdabiyah from Benghazi — the epicentre of the anti-Qadhafi revolt —on Wednesday, rebel fighters, high on motivation but low on training, could be seen launching sporadic attacks that were easily repulsed by the superior fire power of regime troops. The escalation of shelling in Ajdabiyah forced terror-stricken residents to flee in droves and seek safer havens.

Contrary to the statements of impending de-escalation, western air strikes in Libyan skies spiralled on Tuesday. According to figures released by the Pentagon, western forces carried out 57 strikes, the maximum since Saturday when the air assaults began. The United States also announced it was focusing on widening the no-fly zone area to cover entire Libya — a move that pointed to the expansion of air operations.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/24/stories/2011032467972000.htm

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Syrian protesters shot dead

MAR 24 2011

DARAA: Syrian security forces on Wednesday fired on anti-regime protesters near a mosque, killing five and wounding scores, rights activists said as the government blamed a “gang” for the violence.

The activist said security forces later fired upon mourners at the funeral of two of those killed, while an AFP correspondent reported hearing fresh gunfire in the flashpoint southern town of Daraa at around the same time.

Hundreds of people had gathered overnight at the Omari mosque, the focus of rallies in Daraa since Friday, to prevent police from storming it. Security had been strengthened after they set up tents to camp there, with anti-terrorism squads patrolling Daraa, a 250,000-strong city near the Jordanian border.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/24/stories/2011032467912000.htm

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Yemeni President given emergency powers

MAR 24 2011

SANA'A: Yemen's Parliament enacted sweeping emergency laws on Wednesday after the country's embattled President asked for new powers of arrest, detention and censorship to quash a popular uprising demanding his ouster.

The move escalates the showdown between Ali Abdullah Saleh and the movement that has unified military commanders, religious leaders and protesting youth in demands for his immediate departure. The state of emergency suspends the Constitution, allows media censorship, bars street protests and gives security forces 30 days of far-reaching powers to arrest and detain without judicial process.

Youth leaders at the Sana'a square that has become the epicentre of the protests dismissed the move. “It is the revolution that now decides the future of the nation,” said a protest leader. We pay no attention to the measures.”

Rival factions of the military have deployed tanks in the capital , Sana'a — with units commanded by one of Mr. Saleh's son protecting the President's palace, and units loyal to a top dissident commander protecting the protesters.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/24/stories/2011032467862000.htm

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Gaddafi appears in public, vows to fight on

March 24, 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi made a public appearance near Tripoli, vowing to fight on, as the Western countries led by France were busy creating a new body to take over the lead in the current intervention in Libya, Xinhua reported.

Libya's state TV showed that Gaddafi appeared late Tuesday before a crowd of supporters at his residence compound near Tripoli. It was his first public appearance in a week.

The compound, located in Bab Al-Aziziya, was hit by a cruise missile in Sunday night's bombing by Western forces.

In his address, Gaddafi said: "Be it long or short, we're ready for battle."

Hours earlier, heavy explosions and intensive anti-aircraft fire resounded over Tripoli.

According to Xinhua, the blasts appeared to be a new round of airstrikes by coalition forces hitting Tripoli after nightfall, following similar operations starting Saturday that aimed to create a no-fly zone over Libya.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that a new political body, not NATO, will take over the responsibility of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

The new body, to be set up as proposed by France, will consist of foreign ministers from countries that are currently participating in the military intervention in Libya, and some Arab states, he said, adding that it could meet soon in London or Paris.

He said the military action will stop only as "the Tripoli regime act with accurate and complete compliance with resolutions of the UN Security Council, as it accepts an authentic ceasefire, and withdraws its troops from where they entered."

On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his US counterpart Barack Obama agreed via phone on how to use the command structure of NATO to support the military operation in Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/326266/Gaddafi-appears-in-public-vows-to-fight-on.html

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Six killed in fresh Syria clashes

March 24, 2011

Fresh violence in a restive southern Syrian city killed as many as six people early Wednesday, making it the deadliest single day since anti-government protests inspired by uprisings across the Arab world reached this country last week, an activist said.

The activist said six people died in Daraa when security forces launched an attack near the al-Omari Mosque, where anti-government demonstrators have taken shelter. He said a paramedic was among the dead. The activist spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

The weeklong standoff and violence in Daraa is remarkable in a country like Syria, where security is tightly controlled and state allegiance is expected. So far, the protests have been confined to Daraa and a few surrounding areas — as well as small protests in the capital — but that could rapidly change, particularly if the violence continues. Groups on social networking sites have called for massive demonstrations across the country Friday, dubbed “Dignity Friday.”

Syria’s state-run TV reported that four people died when “an armed gang” attacked an ambulance in Daraa. The dead included a doctor, a paramedic, a driver and a policeman, the TV said. It showed footage of guns, AK47s, hand grenades and other ammunition as well as stashes of Syrian money which it said was seized from inside al-Omari mosque.The conflicting information and the discrepancy in the toll of the dead could not be immediately reconciled.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/326367/Six-killed-in-fresh-Syria-clashes.html

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Gaddafi forces roll back, rebels try to organize

Thu Mar 24 2011

Benghazi : NATO ships began patrolling off Libya's coast Wednesday as airstrikes, missiles and energised rebels forced Muammar Gaddafi's tanks to roll back from two key western cities, including one that was the hometown of army officers who tried to overthrow him in 1993.

Libya's opposition took haphazard steps to form a government in the east, as they and the US-led force protecting them girded for prolonged and costly fighting. Despite disorganization among the rebels – and confusion over who would ultimately run the international operation – coalition airstrikes and missiles seemed to thwart Gaddafi's efforts to rout his opponents, at least for now.

Anti-aircraft fire lit up the sky in Tripoli late Wednesday, and explosions could be heard.

Coalition aircraft hit a fuel depot in Tripoli, a senior government official told reporters in a late-night news conference. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim at first denied reports that Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli was hit earlier, then bactracked and said he had no information about that. Other targets Wednesday were near Benghazi and Misrata, he said.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged there is no clear end to the international military enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya, but President Barack Obama said it ''absolutely'' will not lead to a US land invasion.

From Ajdabiya in the east to Misrata in the west, the coalition's targets included Libyan troops' mechanized forces, mobile surface-to-air missile sites and lines of communications that supply ''their beans and their bullets,'' said Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, a top US officer in the campaign in Libya.

He asserted that Gaddafi's air force has essentially been defeated. He said no Libyan aircraft had attempted to fly over the previous 24 hours.

''Those aircraft have either been destroyed or rendered inoperable,'' Hueber told Pentagon reporters by phone from the US command ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

A doctor in Misrata said Gaddafi's tanks fled after the airstrikes, giving a much-needed reprieve to the besieged coastal city, which is inaccessible to human rights monitors or journalists. The airstrikes struck the aviation academy and a vacant lot outside the central hospital, the doctor said.

''Today, for the first time in a week, the bakeries opened their doors,'' the doctor said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals if Gaddafi's forces take Libya's third-largest city, 125 miles (200 kilometres) southeast of Tripoli.

Neither the rebels nor Gaddafi has mustered the force for an outright victory, raising concerns of a prolonged conflict.

Gates said no one was ever under any illusion that the assault would last just two or three weeks. He had no answer when asked about a possible stalemate if Gaddafi hunkers down, and the coalition lacks UN authorization to target him.

Obama, when asked about an exit strategy during an interview with the Spanish-language network Univision, didn't lay out a vision for ending the international action, but rather said: ''The exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment.''

The administration wants others to lead the way soon: Gates said the US could relinquish control as soon as Saturday. Members of the coalition, however, were still divided over the details.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/766628/

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Bomb explodes in central Jerusalem, 31 wounded

Mar 23 2011

Jerusalem : At least 31 people were wounded after a bomb, apparently hidden in a bag, exploded on Wednesday at a crowded bus stop here, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his Russia visit.

The blast took place outside the International

Convention Centre in Jerusalem. All of the casualties have been evacuated to the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem. The Magen David Adom emergency services said that there were no fatalities.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his scheduled trip to Moscow in the wake of the Jerusalem bombing," the Haaretz said.

Jerusalem District police commander Aharon Franko said that 31 people were wounded in the blast, out of which two were hurt seriously, five to eight were wounded moderately, and the rest sustained light injuries.

The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of two crowded buses, The explosive device was apparently hidden in a bag next to a telephone pole, the ‘Haaretz’ reported.

An eyewitness in the area at the time of the explosion said that she heard a loud blast close to the central bus station and second later sirens began to wail and security forces rushed to the scene.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/766354/

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Nepal Christians protest to demand burial grounds

MAR 24 2011

Hundreds of minority Christians protested in Nepal’s capital on Wednesday, demanding the government provide them with designated burial grounds.

Christians complain that there are only a handful of places where they can bury their dead in the predominantly Hindu nation, where most corpses are cremated.

About 1,000 Christians held banners that read ‘Give us our rights, give us burial grounds’ and demonstrated in the centre of Kathmandu.

‘We are demanding the government provide burial grounds for all the Christians so that we can bury our dead with our Christian practices,’ said Sundar Thapa, a pastor who led the protest.

Thapa said they are demanding the government designate areas in all 75 districts of the country as Christian burial grounds.

Christians have been protesting since a ban was imposed earlier this year on a traditional burial area next to Katmandu’s Pashupati temple, which is revered by Hindus in Nepal.

The Supreme Court has temporarily lifted the ban, but the dispute continues.

The government pledged last month that it would find land near Katmandu for Christians to bury their dead, but no progress has been made.

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/12653.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/western-airstrikes-silence-gaddafi-guns-in-misrata/d/4330


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