New Age Islam
Tue Dec 01 2020, 11:39 PM

Islamic World News ( 17 Jul 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Iraq suicide bomber kills 43 at army office

Militants kill 16 passengers in northwest Pakistan

Deadly Kabul suicide attack strikes ahead of key conference

Hillary Clinton arrives in Pakistan

Qureshi for “result-oriented” dialogue

I am not a terrorist: Top Hindutva Leader Indresh Kumar

Hindutva Attack on TV Today office condemned

US to announce aid package to Pakistan

Iran scientist says US wanted 'spy' swap for detained hikers

Minister rules out veil ban in Britain

US puts Muslim cleric on terror blacklist

Don't be afraid of Islam, says Al-Sudais

Police detain 40 suspects in Iran mosque bombing

Anti-US Iraqi cleric travels to Syria for talks

7 more Jamaat activists held

'Arrested ULFA leader was picked up by Bangladesh police earlier'

Fifteen suspected militants killed in Orakzai

Turkey protests against strict internet censorship

Uzbek women allege forced sterilization

“Reports of my taking over as Chief Minister baseless

'Indian laws cannot counter terror-funding'

United States  urges Maldives to accept international mediation

Iran MPs pass bill for 20 per cent uranium enrichment

Scholar claims Urdu most influential language of the world

Army lodges protest with Pak over ceasefire violation

'JMB man' kills wife for protesting his activities

Compiled by New Age Islma News Bureau

Photo: An injured Iraqi man is wheeled into a local hospital Photo: AFP / GETTY





Iraq suicide bomber kills 43 at army office

July 18, 2010


BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber killed 43 people at an army office west of Baghdad on Sunday, as anti-Qaida fighters gathered to receive their salaries, defence and interior ministry officials said.


Another 40 people were wounded in the 8:30 am (0530 GMT) attack, the officials said.


The bomber struck in Al-Balassim, part of Radwaniyah, a Sunni Arab former insurgent hotspot, 25 kilometre (16 miles) from the Iraqi capital, an interior ministry official said.


Most of the victims were Sahwa (Awakening) fighters, members of a Sunni Arab militia, also known as the Sons of Iraq, that with US backing took up arms against al-Qaida in late 2006.


The force, recruited from among tribesmen and former insurgents, is credited with turning the tide in the war against al-Qaida in Iraq.


Control of the Sahwa passed to Iraq in October 2008, and their wages -- said to have been cut from 300 dollars under US leadership to 100 dollars -- have been paid, often late, by the Shiite-led government.


Baghdad has promised to incorporate 20 percent of the Sahwa into the police and military and find civil service jobs for many of the rest, but the process has been slow and is fraught with risks.


In the past six months many Sahwa fighters and members of their families have been killed in revenge attacks.


The former rebels and tribesmen fret that they are not only in the firing line for al-Qaida but also viewed with suspicion by the Shiite-led central government.


US and Iraqi officials have warned of the dangers of an upsurge of violence if negotiations on forming a new governing coalition continue to drag on, giving insurgent groups an opportunity to further destabilise the country.


More than four months after a March 7 general election which gave no single bloc an overall parliamentary majority, the two lists which won most seats are still bickering over who should be the next prime minister.


Both former premier Iyad Allawi and incumbent Nuri al-Maliki insist that they are best placed to tackle the war-torn country's insecurity and shaky public services.


There are currently 77,500 US soldiers in Iraq but this number will fall to 50,000 by August 31 as the combat troops withdraw, leaving a 50,000-strong training and advisory force behind which is due to pull out by December 2011.

Times of India



Militants kill 16 passengers in northwest Pakistan

July 18, 2010

PARACHINAR: Militants armed with assault rifles ambushed a convoy of civilian vehicles killing 16 people Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, the scene of extensive military operations targeting Islamist insurgents.


Several people were also wounded in Saturday's attack in Char Khel village in the troubled tribal region of Kurram. The travelers were heading to the main northwestern city of Peshawar in vehicles when they were ambushed.


Kurram has witnessed scores of such attacks, robberies and kidnappings for ransom in the past three years.


Military offensives have left Pakistan's army tied up in most of the tribal belt, as well as in the Swat Valley, also in the country's northwest. Even after major operations have ended in some of these areas, militant activity has continued.


The army has moved primarily against the Pakistani Taliban network, which is distinct from the Afghan Taliban factions, though it shares many of the same Islamist and anti-Western goals.


The US has praised Pakistan for pursuing army operations against militant groups on its territory. In part, that's because it does not want Pakistan to be a sanctuary for militants battling U.S. and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.


Deadly Kabul suicide attack strikes ahead of key conference

July 18, 2010


KABUL: A suicide bomber on a bicycle struck a bustling street in the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing three people and wounding dozens more two days ahead of a major international conference.


NATO and Afghan security forces are stepping up security in Kabul to guard against possible attack in the lead-up to what has been billed the biggest international meeting in the city since the 2001 US-led invasion.


Sunday's bombing was the deadliest suicide attack in the heavily fortified Afghan capital since May 18, when a bomber killed at least 18 people, including five US soldiers, in an attack on a NATO convoy.


The blast shattered windows, gutted nearby vehicles and left the street littered with body parts, said an AFP photographer.


Describing the powerful explosion witness Jawid Wardak said: "It was heavy, it shattered the windows of buildings on both sides of the road.


"I saw four or five people wounded. They were taken to hospital in civilian vehicles."


The government said a suicide bomber on a bicycle carried out the attack.


"He was trying to get to a specific area but because of high security the bomber was forced to detonate on a street where there is little activity," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP.


The public health ministry said three people were killed and 35 wounded. A child was among the dead, ministry spokesman Kargar Norghli told AFP.


Kabul is to host a major gathering of its international partners - including US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and about 40 foreign ministers - on Tuesday, where the government will lay out is plan for the future.


Security forces have thrown a ring of steel around the city to head off any Taliban attacks, with police stationed every few metres (yards) along key streets and thousands of extra police officers on duty, authorities said.


Up to 70 international representatives are due to attend the conference, to be co-chaired by President Hamid Karzai and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.


It has been presented as a bid by the Afghan government to start a process of transition from dependence on Western backers to running the country alone.


After the Taliban attacked a major peace conference in early June - which led to the dismissal of the interior minister and the head of the intelligence agency - authorities said they were taking no chances.


At least two rockets were fired as Karzai delivered his opening address. A suicide cell was later cornered and killed by security forces.


The government says it is "determined" to provide good security for the conference.


Bashary said "thousands" of police, soldiers and intelligence agents had been deployed "in vulnerable areas" to thwart any Taliban attack plans.


NATO's civilian representative in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, said attacks on the conference cannot be ruled out.


"We have to prepare ourselves for the fact that the insurgents will try to disrupt it," Sedwill told reporters on Saturday.


Kabul's airport is expected to be closed on Monday and Tuesday - perhaps longer - with most conference delegates arriving by private or government jet for just one day, a NATO official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Many staff with aid groups and embassies would spend the week in lockdown amid a raised security threat, charity workers, diplomats and others said.


NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said its troops, working with Afghan counterparts, had captured a Taliban activist implicated "in coordinating an attack" on the conference.


Two other "facilitators" were captured earlier in the week, it said.


NATO and the United States have almost 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, battling an insurgency now almost nine years old and intensifying as the foreign forces take the fight to the increasingly bold militants.


In London, the Independent on Sunday newspaper said delegates to this week's conference would agree to hand over control of security in the country to Afghan forces by 2014.


Citing a leaked communiqué, it reported a phased transition beginning this year, along with pledges that foreign powers would continue to train, equip and finance Afghan security forces after that date.



Hillary Clinton arrives in Pakistan

July 18, 2010


ISLAMABAD: Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has arrived in Islamabad for a two-day visit that will focus on economic aid and Pakistan's role in the war in Afghanistan, Geo News reported Sunday.


Clinton arrived here today to attend at least one public event in Islamabad. Her talks on Monday will include several senior Pakistani officials, including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign minister.


The US top diplomat will meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani today.


Clinton is slated to attend strategic dialogues tomorrow.


Qureshi for “result-oriented” dialogue

July 18, 2010

Anita Joshua

ISLAMABAD: Hours after reiterating Pakistan's seriousness in mending fences with India, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi late Saturday night said he would accept an invitation for further talks only if New Delhi was prepared for a “meaningful and result-oriented” dialogue.


Responding to questions, Mr. Qureshi repeated, but in a muted fashion, his remarks on talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. However, asked whether he would accept Mr. Krishna's invitation to India for talks, he shot back saying he had no intention of going on a “leisure trip” if another open-ended engagement was all that New Delhi wanted.


Earlier in the day, Pakistan sought to call an end to the acrimony that marked relations with India over the past two days by making reconciliatory statements. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Mr. Qureshi were one in reiterating Pakistan's commitment to dialogue.


Fielding questions from the media in Pattoki in Punjab, Mr. Gilani said Pakistan wanted to continue the dialogue, and expressed confidence in New Delhi's sincerity in improving relations. Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an honourable man, Mr. Gilani said he was confident that his counterpart would live up to his commitment to discuss all issues and added that it was natural for India to have its own compulsions.


Separately, Mr. Qureshi maintained that Pakistan was serious about normalising ties with India. Addressing a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, he referred to his engagement with Mr. Krishna on Thursday and said: “We agreed to embark on a sustained dialogue process. This is a good augury.”


Pointing out that India and Pakistan had been entangled in a “conflictual” relationship for too long, Mr. Qureshi said: “It is high time our two countries engaged with full sincerity of purpose to resolve all the bilateral disputes and made a new beginning of normal relations anchored in sovereign equality and mutual interest.”


He repeated the widely held belief that normal relations between the countries would have “far-reaching salutary effects” for all of South Asia and beyond. “Pakistan will do its utmost to make this happen.”


I am not a terrorist: Top Hindutva Leader Indresh Kumar

July 18, 2010

RSS has been working as “desh-bhakt” for 85 years, he says

NEW DELHI: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Saturday claimed that there was a deep political conspiracy to defame nationalist forces.

In a statement here, Indresh Kumar, member of the RSS central working committee (Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini), said: “My name and that of the RSS has recently been dragged into reports of some violent incidents in some parts of the country. These regrettable news reports have been presented in a sensational way by a section of the media to defame members of the sangh.”

Creating awareness

He said the RSS had been working as a “desh-bhakt” (devotee of the motherland) for 85 years through various programmes to create awareness among people, in the field of education and other areas.

“As a ‘swayamsevak,' I have given great importance to maintaining transparency in all I do. I have never believed in violence. I strongly criticise the false propaganda against me. The falsehoods being spread are part of a deep political conspiracy to spread lies about forces that are nationalist and motivated by the love of the motherland.”

The statement comes two days after reports claiming to be based on witness statements in the Malegaon and Ajmer Sharief blast cases said Mr. Kumar was aware of the conspiracy to carry out bombings in these places.


Hindutva Attack on TV Today office condemned

July 18, 2010

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Journalists and news associations have expressed outrage and solidarity in the wake of an attack on the TV Today Network office by a Sangh Parivar mob on Friday.


“It is not about the attack on a particular organisation, but on the freedom of the media as a whole,” said Press Club of India president Parvez Ahmed, speaking at a protest meeting held on Saturday. He demanded that those behind the attack submit an apology.


“It is an attack on the media as an institution,” said S.K. Pande, president of the Delhi Union of Journalists.


Rahul Kanwal, executive editor of Headlines Today, pointed out that there was a democratic manner in which dissent could be expressed, without resorting to violence. “This kind of attack is a tacit admission that the story is true.”


The attack, by about 2,000 people, came a day after the channel telecast tapes of secret meetings attended by some Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders, where they allegedly discussed carrying out “terrorist attacks on meetings of Muslims.”


The News Broadcasters Association condemned the attack and voiced concern over the growing intolerance and resentment against journalists and media organisations.


“Preventing the media from performing their duties were violations of the freedoms enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution,” said an NBA statement.


US to announce aid package to Pakistan

July 18, 2010

 ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce Monday a massive aid deal for Pakistan, a senior US official said, as it seeks to build relations with its wavering anti-terror ally.         


The money will focus on vital energy and water sectors, the official said, shortly after Clinton arrived in Islamabad on Sunday for high-level talks, adding that full details of the projects would be announced on Monday.       


The projects will be part of a five-year, 7.5 billion-dollar aid package approved by US Congress last year, which hopes to temper anti-Americanism in Pakistan by building schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions.  


The plan includes several water dam projects in the areas of Gomal Zam, Satpara and Balochistan.         


Three hospitals will also be renovated and expanded in Karachi, Lahore and Jacobabad.  


Two specific programmes are to be devoted to agriculture, one for the training of farmers in dairy production, and the other to increase production and export of mangoes.


Iran scientist says US wanted 'spy' swap for detained hikers

July 18th, 2010

An Iranian scientist, who returned home last week charging he had been held byUSagents for more than a year, has said that they had pressed him to agree to

a "spy" swap for three US hikers in custody in Tehran.

In a lengthy interview aired by state television late on Saturday, Mr Shahram Amiri claimed that the US agents had acknowledged that the three Americans, detained on the Iran-Iraq border in July last year, were indeed "spies".

Challenged by the interviewer about the agents' description of the trio, who have consistently maintained that they were on a hiking holiday, Mr Amiri insisted: "That is the term they used."

Washington has repeatedly called on Tehran to release Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, insisting that they were holidaymakers who had innocently strayed across an unmarked border.

US media have questioned whether the three were even in Iranian territory at the time of their arrest.

Iranian officials have raised the possibility of trying the trio for espionage, but no official charges have been announced, and the affair has become an added irritant to already tense US-Iranian relations.

Mr Amiri returned to Tehran on Thursday just over a year after he mysteriously disappeared from the Saudi city of Medina while on a pilgrimage.

He had resurfaced at the Iranian interests section in the Pakistani embassy in Washington maintaining that he had been kidnapped by US agents and held against his will.

Mr Amiri said in the interview that the "spy swap" offer emerged after US agents holding him discovered he had been in touch with Iranian agents while in the United States.

"They (US agents) wanted me to say that 'I was an Iranian intelligence agent infiltrating the CIA'", Amiri said.

"If I said this, they said I could be part of a spy exchange programme, whereby I could be handed over to Iran in return for the three American spies arrested near the Iraqi border."

In previous interviews Amiri has said he was kidnapped at gunpoint by two Farsi speaking agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency in Medina.

US officials have repeatedly denied that Amiri was abducted, insisting he was in the United States of his own free will while acknowledging that Washington "had been in contact with him" during his stay.


Minister rules out veil ban in Britain

July 18, 2010


Britain was "very unlikely" to introduce a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils despite widespread public support for such a move, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.


He told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that a ban similar to that approved in France, and which a poll on Friday showed was backed by 67 per cent of Britons, was a "rather un-British thing to do".


A fellow Conservative lawmaker had earlier said he refused to meet female constituents who wore the face veil and had proposed a law to ban the practice.


However, Green said: "Telling people what they can and can't wear, if they're just walking down the street, is a rather un-British thing to do. We're a tolerant and mutually respectful society."


The immigration minister acknowledged there were occasions when it was important to be able to see someone's face.



US puts Muslim cleric on terror blacklist

July 18, 2010

The United States has placed Anwar al-Aulaki, a US-born Muslim cleric based in Yemen, on its terrorism blacklist, freezing his assets and prohibiting American citizens from engaging in any transactions with him. “Anwar al-Aulaqi has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.


Regarded as the spiritual leader of the terror group called al Qaeda in Arab Peninsula (AQAP), the 39-year-old Aulaki has been accused of involvement in the failed Christmas Day plot to bring down a US airliner over Detroit last December.


Since late 2009, Aulaqi has taken on an increasingly operational role in the group, including preparing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian youth who attempted to detonate an explosive device aboard the Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight.


He has also been identified as the source of inspiration for Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people in Fort Hood in Texas last November, and Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American who made an abortive bid to bomb Times Square in May.


Aulaqi, who had served as an imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, moved to Yemen in 2004. Two years later, he was imprisoned on charges of kidnapping for ransom and being involved in an al Qaeda plot to kidnap a US official. After his subsequent release from jail, he went into hiding in Yemen.


“Aulaqi has sought to encourage his supporters to provide money for terrorist causes. Those who provide material support to Aulaqi or AQAP violate sanctions and expose themselves to serious consequences,” Levey said. “Today’s action supports the international effort to degrade AQAP’s capabilities to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat its financial and support networks,” he said.



Don't be afraid of Islam, says Al-Sudais

Jul 17, 2010


JEDDAH: The imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah told the world not to be afraid of Islam and Muslims, adding that Islam represents a message of peace, goodness and tolerance.


Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais made the announcement while delivering his Friday sermon at the Tauheedul Islam Mosque in Blackburn, Lancashire, UK.


The new Tauheedul Islam Mosque is the largest in Lancashire and cost 3.5 million pounds ($5.37 million). Qatar's royal family provided an initial donation of 1.5 million pounds for the basic construction of the mosque, with the remainder generated from the Blackburn community. The community had outgrown the much smaller mosque, which was established at the same site in the 1960s.


In his sermon, Al-Sudais said: "Islam came to protect the interests of humanity, prevent evils and build bridges with all communities. It offers a great message of mercy and tolerance."


The Makkah imam urged Muslims living in Western countries to abide by the laws of the countries where they reside. "You should be a positive and constructive factor in the community you live and should not involve yourselves in activities that would undermine its security and stability," the Saudi Press Agency quoted Al-Sudais as saying.


Al-Sudais asked Muslims to learn from the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who used to visit his Jewish neighbor. "When the Prophet died his armor was kept with a Jew as a security," he said, urging Muslims to establish good relations with non-Muslims. "This is the best way to attract them to Islam."


Al-Sudais said Muslims living in the West should serve as ambassadors of their religion. "You should uphold the great Islamic values while dealing with Muslims as well as non-Muslims and should not engage in any corrupt or unjust practices."


Al-Sudais hoped that the new mosque, which has taken six years to complete, would serve as a source of goodness, light and guidance for the entire mankind.


Lord Adam Patel, president of the mosque, emphasized the importance of the mosque. "In 21st century Britain, the role of the masjid is as important as it was at the time of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)," he said.


Patel said the mosque would work to advance the Islamic faith through the provision of a wide range of spiritual, educational and social services.


"Our vision is to become a center of excellence for Islamic learning and practice providing a beacon for both Muslims and other faith communities who wish to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of Islam," he said.


He thanked Al-Sudais for coming to Blackburn all the way from Makkah to open the mosque.


The Makkah imam later visited an Islamic school for girls adjacent to the mosque. "Women have a great place in Islam," he said, urging Muslim men to take care to their women. "I am quite happy to meet Muslim girls living in this part of the world who uphold their religion and Islamic values with pride and wear the hijab. It does not prevent them from taking part in different fields of life."


He commended the school authorities for their efforts to provide proper Islamic education to their children.


Student Saeeda Patel, who welcomed Al-Sudais, described him as a model for millions of Muslims around the world being the imam of the Grand Mosque, which houses the Holy Kaaba to which Muslims all over the world turn when praying. "Our school, which was established 25 years ago, is one of the leading Islamic schools in the UK," she said. There are 430 students now. It is the only government-funded Islamic girls high school in the northwest of England.


Police detain 40 suspects in Iran mosque bombing

July 18, 2010


TEHRAN: Iranian police arrested 40 suspects as funerals were underway for the victims of a devastating twin bombings outside a mosque in the southeastern city of Zahedan, local media reported on Saturday.


Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran's deputy police chief, told the semiofficial Fars agency that the suspects "intended to create insecurity in Zahedan after the bombing." A Sunni insurgency called Jundallah, which has carried out several other bombings in the southeast over the past few years, claimed responsibility for the blasts, which killed 27.


Radan said that all was calm in the city now and that two policemen were among the dead and 10 others were wounded.


Members of the elite Revolutionary Guards were also reportedly killed.


Thousands turned out Saturday for victims' funerals, chanting "death to terrorists" and "down with the US," according to footage shown on state TV.


Iran has accused the US and Britain of supporting Jundallah in an effort to weaken the Iranian government, a charge they deny. On Friday President Barack Obama condemned the bombing.


Jundallah, which says it is fighting for the rights of the mainly Sunni Baluchi minority, said Friday the attack was revenge for the execution of its leader Abdulmalik Rigi in June in Zahedan.


His younger brother, Abdulhamid, was executed in May in Iran after being captured in Pakistan in 2008 and extradited to Iran.


The group gained attention six years ago after it launched a campaign of sporadic kidnappings and bombings that killed dozens. The group claims minority Sunni tribes in southeastern Iran suffer discrimination at the hands of Iran's Shiite leadership.


Anti-US Iraqi cleric travels to Syria for talks

July 18, 2010


DAMASCUS, Syria: One of Iraq's most powerful Shiite political clerics made a rare trip abroad to Syria for talks on the deadlocked government in Baghdad.


Muqtada Al-Sadr, who resides primarily in Iran, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday for talks on the political situation in Iraq.


Al-Sadr's bloc of 39 seats makes him a key player in Iraq's politics where political factions have spent the last four months trying to form a government after inconclusive elections.


Assad urged Iraqi parties to put aside their differences and form a government swiftly to avoid "negative developments." Home to about a million Iraqis refugees, including supporters of the previous regime, Syria has long had influence on events in Iraq.


7 more Jamaat activists held

July 18, 2010

Police arrested seven activists of Jamaat-e-Islami in Dinajpur and Satkhira districts yesterday.


Of them, four were arrested in Satkhira while the rest in Dinajpur.


In Satkhira, law enforcers arrested four Jamaat men, including Kaliganj upazila Ameer Maulana Moslem Uddin, in the afternoon, according our correspondent.


The other arrestees are Ashraful Islam, son of Mohammad Ali of Nengi Faridpur, S M Suja Uddin, son of S M Hossain Ali of Raghuramur, and Md Nuruzzaman, son of Abdur Rashid Sheikh of Bazargram Rahimur in Kaliganj upazila


Police said they arrested the Jamaat men as they were planning to carry out subversive activities in the upazila. The arrestees will be produced in a Satkhira court today.


Our Dinajpur correspondent reported that Ghoraghat police arrested three Jamaat activists while they were sticking posters on walls at Dugdugi Bazar at around 5:00am.


The arrestees are Mohammad Abdul Mannan, 45, son of late Hossain Ali, Mohammad Hossain Kabir, 27, son Enamul Haque Shah, and Mohammad Abul Wahid, 48, son of late Kafil Uddin of the upazila.


Police produced the arrestees in in a court that rejected their bail prayers and sent them to jail.


'Arrested ULFA leader was picked up by Bangladesh police earlier'

Sunday 18th July, 2010

Top Indian militant Ranjan Chowdhury of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) had assumed a Muslim name, Masud Chowdhury, and was picked up by Bangladesh police six weeks ago, said a media report here Sunday, a day after his arrest was announced.


Chowdhury had also married a local girl, a common trait among Indian militants who cross the border into Bangladesh to evade arrest.


Chowdhury was arrested and paraded before the media here Saturday. According to The New Nation, he 'is probably the same Masud Ranjan Chowdhury' picked up by the police six weeks ago. He was arrested by plainclothes policemen June 6 from Rumpa Clinic in Mymensingh town where he was admitted after being injured.


At that time, police and the para-military Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) had denied the arrest, the paper said. But his wife Sabitri Sangma confirmed the arrest to media persons.


Unnamed sources told the newspaper that Chowdhury assumed the name, Masud Chowdhury, when he used to come out of the tribal areas of the border.


ULFA's military wing chief Paresh Barua, believed to be in Bangladesh, has also married a Bangladeshi girl and goes by the name Zaman.


Chowdhury's arrest was the first 'official announcement' made by Bangladesh authorities of the nabbing of an Indian militant leader, New Age newspaper said.


Bangladesh authorities say Chowdhury has been heading violent operations from Bangladeshi soil since last December's detention of the top brass of the ULFA.


Chowdhury, alias Major Ranjan, 46, was caught along with his Bangladeshi aide Pradip Marak, 57, from his hideout at Lakshmipur village in Bhairab in northeastern Bangladesh.


Chowdhury is a former general secretary of the Dhubri district unit of ULFA. The RAB recovered a pistol, a revolver, four handmade bombs and bomb-making material from the hideout.


Last December, the Bangladesh authorities facilitated the arrest of ULFA chief Arabinda Rajkhowa, Raju Barua and eight others of the group.


India and Bangladesh have stepped up cooperation in handling crime, militancy and terrorism since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office in January last year.


The Daily Star newspaper Sunday quoted chief of RAB Intelligence Wing Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan as saying: 'ULFA activities in India are apparently regulated by its leaders and operatives who have taken shelter in Bangladesh. Among them, Ranjan Chowdhury is now the chief as the other top leaders of the separatist group are in jails.'


Ziaul Ahsan said RAB is trying to locate the organisation's arsenal in the country.


RAB chief Major General Hasan Mahmud Khandaker said: 'We are trying to find out whether ULFA has any links with local militant outfits or has any military wing here. We are also trying to ascertain how many ULFA leaders and operatives are living here.'


Commander Mohammad Sohail, director of RAB legal and media wing, said Chowdhury married a Bangladeshi and started living at Gazni village of Jhinaigati upazila in Sherpur since 1997. He has been making frequent trips to India.


Chowdhury illegally entered the country through Kurigram district in September 1997 to meet ULFA military wing chief Paresh Barua in Dhaka, said commander Sohail.


In 1995, Indian law enforcers arrested Chowdhury on his way back to India from Bhutan after his meeting with ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who has been convicted in several cases and is now in jail in Bangladesh since 1997.



Fifteen suspected militants killed in Orakzai

July 18, 2010


KALAYA: Helicopter gunships attacked positions of Taliban militants in the Orakzai tribal region on Sunday, killing at least 15 militants and destroying their five hideouts, officials said.


The hideouts were destroyed in central Orakzai's Oat Mela, Saif Maldarra and Shakar Tangi areas.


Eight militants were also wounded but there was no independent verification of the casualty toll.


Earlier on Saturday, 15 militants were killed in clashes with security forces in upper Orakzai.


The forces claim to have secured and taken control of most parts of lower and central Orakzai.




Turkey protests against strict internet censorship

July 18, 2010


ISTANBUL: Over 2,000 protesters marched in Turkey's largest city Istanbul against strict internet censorship in the country.


The protesters were demanding that a law preventing access to over 5,000 internet sites banned in Turkey be repealed.


They chanted slogans Saturday for removing the ban on video-sharing website YouTube and against the transportation minister, whose ministry is responsible for website bans, Xinhua reported.


"Don't touch the internet, pull away your hand," the protesters shouted.


The protest was organised by the Common Platform Against Internet Censorship, a platform of over 50 non-governmental organisations.


There was always dissatisfaction with internet censorship, but this was the first time people poured out into the streets, Ozgur Uckan of Bilgi University, one of the organisers of the rally, said.


There are about 30 million internet users in Turkey, which has a total population of 70 million.


Uzbek women allege forced sterilization

July 18, 2010

GULISTAN: Saodat Rakhimbayeva says she wishes she had died with her newborn baby. The 24-year-old housewife had a cesarean section in March and gave birth to Ibrohim, a premature boy who died three days later.


Then came a further devastating blow: She learned that the surgeon had removed part of her uterus during the operation, making her sterile. The doctor told her the hysterectomy was necessary to remove a potentially cancerous cyst, while she believes he sterilized her as part of a state campaign to reduce birthrates.


"He never asked for my approval, never ran any checks, just mutilated me as if I were a mute animal," the pale and fragile Rakhimbayeva said through tears while sitting at a fly-infested cafe in this central Uzbek city. "I should have just died with Ibrohim.''


According to rights groups, victims and health officials, Rakhimbayeva is one of hundreds of Uzbek women who have been surgically sterilized without their knowledge or consent in a program designed to prevent overpopulation from fueling unrest.


Human rights advocates and doctors say autocratic President Islam Karimov this year ramped up a sterilization campaign he initiated in the late 1990s. In a decree issued in February, the health ministry ordered all medical facilities to "strengthen control over the medical examination of women of childbearing age."


It did not specifically mandate sterilizations, but critics allege that doctors have come under direct pressure from the government to perform them: "The order comes from the very top," said Khaitboy Yakubov, head of the Najot human rights group in Uzbekistan.


Uzbekistan is not alone in coming under allegations of using sterilizations to fight population growth: Authorities in China's Guangdong Province were accused by Amnesty International in April of carrying out coerced sterilizations to meet family planning goals.



“Reports of my taking over as Chief Minister baseless”:Farooq Abdullah

July 18, 2010

New Delhi: National Conference patron and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah has dismissed as baseless speculation that he would take over as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, saying the incumbent, Omar Abdullah, has the backing of the entire country.


“It [suggestions that I want to become Chief Minister] is totally wrong and baseless. I want to make it very clear that there is no such thing. He [Mr. Omar] is the Chief Minister and he has the backing of the entire country,” Dr. Abdullah told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme.


The Centre, he said, was firmly behind the Omar Abdullah government and he had never received such support from the Centre during his term as Chief Minister.


On the recent eruption of violence and street protests in the State, he said the process was “moving towards normalisation, but I would not say that we are over the hump yet.”


Not ruling out the possibilities of such protests erupting again, the former Chief Minister said if proper steps were taken by the government, there were chances that the situation “would not blow up in the manner it did recently.”


Asked whether the “anger and defiance” among the people had disappeared, Dr. Abdullah said, “I would say that it has mellowed down and simmered down.”


On measures for calming the situation, he stressed the need for “tightening” the administration. “I think he [Mr. Omar] should follow the path that is there very clearly. He must give responsibilities and those who don't fulfil should be shown the door.”


On the cause of anger among people, he said that after holding elections in 1996, 2002 and 2008, the government was in “euphoria” that everything was fine but “it is not so.”


“The problem is still there. We have to continuously talk not only to the country [Pakistan] but also to the people in our own State who may not agree with the present dispensation,” the Union Minister said. He said groups such as the Hurriyat had to be “rolled in” for the betterment of the people in the State.


Asked if people in Kashmir were feeling let down by the politicians in the State, he said, “They feel so. But it may not have been done with a purpose.”


He noted that a section of the local youth felt “alienated” and some of them were being “used.”


Asked if terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba were also involved in the protests, he said, “All sorts of forces were working there but there are people who are being paid money to throw stones.”


The resolution of the Kashmir issue was the foremost priority for the Central government and several major steps were in the offing in this direction.


Asked if the Union government was aware of the alienation among people, he said these issues were discussed at the recent all-party meeting and they would be raised when all the parties came to Delhi to talk to the Prime Minister.


Dr. Abdullah attacked Army Chief General V.K. Singh for his critical remarks on the Jammu and Kashmir government, saying he should not make “political statements” but “keep silent.” — PTI



'Indian laws cannot counter terror-funding'

July 18, 2010

A global task force which tracks money laundering and terrorist financing across national borders, has raised doubts about the efficacy of India's laws in combating this dual menace.


The multi-national Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1989 by the G7 (Group of seven industrialised nations) to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.


FATF, which admitted India as its the 34th member last month, has in its report identified fund transfers from foreign Non Profit Organisations (NPOs), counterfeiting of currency, drug trafficking and extortion as "major sources for terrorist financing" in the country.


"India does not maintain a unified database for NPOs... statistics on the number of registered NPOs under the various statutes are not generally available in India. However, by government estimates, there are approximately two million foreign and domestic NPOs operating in India.



United States  urges Maldives to accept international mediation

July 18, 2010

The United States has urged Maldives to accept international mediation in resolving the ongoing political crisis after violent protests in Male left at least 15 persons injured earlier this week. The statement from the US came even as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed concern about the rising political tensions in the country.


Reports said protestors were on the streets after the Maldives National Defence Force took Abdulla Yamin, opposition party People's Alliance chief, into custody on Thursday, claiming it was at his request and for his own protection.


Ban urged "the government and all parties to ensure the rule of law is maintained, and to safeguard the rights and protections enshrined in the constitution," a statement from his spokesman said.


The UN chief called for restraint and said political parties should "resolve their differences through dialogue. Political rivalries should not be allowed to jeopardize the significant gains the country has registered in democratic reform."


While not specifying which countries could mediate, the US statement said: "The United States is deeply concerned about rising tension resulting from the ongoing impasse between government and opposition parties in the Maldives. We call on all sides to refrain from violence and to come together to resolve disagreements through dialogue and compromise. We urge all parties to accept international offers of mediation."


US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Patricia Butenis and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse were in Maldives in early July for separate political meetings to resolve the impasse.


Their intervention prompted Nasheed to reappoint his 13-member cabinet last Tuesday, a week after they resigned en masse.


Foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed said the nation of 1,200 islands was receptive to the idea of mediation.


"As a fledgling democracy, we remain open to international facilitation," Shaheed said by telephone from Male.


Iran MPs pass bill for 20 per cent uranium enrichment

July 18, 2010


TEHRAN: Iranian MPs on Sunday passed a bill obligating Tehran to continue 20 per cent uranium enrichment, defying mounting Western pressure to halt such work, Fars news agency reported.


“The outlines of the bill were adopted by 171 MPs out of 200 present,” Fars said about the legislation, which still needs to be rubber-stamped by the hardline Guardians Council watchdog before becoming law.


The bill titled “Combatting US and British plots to protect nuclear achievements” stipulates that Iran also “retaliate” against inspection of its ships and refusal to give fuel to Iranian planes at international airports, Fars said.


“If the bill is finally passed the Atomic Energy Organisation will be required to make provisions for the production and supply of 20 per cent enriched fuel to meet the needs of research reactors for medical uses,” Fars said.


Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme, fearing that Tehran would use the material to build a nuclear bomb.


Tehran insists that its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.


Iran stepped up its uranium enrichment to 20 per cent in February to make fuel for an aging research reactor in Tehran amid international concern.


On June 9 the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend enrichment.


Under the new resolution member states can carry out high sea inspections of Iranian ships suspected of carrying equipment and material for nuclear use.


Iranian media had also recently reported that several Iranian planes had been refused fuel at international airports, which was denied by the foreign ministry.


Scholar claims Urdu most influential language of the world

July 18, 2010


Karachi: Renowned Urdu scholar Dr Farman Fatehpuri on Saturday negated the idea that the Urdu language comes third in the rank of global languages. According to him, the status of a language should be decided in view of its influence and that Urdu was the most influential language in the world.


Dr Farman Fatehpuri claimed this while speaking at the Arts auditorium of the University of Karachi (KU) in a programme to appreciate the performance of the Urdu Dictionary Board (UDB) that has just completed the compilation of the 22nd volume of the Urdu dictionary. KU’s alumni body Unikarian and the KU had jointly organised the event on Saturday.


Dr Fatehpuri gave the example of the Chinese language that had more than one billion speakers, arguing that it had influence in certain geographical confines while Urdu had taken roots in a number of countries. Urdu has a presence in the entire subcontinent — India, Pakistan and Bangladesh — Nepal, European countries and North America, he said, adding that the language is also spoken in other parts of the world. “Urdu has the distinction of having the phonetics and the letters that conform to it. Other languages are mostly devoid of it,” he stressed.


Chairman Urdu Authority (Muqtadra) Pakistan Iftikhar Arif reminded the audience that there could be no second opinion that Urdu had a prominent place in Pakistan. “Quaid-e-Azam spoke about the place of Urdu from 1913 till his death. But Urdu has to take along the regional languages. Urdu has to absorb new words from the regional languages. It will increase the beauty and linguistic power of Urdu. The UDB has to employ people who are experts in Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and other languages because Urdu has borrowed words from these languages. The dictionary should be revised periodically to add more words that have entered the language and a concise dictionary for the students and common man would be a welcome step,” he suggested.


Incumbent Chief Editor Fahmida Riaz informed the audience that the dictionary was based on the philological principles (historical principles) that have encompassed 1,000 years of civilisation of the subcontinent. “It is a cultural history, tradition, custom and narrates the usage of words in various periods during 1000 years”. She praised her staff that had worked diligently to complete the last volume of the dictionary despite the fact that most of them had no increments for the last 25 years and had no stationary or equipment to do their work.


Pro Vice Chancellor KU Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi lauded the achievement of the UDB and hoped that the financial crunch being faced by the organisation will be taken care of. “If the government is unable to do it, the civil society, the people should come forward and fill the void,” she advised.


Former provincial minister and ex-president of Unikarian Sufwanullah had the view that the language was the gift from God and a covenant for the mankind from God. He especially mentioned Shan Ul Haqqee, Dr Farman Fatehpuri and Dr Rauf Parekh who managed to compile and publish most of the volumes of the dictionary.


Earlier Prof Malahat Kaleem Sherwani gave a presentation on the ‘Universality of Urdu language’ and described the development of spoken and written languages in the world. Urdu, according to her, had the distinction of being the language that was formed in the camps and spoken by the commoners before the elite of society adopted it.


Army lodges protest with Pak over ceasefire violation

July 18th, 2010


Army has lodged a strong protest with their Pakistani counterparts over recent ceasefire violations, when six Indian Forward Posts along LoC in Poonch sector were targeted by mortar and small arms firing.

"We have held a flag meeting along Line of Control (LoC) at a forward post in Poonch sector and lodged a strong protest over the ceasefire violation and cross-border firing", a senior Army officer told PTI here today. Pakistani troops had violated Indo-Pak border ceasefire along LoC and targeted six Indian posts with mortar, rockets and small arms fire in Poonch sector on the intervening night of July 15 and 16. Pakistani troops had fired on the posts in Krishna Ghati sub-sector of Poonch from around 2130 hours, drawing retaliation from Indian Army. Indian and Pakistani troops traded intermittent gunfire till late into the night at Krishna Ghati, about 280km from Jammu. There was also ceasefire violation along International Border (IB) in R.S. Pura sub-sector's Kharkhola and Bodla Border Out Posts on July 15. There was no causality in firing and ceasefire violation on Indian side. There were six ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in the last two weeks. A BSF was killed and a villager injured on July 6, when Pakistani troops had opened fired at Pindi, Mala Bela and Chak Phagwari border outpost around 2230.

On July 5, Pakistani troops had fired at the Chak Pagwari BOP and killed BSF trooper Sultan Ali.

Pakistani troops had also violated the ceasefire last month when they fired at a forward outpost along the International Border in Jammu on June 21.


'JMB man' kills wife for protesting his activities

July 18, 2010

Police arrested Jalal Fakir, 30, Imam of Bogi Jame Mosque under Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat district on Friday on charge of attempting to kill his wife Ayesha Akhter, 24.


Ayesha is now fighting for life at Khulna Medical College and Hospital (KMCH) as she sustained serious head injuries.


According to police, Jalal attacked Ayesha as she protested his link with banned militant outfit Jamaat-e-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).


Jalal Fakir is also a teacher of a madrasa in Mathbaria upazila of Pirojpur district.


He attacked his wife at 3:30pm on Friday with a large dagger at their bedroom at Bogi village. He cut two fingers of left leg and tendons of right leg after hitting Ayesha Akhter in her head.


Hearing her screams, neighbours rushed to the spot and rescued profusely bleeding Ayesha and admitted her to Khulna Medical College Hospital.


OC Azizul Huq of Sharankhola police station said a case had been filed at 10:00pm on Friday naming Jalal as lone accused. The accused was arrested immediately after the incident, OC said.


The OC, quoting statements of some locals, said Jalal Fakir is an ehsar of JMB. Relations with his wife Ayesha got strained when she came to know her husband's closed link with JMB and strongly protested his clandestine activities with other JMB cadres, he added.


In Narayanganj, a newly married housewife was beaten to death allegedly by her husband at Chamurkandi village in Araihazar upazila on Thursday night, reports UNB.


The victim was identified as Shahinur, 19, wife of Abu Bakar of the village.


Police said, Sahinur, daughter of Amjad Mia of Raudgaon village in Sonargaon upazila, was married to Abu Bakar, son of Sanaullah of Chamurkandi village four months back.


Neighbours said, since their marriage Abu Bakar used to torture her for dowry.


On the fateful night Abu Bakar picked up a quarrel with Shahinur over the issue and at one stage he with the help of his family members beat her to death.