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Islamic World News ( 17 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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UN approves no-fly zone over Libya

41 killed in US drone attack in northwest Pak

Military action against Libya within hours of UN vote: France

Bahrain burns but Indians safe    

Shiite Iraq angry at Sunni Arab states for helping Bahrain monarchy

Bahrain arrests protest leaders

Libya closes airspace as world prepares to enforce UN's no-fly order

Gaddafi vows 'no mercy' in attack on Benghazi

Gaddafi's son: Libya not afraid of UN resolution

Pak demands apology from US on drone strikes

LeT founder criticises Pak Govt

CIA contractor release eases Pakistan-US tensions

Egypt releases brother of Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri

Bahrain arrests six opposition leaders after crackdown

India abstains from UN vote on Libya

Forces loyal to Gaddafi shell west Libya's Misrata

Blood money was paid by S. Arabia`

US denies paying ‘blood money’ for Raymond Davis release

Christian's death in Pak jail raises suspicion

Fukushima disaster prompts GCC fears over Iranian reactor

France says will take part in Libya operations

Old Arab Ties May Harm New Ones

West moves towards Libya action

Despite Pak militants’ threat, bunkers removed in Srinagar

'Japan N-radiation unlikely to reach Hawaii or US territories'

No response from Hamas for Abbas visit

Japan radiation leak scare grows

Kuwait will not send forces to Bahrain

Saudi terror suspect arrested in Iraq

Davis' release paves way for Zardari's visit to US

Women's platform seeks equal political representation in Turkey

Quake-hit Japan battles nuclear, humanitarian crisis

Up to 50 Somali pirates seize Indonesian ship

Two Yemen police, three Qaeda men killed

Turkey's religious Gülen community subject of latest WikiLeaks

Terrorists reverting to old-school communications: Minister

Govt needs courage to stop bomb violence: Wahid

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: United Nations

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=4305

 

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UN approves no-fly zone over Libya

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Mar 18, 2011

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council voted on Thursday to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from attacks by Muammar Qaddafi’s forces, hours after the Libyan leader vowed to crush the rebellion with a final assault on the opposition capital of Benghazi.

The UN vote paved the way for possible international air strikes on Qaddafi’s advancing military and reflected the past week’s swift reversal of the situation in Libya, where once-confident rebels are now in danger of being obliterated by an overpowering pro-Qaddafi force using rockets, artillery, tanks, warplanes. That force has advanced along the Mediterranean coast aiming to recapture the rebel-held eastern half of Libya.

The resolution establishes “a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians.” It also authorizes UN member states to take “all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

The vote was 10-0 with five countries abstaining including Russia and China, which have veto power in the council, along with India, Germany and Brazil. The United States, France and Britain pushed for speedy approval.

In Benghazi, Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel showed a large crowd watching the vote on an outdoor TV projection burst into celebration as green and red fireworks exploded in the air.

Read to be 'crazy'

In an interview broadcast just before the Security Council voted, Qaddafi dismissed its actions. “The UN Security Council has no mandate. We don’t acknowledge their resolutions,” he told the Portuguese public Radiotelevisao Portuguesa. He pledged to respond harshly to UN-sponsored attacks.

“If the world is crazy, we will be crazy too,” he said.

US officials have said the authorization for “all necessary measures” provides a legal basis for countries to carry out air strikes to protect civilians from Qaddafi’s forces.

“We had said all along that Qaddafi must go,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “It is necessary to take these measures to avoid greater bloodshed.”

In Britain, a lawmaker with knowledge of defense matters confirmed that British forces were on stand by for air strikes and could be mobilized as soon as Thursday night.

The lawmaker declined to be named because the Defense Ministry has not issued official confirmation.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told France-2 Television that if the resolution was approved France would support military action against Qaddafi within a matter of hours.

Immediately before the vote, France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe urged adoption of the resolution saying sanctions imposed by the Security Council on Feb. 26 aren’t enough and “violence against the civilian population has been redoubled.” “We cannot let these warmongers ... do this,” he said.

“We have very little time left. It’s a matter of days. It’s perhaps a matter of hours. We should not arrive too late.”

Arms embargo

The resolution also calls for stronger enforcement of the arms embargo, adds names of individuals, companies and other entities to the list of those subject to travel bans and asset freezes, and requires all countries to ban Libyan flights from landing, taking off or overflying their country.

It also demands that Libya ensure the “rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance” and asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish an eight-member panel of experts to assist the Security Council committee in monitoring sanctions.

Russia and China had expressed doubts about the United Nations and other outside powers using force against Qaddafi, a view backed by India, Brazil and Germany who also abstained.

Germany’s UN Ambassador Peter Wittig expressed fear that using military force could lead to “the likelihood of large-scale loss of life.”

Despite the lack of consensus, US Ambassador Susan Rice said: “Today the Security Council has responded to the Libyan people’s cry for help.” She said “Col. Qaddafi and those who still stand by him continue to grossly and systematically abuse the most fundamental of the human rights of his people.” Qaddafi, in the Radiotelevisao Portuguesa interview, said that he rejected any UN threats of action.

“The UN Security Council has no mandate,” Qaddafi said. “We don’t acknowledge their resolutions.” He warned that any military action would be construed as “colonization without any justification” and would have “grave repercussions.”

The Arab League has supported the call for a no-fly zone, and Qaddafi said that as a result “it’s finished.” The United States joined the resolution’s initial supporters — Britain, France and Lebanon — not only in pushing for a speedy vote but also in pressing for action beyond creation of a no-fly zone to protect civilians from air, land and sea attacks by Qaddafi’s fighters.

This marked a dramatic about-face by the Obama administration which for weeks hesitated about supporting a no-fly zone, fearing that the United States could get sucked into another war in a Muslim nation.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Tunisia on Thursday that a UN no-fly zone over Libya would require action to protect the planes and pilots, “including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems.” She said no ground intervention is being considered.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, called the situation “very worrying” and said the EU was looking to the UN Security Council before making further decisions. “We have always said all along that we are planning for all options,” he said.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose government had expressed misgivings about a no-fly zone, proposed that the council vote first on a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya. The council refused but added a paragraph in the resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire “and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians.” France and Britain failed to win support for a no-fly zone during a two-day meeting of Group of Eight foreign ministers in Paris on Tuesday and the G-8’s final communique did not mention a flight ban, leaving any action to the Security Council.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article320890.ece

 

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41 killed in US drone attack in northwest Pak

March 18, 2011

US drone aircraft fired four missiles at a building in a militant sanctuary in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing 41 people in an unusually deadly strike, Pakistani officials said.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official said the dead were militants meeting to discuss plans to send fighters to Afghanistan; the local Governor said they were innocent tribal elders and police.

Masood Kausar, the Governor of northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, condemned the strikes and said the families of the victims should receive compensation.

The senior Pakistani security official denied the Governor's accusations and said they were likely driven by Taliban propaganda. The militants claimed after the strikes that innocent tribesmen were killed, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.        

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325200/41-killed-in-US-drone-attack-in-northwest-Pak.html

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Military action against Libya within hours of UN vote: France

Mar 18, 2011

BENGHAZI: France said Friday military action against Libya would come "within hours", as a UN vote approving air strikes was celebrated by rebels and Muammar Gaddafi's son said his family was "not afraid."

The strikes will come "rapidly... within a few hours," French government spokesman Francois Baroin said after the UN Security Council on Thursday cleared the way for air raids to protect civilians from Gaddafi's advancing forces.

Baroin said the goal of the military action would be to "protect the Libyan people and to allow them to go all the way in their drive for freedom, which means bringing down the Gaddafi regime."

So far Britain, France, the United States, Norway and Qatar are among the countries that have said they will help to enforce the no-fly zone, while China, Germany, Poland, Australia and Russia have indicated they will not.

NATO said it will discuss Friday what role the alliance may take.

The main rebel bastion Benghazi erupted with fireworks and joyful gunfire late on Thursday after news spread of the passing of the UN resolution, which approves "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and pressure the veteran Libyan leader into accepting a ceasefire.

But rebels in Misrata, a rebel bastion 210 kilometres (130 miles) east of Tripoli, said on Friday that Gaddafi's forces were pounding the city after a night of heavy gunfire.

"Dozens of bombs of all sorts have fallen on the city since last night," the spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding the bombing was "still intense."

Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam on Friday said his family was "not afraid" but warned foreign air strikes would kill civilians.

"We are in our country and with our people. And we are not afraid," Seif al-Islam told ABC News Nightline from Tripoli.

"We will not be afraid. Come on! We will not be afraid. I mean, you are not helping the people if you are going to bomb Libya, to kill Libyans. You destroy our country. Nobody is happy with that."

The UN vote passed 10-0 with five abstentions -- permanent members China and Russia, who did not wield their vetoes, plus Germany, Brazil and India.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the resolution should send a strong message to Gaddafi "that the violence must stop, the killing must stop, and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely."

In a note of caution, Germany said it remains "eminently sceptical on the option of military intervention... anticipated in this resolution."

"We see in it considerable risks and dangers. That is why we could not approve this part of the text," a statement by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

"German soldiers will not take part in a military intervention in Libya."

China, too, said it had serious concerns, despite choosing not to use its veto.

"We oppose the use of military force in international relations, and have serious reservations about some of the content of the resolution," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement on Friday, without elaborating on the concerns.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Friday he hoped the UN resolution was not too late.

"Let us all hope and pray that this final resolve of the international community is not too late for the people of Libya," he said.

Late Thursday, the defence ministry in Tripoli warned "any military operation against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean to danger."

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim immediately after the UN resolution was passed said Libya was ready for a ceasefire but wanted to discuss its terms.

He told reporters in Tripoli the regime would "react positively to the UN resolution, and we will prove this willingness while guaranteeing protection to civilians."

Celebrations in Benghazi, Libya's second city and stronghold of the month-long mainly eastern rebellion against Gaddafi's iron-fisted four-decade rule, carried on through the night.

Preachers in mosques across the Mediterranean city used loudspeakers to shout "God is greatest, God is greatest."

Tracer bullets and anti-aircraft fire ripped through the night sky, punctuated by the blaring of car horns.

Hussein Madani, a 48-year-old engineer in Benghazi's central square, welcomed the UN decision.

"We needed the no-fly zone, but more than that we need to bomb Tripoli, Sirte and Sabha because that's where most of the Libyan army infrastructure is," he said of towns under Gaddafi's control.

Gaddafi, in a broadcast before the vote, had warned his forces would attack Benghazi on Thursday night and show "no mercy."

"We will chase the traitors from Benghazi," he said, addressing his troops. "Destroy their fortifications. Show them no mercy. The world needs to see Benghazi free."

US President Barack Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday to discuss strategy.

"The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease," the White House said in a statement.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Shiite-led opposition in Sunni-ruled Bahrain vowed to press on with "peaceful" pro-democracy demonstrations, calling for protests after weekly prayers on Friday and sit-ins on Saturday.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned Bahrain on Thursday that its deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters might be breaking international law after his human rights chief spoke of "shocking and illegal" abuses.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Military-action-against-Libya-within-hours-of-UN-vote-France/articleshow/7734906.cms

 

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Bahrain burns but Indians safe

Thu Mar 18 2011

PM of Gulf nation assures security of 300,000 Indians

CONTINUING a security crackdown, Bahrain’s authorities on Thursday arrested six top Opposition leaders under the country’s emergency laws, a day after tanks and army personnel overran the protesters camps in the heart of the capital at Pearl Square.

The army, however, eased the curfew in central Manama for four hours.

In another development, Bahrain has assured the safety of all Indians living in the Gulf state. Bahraini Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa conveyed the assurance when the Indian ambassador called on him on Thursday.

“ He was assured by the Prime Minister that the Bahraini authorities will do everything in their power to ensure the safety and security of Indians living in the country,” according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry in New Delhi.

With the situation deteriorating in Bahrain, the Indian embassy has again asked all Indians to keep a low profile, stay indoors and avoid all non- essential travel within the country.

The Indian embassy has also advised the Indian associations that those family members and others whose presence in Bahrain is not necessary should consider leaving the country, if so inclined.

“ The government ( New Delhi) continues to carefully monitor the security situation in Bahrain and will issue suitable travel advisories should it become necessary,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, all of those arrested on Thursday were dissident leaders including five Shias and one Sunni. They were picked up overnight and early morning as heavily armed forces and tanks blocked most of Manama’s thoroughfares.

Opposition leader Hassan Mushaima of the Haq Movement, who had returned last month from self- imposed exile in the UK, was one of the prominent leaders detained as authorities declared that holding of rallies would remain banned.

Abdel Wahhab Hussein from Wafa party and Sunni liberal leader Ibrahim Sharif from the Waad Society were among the six Opposition leaders arrested.

Significant members of the Opposition were arrested overnight, including key activists. Soldiers broke into their houses early in the morning and made these arrests, Al Jazeera reported.

All offices, banks, schools and business establishments remained close for the second day as Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa came under mounting diplomatic pressure to end the crackdown and start negotiations with the dissidents.

US President Barack Obama, whose country is a close ally of Bahrain, called King Hamad to express deep concern at the bloody crackdown.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged the king to pursue reforms, not repression.

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=1832011

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Shiite Iraq angry at Sunni Arab states for helping Bahrain monarchy

Thu Mar 18 2011

Baghdad : Concerns over clashes in Bahrain between Shiite protesters and security forces from Sunni Arab states spilled over into Iraq on Thursday as thousands of protesters converged on holy shrines in a show of Shiite support and lawmakers debated how to respond.

An estimated 3,000 people in Karbala, 90 kilometres south of Baghdad, gathered between the city's two Shiite holy mosques in a demonstration that local councilman Hussein Shadhan al-Aboudi predicted will be dwarfed by even larger crowds after prayers on Friday. Parliament, meanwhile, discussed sending $5 million in aid to Shiites in Bahrain and demanded that the Arab League and the United Nations immediately intervene.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, also took a stab at what he called a tepid US response to the unrest against the tiny island's Sunni monarchy.

“The American stance on what is going on in Bahrain is indecisive and hesitant,'' al-Jaafari told a press conference in Baghdad. “Their response was timid, and that was not enough.''

He also called on Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, to denounce Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in letters to the Baghdad-based ambassadors of both nations. He suggested that Iraq recall its ambassador from Bahrain.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia, both Sunni-dominated countries, have sent forces to help Bahrain's monarchy subdue anti-government protests, held mostly by Shiites.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he fears clashes between forces and protesters could inflame sectarian violence across the Mideast. And two of Iraq's most prominent Shiite clerics also have weighed in: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Wednesday called on Bahrain's government to cease the crackdown on protesters.

And Shiite anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stoked the discontent, telling his followers in Baghdad and Basra to hold demonstrations in protest of the Saudi forces. Afterward, thousands of Sadrists rallied in their Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City and al-Sadr's supporters also protested Wednesday in Basra.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/763934/

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Bahrain arrests protest leaders

Atul Aneja

Mar 18, 2011

DUBAI: Bahraini authorities have reinforced the crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in the country by arresting top opposition figures in the early hours on Thursday, amid growing international opposition to the heavy use of force by the regime, backed by foreign forces.

In pre-dawn raids on Thursday, the police specially targeted the leadership of the Haq movement, which is playing a leading role in the protests. Those detained included the Haq party's leader Hassan Mushaima, who had returned from a self-imposed exile in Britain last month after Bahraini authorities dropped previous charges against him. Also arrested was Abdul Jalil al-Singace, another leader of the Haq movement, who had been imprisoned last August but was freed in February.

Pursuing a bold non-sectarian agenda and focusing on non-violence as the means, the Haq party, in conjunction with human rights groups, has over the last five years challenged the monarchy with its pro-democracy call.

In an interview with Al Jazeera prior to his arrest, Mr. Mushaima emphasised his movement's commitment to peaceful protests to bring about change. “Bahraini security forces should stop killing people. The United States especially knows that the people are struggling for democracy in a peaceful way. All the journalists came and saw the people protesting peacefully, and they did not try to use any weapons ... and they were only throwing roses,” he said.

Others who have been detained include Ibrahim Sharif, head of the Waad political society which has a secular and leftist orientation and includes several prominent Sunnis within its ranks.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/03/18/stories/2011031860721100.htm

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Libya closes airspace as world prepares to enforce UN's no-fly order

Mar 18, 2011

The Libyan government closed its airspace Friday to all traffic, reacting to a UN resolution authorizing the use of force and a no-fly zone to protect the Libyan people from attacks by forces loyal to strongman Muammar Qaddafi.

Europe’s air traffic control agency, Eurocontrol, told airlines on Friday that “the latest information from Malta indicates that Tripoli (air control center) does not accept traffic.” The Brussels-based agency’s map of air traffic over Europe and the Mediterranean showed that Libyan airspace was off limits.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council authorized “all necessary measures” to stop attacks on civilians in Libya — including strikes by sea and air — hours after Qaddafi vowed to launch a final assault and crush the weeks-old rebellion against him.

Eurocontrol said Friday it had no information on how long Libya’s airspace would be closed, but the agency said it had halted all air traffic to Libya for 24 hours.

“We applied a zero traffic rate for the whole day,” said a Eurocontrol official who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the news media.

She said the closure could also be affected by decisions made Friday by NATO, the North Atlantic military alliance.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article321311.ece

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Gaddafi vows 'no mercy' in attack on Benghazi

Mar 18, 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi attends a ceremony marking the birth of Islam's Prophet Mohammed in Tripoli February 13, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

TRIPOLI: Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi said his forces will soon launch an assault on rebel stronghold Benghazi, saying "traitors" would be showed no mercy but those who laid down their arms would be spared. ( India abstains from voting in UNSC for use of force in Libya )

"The decision has been taken. Prepare yourselves. We will arrive tonight," Gaddafi said on state television.

"We will chase the traitors from Benghazi," he told his troops. "Destroy their fortifications. Show them no mercy. The world needs to see Benghazi free."

Meanwhile, he said "those who surrender and throw down their arms will be saved." ( Gaddafi thanks those who abstained from UNSC vote )

Sticking to recurring claims throughout the month-old rebellion that al-Qaida is behind it, Gaddafi said "we will hunt down the miscreants and bearded ones that have destroyed out country and we will punish them without mercy." ( UN approves air strikes against Libya )

"We will also punish the mercenaries who have served them," he added, without saying to whom he was referring.

Gaddafi said the insurgents "take their strength from lies, and you do not have to spare them."

Touching on another recurring theme of his public statements about the rebels, he said they needed to be "hunted down in every neighbourhood, every street, every house."

Gaddafi, who came to power in a bloodless 1969 coup against Libya's monarchy, said "I freed Benghazi with my rifle, and Benghazi will not betray me. Tomorrow Benghazi will be free."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Gaddafi-vows-no-mercy-in-attack-on-Benghazi/articleshow/7733614.cms

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Gaddafi's son: Libya not afraid of UN resolution

Mar 18, 2011

Saif al-Islam responds to UN Security Council decision to authorize military strikes on Libya; France, Norway to join int'l military action.  

Libya is not afraid of a UN resolution authorizing military strikes to protect Libyan civilians, Al Arabiya television quoted Saif al-Islam, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons, as saying on Friday. Al Arabiya did not say where or when he made the remark.

The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to authorize military force against Gadhafi’s forces.

Today the Security Council has responded to the Libyan people's cry for help,” US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said. “This Council's purpose is clear: to protect innocent civilians.”

French government spokesman Francois Baroin said on Friday that "The French, who led the calls [for action], will of course be consistent with military intervention." Asked to specify what that meant, he said "they will participate" in operations.

The UN resolution demands the "immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks, and abuses, of civilians." The resolution stipulates that member states, upon notification to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, can “take all necessary measures...to protect civilians and civilian populated areas, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

The Security Council’s authorization of the use of force also includes the enforcement of a no-fly zone to protect civilians, as well as an enforcement of the arms embargo, banning all international flights by Libyan owned or operated aircraft. The resolution also freezes the assets of certain individuals and five entities including critical state-owned Libyan companies. A newly established Libyan Sanctions Committee is empowered by the resolution to impose

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=212733

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Pak demands apology from US on drone strikes

Mar 18 2011

Islamabad : Pakistan on Friday demanded an "apology and explanation" from the US for drone strikes in its tribal belt that Pakistani officials said killed 41 people, including members of a tribal jirga and personnel from a government militia force.

"The government of Pakistan strongly condemns (the) drone attacks which have resulted in a large number of casualties. This is not only unacceptable but also a flagrant violation of all humanitarian rules and norms," Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said in a statement issued after midnight.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir had conveyed "this strong condemnation to US Ambassador Cameron Munter" and "demanded an apology and explanation", Janjua said.

In Washington, Pakistan's Ambassador Hussain Haqqani too made a "strong demarche" with the US State Department and registered a protest over the deadly drone attack, describing it as "unacceptable" and a "flagrant violation" of humanitarian norms and laws.

Haqqani too "demanded an apology and explanation" from the US government on yesterday's attack in Datta Khel region near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan agency.

The attack was the deadliest drone strike in North Waziristan Agency since August 2008 and the seventh such attack in nine days.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani strongly condemned the drone attack.

In a statement, Gilani said the attack "will only strengthen the hands of radical and extremist elements".

Gilani said, "such irrational behaviour negatively impact the efforts to separate the militants from the peaceful and patriotic tribesmen" and that "such attacks will bode very negatively on our joint efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism".

Kayani, in a strongly worded statement, said: "It is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens, including elders of the area, was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life."

He added that "such acts of violence take us away from our objective of elimination of terrorism".

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/764369/

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LeT founder criticises Pak Govt

S Rajagopalan

Mar 18, 2011

The United States has claimed that it has not paid the widely reported amount of $2.3 million as “blood money” to secure the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who had been charged with killing two Pakistanis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintained no compensation was paid by Washington. She contended that the families of the victims of the January 27 incident “decided to pardon Davis” and that “we are grateful for their decision”.

“We appreciate the actions that they took that enabled Davis to leave Pakistan and head back home. We also have a Department of Justice investigation that has begun into what happened in Lahore,” Clinton told reporters on her Egypt visit. “Davis was an embassy employee, and we will continue to seek visas for embassy employees who have important functions to perform in furtherance of the work we are doing with the Pakistani Government and on behalf of the Pakistani people,” she said.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to go into details other than insisting that no compensation was paid to the victims’ families. “Beyond that, you’ll have to ask the families,” he said.

The White House also stuck to the position that there was no information corroborating American payment to the families in question.

“The US welcomes the release of Davis. He was pardoned, as you understand it, by the families involved of the victims and in accordance with Pakistani law,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325205/LeT-founder-criticises-Pak-Govt.html

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CIA contractor release eases Pakistan-US tensions

By CHRIS BRUMMITT

Mar 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD – A "blood money" deal to free a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistani men removes a major thorn in relations between the United States and Pakistan, but bruising from the dispute and disagreements over Afghanistan mean the alliance will likely remain stormy.

The already weak Pakistani government has also seen its standing among the country's 180 million people further diminished, though it remains to be seen whether right wing and Islamist parties can to organize large-scale protests to destabilize it further.

Raymond Allen Davis was released Wednesday after heirs of his victims were given $2.34 million in exchange for a pardon in a closed court session. He shot and killed the men on Jan. 27 in the eastern city of Lahore, allegedly in self-defense.

The deal was a way out of a toxic situation for the U.S. and Pakistani governments, which were able to say it was the families and Pakistan's legal system — not them — that allowed the release. As such, they were sheltered from the full force of Pakistani public anger.

The complex relationship between Pakistan and the United States is increasingly strained over strategic interests in Afghanistan. Many analysts said the crisis generated by the Davis affair was largely a reflection of these tensions.

"This was a bump along the road," said Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group, an international think tank.

"The bigger issue, which still remains, is that of Afghanistan."

The United States wants Pakistan to crack down on Afghan Taliban factions sheltering on its soil to enable it to quickly withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But Pakistan has resisted because it believes the militants could be allies when the Americans leave and help ensure that Afghanistan is not an ally of its long-term enemy, India.

The United States insisted all along that Davis had diplomatic immunity, but Pakistani officials never confirmed this.

Full report at:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110317/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_detained_american

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Egypt releases brother of Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri

Mar 17,2011

CAIRO: The brother of Al-Qaeda’s second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri was released in Egypt on Thursday after a decade in jail on charges of conspiring against the government, a lawyer representing him said.

Mohammad Al-Zawahiri, a member of the Islamic Jihad group, was sentenced in absentia in Egypt in 1998, his lawyer Nizar Ghurab said. He was extradited from the United Arab Emirates in 1999 and has been in jail ever since, he said. The Interior Ministry ordered his release along with dozens of political detainees on Wednesday in line with the orders from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to release political detainees, security sources said.

Ghurab said Zawahiri, who is in his 50s, should have been released in 2001 after the constitutional court declared that “agreeing” to commit a crime without actually carrying it out was not illegal.

The charge was routinely levelled at Islamists who were seen as a threat by the administration of President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to step down on Feb. 11 by a mass uprising.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article320419.ece

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Bahrain arrests six opposition leaders after crackdown

Mar 18, 2011

MANAMA: Bahrain arrested at least six opposition leaders on Thursday, a day after its crackdown on protests among the Shia majority drew rare US criticism and raised fears of a regional conflict.

State television said “leaders of the civil strife” had been arrested for communicating with foreign countries and inciting murder and destruction of property. It did not say how many had been arrested or name them.

Bahraini forces used tanks and helicopters to drive protesters off the streets and clear a camp that had become a symbol of their demand for more democratic rights in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Three police and three protesters died in the crackdown.

The crackdown prompted sympathy protests from Shias across the region, including in oil power Saudi Arabia, and Iran has complained to the UN.

It asked countries in the region to join it in urging Saudi Arabia to withdraw troops from the island state, reports said.

“How could one accept a government to invite foreign military forces to suppress its own citizens,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, also addressed to the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\18\story_18-3-2011_pg7_2

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India abstains from UN vote on Libya

Mar 18, 2011

In a snub to the US, India and four other countries have abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over strife-hit Libya. Indian deputy ambassador to the UN, Manjeev Singh Puri, said that the vote was being taken without any credible information about the gr

ound situation in Libya, where government forces are trying to crush an uprising against long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

He said in his speech that despite this, the resolution authorized "far-reaching measures" in the North African country.

"We do not have clarity about details of enforcement measures, including who and with what asset will participate and how these measures will be exactly carried out," Puri said, explaining why India had decided to abstain.

"It is of course very important that there is full respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Libya," he added.

Besides India, China, Brazil, Germany and Russia abstained. The 10 of the 15 Security Council members which voted for the resolution included the US, Britain, France, Gabon, Bosnia, Colombia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa.

Puri warned that the financial proposed in the resolution could impact, directly or indirectly, the trade and investment activity of a number of countries, "thereby adversely affecting the economic interest of the Libyan people."

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/India-abstains-from-UN-vote-on-Libya/Article1-674799.aspx

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Forces loyal to Gaddafi shell west Libya's Misrata

Mar 18, 2011

Al Arabiya says number of people killed, wounded; "There have been heavy bombardments, they are bombing everything," rebel Saadoun says.  

TUNIS - Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi bombarded the rebel-held city of Misrata on Friday with heavy weapons, rebels and residents said.

Gaddafi's son: Libya not afraid of UN resolution

Battle for Benghazi looms, US talks of tough action

"It's the heaviest bombardment I have seen so far."

The sound of heavy artillery could be heard in the background.

Al Arabiya television said an unspecified number of people were killed and wounded and several mosques, schools and residential buildings badly damaged in the attack on the city of 300,000, about 200 km (130 miles) east of Tripoli.

The attack began hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone and military attacks on Gaddafi's forces to protect civilians.

Misrata is the last big opposition stronghold in western Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=212745

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Blood money was paid by S. Arabia

Mar 18, 2011

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia is believed to have arranged the blood money that allowed CIA contractor Raymond Davis to go home after nearly two months in a Lahore jail, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

They said that the Saudis joined the efforts to resolve the dispute late last month after it became obvious that Davis`s continued incarceration could do an irreparable damage to US-Pakistan relations.

The Saudis agreed to pay the money, “at least for now”, to get Davis released, the sources said, but did not clarify if and how would the Saudis be reimbursed.

“This is something that needs to be discussed between the United States and the Kingdom,” one source said. “Mr Davis`s surprise departure from Pakistan came after it became obvious that the Americans were getting impatient,” he added.

The New York Times, however, quoted US officials as saying that the money would be paid by members of the Pakistan government, and then reimbursed by the Obama administration.

US officials, who spoke to the media, also insisted that the CIA had made no pledges to scale back covert operations in Pakistan to earn Davis`s release. The CIA also refused to give the Pakistani government or its intelligence agency a roster of American spies operating in the country, the officials said.

In an interview broadcast on Thursday by the US National Public Radio, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not clarify the situation either. “Well, you`ll have to ask him what he means by that,” said Ms Clinton when informed that Punjab`s Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was insisting that the blood money had been paid.

“And a lawyer involved in the case said it was $2.34 million. There is no money that came from anywhere?” she was asked.

“The United States did not pay any compensation,” the secretary replied. “Did someone else, to your knowledge?”

“You will have to ask whoever you are interested in asking about that,” she said.

“You`re not going to talk about it?” the interviewer insisted.

“I have nothing to answer to that,” she replied.

According to the US media, the case was resolved after Pakistani officials met family members of the victims for more than six hours on Wednesday to arrange compensation. The issue of payments was first raised with Pakistani officials by Senator John Kerry during a trip to Islamabad last month.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/18/blood-money-was-paid-by-s-arabia.html

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US denies paying ‘blood money’ for Raymond Davis release

S Rajagopalan

Mar 18, 2011

The United States has claimed that it has not paid the widely reported amount of $2.3 million as “blood money” to secure the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who had been charged with killing two Pakistanis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintained no compensation was paid by Washington. She contended that the families of the victims of the January 27 incident “decided to pardon Davis” and that “we are grateful for their decision”.

“We appreciate the actions that they took that enabled Davis to leave Pakistan and head back home. We also have a Department of Justice investigation that has begun into what happened in Lahore,” Clinton told reporters on her Egypt visit. “Davis was an embassy employee, and we will continue to seek visas for embassy employees who have important functions to perform in furtherance of the work we are doing with the Pakistani Government and on behalf of the Pakistani people,” she said.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner declined to go into details other than insisting that no compensation was paid to the victims’ families. “Beyond that, you’ll have to ask the families,” he said.

The White House also stuck to the position that there was no information corroborating American payment to the families in question.

“The US welcomes the release of Davis. He was pardoned, as you understand it, by the families involved of the victims and in accordance with Pakistani law,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325213/US-denies-paying-%E2%80%98blood-money%E2%80%99-for-Raymond-Davis-release.html

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Christian's death in Pak jail raises suspicion

Mar 18, 2011

Karachi : The death of a Christian blasphemy convict in a Pakistani jail has raised suspicions about the cause behind his demise, as earlier he had expressed fears for his life and accused the police of torturing him.

David convicted by an additional district sessions judge last year was accused of sending blasphemous texts to a neighbor, a charge he denied till his death.

Suspicions about the cause of his death inside the prison have been raised by his son Aqeel and also due to the fact that David himself wrote two letters to the Human Rights commission of Pakistan in 2007 and 2009 expressing fears for his life and that of his family and also accusing the police of torturing him.

"We met with the three prisoners who were jailed with our father and asked them if they had noticed any bad health.

They all appeared to be scared and nervous. They said something but their eyes said something else," Aqeel said.

The police, however, claim convict Qamar David died of a heart attack.

The post-mortem of David's body was carried out by police surgeon Hamid Ali and has revealed no torture marks on his body but the surgeon said he requires two to three days to confirm if David had a heart attack and his exact cause of death.

The Christian man belonging to the middle class had come to Karachi from Lahore in search of employment some years back and his family said they suspected foul play as they had received threatening calls from a unidentified caller a week back.

The blasphemy law which carries a death sentence for anyone found guilty of passing blasphemous remarks against the Prophet has become the source of a divide in Pakistani society since last year when Christian woman Asiya bibi was sentenced to death under the same law.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/764342/

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Fukushima disaster prompts GCC fears over Iranian reactor

By ROGER HARRISON & MICHEL COUSINS

Mar 18, 2011

JEDDAH: Saudi and Kuwaiti environmentalists have expressed serious concern about the safety of Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr, some 250 km on the other side of the Gulf from the Saudi-Kuwait border. This follows the explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor as a result of earthquake and tsunami damage last Friday.

Like the Japanese reactor, the Iranian one is built in an area of seismic activity. The concern is accentuated by the fact that while Japan has the highest standards in the world for the design and construction of buildings in earthquake zones, Iran does not. In the Bam earthquake in 2003, 30,000 people died as buildings collapsed all about them. In the one in Manjil in 1990 over 40,000 people perished.

While thousands have died in Japan as a result of the tsunami on Friday, very few did so because of the earthquake. An explosion at Bushehr would have disastrous consequences, according to Jassem Al-Awadhi, a Professor of Geology and the Environment at Kuwait University’s science faculty. The outcome would be “similar to those of the Chernobyl disaster for the whole region,” he said. According to Al-Awadhi, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research’s seismological center has detected daily seismic activity in the coastal area of western Iran bordering the Gulf. “This is caused by this site being the meeting point of three continental plates — Arabian, African and Eurasian plates,” he said. He wanted to know whether International Atomic Energy Agency standards were followed in Bushehr’s construction.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most threatened if there were an explosion at Bushehr, given the prevailing northwesterly winds in the Gulf, but radioactive fallout could easily hit the cities and oilfield of the Eastern Province necessitating mass evacuation. Bahrain, and Qatar could also be hit.

Dr Ibrahim Aref, from the forestry and environmental studies department at King Saud University in Riyadh fears it could be worse. An explosion would affect not just the Eastern Province, he says, but the whole Kingdom. He points out that carbon deposits from the 1991 oil well fires in Kuwait were found as far away as Asir.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article320726.ece

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France says will take part in Libya operations

Mar 18, 2011

France will take part in military operations against Libya after the United Nations Security Council authorized action, French government spokesman Francois Baroin said on Friday.

 "The French, who led the calls (for action), will of course be consistent with military intervention," Baroin told French radio RTL. Asked to specify what that meant, he said "they

Full report at:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4044099,00.html

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Old Arab Ties May Harm New Ones

March 18, 2011

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that Britain, a leading backer of the no-flight resolution,, would deploy Tornado and Typhoon warplanes along with aerial refuelling and surveillance aircraft. He said the planes would move “in the coming hours” to bases where they could start implementing the no-flight zone. He added that he would attend a meeting in Paris on Saturday with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Arab leaders.

Government minders in Tripoli told journalists on Friday that they could not leave their hotel for their own safety, saying that in the aftermath of the United Nations vote, residents might attack or even shoot foreigners. The extent of the danger was unclear.

On the ground, forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi unleashed a barrage of fire against the rebel-held town of Misurata in the west of the country while one of the colonel’s sons, Seif el-Islam, was quoted as saying government forces would encircle the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the east.

François Baroin, a French government spokesman, told RTL radio that airstrikes would come “rapidly,” perhaps within hours, following the United Nations resolution late Thursday authorizing “all necessary measures” to impose a no-flight zone.

But he insisted the military action “is not an occupation of Libyan territory.” Rather, it was designed to protect the Libyan people and “allow them to go all the way in their drive, which means bringing down the Qaddafi regime.”

The action seemed to have divided Europeans, with Germany saying it would not participate while Norway was reported as saying it would. In the region, Turkey was reported to have registered opposition while demanding ceasefire, but Qatar said it would support the operation.Reuters quoted Saif el-Islam as saying the Libyan Army would surround but not enter Benghazi and that “anti-terror” forces would be sent in to disarm rebels there. His comments were reported on Al Jazeera television. It was not clear where or when he had spoken.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/world/africa/19libya.html?_r=1&hp

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West moves towards Libya action

Mar 18, 2011

Western powers are discussing how to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya after the passage of a UN resolution backing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, short of an occupation.

France said there could be air strikes "within hours", though the details and timing of any action remain unclear.

Forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi have been advancing eastwards towards the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

They were also said to be bombarding the city of Misrata on Friday.

Col Gaddafi has promised to retake Benghazi, saying his forces would show "no mercy".

Meanwhile, Libya has closed its airspace to all traffic, Europe's air traffic control agency says.

Nato is due to discuss on Friday what role the alliance might play.

French government spokesman Francois Baroin said on Friday morning that strikes could take place "rapidly" and "within a few hours". But he added: "You will understand that there's no question of talking as early as this morning about when, how, which targets or in which form."

'Unfair'

It is not thought that the US would be involved in the first strikes. The British and French, along with some Arab allies, are expected to play a leading role. Norway has said it will also participate.

Qatar will take part in international efforts to protect civilians, Qatar's official news agency reported, though it was not clear if this included military operations.

The UN resolution is so broad that it allows military action against all threats to civilians, and could involve bombing Col Gaddafi's forces on the ground if deemed necessary.

Rebel forces in Benghazi reacted with joy to the UN resolution, but a government spokesman condemned UN "aggression". One of Col Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, said the resolution was "unfair" as Libya had not been bombing civilians.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12783347

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Despite Pak militants’ threat, bunkers removed in Srinagar

Khursheed Wani

Mar 18, 2011

While a senior Army officer highlighted the need for increased vigilance on the India-Pakistan borders in the wake of an estimated 700 armed militants’ getting ready to sneak into Kashmir Valley, the removal of a dozen more security bunkers in Srinagar city would seem to indicate that the situation was improving here.

Commander of Srinagar based XV Corps Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain on Thursday said that

600 to 700 armed terrorists have been kept ready (by Pakistan) on Kashmir borders to get into the Valley to perpetuate violence. “The anti-infiltration grid of Army and security forces is ready to face any challenge”, he said, referring to the possibility of infiltration in the summer months when mountain passes along the Line of Control begin to open after melting of snow.

Hasnain, who spoke to media at Pattan in north Kashmir said the spillover of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan was not ruled out to impact the situation in Kashmir. He favoured deliberations between Army top brass and the political leadership to discuss contentious issues like amendment in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

“The amendments should not affect the functioning of the Army on the ground level”, he maintained.

Meanwhile, the Government on Thursday decided to remove a dozen more security bunkers from Srinagar city raising the number to 40. Most of the bunkers were removed from congested downtown city where some bunkers were installed two decades ago.

Sources said that a huge CRPF bunker erected outside the Islamia College of Science and Commerce was also dismantled.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/325359/Despite-Pak-militants%E2%80%99-threat-bunkers-removed-in-Srinagar.html

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Japan N-radiation unlikely to reach Hawaii or US territories'

Mar 18, 2011

Dismissing reports that radioactive material blowing from Japan's damaged atomic plants could reach US, a top American nuclear official has said that radiation is unlikely to reach anywhere near the United States including Hawaii.

"The basic basic science tells us that there really can't be any risk or harm to anyone here in the United States or Hawaii or any of the other territories. So that's something that we feel very comfortable with. It's really just based on the basic facts and science that's involved here," Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko told White House reporters at a news conference.

Earlier, a report in the Los Angeles Times said that adioactive isotopes are being blown toward North America "high in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean" and will reach California as soon as Friday.

US President Barack Obama also assured Americans that there was no danger of radiation for the country. "I want to be very clear: We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it's the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific," Obama said in Washington today.

"Let me repeat that: We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories in the Pacific. That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts."

Full report at:

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/146801/japan-n-radiation-unlikely-reach.html

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Kuwait will not send forces to Bahrain

Mar 18, 2011

On Monday, Bahrain asked for support under a Gulf defense pact after weeks of protests by pro-democracy activists, mainly majority Shiites who complain of discrimination in the country led by a Sunni monarchy.

“I will leave today (Wednesday) to Bahrain to hand over a letter from His Highness the Emir to his brother King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa,” the daily Al-Jarida quoted Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah as saying.

The newspaper said Kuwait would not send forces and is looking into playing a mediating role, but it did not name its sources.

Some 1,000 Saudi soldiers and 500 UAE police officers entered Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, this week.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article320303.ece

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Saudi terror suspect arrested in Iraq

Mar 17, 2011

JEDDAH: Iraqi authorities have announced that Saudi terrorist Battal Ameesh Al-Harbi was among 25 Al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Iraq over the past three months, Al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday.

Director of the Iraqi Terrorism and Crimes Department Maj. Gen. Dhia Sahi told the newspaper Al-Harbi had served six years in an Iraqi prison for illegally entering the country and had only been released a year ago.

Al-Harbi’s father, who lives in Hafr Al-Batin, said he had recently received information about his son’s arrest.

The father said Al-Harbi left home in Shawwal 1425 AH when he was only 19. “He told us

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article320619.ece

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Davis' release paves way for Zardari's visit to US

By HASMUKH DATTANI

Mar 18 2011

The resolution of the case of CIA contractor Raymond Davis has paved the way for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to the US and both countries have started working on dates and the agenda for the trip, officials said today.

The US called off a trilateral meeting with Pakistan and Afghanistan after Davis was arrested in Lahore in January for shooting and killing two men.

The development also resulted in a delay in Zardari's planned visit to the US sometime early this month.

Davis was pardoned and freed by a Pakistani court this week after the families of the two men he killed agreed to a "blood money" deal of over two million dollars under Islamic laws.

Officials said Zardari is likely to visit the US next month.

The US administration has asked Pakistan to start working on the date and agenda of the visit.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told PTI that the Foreign Office had begun working on Zardari's visit to the US. "However, no date has been finalised as yet," he said.

Responding to a question, Babar said: "The President's visit to the US was not postponed but rescheduled owing to the Davis issue."

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/davis-release-paves-way-for-zardaris-visit-to-us/764382/

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Women's platform seeks equal political representation in Turkey

March 17, 2011

'Women Who Are Right' platform demands from political parties to nominate more female candidates in the June 12 general elections. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Seeking to increase women’s participation in politics and government, more than 20 women’s organizations, representing 90,000 people, have come together to demand more female candidates in the upcoming general elections.

“Political leaders should put more women candidates into positions from where they can be elected. By focusing on our similarities rather than our differences, we came together to see more women deputies in the Parliament,” said Vuslat Dogan Sabanci, the head of the executive board of daily Hürriyet and the leading figure behind the new “Women Who Are Right Platform.”

“We are women. We are right in asking for our rights. The numbers are very unjust. Turkey ranks 125 among 134 countries in gender equality. In terms of the ratio of women representatives in Parliament, Turkey ranks 105 among 182 countries,” Dogan Sabanci said Thursday during a meeting of the group at Bahçesehir University in Istanbul.

“Turkish women possess less than what they deserve in politics,” she said.

The platform is calling on political parties to remedy this injustice by nominating more women to run for seats in Parliament and will work to remove the barriers that keep women from participating in politics.

According to the female speakers at the Bahçesehir meeting, the obstacles placed in front of women candidates by the patriarchal system not only damage women but also the future of the country and the quality of its democracy.

“Women’s participation in politics is not an act of kindness [on behalf of men], but a right. We should be able to meet the criteria set by the United Nations for gender equality. We have been touring all around Turkey and we see that women are very willing to take places in politics,” said Selen Dogan, the general coordinator of Flying Broom, a women’s association fighting against the practice of forced early marriages.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=8220women-who-are-right-platform8221-seeks-for-equal-representation-in-politics-2011-03-17

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Quake-hit Japan battles nuclear, humanitarian crisis

Mar 18, 2011

Japan battled a nuclear and humanitarian crisis Friday as engineers worked to restore power to a stricken atomic plant while the toll of dead and missing from the quake and tsunami topped 16,000. Half a million people made homeless when the monster waves razed Japan's northeast coast were suffering

in appalling conditions, struggling to stay warm in freezing temperatures and with scant supplies of food and fuel.

Thick snow covered the wreckage littering obliterated towns and villages, all but extinguishing hopes of finding anyone alive in the debris and deepening danger and misery for survivors.

"We're already seeing families huddling around gas fires for warmth. In these sorts of temperatures, young children are vulnerable to chest infections and flu," Save the Children's Steve McDonald said, estimating the disaster had left 100,000 children homeless.

But global concerns remained focused on the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, 250 kilometres (155 miles) from Tokyo and the fear that the massive earthquake and tsunami could be followed by a dangerous radiation leak.

Those fears have triggered an exodus of foreign nationals, particularly after Britain, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand advised their citizens to leave Tokyo as well as the northeast region.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Quake-hit-Japan-battles-nuclear-humanitarian-crisis/H1-Article1-674842.aspx

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Up to 50 Somali pirates seize Indonesian ship

Mar 18, 2011

An unusually large group of 30 to 50 Somali pirates seized an Indonesian vessel and used it in a failed bid to hijack a second ship yesterday, the EU naval mission said.

The pirates hijacked the bulk carrier Sinar Kudus about 320 nautical miles northeast of the island of Socotra on Wednesday morning, the EU anti-piracy mission said.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=178189

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Two Yemen police, three Qaeda men killed

Thu Mar 18 2011

Two Yemeni policemen and three members of Al-Qaeda were killed in clashes yesterday in the eastern province of Marib, one of the network's strongholds in the country, a security official told AFP.

"A group of Al-Qaeda members in two vehicles... attacked a security post in Marib... where they clashed with security forces

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=178182

 

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Turkey's religious Gülen community subject of latest WikiLeaks

March 17, 2011

The perspective of the United States on religious leader Fethullah Gülen and his international community has evolved over the years amid lobbying efforts by the group to change its image, the latest leaked diplomatic cables have suggested.

Though U.S. officials perceived the community as adhering to a “moderate Islam” model, they expressed concerns in the cables, the first documents released by WikiLeaks’ new Turkish partner, about its perceived infiltration into the Turkish police and accusations of  “brainwashing of students” at the community’s schools around the world.

The confidential cables released by daily Taraf focus on U.S. diplomats investigating and analyzing the religious community and its actions, Gülen’s meeting with the pope in 1998 and his stay in the United States, according to reports in the Turkish media Thursday.

The newspaper was set to release the original cables on its website late Thursday as the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press.

Gülen went to the United States on a tourist visa and applied in 1999 for a permanent resident card, or “green card,” which was denied. His lawyers took the matter to court and won the case, granting Gülen his card in 2008. A 2009 cable by former U.S. Ankara Ambassador James Jeffrey mentions that although Gülen’s status in the United States is provided by a court decision, some circles that dislike him incorrectly believe it to be the result of the U.S. government’s politics regarding Turkey.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkish-daily-starts-wikileaks-coverage-with-gulen-community-2011-03-17

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Terrorists reverting to old-school communications: Minister

Mar 18, 2011

Terrorists no longer rely on information technology to communicate with one another, preferring instead to rely on older less easily traceable methods, Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Djoko Suyanto says.

Djoko said the way terrorists in Indonesia communicated had changed. “They communicate directly and very exclusively,” Djoko said as quoted by tempointeraktif.com on Friday.

Traditional ways of communications are hard to detect, Djoko said.

“Such kinds of communication require us to follow them one by one, and it is hard to identify the individuals... the pattern has changed,” he said.

However, Djoko said, he was convinced the National Police would be able to identify those behind the recent spate of mail bombings in Jakarta.

Full report at:

 http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/18/terrorists-reverting-old-school-communications-minister.html

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Govt needs courage to stop bomb violence: Wahid

Mar 18, 2011

The government can stop terrorists from sending letter bombs, according the Wahid Institute’s executive director. It just needs to show resolve.

“The government has the instruments to perform an investigation, and these instruments are quite sophisticated. Now what is needed is courage,” Yenny Wahid said on Friday, referring to the five bombs discovered in Greater Jakarta this week.

“The recent spate of bombings is part of the cycle of violence which we have often witnessed,” Yenny said as reported by tempointeraktif.com.

She added that people must remain alert and battle this form of terrorism by incessantly condemning the acts.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/03/18/govt-needs-courage-stop-bomb-violence-wahid.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=4305

 

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