3-Party Formula: Temple Inside, Mosque Outside
Jammu & Kashmir's future with India: Deoband
What has Deoband done for us, ask Kashmiri students
Youths go to Pak on regular visa, return after LeT training
Nine Afghan civilians killed by insurgent bomb: NATO
Dhaka: 50 feared dead as bus plunges into Turag
UAE to close Canadian military camp
Former Pak President Musharraf supports negotiations with Taliban
Rs.1 billion price on Musharraf: Baloch leader's threat
Balochistan delegation to apprise Gilani of problems faced by province
Probe launched into 500 missing Nato vehicles
A demonstration in Paris to save the hostages in Iran sentenced to death
Iran hangs woman and three men in Khorasan
120 terrorists arrested this year
Sunni bloc bending on Iraqi premiership
Taliban claim responsibility for attack on Nato convoy in Sibi
25 Afghan lawmakers accused of vote fruad
Stone laid for King Abdullah institute
Key Qaeda leader killed by drone hit
Women journos discuss industry issues at Amman confab
Ahmadinejad visit to Lebanon a boost for Hezbollah
‘Pakistan attending Kabul peace talks’
Jundallah kidnaps Iran’s N-facility worker
Raj on terror hit-list during festivities
Karzai calls mood swings story 'funny'
Israeli Cabinet passes loyalty bill, Arabs angry
France 'can't rule out' UN creation of Palestinian state
Kyrgyzstan heads for coalition government after historic polls
China hitting India via Net worm?
“India-Pakistan ties improved under Manmohan, not Vajpayee”
Karzai confirms holding talks with Taliban
Nato supplies through Torkham resume after 11-day hiatus
Rabbani elected head of Afghan peace council
Al Qaeda in North Africa seen as key Europe threat
Iraq’s ambassador back in Damascus as year-long spat ends
Sudan president warns of new civil war
Iran's Revolutionary Guards to build major highway
Stagnant water in Jeddah to be drained
Zero tolerance for commercial fraud
Completion of Masdar City pushed back Haseeb Haider
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Germany Will Become Islamic State, Says Chancellor Merkel
11 Oct. 10
Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germans have failed to grasp how Muslim immigration has transformed their country and will have to come to terms with more mosques than churches throughout the countryside, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.
"Our country is going to carry on changing, and integration is also a task for the society taking up the task of dealing with immigrants,” Ms. Merkel told the daily newspaper. “For years we've been deceiving ourselves about this. Mosques, for example, are going to be a more prominent part of our cities than they were before.”
Germany, with a population of 4-5 million Muslims, has been divided in recent weeks by a debate over remarks by the Bundesbank's Thilo Sarrazin, who argued Turkish and Arab immigrants were failing to integrate and were swamping Germany with a higher birth rate.
The Chancellor’s remarks represent the first official acknowledgement that Germany, like other European countries, is destined to become a stronghold of Islam. She has admitted that the country will soon become a stronghold.
In France, 30% of children age 20 years and below are Muslims. The ratio in Paris and Marseille has soared to 45%. In southern France, there are more mosques than churches.
The situation within the United Kingdom is not much different. In the last 30 years, the Muslim population there has climbed from 82,000 to 2.5 million. Presently, there are over 1000 mosques throughout Great Britain - - many of which were converted from churches.
In Belgium, 50% of the newborns are Muslims and reportedly its Islamic population hovers around 25%. A similar statistic holds true for The Netherlands.
It’s the same story in Russia where one in five inhabitants is a Muslim.
Muammar Gaddafi recently stated that “There are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without sword, without gun, without conquest. We don’t need terrorists; we don’t need homicide bombers. The 50 plus million Muslims (in Europe) will turn it into the Muslim Continent within a few decades.”
The numbers support him.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Paul L. Williams, Ph.D., is the author of The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR. Visit his website at http://thelastcrusade.org/.
Oct 10th, 2010
The proposed formula for an out-of-court settlement on the Ayodhya issue now includes a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site and a mosque outside the disputed land but within the Panch Kosi Parikrama area.
According to highly placed sources, this is the formula devised by the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, Hashim Ansari and the Nirmohi Akhara, the three main parties in the title suits who met on Friday for the first time to discuss the possibility of a settlement.
Mohammed Hashim Ansari, it is learnt, insisted that the mosque should be built within the Panch Kosi Parikrama and the Hindu leaders apparently had no objection to the proposal. The leaders even identified three sites for the mosque.
The sites include the land in Haridwar Patti that lies in front of Hashim Ansari’s house, the land that lies behind the Gokul Bhavan temple and the land near Vidya Kund on the Ayodhya-Darshan Nagar road.
Earlier, when the talks began, the Hindu leaders proposed a mosque in Sahanwa, about five km from Ayodhya. However, on Hashim Ansari’s insistence, it was agreed upon that the mosque would be constructed in Ayodhya itself. Ansari argued that the grave of Mir Baqi was in Sahanwa and a mosque could not be built next to a grave.
Talking to this correspondent on Saturday, one of the participants in the meeting said the prime concern of all the three leaders was that the issue must be solved before the three-month deadline expires.
“We will continue our efforts even if some people challenge the verdict in the
Supreme Court. We will be sending this formula to the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, and also to Hindu leaders, and we are confident that there should be no hitch in accepting it. Hindus will get their temple and Muslims will have their mosque and the two communities will inch closer with this formula,” he explained. The formula will also be communicated to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust.
Meanwhile, Hashim Ansari formally met Mahant Bhaskar Das of Nirmohi Akhara on Saturday and said he would continue his efforts for a peaceful settlement of the issue.
Interestingly, senior BJP leader Kalraj Misra also visited Ayodhya on Friday and met the various seers and saints. He said the issue should be resolved at the earliest so that temple construction could begin without further delay. A spokesman of the Sunni Central Waqf Board said construction of the mosque could be undertaken only according to the tenets of Islam and the board would not give up its claim to the disputed land. “We will definitely challenge the verdict in the apex court,” the spokesman added.
Oct 11, 2010
Tags:Kashmir Conference|Jammu & Kashmir|Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind|Deobandi Clerics|Armed Forces Special Powers Act
DEOBAND: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, the powerful body of Deobandi clerics, on Sunday backed the demand to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and remove security forces and barricades from civilian areas in J&K.
In a resolution adopted at its Kashmir Conference organized here on Sunday, the JuH also demanded an independent inquiry commission to probe human rights violations and trace "thousands of lost and missing youths", repeal the Public Safety Act, and ensure compensation to victims.
It asked for the promise of a special economic package to be kept, and asked the Centre to take other steps to facilitate a settlement "within the framework of the Constitution".
This is the first time JuH has taken up the Kashmir issue. The resolution stressed, "We don't consider interests of the Kashmiri people to be separate from the interests of Indian Muslims." It also called all like-minded people and organisations to campaign for peace and justice in Kashmir and "thwart enemy forces bent upon disintegration of Kashmir".
When asked why were they silent so long, All India Muslim Personal Law Board's Kamal Farooqui said, "Muslims were not comfortable talking about Kashmir for fear of getting branded and harassment by police and intelligence agencies."
Asked about the prospect of resolution of the Kashmir issue, he said, "The country is in a reconciliatory mood, be it on J&K or Ayodhya. So, reconciliation within the Indian Constitution is the way out. An overwhelming section of Kashmiris want it, too. Which stupid person would want to go with Pakistan?"
The 11-point resolution slammed lethal methods of crowd control and appealed to protesters to adopt peaceful means to fight for their constitutional rights and abjure violence.
DEOBAND: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind leader Maulana Mehmood Madani told TOI on Sunday, "After our rally on October 31 in Delhi, a delegation will visit Kashmir. We will speak to the people to find out what they want and then decide on our stand."
Madani remained non-committal when asked about the organisation's stand on the three prevailing viewpoints in Kashmir: greater autonomy for the region within India, merger with Pakistan and azadi. Demanding that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) be lifted immediately, Swami Agnivesh said he had met Rahul Gandhi about the Kashmir situation. "He told me he would go and see it for himself."
Representatives from Kashmir, however, were ambivalent. "As a Kashmiri, I am happy that Indian Muslims are at least raising their voice against injustice and repression in Kashmir," said Mufti Ajazul Hassan Banday, Markazi Shariat Board chairman from Sopore. He refused to comment though when asked about solving Kashmir issue within the Indian Constitution.
Several Kashmiri students and employees at Darul Uloom Deoband, whom TOI spoke to, were not impressed though. Azadi is what they want. Mohammed Rafique, in charge of Darul Uloom's Qutub Khana, said, "They are making statements for their own interest. What has the Deoband done for its Kashmiri students?"
He narrated the travails of Sajjadur Rehman, a 22-year-old student of Arabic at Darul Uloom. "He was arrested from his home in Doda in 2007 for his alleged involvement in the Lucknow serial blasts. He is lodged in Lucknow jail. His father is running from pillar to post pleading with Darul Uloom authorities. Have they done anything except saying he was attending classes when the blasts happened," said Rafique.
SRINAGAR: A new phenomenon called 'legal infiltration' is causing concern among security agencies in J&K as reports emerge that youths are visiting Pakistan on regular visas which are extended to facilitate their basic training in handling explosives and weapons.
The matter came to the fore when police apprehended one person from Budgam who had ostensibly gone across the border for meeting relatives and later extended it by another two weeks during which he underwent the "daura-e-aam" (basic) training being organiszed by Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit. During interrogation, the youth, whose identity has been kept under wraps, told the investigators that there were other youths who were using the same modus operandi to get the training facility.
In first week, a complete religious course is imparted after which assembling of assault rifles and detonating of grenades are taught. A senior official said Lashkar adopted this method and has been targeting educated unemployed youth in the Valley. "We've approached the immigration officials to keep a close tab on youth who extended their visas in Pakistan and the Gulf," the official said.
Oct 10, 2010
KABUL: An improvised bomb laid by insurgents killed nine civilians, including women and children, in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, according to a NATO statement.
The victims died when their vehicle hit the device in the Zurmat district of Pakitya province, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, with initial reports suggesting three young children may be among the dead.
Colonel Rafael Torres, an ISAF spokesman, condemned the attack, saying the Taliban had "complete disregard for innocent women and children".
Rashad Ahamad . Savar
At least 50 people are feared dead as a 52-seat bus headed to Savar skidded off into the River Turag just before getting on the Salehpur Bridge near Amin Bazar on the outskirts of capital on Sunday morning.
Several hundred people, including the relatives of the passengers, crowded the river bank to know the fate of the passengers as rescuers from the navy, army and fire service and civil defence directorate were carrying out salvage operation. The rescuers could not trace the bus till about 10:30pm.
Witnesses said six or seven of the passengers could swim ashore.
Monwara Begum Tara, a third-year microbiology student of Jahangirnagar University, was pronounced dead at Enam Medical College Hospital after she had been taken there unconscious.
The police said the accident had taken place about 11:30am when the Baishaki Paribahan bus from Badda skidded off at the foot of the bridge into the river.
All the counters of the Baishaki Paribahan were found closed immediately after the accident.
Full report at: New Age Daily
11 Oct, 2010
DUBAI, Oct 10: The United Arab Emirates will close a military camp near Dubai used by Canadian troops to support operations in Afghanistan, a UAE source said on Sunday, in an escalation of a dispute over landing rights.
The decision comes after the UAE failed to convince Canadian authorities to allow its two major airlines to increase flights to Canada.
“Canada kept giving excuses and playing for time,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Dubai carrier Emirates has been lobbying the Canadian government to boost its thrice-weekly direct flights to Toronto and more Canadian destinations. Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, also wants to increase flights.
Canadian carriers worry the UAE airlines would steal away connecting passengers that make their routes profitable and have lobbied the government to resist.
The UAE source said the agreement allowing Canada to use the airbase had expired in June. It was extended to September at Canada’s request.
Full report at:
WASHINGTON: Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Sunday rejected the idea that his country's intelligence was supporting the Taliban, but stressed the need for a negotiated end to conflict in the region.
"I always was of the view that we need to change strategy," he told the ABC program, "This Week." "We need to go in for deals. So my strategy always was to strike a deal."
He said his position had been "vindicated now when everyone is talking of going into some political agreements with moderate Taliban."
The former general bristled, however, at the suggestion that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight extremists.
"Pakistan has always been accused of not doing enough. But I totally disagree with this statement -- Pakistan is doing enough," he said.
He acknowledged that Pakistani forces were struggling in restive North Waziristan, but chided: "Don't generalize the statement that Pakistan army is not doing enough.
"They have suffered over 2,000 casualties. What do we mean by 'not doing enough'?," he asked.
Rs.1 billion price on Musharraf
Islamabad: The former President, Pervez Musharraf, has undermined Pakistan's sovereignty, a Baloch nationalist leader has said, offering Rs.1 billion ($1.1 million) to anyone who kills the former Army chief.
Talal Bugti, president of Jamhoori Watan Party, made the announcement in Quetta in the presence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Sardar Yaqoob Nasir on Saturday, the Daily Times reported. Mr. Talal blamed Musharraf for the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a popular Baloch leader who was killed in August 2006 when the military conducted an anti-insurgency operation. Mr. Talal claimed that a former Brigadier who served during Mr. Musharraf's regime was ready to testify against the junta in the killing. — IANS
QUETTA: A delegation comprising Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and parliamentary leaders of coalition partners in the provincial assembly will meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad on Monday (today) to discuss problems faced by the province.
Talking to Dawn on Sunday, Mr Raisani said he was disappointed by Islamabad’s “indifferent attitude towards Balochistan’s problems”.
He said he and members of his cabinet had made several visits to the federal capital to apprise senior officials of the problems but to no avail.
The chief minister said at various meetings he had informed President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani of the problems and various directives had been issued by them to senior officials. However, the problems had yet to be resolved.Mr Raisani said the Aghaz Huqooq-i-Balochistan package could go a long way in resolving some of the problems but delay in its implementation was not making things any easier.
He alleged that despite clear instructions from the prime minister, officials in the finance ministry and Planning Commission were not releasing funds for his province.
By Saleem Shahid
QUETTA: Pakistan Customs has launched a probe into disappearance of 500 oil tankers and containers carrying supplies for Nato troops in Afghanistan.
A senior customs official told Dawn on Sunday that 500 oil tankers and containers which had left Port Qasim in Karachi for Kandahar did not reach the Pak-Afghan border near Chaman.
He said that Karachi customs had cleared the vehicles after scanning.
The official said the investigation was undertaken after the Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken suo motu notice of reports about the missing vehicles. “We are optimistic that we will trace the missing vehicles and their documents,” he added.
Over the past two years more than 60,000 heavy vehicles of Nato have entered Afghanistan via the Chaman border with an average of 100 vehicles a day.
Answering a question, the official said that customs officials had verified documents of 174 Nato vehicles at the Customs House in Chaman.
Frequent incidents of looting of Nato vehicles were reported last year from Killa Abdullah, Quetta, Kuchlak and other areas of Balochistan.
Local markets are awash with goods looted from Nato vehicles.
October 10, 2010
Hundreds of people protested in Paris Saturday, October 9 in a rally on the Place de la Bastille where several persons gave a speech. They had come to denounce the death penalty in Iran, especially the penalty of eight political prisoners accused of relationship with the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Jean-Pierre Becquet, mayor of Auvers-sur-Oise, Pierre Bercis president of New Human Rights, Renee Mignot co-chair of the MRAP-France, MP Jean-Pierre Brard, co-chair for the French parliamentary committee for a secular and democratic Iran, and the sister of a condemned to death joined the gathering. Jean-Pierre Brard has correctly noted that the mullahs perpetuate the horrible way of the Nazis taking hostages and execute them to break the resistance of the people, for these prisoners are nothing but hostages in the hands of a dictatorship that has made terrorism the axis of its foreign and domestic politics now. We noticed in this procession of the Paris, a large number of representatives of Muslim communities of Black and North Africa, many young people and Iranians, some of them living in France for over twenty years, others freshly arrived from Iran. The audience warmly welcomed Homeira Vazehan, younger sister Farah Vazehan, sentenced to death in Iran for taking pictures of the demonstrations of 27 December last year and her relationship with human rights activists. In halting French, however, with great determination, Homeira Vazehan recalled that when she herself was imprisoned for four years (she was condemned to 15 years prison for distributing leaflets in Iran), her older sister each day went to Evin prison to have news about her. Today, she believes, it is his turn to support it. To have experienced torture and harassment, she does not hide its deep concern about the unbearable situation of his sister. “I wake up every morning wondering if she is still alive,” she said to the moved crowd, “but I know she will resist”. “We need Western governments put in place sanctions against the dictatorship and an international court to judge those responsible for these crimes. This is the best guarantee to isolate this regime domestically and internationally, “she said.
A woman was hanged in Northern Khorasan while three men were hanged in Southern Khorasan in the month of Shahrivar (August 23 to September 22) and the month of Mehr (September 23 – October 23) without official notifications in internal media.
According to the local Shahre Shirvan website, a woman was executed in the end of last week in this town on charges of providing and dealing narcotics. According to other reports, three men were executed in the month of Ramadan without having the opportunity to defend themselves against the charge of rape. They were executed in prison upon the personal orders of the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Larijani. Executions are usually not carried out in the month of Ramadan. (Human Rights Activists in Iran – Oct. 5, 2010)
ISLAMABAD: Remaining steadfast against the menace of terrorism, Islamabad police have succeeded in countering criminal elements, including murderers, car lifters and robbers, during the current year.
According to a police spokesman, the police arrested 120 terrorists and recovered one suicide jacket and 969 kilogram explosive material from them this year.
Some 54 murder cases were sent to court and 137 accused arrested for their involvement in these cases.
The police nabbed 120 car lifters and recovered over 68 stolen vehicles and 13 motorcycles worth millions of rupees.
A total of 247 persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in attempted murder cases. Similarly, 639 persons were arrested in cases of light crimes.
BAGHDAD: The Sunni-backed political coalition that narrowly won the most votes in Iraq’s parliamentary election appeared on Sunday to be giving up its demand for the premiership, boosting the Shiite prime minister’s drive to keep his job. The stunning turnabout is sure to inflame Iraq’s minority Sunnis, whose crucial support helped the secular Iraqiya movement edge ahead of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s political coalition in the March 7 parliamentary election. US diplomats worry that Sunnis who feel sidelined by backroom deal making over formation of a new government could spark unrest. A key Iraqiya leader said Sunday the party is no longer insisting on receiving the top job as long as it gets an equal share of power in Iraq’s government. It marks the strongest concession to date by Iraqiya, and could break the seven-month political impasse that has stymied Iraq from seating a new government. “We have reached a position that we don’t care anymore about posts,” said Sheik Adnan al-Danbous. ap
MIRAMSHAH, Oct 10: The Taliban on Sunday claimed responsibility for the latest attack on a Nato supply convoy and vowed they would continue until US drone strikes were stopped.
“We accept responsibility for the attacks on the Nato supply trucks and tankers in Sibi district on Saturday,” Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq said.
“We will continue the attacks on Nato trucks and tankers until the drone strikes are stopped,” he said in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
Gunmen on Saturday torched at least 29 oil tankers in Balochistan, the sixth attack in just over a week on vehicles carrying supplies for the 152,000-strong foreign forces fighting the Taliban-led militancy. Previous attacks have also been claimed by Taliban.—AFP
KABUL: Afghanistan’s election watchdog confirmed on Sunday that more than 170 candidates who stood for parliament, including 25 current lawmakers, have been accused of electoral fraud.
The Electoral Complaints Commission (EEC) said they have registered 4,149 complaints since polling day on Sept 18. More than half the complaints have been given top priority and if proven, could affect the final results.
Of those candidates accused, 136 were referred by the Independent Election Commission and 39 by security institutions, ECC spokesman Ahmad Zia Rafaat told reporters.
“Among the accused candidates, there are 25 members of the lower house,” he said. If allegations are proven against any candidate, their votes will be nullified and they will be referred for prosecution.
More than 2,500 candidates stood for the 249 seats in Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, or Wolesi Jirga. Over four million votes were cast at the 5,510 polling stations that opened across Afghanistan on election day.—AFP
RIYADH: Intelligence chief Prince Muqrin laid the foundation stone for the King Abdullah Institute for Nanotechnology at Riyadh Techno Valley on Sunday and highlighted the need for nanotechnology to achieve greater economic development.
“Those who master nanotechnology will dominate the economic world in the 21st century,” the prince said, stressing the Kingdom’s efforts to achieve excellence in nanotechnology in order to boost social and economic development.
He praised King Saud University (KSU) for its tremendous efforts to keep pace with modern science and technology.
He described nanotechnology as a “scientific revolution” in modern times. He also noted the university’s strategy to promote research in nanotechnology.
Prince Muqrin thanked Muhammad bin Hussein Al-Amoudi, a prominent Saudi businessman, for donating the cost of building the institute and urged other businessmen to finance such educational projects.
KSU President Abdullah Al-Othman thanked Prince Muqrin for laying the foundation for the institute. He said the university has now more than 100 research chairs, financed by individuals and institutions. It also has a SR3 billion endowment fund to finance educational projects.
KABUL—Afghanistan's former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who stands accused of war crimes, was Sunday elected chairman of a new peace council set up to broker an end to the war with the Taliban.
The High Peace Council is President Hamid Karzai's brainchild for opening a dialogue with insurgents who have been trying to bring down his government since the
US-led invasion overthrew their regime in late 2001.
The 68-member council, hand-picked by Karzai, was set up following a nationwide conference in June and was inaugurated on October 7. Rabbani was elected to chair the council at its second session Sunday.
“The High Peace Council in its second session participated by President Hamid Karzai elected Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani in a unanimous vote as chairman of the council,” Karzai's palace announced in a statement.Rabbani led one of seven resistance factions to the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan in the 1980s and was later chosen as president of Afghanistan for a six-month transition period in 1992.
By WALAA HAWARI
AMMAN: Women journalists should be provided with training and orientation to help them develop their abilities and raise their overall status, said Princess Basma bint Talal, honorary chairwoman of the Arab Women Media Center, at the opening of a conference for Arab women journalists in Amman.
Speaking at the conference -- titled The Arab Media Woman and her Strategic Role in Combating Violence -- organized by the Arab Women Media Center last week, Princess Basma said the main role of women journalists is to increase dialogue and raise awareness about human rights.
The journalists spoke about many issues affecting them. Some spoke of the violence that women face in wars and conflicts in spite of UN resolutions on the issue.
Some spoke how violence is depicted in a very marked fashion in the media, especially in entertainment, news and even in children’s programs. Dr. Rola Al-Horoob, an educational psychologist, said the constant depiction of violence in the media has made people passive to it.
11 October 2010
A visit to Lebanon this week by Iran’s president will give a welcome boost to powerful Shia ally Hezbollah, one of Teheran’s most crucial sources of foreign influence, and will include a provocative jaunt to the border with archenemy Israel.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s trip is a bold demonstration by Iran that it is undeterred by US attempts to isolate it and roll back the clout Teheran has built up around the Middle East through its alliances with militant groups like Hezbollah and its accelerating nuclear program.
The Iranian president is also wading into Lebanon’s worst political crisis in years by putting Teheran’s weight behind Hezbollah as the group feuds with its rivals in Lebanon’s Western-backed political coalition. That tension threatens to bring down the fragile unity government in which both serve and, in a worst case scenario, push the well-armed Hezbollah to violently seize control of Beirut as it did in a similar showdown two years ago.
In a sign of how sensitive the visit is, Hezbollah’s rivals in government released a statement saying Ahmadinejad is seeking to transform Lebanon into ‘an Iranian base on the Mediterranean.’
WASHINGTON: A Pakistan government delegation is taking part in talks between Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Kabul, reports a US Congress-funded media organisation.
Quoting sources in Kabul, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that the talks, at the five-star Serena Hotel, were aimed at setting the ground for negotiations on ending the Afghan war.
They followed inconclusive meetings hosted by Saudi Arabia that ended more than a year ago.
Some members of the Peace Council tasked with helping negotiate with the Taliban were also attending the talks, the report said.
Abdul Hamid Mubarez, a member of the peace council, told RFE/RL that Pakistan’s government was playing a central role in negotiations.
“The people of Afghanistan are tired of war and Pakistan’s government has a key role in these talks because the Taliban have their strongholds in Pakistan,” Mr Mubarez said.
“They are under the influence of Pakistan. I think Pakistan is facing problems that leave no other way except to help resolve this conflict.”
TEHRAN: A militant group in Iran has claimed it kidnapped a man working at a nuclear facility and has threatened to spill his secrets if members of the group held by Tehran are not released.
Jundallah said on its website late on Saturday that it was holding hostage Amir Hossein Shirani, an “employee at a nuclear plant” in Iran’s central province of Isfahan.
“Mr Shirani has important information, especially about senior Iranian nuclear experts... and release of his confessions will cost the Iranian regime dearly,” it said in a statement, without adding when Mr Shirani was abducted.
Jundallah has demanded that Tehran free what it said were more than 200 Sunni and Baluch political prisoners and members of the group held in Iranian jails, the statement added.
It warned that failure to do so “within a week” would lead to “releasing to the public the information gathered from Mr Amir Hossein Shirani, so the world finds out more about the Iranian regime’s secret nuclear activities.” The website said Mr Shirani was being held in the mountains of the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, an area known for drug smuggling and tribal unrest.
Iranian officials confirmed the kidnapping but downplayed it.
JAIPUR: The Union home ministry has asked Rajasthan and three other states to be alert during the festival season as the state is one of the places which David Coleman Headley had visited. The alert has been issued on the basis of some specific inputs about a possible terror strike at certain places, including Jaipur, Pushkar, Pune and Delhi which had been visited by the Pakistani-American terrorist.
After getting the alert, the security have been beefed up in all the crowded markets of the Walled City and battalions of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) will be deployed to keep tab on the suspicious activities.
The home ministry has asked the states to be on high alert during major festivals, including Navratra, Durga Puja and Deepawali.
Many markets – especially those of the Walled City – are densely crowded these days.
Just after 26/11 Mumbai terror attack , Headley had stayed for more than 40 days in Pushkar to keep an eye on the situation after the Mumbai mayhem . A National Investigating Agency (NIA) team identified two hotels situated in front of a chabad where Headley stayed as a tourist.
WASHINGTON: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai doesn't suffer from mood swings and termed as "rather funny" a story that said he did.
Veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in his book titled " Obama's Wars" cites US intelligence reports and says that Karzai has been diagnosed as manic-depressive.
Manic depressive refers to mood swings from overly "high" (manic) to overly "low" (depressed). Another name for manic-depressive illness is bipolar disorder, which refers to a person's mood alternating between poles of mania (highs) and depression (lows).
"He's on his meds; he's off his meds," Woodward quoted US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry as saying about Karzai.
"The only medication that I have taken is an antibiotic called Augmentin," when suffering from a cold two years ago, Karzai told CNN's " Larry King Live" programme in an interview.
He said from time to time, he also takes vitamin C, multivitamins and Tylenol, "when I have a headache or when I'm tired".
JERUSALEM: Israel's Cabinet approved on Sunday a bill that would require new citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a "Jewish and democratic" state, language that triggered charges of racism from Arab lawmakers who see it as undermining the rights of the country's Arab minority.
The measure was largely symbolic, since few non-Jews apply for Israeli citizenship. Nevertheless, it infuriated the Arab minority and stoked tensions with Palestinians at a time when fledgling peace talks are deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on new building in West Bank Jewish settlements.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the bill reflected the essence of Israel at a time when he said many in the world are trying to blur the connection between the Jewish people and their homeland.
"The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens - Jews and non-Jews - enjoy full equal rights," he said. "Whoever wants to join us, has to recognize us."
Ahmad Tibi, an Arab lawmaker, called the move a provocation. "Its purpose is to solidify the inferior status of Arabs by law," he said. "Netanyahu and his government are limiting the sphere of democracy in Israel and deepening the prejudice against its Arab minority."
Unlike their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's Arabs are citizens, with the right to vote, travel freely and collect generous social benefits. But they have long suffered from discrimination and second-class status. Arabs make up roughly one-fifth of Israel's 7 million people.
JERUSALEM: French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said the option of the UN Security Council creating a Palestinian state cannot be ruled out, in an interview published on Sunday.
Kouchner told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that France preferred a two-state solution to be negotiated with Israel, but said appealing to the Security Council to resolve the conflict remained a possibility.
"We want to be able to soon welcome the state of Palestine to the United Nations. This is the hope and the desire of the international community, and the sooner that can happen the better," he said.
"The international community cannot be satisfied with a prolonged deadlock. I therefore believe that one cannot rule out in principle the Security Council option," he said.
"But the establishment of the Palestinian state must come as a result of the peace process and be the fruit of bilateral negotiations."
BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan was heading for a coalition government on Monday with several parties neck-and-neck in legislative elections held under a new constitution after unrest this year that left hundreds dead.
The pro- Moscow Ar-Namys party led by flamboyant former prime minister Felix Kulov proclaimed victory in the elections for the first parliament to have meaningful powers in ex-Soviet Central Asia.
But the country appeared set for coalition bartering between five main parties, a scenario completely uncharacteristic of a region where strongman presidents and rubber-stamp parliaments are the rule.
The authorities hailed a robust turnout of 56.59 percent and the polls have so far defied warnings they could be scarred by a resurgence of this year's political and ethnic violence.
"Today is a historic day for the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The people will choose their fate, their future," President Roza Otunbayeva, who championed the new political system, said as she cast her vote.
NEW DELHI: The deadly Stuxnet internet worm, which was thought to be targeting Iran's nuclear programme, might actually have been aimed at India by none other than China.
Providing a fresh twist in the tale, well-known American cyber warfare expert Jeffrey Carr, who specialises in investigations of cyber attacks against government, told TOI that China, more than any other country, was likely to have written the worm which has terrorised the world since June.
While Chinese hackers are known to target Indian government websites, the scale and sophistication of Stuxnet suggests that only a government no less than that of countries like US, Israel or China could have done it. "I think it's more likely that China is behind Stuxnet than any other country," Carr told TOI, adding that he would provide more details at the upcoming NASSCOM DSCI Security Conclave in Chennai in December.
Attributing the partial failure of ISRO's INSAT 4B satellite a few months ago -- the exact reason for which is not yet known -- to Stuxnet, Carr said it was China which gained from the satellite failure.
LONDON: The former Pakistani President, Parvez Musharraf, has said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserves “full marks” for his “sincerity” in resolving the Kashmir issue and wanting peace with Pakistan, but is held back from making a “bold” move for fear of domestic political backlash.
General (retired) Musharraf said that it was Dr. Singh, and not his Bharatiya Janata Party predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who deserved real credit for the breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations.
“It was with Manmohan Singh that we moved forward towards an agreement, not with Vajpayee,'' he told NDTV in the second part of his widely reported interview with Barkha Dutt.
Oct 11 2010
Washington : Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed holding unofficial talks with the Taliban "for quite some time," in a bid to end the nine-year war, according to an interview transcript released on Sunday.
"We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman, talk in that manner," Karzai told CNN's Larry King when asked about a Washington Post report on "secret high level talks" between the two sides.
"Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time," he said in a release of excerpts from the interview, to air in full today.
Last week the Washington Post said the secret talks were believed to involve the Afghan government and representatives authorised by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. It cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources.
By Ibrahim Shinwari
LANDI KOTAL, Oct 10: Supplies through Torkham to US and allied forces in Afghanistan resumed on Sunday after eleven days of suspension.
About 120 containers and 25 oil tankers queued up at the border in the morning, following an announcement made by the government that the border crossing would be reopened for vehicles carrying Nato supplies.
Customs officials made special arrangements for clearing the vehicles on Sunday.
Truckers had some anxious moments when the local administration refused to issue gate passes, saying it had not received written orders about the reopening of the border. It was only at about 1pm that the first trailer crossed into Afghanistan.
The border was closed for supplies to troops in Afghanistan on Sept 30 after Nato helicopters attacked a security post in Kurram Agency.
KABUL, Oct 10: Afghanistan’s former president Burhanuddin Rabbani was on Sunday elected chairman of a new peace council set up to broker an end to the war with the Taliban.
The High Peace Council is President Hamid Karzai’s brainchild, intended to open a dialogue with militants who have been trying to bring down his government since the US-led invasion overthrew their regime in late 2001.
The 68-member council, handpicked by Mr Karzai, was set up following a nationwide conference in June and was inaugurated on October 7 amid mounting reports of secret peace talks with Taliban leaders and key militant groups.
Mr Rabbani, who was president during Afghanistan’s chaotic 1992-96 civil war and has been implicated in war crimes, was elected to chair the council at its second session on Sunday in what Mr Karzai’s office described as a “unanimous” vote. Delivering his acceptance speech, Mr Rabbani said he was “confident” that peace was possible, according to a statement from the palace.
ALGIERS: While Europe’s latest terror threat stems from militants in Pakistan, a potentially greater menace lies just across the Mediterranean: well-organised and financed terrorists from al-Qaeda’s North African offshoot.
Over the last month alone, the group has been accused of seizing five French nationals and two Africans from a mining town in Niger, part of its effort to make millions by kidnapping Europeans and getting ransoms. It is also blamed for a truck bombing last Saturday in Algeria that left five soldiers dead.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) effectively rules a wide, lawless swath of the Sahara and is trying to overthrow Algeria’s government. It’s active online and media-savvy, and has the globally recognised al Qaeda brand name. It has also sparked arrests in Spain and France. The question now is how far it has the will and means to turn its anger on Europe. French and US counterintelligence officials suggest AQIM’s logistics and networks aren’t yet mature enough to stage an attack on a European capital, but say it’s a broad and constant threat. France’s prime minister said on Friday that the group is in touch with fellow fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The US military is worried enough that it trains African armies to resist AQIM. “For years, I’ve said this — and we’ve known — that AQIM has capabilities to project outwards outside of Africa. ... It’s just that no one understands the dynamics from Europe to Africa and back to Afghanistan,” said Rudolph Atallah, retired from his post as Africa counterterrorism director in the office of the US Secretary of Defence and who now runs a private security firm, White Mountain Research. “Can AQIM carry out an attack in Europe? Yeah, I think so,” he said.
DAMASCUS: Iraq’s ambassador to Syria resumed his duties on Sunday after a year-long spat between the neighbours sparked by massive car bombs Baghdad said were plotted in Damascus, an Iraqi diplomat said.
“The Iraqi ambassador returned to Damascus last night and resumed his duties today (Sunday),” said the diplomat, who declined to be named.
Alaa Hussein al-Jawadi was appointed Iraq’s first ambassador in February 2009 when the neighbours re-established diplomatic ties after 28 years. Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf al-Fares, had been named to his Baghdad post four months earlier.
The envoys were recalled by their respective governments on August 25, 2009, six days after massive truck bombings against the ministries of finance and foreign affairs in Baghdad left 95 dead and around 600 wounded, the worst day of violence in Iraq in 18 months.
By ANDREW HEAVENS
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s president accused former civil war foes in the south of going back on the terms of a peace deal, warning a worse conflict could erupt if the sides did not settle disputes before a referendum on secession.
The comments from President Omar Bashir, reported on state media, raised the stakes in a war of words between Khartoum and the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), five years after the sides ended decades of conflict with an accord.
In three months’ time, that peace deal is supposed to come to a climax with a referendum giving the people of the oil-producing south the right to decide whether to declare independence or stay part of Sudan.
Bashir told a conference in Sirte, Libya, he regretted the fact that SPLM leader and south Sudan President Salva Kiir had recently publicly come out for separation. This was against the terms of the 2005 peace deal which said both northern and southern leaders should try to make unity “attractive” to southerners before the vote, Suna news agency reported.
Bashir said he was still committed to holding the vote but both sides first had to settle differences over the position of their shared border and how to share out oil revenues, debt and Nile river water.
TEHRAN: A company controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been given a contract to build a major highway, a newspaper reported on Sunday, the latest example of the elite military unit expanding its economic influence.
On Saturday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marked the start of construction of the highway, which will connect two of Iran's holy cities, calling it "the biggest project in the history of Iran and the region," Arman daily reported.
The paper said Khatam Al-Anbia, an engineering and construction arm of the Guards, would build the 1,100-kilometer (684 miles) road between Qom in central Iran and Mashhad in the northeast.
By MD HUMAIDAN
Oct 11, 2010 00:19
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality has announced on Saturday a project to solve the problem of stagnant water in Jeddah's Al-Ajawid district. The contract for the project is expected to be finalized in November.
The surface water has been damaging roads in the district making travel very hard for vehicles and pedestrians alike, as well as posing a health and environmental risk in the area. The project involves drainage of the unwanted water using the latest technology.
Municipal officials have visited the district to identify locations damaged by the surface water.
Al-Ajawid district is south of the Prince Fawaz Iskan and southeast of Al-Jauhara district.
The project’s work will start from the north where the main pipeline begins and continue to the southern part of the district along the main street. It will also head west in the direction of the industrial city.
By MD RASOOLDEEN
RIYADH: The Kingdom, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, is committed to developing a fortified economy with a market free of counterfeit goods as well as protecting consumers from commercial fraud, according to the director general of the national customs authority.
Saleh Al-Khilaiwi of Saudi Customs spoke while launching the second Arab forum in Riyadh dealing with protection from fraud and counterfeiting as well as safeguarding intellectual property rights (IPR). The event involved top customs officials from the region. "The main goals of this forum are to keep the consumer healthy and safe and to protect and watch his economic resources," said Al-Khilaiwi.
Saudi Customs seized about seven million products at all entry points in 2009, an 84 percent increase over the previous year.
Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City project, the world’s only zero-carbon residential-cum-industrial cluster, after a careful review has been pushed back following the financial crisis.
The $22 billion project, which was to be completed in 2016, has been extended until between 2020 and 2025, as the first phase will be completed in 2015.
The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, or Masdar, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-owned Mubadala Development Corporation, launched the clean energy project by setting aside $15 billion to invest in sustainable technology, a substantial amount of which has already been invested in investment funds and projects and over a dozen acquisitions made around the globe.
Part of the project plan was to attract technologists, visionaries, consultants and investors for the solar and wind power sectors.
In 2006, work started on building a unique city free of carbon dioxide, where people would not only live but would work also. Free zones incentives were offered to companies to develop clean energy technologies and engage in consultancy services to the entire world.