Iraq court sentences Tareq Aziz to death: state TV
Ajmer blast: Have case against Indresh, says ATS
Raid in south Afghanistan kills 15 militants: NATO
US condemns bombing at Sufi shrine
Wikileaks expose casts doubt on Obama's commitmens
Bomb blast kills four Afghan policemen
Six militants, one soldier killed in Orakzai fighting
SC paves way for judgement in 2002 Gujarat riots cases
Curfew in Srinagar areas to prevent protests
Pakistani Taliban killed Benazir Bhutto: Probe
‘Pakistan must shed its ambivalence on terror'
Palestinians, Jews race to plant West Bank
Gulf states urge US to probe ‘crimes’ revealed by WikiLeaks
Iran, Iraq leaders discuss boosting ties
600 foreign troops killed in Afghanistan in 2010
Jethmalani comes out in support of Kashmir interlocutors
Remarks made by Geelani, Roy at seminar unfortunate: Moily
Bangladesh: Trial of alleged BDR mutineers begins in Khulna
111 more BDR soldiers charged with mutiny
Babri demolition case: Hearing postponed till Nov 18
Cong asks Arundhati Roy to withdraw Kashmir statement
WikiLeaks chief living a haunted life
Pak Taliban set to make Afghan move
WikiLeaks renews question of secrecy
Dutch aid worker abducted in Afghanistan: Officials
More pictures show Israel troops posing with Palestinians
US defends Iraq record after WikiLeaks furore
J&K fears rise in attacks around Obama's visit
Huge quake off Indonesia coast
Interlocutors meet Governor, Omar
Kasab trial: Bombay HC seeks details about 'Kuber'
Headley had plans to hit 50 Indian targets
Geelani & Arundhati Roy may be booked for sedition
Karzai says he got cash but Iran denies giving it
US says it has no problem with Iran’s cash for Karzai
Border along Kurram sealed
EU to post guards on Greek-Turkish border
3 Taliban killed in Orakzai blast
Man killed, 28 militants arrested in Hangu
US cannot win Afghan war sans Pakistan: US paper
Pakistan has role in Afghan resolution: US
Iran set to load fuel to core of first atomic plant
3,000 hospital beds readied for Haj
Chechnya leader calls for Putin to rule for life
German ship freed by Somali pirates
'Israel has undermined the efficacy of the UN system’
Indonesia warns volcano could erupt at any time
WikiLeaks papers back Bush claims of Iran role in Iraq war
Hawkish Israeli minister drafts nuclear Iran plan
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Indonesia tsunami death toll rises to 23
26 October 2010
Many residents in Padang, West Sumatra, fled to higher ground after the earthquake
At least 23 people have been killed and 167 are missing in Indonesia after a localised tsunami triggered by Monday's earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.
Scores of houses were destroyed by waves after the 7.7 magnitude quake, which struck 13 miles (20km) under the ocean floor near the Mentawai islands.
Ten villages on the islands were swept away by the tsunami, a disaster official told the AFP news agency.
Australian officials are trying to contact a group of missing surfers.
The group of between eight and 10 missing Australians was on a surfing charter boat in the area, which is a popular surfing destination reached only by boat.
The search and rescue operation is being seriously hampered by bad weather, officials have told the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta.
Heavy rain is preventing helicopters from accessing the area and boats cannot reach the islands either, because the dock on the island of South Pagai has been completely destroyed.
There is no tsunami warning system in place around the Mentawai islands, and initial reports about whether a tsunami had actually been generated were confused.
But multiple eyewitnesses say a huge wave was created by the quake, which seriously damaged villages or even washed them away entirely.
The islands of South Pagai and North Pagai were reported to be particularly badly affected.
Waves reached 3m (10 feet) high and the water swept inland as far as 600m on South Pagai island, said Mudjiharto - the head of Indonesia's health ministry crisis centre, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.
"Ten villages have been swept away by the tsunami," National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Agolo Suparto told AFP.
Most buildings in the South Pagai coastal village of Betu Monga were destroyed, Hardimansyah, an official with the regional branch of the Department of Fisheries, told the Reuters news agency by phone.
"Of the 200 people living in that village, only 40 have been found. 160 are still missing, mostly women and children," he said.
"We have people reporting to the security post here that they could not hold onto their children, that they were swept away. A lot of people are crying."
'Wall of white water'
Meanwhile, another group of Australians said their boat was destroyed by a wall of water.
Captain Rick Hallet told Australian media that his boat was anchored off the shore when the waves came.
"We felt a bit of a shake underneath the boat... then within several minutes, we heard an almighty roar," he said.
"I immediately thought of a tsunami and looked out to sea and that's when we saw the wall of white water coming at us," he said.
The wave brought another boat crashing into them and sparked a fire, forcing them to jump into the sea.
Some of those on board were swept up to 200m inland by the wave, he said.
Oct 26, 2010
BAGHDAD: Iraq's supreme criminal court sentenced former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz to death on Tuesday, state television reported, the first death sentence handed down against the longtime international face of the Saddam Hussein regime.
"The supreme criminal court issued an execution order against Tareq Aziz for his role in eliminating religious parties," the television reported.
It said that the court also ordered death sentences against two other top Saddam lieutenants, former interior minister Saadoun Shaker and Abid Hamoud, the executed dictator's secretary.
All three were sentenced for their roles in a crackdown on members of Iraq's Shiite majority community that followed a 1991 uprising against Saddam.
By law, the sentences have to be confirmed by the presidential council before being carried out.
In 2009, Aziz was jailed for 15 years for the 1992 execution of 42 Baghdad wholesalers and separately given a seven-year term for his role in expelling Kurds from Iraq's north. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.
Among Saddam's few surviving top cohorts, Aziz turned himself in to US forces in April 2003, days after the fall of Baghdad. He was named foreign minister in 1983 and then deputy prime minister in 1991.
JAIPUR: Even as questions are being raised about RSS executive council member Indresh Kumar's name appearing in the Ajmer blast chargesheet, the Rajasthan ATS on Monday said it has specific leads to prove his involvement in the case. It says it's working on these leads which might seem "a little vague" at the moment, but these will help build a case against him.
From guesthouse records to some entries in Sunil Joshi's diary— allegedly one of the key conspirators who was later shot dead — ATS is building the case against Indresh brick by brick. It believes he had stayed at the Gujarati Samaj guesthouse under a false name. "Room 26 was rented by a Manoj Singh on October 31, 2005. It's suspected this was Indresh," said an ATS officer.
October 26, 2010
A raid by NATO soldiers and a subsequent airstrike in southern Afghanistan killed 15 insurgents on Monday, NATO said, although a local official initially reported a higher death toll.
NATO confirmed there had been an operation involving coalition and Afghan security forces to detain a senior Taliban leader followed by an airstrike in Helmand province.
“Upon arrival at the suspected location the joint security force immediately took fire from several insurgents in a series of engagements. The joint security force returned fire, killing four insurgents,” the statement said.
Nearby compounds were searched and a bomb-making factory and weapons cache discovered, NATO said. The soldiers decided to destroy them, but 11 gunmen on motorbikes and in three vehicles approached the site at high speed. The soldiers determined they were a threat and killed them, the statement said, before calling in an air strike to destroy the compounds.
Earlier, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, Fazal Bari, said local officials had told him that around 25 people had been killed. He said four Taliban commanders were among those killed in the raid in Baghran district.
“People are very angry,” said eyewitness Salah Ayap, a 26-year-old driver in Maigan village where the incident took place. He said foreign troops arrived in the village around 2 am and there was a fierce gunfight before the airstrike. Only two walls and one small room of a building he described as a mosque were now standing, said Ayap, and villagers were digging the dead out from under the rubble with farming tools and washing them for burial.
He said nearby houses had also been damaged, and some civilians were wounded and a 10-year-old child killed.
NATO said that they had no report of a mosque damaged or any civilians injured or killed.
26 Oct, 2010
ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in Pakistan strongly condemned the bomb blast at the Baba Farid Ganj Shakar Shrine in Pakpattan, which claimed the lives of several people and injured many others. This cruel act, targeting innocent Pakistanis, shows a deep disregard for human life, the embassy said. “Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with those who lost loved ones today. The US would continue to support the government and people of Pakistan in their search for peace and stability,” the embassy added. staff report
President Barack Obama stepped into the White House pledging to end George W Bush's gloves-off approach to interrogations and detention, but a flood of leaked documents suggests that old habits were hard to break.
Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, US forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse.
Documents also show that US interrogators continued to question Iraqi detainees, some of whom were still recovering from injuries or whose wounds were still visible after being held by Iraqis.
"We have not turned a blind eye," said US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, noting that one of the reasons why US troops were still in Iraq was to carry out human rights training with Iraqi security forces.
KABUL: A bomb exploded in western Afghanistan, killing four Afghan policemen, including a chief of police, a local official said.
Naqib Arwen, a spokesman for the governor of Herat province, said Tuesday that initial reports indicated that the district police chief was the target of a remote-controlled bomb.
He said the chief and the three other policemen were in a vehicle travelling through the Obe district in western Afghanistan’s Herat province.
Three other policemen in a second vehicle were also wounded in the attack.
PARACHINAR: Six militants and a Pakistani soldier were killed in a gunbattle in the Orakzai tribal region, a government official said.
Aurangzeb Khan, a local administrator, said the fighting Tuesday in Orakzai began after insurgents attacked troops stationed there.
Security forces have been targeting militants in Orakzai since March when Pakistan dispatched troops there to kill or capture insurgents belonging to or allied with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
It is one of several Afghan border regions where the army is fighting militants.
Khan says 600 insurgents and 70 soldiers have died in Orakzai since March.
The Pakistani military declared victory in Orakzai in June, but violence has continued.
NEW DELHI: Paving the way for the trial court to pronounce its verdict in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, the Supreme Court today vacated its stay order.
The apex court, however, said the trial court shall not pronounce its judgement in the case relating to the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey in which Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
A three-judge special bench of Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam passed the order while vacating its May 6 stay on pronouncement of judgement.
The bench said that the court can proceed with the trial in Jaffrey case as the SIT is still in the process of examining certain witnesses.
The apex court had on May 6 stayed the pronouncement of judgement in the Gujarat riots cases following allegations of botched up investigation and demand for re-constitution of SIT that had been subsequently effected pursuant to the bench's earlier direction.
SRINAGAR: Curfew was imposed in Old City areas in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday following a call for protests and shutdown by separatists, police said.
"Curfew has been imposed in five police station areas to maintain law and order," a senior police official said.
The hardline faction of the separatist Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani, who has been spearheading the 'Quit Kashmir' campaign for over four months, called for the shutdown throughout the Kashmir Valley.
Shops, other businesses, educational institutions, banks and post offices remained closed in Old City and uptown areas of the city. Public transport went off the roads. Some vehicles plied on uptown roads.
Stone pelting youths took to the streets in some places in Srinagar to enforce the shutdown, the police official said.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, has called for a protest march to the office of the UN Military Observers Group here Wednesday against the landing of the Indian Army in Kashmir Oct 27, 1947.
ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was responsible for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, concluded a probe carried out by the country's Federal Investigation Agency.
The agency is likely to submit its report before an anti-terrorism court on October 30, Dawn reported on Tuesday.
The investigation report has accused slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud of masterminding Bhutto's murder.
Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007 after addressing an election rally in the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. A teenaged shooter was seen aiming for her head in the CCTV footage before a powerful suicide blast killed at least 24 people participating in the rally.
The interior ministry at that time had accused Taliban of plotting to kill Bhutto while the doctors had said that "her head banged against the lever of the sunroof which caused her death".
Full report at:
Defence Minister A.K. Antony addressing a press conference after the 29th Coast Guard Commanders' conference in New Delhi on Monday.
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday asked Pakistan to shed its ambivalence on terrorism, stating that Islamabad did not appear to give up its India-centric posture.
“Pakistan does not appear to be willing to leave its India-centric posturing. It will have to shed its ambivalence in dealing with terror groups. Though we are not unduly concerned, we will have to keep constant vigil on the developments in Pakistan,'' Mr. Antony said, inaugurating a five-day Army Commanders' conference here.
Referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said violence had shown signs of coming down, and credited constant vigil by the Army for it. He said the Army had been successful in countering the proxy war and reducing incidents of terror. “Still, as long as the terror infrastructure across the border continues to flourish, we cannot afford to lower our guard,” an official release quoted him as saying.
Security in AfPak
By DIAA HADID AND DANIEL ESTRIN
BURQA, West Bank: Olive tree by olive tree, Palestinian farmers and Jewish settlers are competing over the rocky hills of the West Bank, planting more of the gnarled evergreens to strengthen their hold on the land.
Now in harvest season, the battle gets rough, with orchards robbed, vandalized and burned.
This year, the stakes have been raised: Palestinians have planted double the number of trees as in past seasons, and Jewish settlers have responded by boosting their own olive production.
The olive tree has long been a symbol of the Palestinians’ attachment to their homeland, its mystique enhanced by settlers’ annual efforts to disrupt the harvest. In a more literal sense, a tree helps protect a claim, since possession is often determined by who works a piece of land — and not always who owns it.
“We plant so they won’t come and grab it,” said Palestinian farmer Ghassan Seif, 48, on his lands close to the West Bank village of Burqa, referring to hard-line Jewish settlers who live nearby.
He stood among olives that his extended family had just picked during the annual October harvest season. Nearby, women in headscarves took a break, sipping sage-infused tea under an olive tree. Children smeared with dirt from the dusty fields ran about.
Just 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in an olive orchard, Israeli settler Erez Ben-Saadon echoed his Palestinian neighbor’s motives.
RIYADH — The Gulf Cooperation Council has called on Washington to probe possible “crimes against humanity” in Iraq in light of documents released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, reports said on Monday.
“The US is requested to open a serious and transparent investigation into the information contained in these documents on the commission of crimes against humanity” in Iraq, GCC secretary general Abdulrahman al-Attiyah said.
The United States was responsible for any “abuse and crimes committed by its troops in Iraq,” Attiyah said in a statement.
WikiLeaks published on Friday nearly 400,000 secret US military documents that offer a grim snapshot of the conflict from 2004 to 2009, especially of the abuse of civilians by Iraqi security forces.
The heavily abridged logs appear to show the US military turned a blind eye to evidence of torture and abuse of civilians by the Iraqi authorities.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the documents reveal about 15,000 more civilian deaths in Iraq than were previously known.
Based in Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
25 October 2010
EHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad telephoned his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani and discussed boosting relations between the two neighbours, state media reported on Monday.
Sunday’s conversation between the two leaders came a week after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki visited Tehran as part of a Middle East tour aimed at securing regional support for keeping his job following an inconclusive general election in March.
“I hope that with the formation of a new Iraqi government, bilateral ties will expand in different areas, especially in the economic and political fields,” state television quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Talabani.
The Iraqi president said he hoped to travel to Iran once the new government is in place, the television said on its website.
Protracted coalition talks in Baghdad are set to come to a head after Iraq’s highest court told parliament on Sunday to end the deadlock in electing a new prime minister and president.
The number of foreign troops to die this year in Afghanistan has reached 600, by far the highest annual toll in nine years of war despite tentative reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.
The milestone was reached after a NATO International Security Assistance Force announcement that a soldier had been killed in an insurgent attack in the east on Sunday.
Another NATO soldier was killed in a bomb blast in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan on the same day.
The toll of 600, according to an AFP tally based on a count kept by the icasualties.org web site, compares to 521 killed in all of 2009 in what was previously the deadliest year on record for the forces in Afghanistan.
On average, two soldiers die each day. A total of 2,170 foreign soldiers have been killed since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan which overthrew the hardline Islamist Taliban regime.
A Taliban-led insurgency has since strengthened each year, but it is most intense in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.
At least 1,348 American troops are among the dead, and the US military provides two-thirds of the 150,000-strong international force in Afghanistan.
Foreign and Afghan forces are currently engaged in a major offensive around Kandahar city — capital of the province of the same name — aimed at pushing the insurgents out of the area to bring an end to the war.
New Age Daily Dhaka
NEW DELHI: In an embarrasment for BJP, its Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani today opposed the party line by coming out in support of the Kashmir interlocutors, saying it is "childish and churlish" to accuse them of internationalising the issue.
Stating that interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and his team's task of finding a "peaceful and lasting solution" to the Kashmir problem is "almost superhuman"; Jethmalani said he "fervently" prayed for their success, despite having "serious misgivings".
"Even if they achieve partial result the nation would owe them a debt of gratitude. Neither by acts nor by words we should add to their difficulties," he said.
BJP had accused Padgaonkar of internationalising the Kashmir problem after he said a solution to the issue was not possible without involving Pakistan. The party had also questioned whether he was given the brief to make such statements by the Centre and sought a clarification from the Prime Minister's Office on the matter.
NEW DELHI: Terming the remarks made by Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer Arundhati Roy at a seminar here as "most unfortunate", Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said freedom of speech cannot violate patriotic sentiments of the people.
"Yes, there is freedom of speech...it can't violate the patriotic sentiments of the people," he said here.
While terming their remarks as "most unfortunate", the Law Minister said in India there are people who support one view or the other since the time of Ramayana.
On BJP's allegations that government remained silent on the developments, he said, "Politics cannot be mixed with statements which border sedition."
Asked whether his ministry had received a request from the Home Ministry seeking its legal opinion on whether the two can be booked for sedition, the Law Minister said, "I was away for three days...I have not seen the file so far".
A special court, designed to deal with 2009 BDR mutiny, began trial proceedings against alleged mutineers of 23 rifles battalion on Monday morning.
Complainant subedar major Jaalal Ahmmad placed complains against 59 accused before a panel of three-judges, led by Rajshahi BDR sector commander colonel Ehia Azam Khan, after the Special Court-12 started at 10:10am.
Prosecutor lieutenant colonel Mohammad Mahfuzul Haq briefed media about the first day`s trial proceedings which ended at 1:00pm.
He said after hearing chief of the panel of judges declared the court adjourned the court till 10:00am today ordering to bring all the accused before it at that time.
New Age Daily Dhaka
A special court of the Bangladesh Rifles on Monday framed charges against 111 soldiers of its record wing for mutiny at Peelkhana in Dhaka in February 25-26, 2009 and began their trial by recording depositions of witnesses.
All 111 soldiers pleaded not guilty and sought justice.
A video footage was played in the courtroom showing an accused soldier, Gazi Masudul Haque, shouting, ‘We want withdrawal of army officers from the BDR ... We want our own officers.’
Showing the video footage, the court asked Masudul whether it was he. Masudul replied, ‘Yes it is me, but I was compelled to say it to the media.’
On Monday the special court-9 recorded depositions of the plaintiff of the case, nayek subedar assistant Mohammad Solayman Patwari, and major Khaled Ahmed, who was a BDR office on deputation when the mutiny took place.
Six accused cross-examined the witnesses during the proceedings.
The three-member court, set up in the Durbar Hall at the BDR headquarters, read out the charges against the accused.
The BDR special court, chaired by the Dhaka sector commander, colonel Habibul Karim, will resume the trial on October 27.
RAE BARELI: A special CBI court on Tuesday fixed November 18 as the next date of hearing in the Babri mosque demolition case.
"On the request of defence counsel Hari Dutt Sharma seeking adjournment on personal grounds, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Vishnu Prasad Agarwal posted the matter for further hearing on November 18," the prosecution said.
One more application was moved by the defence seeking the court's status in connection with some accused in the case, which was argued by the CBI counsel.
A key witness senior IPS officer Anju Gupta, who was deployed as security officer with BJP leader L K Advani on December 6, 1992, appeared before the court, it said.
Hearing in the demolition case had resumed after a gap of more than three months following nomination of ACJM Agarwal by the High Court.
Before his nomination,, the court was lying vacant due to transfer of CJM Gulab Singh.
ALLAHABAD: A senior Congress leader on Monday asked noted writer and activist Arundhati Roy to withdraw her statement on Kashmir, saying it was "contrary to historical facts" and could mislead the nation and the international community.
Reacting to the comment made by the writer at a seminar in Kashmir yesterday, AICC member Satya Prakash Malaviya said, "It was really surprising to see such an irresponsible statement from someone who is one of the country's best-known writers.
"She must withdraw her statement which is contrary to historical facts and could mislead the nation as well as the international community," he said.
The Booker Prize winning author had said "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this."
The former Union Minister said that Roy "would do better to brush up her knowledge of history and know that the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to the Union of India after its erstwhile ruler Maharaja Hari Singh duly signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947.
"And the state, consequently, has become as much an integral part of India as all the other erstwhile princely states have," he said.
NEW YORK: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living a haunted life fearing arrest and has been on the run following the release of nearly 400,000 secret US military documents related to the Iraq war on his whistleblowing website.
39-year-old Assange checks into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends, said the New York Times, which has interviewed him. The WikiLeaks founder also demands that his loyalists use expensive encrypted cellphones and swaps his own as other men change shirts.
"They called me James Bond of journalism... It got me a lot of fans, and some of them ended up causing me a bit of trouble," he was quoted as saying, expressing concern that UK may act against him if the US decides to prosecute him — an option that is currently being explored.
ISLAMABAD: Fearing an offensive by the Pakistan army on their last bastion of North Waziristan, Pakistani Taliban have threatened to move into Afghanistan and launch an 'unending war' from there.
A pamphlet purportedly distributed on Sunday by the "Mujahideen Shura of North Waziristan" in the market in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency, said the Taliban would ask Afghan president Hamid Karzai to provide them shelter if an operation is launched in the region.
"If the army starts another operation we will migrate to Afghanistan... But this will lead to an unending war in the region and jihad will continue ," the pamphlet said.
WASHINGTON: When WikiLeaks readied the largest-ever release of secret war files, US officials warned the whistleblower site it was irresponsible. After the 400,000 documents came out, the Pentagon said they revealed little new.
And so, some experts ask, why were the documents classified as secret in the first place?
"The Pentagon used the word 'mundane' to refer to some of these materials. Mundane materials should not be classified as national security information," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.
"There are several things the US could do to reduce more of these unauthorized disclosures and one of them is to drastically cut back on the scale of classification."
WikiLeaks, run by shadowy Australian hacker Julian Assange, released the documents on Friday in defiance of warnings from top US officials that the disclosure could put at risk troops and their assets in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Pentagon concluded Monday that WikiLeaks removed the names of more than 300 people who could have been jeopardized. But it feared that they could still be identified due to their titles or positions.
KUNDUZ (AFGHANISTAN): Gunmen on Monday kidnapped a Dutch aid worker and his Afghan driver in the increasingly volatile north of Afghanistan, local officials said.
"A Dutch aid worker working for an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that helps the disabled was abducted in Khan Abad district," Faiz Mohammad Tawhidi, Takhar provincial spokesman, said.
The abducted pair were travelling in a private car to neighbouring Kunduz province when they were stopped by armed men and snatched at gun point, an Afghan intelligence official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Dutch embassy in Kabul was not immediately reachable for comment.
Criminal groups and insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul. Victims are often sold on to insurgent groups, although the majority are released safe and well.
Today's abduction comes just weeks after a British aid worker was killed during an attempted rescue by US forces in Afghanistan after she was kidnapped along with three Afghan colleagues on September 26, also on the open road.
JERUSALEM: A rights group published new photos of Israeli soldiers posing with a detainee and vandalising a Palestinian home, in images apparently taken during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.
In one picture, a soldier points his assault rifle at the face of a blindfolded detainee and in another an officer is seen spray-painting a Star of David and "Back soon" on what looks to be the wall of a home.
Others show soldiers smiling and posing inside what appear to be Palestinian homes, and in one picture two women can be seen preparing food in a kitchen.
Their release comes after a series of photos and videos depicting Palestinian prisoners have gone public after being posted on social network sites in a practice the military has said it is trying to halt.
The latest images were acquired by Breaking the Silence, a group of veteran Israeli combat soldiers who collect testimonies and photos of troops who have served in the occupied territories.
Yehuda Shaul, a founding member, declined to reveal the source of the photos, but said the group has received dozens of similar pictures that point to a widespread phenomenon.
WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday defended its record probing civilian deaths and abuse in Iraq after graphic revelations in leaked secret documents triggered worldwide concern and condemnation.
The whistleblower website WikiLeaks released an unprecedented 400,000 classified US documents, which recount widespread torture in Iraqi prisons and purport to show 15,000 more civilian deaths than previously disclosed.
General George Casey, the top officer in the US Army who earlier headed forces in Iraq for three of the bloodiest years in the war, denied that the United States "turned a blind eye" to prisoner abuse.
"That's just not the case. Our policy all along was when American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse, it was to stop it and then report it immediately up the American chain of command and up the Iraqi chain of command," he said.
Casey also denied undercounting civilian deaths, saying US forces regularly inquired at morgues about death tolls.
M Saleem Pandit
SRINAGAR: The Jammu & Kashmir police apprehend a rise in terror attacks in the Valley in the wake of US President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi early next month, with the aim of grabbing international attention.
Soon after the Malroo encounter in which three Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists were killed, the operational chief of JeM, Sajjad Afgani, issued a threat saying the Army and other security installations in Kashmir would be targeted with fidayeen attacks. "We have kept six fidayeen ready for attacks," he said.
A senior police officer said there was evidence that JeM and Lashker-e-Taiba were planning joint operations and share their resources to take the Valley back into the lethal phase of militancy of the late 1980s and '90s.
JAKARTA: A strong earthquake hit late on Monday off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island, but no damage or casualties were immediately reported.
The 7.5-magnitude temblor struck at a depth of 15 km on a small island off Sumatra, said the U.S. Geological Survey. A massive earthquake and tsunami struck off the same island in 2004.
It was reportedly felt in five towns in Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces, but so far there have been no reports of damages or casualties, said Tatok Yatimantoro of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. The tremor that struck at 9.42 p.m. (1642 GMT) was centred about 78 km southwest of the Pagai Selatan in Mentawai Island, according to the Indonesian agency. A tsunami watch for local areas was issued but lifted within an hour. — AP
SRINAGAR: The three-member team of interlocutors on Kashmir, on its maiden visit to the State, held detailed meetings with Governor N.N. Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and student groups.
However, separatists continued to maintain their distance from the team, saying “it was a ploy by New Delhi to divert the attention during United States President Barack Obama's visit.”
The team, headed by journalist Dilip Padgaonkar and including Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari and academician Radha Kumar, had a four hour-meeting with the Governor at the Raj Bhavan. “They discussed political, economic, security, governance and related issues,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.
Mr. Vohra himself had functioned as interlocutor for many years before being appointed Governor.
As for the group's meeting with the Chief Minister, officially nothing was said on what transpired. But informed sources said proposals given by the separatists and their repercussions were discussed.
Fishing vessel 'Kuber' by which ten Pakistani terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, arrived here to carry out 26/11 terror attacks became the focal point of arguments on Monday after the Bombay High Court raised several queries regarding it.
Justices Ranjana Desai and R V More, who are hearing arguments on confirmation of death sentence awarded to lone surviving Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, asked government counsel Ujjwal Nikam for exact details of when and how the boat was traced.
Mumbai Police had claimed that Kasab and nine other terrorists started their journey from Karachi in 'Al-Husseni' boat, and then hijacked 'Kuber' in Indian waters and landed at Badhwar park in south Mumbai before going separately in pairs to their assigned locations.
By Aman Sharma in New Delhi
THE 26/ 11 attackers had initially planned to use the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ( CST) as an escape route to Kashmir.
But the Pakistan- based masterminds later decided to include the Nariman House as a target, which changed the nature of the attack from a hit- and- run operation to a suicide mission.
The revelations were made by David Coleman Headley, who surveyed at least 50 targets at the instructions of the Lashkar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT) and Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence ( ISI).
Headley also told his Indian interrogators that had the 10 Pakistani gunmen reached Mumbai at daytime, they would have also attacked the Mumbai Police Headquarters.
Worryingly for India, the videos of the 50 targets that Headley surveyed are still with the LeT and ISI, keeping fears of an impending attack alive.
Full report at: Mail Today
JAMMU AND Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and activist Arundhati Roy could be booked for their anti- India speeches in Delhi last week.
A case has been made out in this regard but action will be taken only after a political consensus is reached, informed government sources.
“ Delhi Police have got legal opinion that a case under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which is sedition, is made out against the speakers at the Convention on Kashmir at LPT Auditorium near Mandi House on October 21. A criminal case can hence be lodged. But we are waiting for a political decision on this… as it might be construed in certain political quarters that unnecessary importance and leverage is being given to such elements by way of this action,” a source in the government said on Monday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is out of the country on a tour and a decision could perhaps be taken after he returns.
AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai admitted on Monday his chief of staff had received bags of money from Iran. But he insisted the payment was transparent and a form of aid from a friendly country.
“ Cash payments are done by various friendly countries to help the president’s office... this is transparent,” Karzai said at a press conference.
The New York Times had reported on Saturday that Karzai’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, received regular cash payments from Iran, a US foe which is reportedly trying to expand its influence in the presidential palace in Kabul.
But the Iranian embassy in Kabul on Monday denied as “ ridiculous and insulting” the paper’s report.
“ The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly dismisses the false, ridiculous and insulting allegations by The New York Times ,” it said. “ Such baseless speculations are being spread by some Western media outlets in order to confuse public opinion and damage the strong ties between the governments and nations of the Islamic republics of Afghanistan and Iran.
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: The United States said on Monday that it had no problem with Iran sending bags of cash to President Hamid Karzai but hoped that this assistance would not have a ‘negative’ influence on Afghanistan.
Earlier on Monday, President Karzai acknowledged that his office regularly received large cash sums from Iranian officials but insisted there was nothing untoward about the payments.
“First of all, we do not question Iran’s right to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan, nor do we question Afghanistan’s right to accept that assistance,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley when asked to comment on Mr Karzai’s statement.
“What we think is important is Afghans having the ability to shape their own future without negative influences from neighbours,” he added.
By Hussain Afzal
PARACHINAR: The security authorities in Kurram have sealed all points along the agency’s border with Afghanistan to stop free movement of people.
Talking to reporters here on Monday, Kurram Militia Commandant Col Touseef Akhtar said that security had been beefed up in Parachinar and along the border to maintain peace in the area which had seen prolonged clashes.
Fresh contingents of soldiers have been deployed near the border points.
Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the area twice over the past two months.
Sources said that visits by some important personalities were expected in coming days and security arrangements had been enhanced.
Col Akhtar said that the main entry points along the border, including Tari Mangal, Khaerlachi, Borki, Spena Shaga and Shaheedan Dand, had been sealed.
BRUSSELS, Oct 25: European nations will send guards to Greeces border with Turkey to help Athens cope with an overwhelming influx of illegal migrants from north Africa and south Asia, an official said on Monday.
The European border agency, Frontex, will announce within five days the details of the assistance it will send after Greece sounded an alarm on Sunday, a spokesman for the European Commission told a news briefing.
Greece became the first EU country to ask for help from the EU’s Rapid Border Intervention Teams after hundreds of migrants from north Africa and Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq flooded through the porous Greek-Turkish border in recent weeks, the spokesman added.
PESHAWAR: Three terrorists were killed and two were injured as their car hit a landmine in Orakzai Agency, official sources said. The improvised explosive device, believed to be a land mine, was planted by the miscreants of a rival group. It targeted a vehicle in village Taanda in lower Orakzai Agency. Meanwhile, security forces arrested 28 suspects in a search operation from parts of Hangu district bordering Kurram, Khyber and Orakzai tribal regions. The suspects were arrested from Bagatoo area. One of the suspects was killed during exchange of firing. app
HANGU - The security forces arrested 28 suspected militants during the ongoing operation while one person was killed in clashes between forces and terrorists.
Separately, extremists blew up two schools and a CD shop with explosives in Mandan police limits. However, no causalities were reported in the incident.
District Police Officer (DPO) Rasheed Ahmed said the police and security forces launched the joint search operation against the terrorists and they arrested the 28 militants and recovered the cache weapons from arrested extremists. In another incident Security forces defused an eight-kg bomb near a local seminary in the area of Akorwal.—Online
WASHINGTON: The US cannot win its war in Afghanistan without neighboring Pakistan, according to US-based Wall Street Journal analysis published on Tuesday.
The newspaper article said about President Asif Ali Zardari that he has aided the U.S. military effort in a way his predecessor Pervez Musharraf, supposedly a pro-American strongman, never did.
So, the US was advised in the article to build on a relationship, quietly and incrementally, not to tear down.
The analysis further said, “Equally helpful would be to stop mindlessly demanding that military assistance to Pakistan go toward fighting the Taliban instead of arming against India. The missing ingredient in Pakistan's counterinsurgency effort isn't the right military tool kit, such as night-vision goggles or Apache helicopters. It's the will of the Pakistani general staff to cooperate more fully in the fight. If that cooperation can be secured by selling conventional weapons such as F-15s and M-1 tanks to Pakistan, so much the better.
WASHINGTON: Pakistan has a role to play in the Afghan reconciliation process and a political element is important to resolving the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, a senior United Statesí envoy said.
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke rejected the assertion that Pakistan army is opposed to Afghan reconciliation. “I do not have personal evidence or intelligence that supports that interpretation of what has been going on,” Holbrooke told CNN in an interview when comments on involving Pakistan, he said the neighbouring country has a role in Jammu and Kashmir which cannot be ignored, reported the PTI.
TEHRAN: Iran will load fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday, a senior MP said, and celebrations will be held to mark what is one of several important steps in the Islamic state’s nuclear program.
“The fuel of Bushehr power plant will be loaded to its core tomorrow,” the head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency on Monday.
Iran began fueling the plant in August and officials have said the reactor will begin producing energy in early 2011, a delay of several months following the spread of a global computer virus believed to have affected mainly Iran.
Iran says the plant eventually will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, about 2.5 percent of its power needs.
By MD HUMAIDAN
JEDDAH: A number of hospitals, health centers and clinics will be serving the pilgrims during this Haj season with more than 3,000 beds, according to Makkah Health Affairs Director Dr. Khaled bin Obaid Zafar.
“This year's health plan for Haj consists of preventive, curative and emergency services to the guests of God at all air, land and sea inlets. Medical examinations and tests will be conducted on pilgrims at these entry points. Vaccinations will be given to those who have not already taken them. Pilgrims who are sick will get necessary treatment and medicines while critical and emergency cases will be transferred to hospitals,” Zafar told Arab News on Monday.
Zafar said the Health Ministry has already advised Saudi embassies abroad not to grant Haj visas to aspiring pilgrims unless they meet health requirements.
“Pilgrims with no vaccination certificates will be vaccinated at the entry points,” he added.
MOSCOW: The leader of Russia's volatile Muslim Chechnya region Ramzan Kadyrov has called for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to return as president in the 2012 elections and serve for life.
Widely seen as the key decision-maker in Russia, Putin, who was president from 2000-2008, has hinted he will either run for president in 2012 or support the protege he steered into the Kremlin two years ago, President Dmitry Medvedev.
"I want him (Putin) to be the president as long as he lives," Kadyrov told Newsweek magazine on Sunday, adding he wants his "idol" Putin to win the 2012 vote.
Kremlin-backed Kadyrov is the first leader of a Russian region to call for Putin's return to the presidency. Kadyrov's father and predecessor Akhmad, who was assassinated by rebels in 2004, was a close friend of Putin's.
BERLIN: Somali pirates have freed the hijacked German merchant vessel Beluga Fortune and its 16-strong crew without getting a ransom payment, Bremen-based owner Beluga Shipping said on Monday, a day after the bulk carrier was taken.
"The cool-headed behaviour...of the Beluga crew on board and the quick action of navy units...left the pirates no other option than to give up their dream of a million (dollar) ransom and to flee," Beluga Shipping said in a statement.
The crew members made a distress call, locked themselves in a safety room, turned off the engines and fuel supply, put the bridge out of action and radioed a navy intelligence plane.
By MOHAMMED MAR’I
RAMALLAH: The chief Palestinian negotiator Sa’eb Erekat on Monday accused Israel of undermining the efficacy of the United Nations.
Erekat said in a press statement on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the United Nations that the member states pledged through the UN Charter to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, promote human rights and “establish the conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”
The negotiator said that “when Israel, joined the United Nations in 1949, it vowed to uphold this cause.”
“Instead” Erekat said, “what we have witnessed is constant violations of not only of this Charter, but numerous General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions. In the process, Israel has undermined the efficacy of and derogated the UN System, the very authority through which it was created. Instead, Israel works diligently to pressure its allies to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state.”
MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia: Indonesia warned Monday that its most volatile volcano could erupt at any time and started evacuating some of the thousands of villagers living on the mountain’s slope.
Mount Merapi has seen increased volcanic activity over the past week and officials have raised the alert level for the 9,737-foot (2,968-meter) -high mountain to the most urgent level, said government volcanologist Surono, who uses only one name.
The mountain last erupted in 2006, when it sent an avalanche of blistering gases and rock fragments racing down the mountain that killed two people. A similar eruption in 1994 killed 60 people, while 1,300 people died in an eruption in 1930.
“Officials have predicted that if it erupts, magma would flow to the southern side,” said Full report at:
By BARBARA FERGUSON
WASHINGTON: It will certainly come to no surprise to many Arab News readers that Iran provided extensive aid to Iraqi militias, such as training an operative who kidnapped American soldiers, according to 400,000 classified US military documents obtained by WikiLeaks.org, released last Friday.
They also document cases of US military officials failing to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi security forces and detail the deaths of 15,000 civilians in previously unreported incidents, the group said.
But, the largest unauthorized disclosure of classified government documents in US history confirms a long-standing assertion of former US President George W. Bush at the start of the 2007 troop surge: Iran was orchestrating one side of the Iraqi insurgency.
The documents include field reports from 2004 through 2009 describing Iranian backing for Iraqi Shiite militias and provide details supporting warnings by US officials of Iranian interference in Iraq.
By DAN WILLIAMS
Oct 25, 2010
JERUSALEM: Hard-line Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has commissioned a report on how to prepare for a nuclear-armed Iran as doubt mounts about the efficacy of preventive action, an Israeli source said on Monday.
Publicly, Israel has pledged to deny the Iranians the means to make a bomb but its previous, centrist government also discreetly drew up “day after” contingency plans should Tehran’s uranium enrichment pass the military threshold.
At the time, rightist opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for Israel to consider preemptive strikes against its arch-foe’s nuclear sites. Now prime minister, Netanyahu has reined in such rhetoric while not ruling out the use of force.
In a sign the government is examining a full range of options, Lieberman, the most hawkish member of Netanyahu’s coalition, has ordered ministry strategists to draft a paper on “what to do if we wake up and discover the Iranians have a nuclear weapon,” said the senior Israeli political source, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.