NATO airstrikes kill 20 Afghan militants
British Muslims our main bankrollers, says Taliban commander
Saudi pink ribbon breaks Guinness record
Son and lawyer of condemned woman tortured in Iran
1,034 killed in Karachi in 2010: Report
Saudi Prince opposed to Ground Zero mosque in New York
'Child marriages prevalent among Kerala's Muslims'
Malaysia's Sisters of Islam win right to use name
Thirty fighters killed in Afghan outpost attack: Nato
Equating RSS with SIMI unfortunate, says Ramdev
Nine terrorists killed in Orakzai Agency
Two terrorists killed in Swat clash
NATO chief vows to uphold Afghan women’s rights
Lost iqama? Wait for thief’s call
Security cancels tolerance festival without justification
Shaikha Fatima receives first ladies in Tunis
210 embrace Islam in two months Ahmed Shaaban
Pakistani marine agency arrests 32 Indian fishermen
Top US official set up private spy ring in Af-Pak: Probe
Lankan Muslims in mercy appeal for Nafeek
CBI moves petition before SC, wants Amit Shah's bail cancelled
Two ADACH books win awards at Sharjah International Book Fair
Domestic violence: a global problem, not a religious one
Al-Qaida leader urges Motor City jihad
Think Again: A double standard for Islam
U.S. acknowledges India’s role in inking key AfPak agreement
Is Karzai Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox?
Petraeus: Iran 'conflicted' on Afghanistan
US likely to provide $400m more in military assistance
India angling for solid intel inputs
Will Muslim vote go Nitish's way?
Cong leaving Kashmir problem to musketeers: BJP
Arundhati, Geelani be tried under treason charges: Chouhan
Qaida plotting 26/11-type hostage crisis in Europe?
France firm on burqa ban despite bin Laden threat
'Hang homos' editor vows to keep outing Ugandans
Iran says it is ready to resume nuclear talks
Four factions of Muslim League join hands
Drone attacks are part of war on terrorism: Munter
Rehabilitation strategy to cater needs of all: PM
UNESCO West Bank decision ‘absurd’: Israel
Other Leaguers unite, Nawaz stays solo
‘Less than meets the eye’ on Taliban talks: US envoy
Morocco suspends Al-Jazeera TV: official
Saudi Arabia helped spot Yemen threat: White House
Awareness helped combat terrorism, says Turki
Bahrainis elect nine in second round of polling today
UN Hariri tribunal warns Hezbollah
Pentagon probes contractor in ‘illegal’ spy ring
Palestinians mark 54th anniversary of Kufr Qasim massacre
Unofficial Hebrew translation of novel infuriates Egyptian author
Arab League urges justice on WikiLeaks revelations
Obama calls Yemeni packages 'credible terrorist threat'
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Iraq suicide bombing kills at least 25, wounds 70: Police
Oct 30, 2010
BAQUBA (IRAQ): At least 25 people were killed and 70 wounded in a suicide bombing at a coffee house in the town of Balad Ruz in central Iraq's restive Diyala province on Friday, a police official said.
"Twenty-five people were killed and 70 wounded ... when a suicide bomber detonated a belt filled with explosives at a coffee house in the centre of the city at 9:00 pm (1800 GMT)," said Balad Ruz police chief Major Ahmed al-Tamimi.
Among the casualties were three women and two children, he said.
The number of such attacks throughout Iraq has fallen since 2008 when Diyala province was an al-Qaida stronghold. Although al-Qaida has lost ground, the province remains one of the most restive since the 2003 US-led invasion.
The attack took place in a region with a Kurdish Shia majority.
KABUL: A NATO helicopter killed more than 20 insurgents after it was fired on during an operation in Afghanistan’s restive Kandahar province, the coalition said on Friday. The group of fighters shot at the helicopter with small arms and
machine guns, a NATO statement said.
A NATO service member was also killed in a separate incident. The fighting occurred on Thursday during an operation to flush out insurgents in the Spin Boldak district, said provincial border police chief Abdul Raziq. He said that three Afghan police officers died when their car hit a mine. NATO said initial reports showed there were no civilian casualties during Thursday’s fighting. The coalition tightened its rules of engagement last year after complaints its air raids frequently killed civilians instead of insurgents. Since then,
reports of civilian deaths caused by NATO have dropped by a third.
In a separate incident, a NATO service member died after an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Friday. The NATO statement did not provide nationality or further details. NATO and Afghan forces began pushing into the insurgency’s heartland in southern Afghanistan in July but attacks in other areas of the country have shot up. In western Herat province, insurgents surrounded a checkpoint manned by local
police in Chishti Sharif district on Friday afternoon and opened fire, killing 10 officers and wounding 12, said district police commander Gulbuddin. He goes by a single name. Both the west and the north, traditionally considered more secure, have seen an upsurge in attacks, kidnappings and assassinations since the offensive against the Taliban began in the south.
A Taliban commander has told Sky News that the bulk of the funding for the insurgent group comes from the British Muslim community in the UK.
The regional leader made the claims at a secret meeting after we travelled deep into bandit country under the cover of darkness.
The meeting took place in central Kunar province.
"We are not like a government, we depend on individuals. We get donations from our Muslim brothers in Britain for Jihad. It is the duty of all Muslims to pay towards fighting Jihad. This is how we get our money and buy our weapons and carry on fighting," the Taliban regional commander said.
The commander claimed to have over 1,000 men in Kunar, with more in Pakistan who cross the border with impunity.
He said they had been given special permission to speak to us by the Taliban leadership and that their usual order to take all foreigners hostage had been suspended for the duration of our meeting.
The Sky News team was taken to meet the commander by 30 men in total, dressed in ordinary Afghan clothes but with their faces masked by their scarves. Their weapons and gun belts strapped were over their shoulders.
The commander said they were prepared to negotiate with the authorities but that the first demand on the agenda was unmovable; the foreign troops had to withdraw.
By FATIMA SIDIYA & RIMA AL-MUKHTAR
JEDDAH: Over 5,000 Saudi and expatriate women on Thursday created the world’s largest human pink ribbon in aid of breast cancer awareness in Jeddah.
According to organizers, the number of women coming into the Education Ministry Stadium in the Faisaliah district exceeded 5,000. However, around 1,000 left before the actual formation of the ribbon due to the delays in getting the sheer numbers of people organized.
The women were able to break the record within the first two hours of the event, as both Saudis and expatriate residents came out in droves to support one single yet very important cause.
The Riyadh-based Zahra Breast Cancer Association organized the event. Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, founding member of the association, was the driving force behind the campaign, held under the support of the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Foundation.
Princess Reema said the private sector and the government have been very supportive of the foundation’s breast cancer awareness initiative.
“Let it be known that as of this day, ignorance is no longer an excuse and no woman should be allowed to be left to suffer in silence,” Princess Reema had said at the launch of the awareness campaign.
Attendance at Thursday’s event easily topped the previous record of 3,640 set in Germany in 2007. Thousands of pink scarves were distributed at the entrance gate and the women returned them to the organizers when they left.
The pink human chain, consisting of both Saudis and expatriate residents donning the pink tops and scarves, was built in the shape of the global ribbon of breast cancer awareness.
Saudis and foreign residents, including Arabs, Indonesians, Americans, British, Filipinos and Asians, had been streaming into the stadium since 5 p.m. Only those with transport problems and young children left early.
Participant Aseel Hindi is a 26-year-old math teacher who came all the way from Makkah. “We knew about the event through Facebook three days ago, and we as friends managed to gather and come a long distance to be part of the new Guinness record for the first time ever in our lives,” she said. Over 100 media outlets from around the globe also attended.
It was also the first time women in Jeddah were able to experience the atmosphere of a stadium in the Kingdom.
The stadium was half open, which led participants to cluster in one place. Students from different schools and universities as well as employees of companies and hospitals attended.
Some students said the atmosphere was great and enjoyed socializing with each other. Sixteen-year-old high school student Nouf said she and her classmates knew nothing about the illness and were only there because they had been asked to attend by their teachers.
According to Colleen, who came along with her British friends at the start to support the cause, the event was great but the numbers caused some delays.
“We came because we really wanted to be part of (this event) because it is the first time that something like this is happening in Saudi Arabia,” she said.
“It is disappointing, everybody here wants to be part of this and be involved, but it [took] a long time.”
Private school teachers were in a rush to leave because they had to take the pupils back to school. One of the teachers said: “We’ve been here since five and have promised (parents) that the students will be back by 9:30 p.m. and the event is going on for too long.”
“I thought some sessions or awareness flyers would be distributed to help us learn more about the illness. We even expected some victims to come,” said participant Um Tariq.
Breast cancer is the most-diagnosed form of cancer in Saudi Arabia, accounting for 12.4 percent of all cancers and 23.6 percent of cancers among women, according to a study by the Saudi Cancer Registry.
Tehran, Oct 29 (IANS/AKI) The son and lawyer of a woman sentenced to death in Iran for adultery and helping kill her husband have been tortured in prison, said human rights groups.
According to a statement on the International Committee Against Stoning (ICAS) website, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's son Sajjad Ghaderzade and lawyer Javid Hutan Kian have been tortured since being arrested earlier this month.
'According to information obtained (on) stoning and executions, Sajjad, the son of Sakineh and Houtan Kian, her lawyer, are subjected to pressure and severe torture in a prison of Tabriz,' the statement said.
Full report at:
At least 1,034 people were killed in Pakistan's commercial capital in the first 10 months of 2010, most of them victims of target killings, a government funded watchdog has said.
The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) a government funded watchdog organisation has said that the number of casualties are the highest in last 15 years.
According to a report issued by the CPLC in the month of August some 162 people were killed while in June 135 people were killed in different parts of the city which is home to a population of 16 million and the financial hub of Pakistan.
Most of the deaths were related to the spate of target killings in the city that have increased in 2010 with different political and religious parties blaming each other for the violence.
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has said he is against the construction of a mosque close to the 9/11 site in New York and also he had no part in financing the controversial project.
"I am against putting the mosque in that particular place. And I'll tell you why. For two reasons: first of all, those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York, and not try to agitate the wound by saying 'we need to put the mosque next to the 9/11 site'," he was quoted as saying by the 'Arabian Business'.
"I heard and saw a lot of news about me being associated with it and this is all wrong. We did not finance this thing," he added.
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 28 (IANS) Child marriages are prevalent among Muslims in Kerala, and the custom can be combated only by creating awareness, the state's women's commission chairperson said Thursday.
'We are doing a lot of awareness programme to change the mindset of the people and that's all what we can do. We do get help from the NCW (National Commission for Women) to this effect and we will continue our efforts,' Kerala Women's Commission chairperson D. Sreedevi said.
She said that precise figures were not available, though the state administration has identified the regions where the practice was prevalent.
'This is happening in districts of Kasargode, Malappuram and Kannur. Even though we have not done any survey to this effect and do not have the actual numbers, it is for certain that this is happening,' she said.
KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian court ruled Friday that a vocal women's rights group could use the name "Sisters in Islam", rejecting a complaint by religious activists that the title was confusing to Muslims.
An advocate for women's rights for over two decades, Sisters in Islam (SIS) drew controversy early this year for speaking out against the caning of three Muslim women under religious sharia laws that ban sex out of wedlock.
The High Court turned down a lawsuit by the Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth, saying the religious group had no legal standing to file the complaint, SIS said in a statement.
"The decision... is a positive step towards ensuring that freedom of expression as guaranteed under the federal constitution is upheld," SIS programme manager Ratna Osman said.
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
KABUL: Nato on Saturday said insurgents tried to storm a combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan, setting off a battle that killed 30 attackers and wounded five coalition soldiers.
Assailants struck the military post from all sides using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. The outpost is in Paktika province’s Bermal district. Nearly all Nato forces in the province are from the US military.
Nato said coalition forces called in close air-support and airstrikes to help repel the 1:30 a.m. attack.
In a statement, the military said five coalition service members were wounded during the attack but continued fighting.
Saturday’s attack took place in an area about 125 miles south of Kabul near the border with Pakistan.
Oct 30 2010
Lucknow : Yoga Guru Ramdev on Saturday described as unfortunate Congress leader Rahul Gandhi drawing a parallel between RSS and banned terror outfit SIMI.
"Equating RSS with SIMI is unfortunate," he told reporters here.
The Yoga Guru said, "Since the inception of RSS, none of its top leaders has been found having any link with terrorism. In fact, the organisation has done a lot for the society in various fields whether education or health."
He was reacting to Rahul's remark earlier this month that both RSS and SIMI preached "hardline fundamentalist ideologies."
Terming corruption as a political problem, Ramdev said he has launched a campaign against the evil and feared that he might be eliminated by "people in the government" for raising his voice.
"By launching the Bharat Swabhiman campaign against corruption and in favour of Swadeshi, I have given an open invitation to death. But whether I live or not, corruption should not stay in the country. And if anything happens to me, the government will be responsible," he said.
Calling the Shunglu committee probe into alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games a "sham", Ramdev had yesterday said that he, along with a group of civil society activists including Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kerjariwal will file an FIR in the case with the Delhi Police on November 12.
He alleged that huge funds had been misutilised in the CWG projects and said Rs one lakh crore spent on the Games could have been used to set up 1,000 universities in the country.
"I had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and gave them three solutions to root out corruption," he said.
The first solution was that the government should adopt a policy of currency recall where notes of big denominations should be taken back, the Yoga Guru said.
"Secondly, a stringent law with a provision of capital punishment should be framed. Lastly, money deposited in foreign countries should be brought back to the country," he said.
"The Prime Minister assured me that efforts will be made to bring back money deposited in foreign banks," he said.
PESHAWAR: Gunship helicopters heavily pounded hideouts of terrorists in Orakzai tribal region on Friday and killed nine terrorists, security official said. The gunship helicopters targeted terrorists positions in Khadezai, Daparpahar, Ismailzai, Kasha, Saifuldar in upper Orakzai Agency. Four hideouts were destroyed and 12 militants were injured in the shelling. The security forces have increased up their activities against Taliban and alQaeda operatives in the region in recent weeks. app
SWAT: At least two militants were killed during an exchange of fire with security forces in the restive Matta tehsil on Friday, security official said. The clash occurred in Biakand area when the security forces signalled the suspected militants coming from Shah Dherai side to stop for search but they started firing at the security forces. The forces in retaliation gunned down both of them. The suspected militants, Latifullah and Rehmatullah, belonged to an outlawed organisation and were wanted in connection with several cases. Two security personnel were also injured in the gun battle. Meanwhile, security forces seized a high intensity explosive device and defused it in Shakardara area of Matta Tehsil.
COPENHAGEN: NATO will support a political deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban only if it respects the constitutional rights of women, the alliance’s secretary-general said on Friday. “The Afghan government is trying hard to engage with those Taliban who are willing to stop fighting,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech to a conference on women and security. “My position, and the position of all the allies, is very clear we will never support any political deal that sacrifices the rights that Afghan women now have enshrined in the constitution,” Rasmussen said. He said it was a good sign that women were serving on the council formed to manage the reconciliation process. Rasmussen said, “In a country as deeply conservative as Afghanistan, that is real progress.
By IBRAHIM NAFIE
JEDDAH: If you happen to lose your iqama (residence permit), do not be surprised if you get a telephone call from a stranger asking you to pay a price to get it back.
Stealing iqamas with the aim of holding their owners to ransom has become a trade for a number of Africans living in Jeddah.
They are very discreet and their prices vary according to the nationality of the iqama holder.
Foreigners who lost their iqamas and had to pay for them told Arab News that these organized rings usually live in under-developed districts in south Jeddah.
A police official admitted the presence of such gangs, but denied that they were concentrated in one place.
Many foreigners who have had their iqamas stolen would immediately go to these districts in south Jeddah to look for them.
The Egyptian Movement Against Religious Discrimination on Wednesday said Egyptian police have canceled a festival promoting tolerance between Muslims and Christians in areas that have witnessed a recent rise in sectarian tension.
The movement, a liberal organization opposed to Christian discrimination, said the 'Egypt for the Egyptians' festival was to be held on Friday at Cairo's al-Azhar Park but was canceled without justification.
"The festival aims to strengthen the principles of coexistence and citizenry through art and culture," said movement coordinator Mohamed Mounir Megahed.
Relations between Muslims and Christians have intensified lately in the wake of accusations by Islamic groups that the wife of a priest, Kamilia Shehata, sought conversion to Islam but was detained by church authorities. The church and government have both denied the allegations.
Shaikha Fatima receives first ladies in Tunis
30 October 2010
TUNIS - Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU) and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, received First Ladies Suzan Mubarak of Egypt, Widad Babaker of Sudan, Wafa Sulaiman of Lebanon and Amina Abbas of Palestine.
The meetings discussed items on the agenda of the current third conference of the Arab Women Organisation (AWO) in Tunisia and cooperation with other Arab countries on women development.
Present at the meetings were Foreign Trade Minister Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State; Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State; Reem Al Hashimi, Member of the AWO Executive Council and Director-General of GWU; and Noura Al Suwaidi, Director-General of AWO.
210 embrace Islam in two months Ahmed Shaaban
DUBAI - The Information Centre of Dar Al Ber Society in Dubai registered conversion of 210 people into Islam in September and October.
Yusuf Al Saeed, manager of the centre, said the new converts included individuals and families of different nationalities. “Their hearts are touched by the tolerance, greatness, mercy and consistency of Islam,” he added.
“Special programmes organised by the centre had attracted around 1100 people to Islam this year so far. Most of the conversions took place in Ramadan, with 250 new Muslims, basically due to the spirit of the holy month,” Al Saeed said. He noted thousands of people come to the centre willingly to know about Islam. “The information on teachings and principles of Islam, provided in the books being gifted to thousands of truth-seekers, quench their thirst for the true religion,” he said.
VADODARA: Pakistani Marine Security Agency (PMSA) has arrested 32 fishermen from the Arabian sea and taken them to jails in Karachi, convener of Gujarat unit of national fish workers forum claimed today.
Manish Lodhari said he got information about the fresh arrests from a spokesman of Pakistani fish forum this morning.
"The spokesman called me up from Karachi today to inform me about the fishermen taken to Karachi jails," Lodhari told PTI.
With this, the total number of Indian fishermen arrested from the Arabian sea during October has gone up to 42 and the overall number of Indian fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails to 184, he claimed.
WASHINGTON: A senior Pentagon official broke department of defence rules and lied to military officials when he set up a network of private contractors to spy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the New York Times reported.
The Times cited an internal investigation stating that the official, Michael Furlong, set up an unauthorised spy network starting in 2009 and "deliberately misled" top generals about it. Pentagon rules forbid using contractors as spies.
However some information provided by the network was used for strikes against militants, the Times reported.
By MD RASOOLDEEN
RIYADH: The Muslim community in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has appealed Friday to a Saudi couple to spare the life of a Sri Lankan housemaid who killed their baby. Rizana Nafeek was convicted of murdering Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi’s four-month-old child in June, 2007.
Rauf Hakeem, senior parliamentarian and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), handed a letter for Al-Otaibi and his family on Friday to the Saudi Ambassador in Colombo, Abdul Rahman Al-Jammaz, pleading for clemency for Nafeek on behalf of the Muslim community, which forms eight percent of the island's 20 million population.
Former Sri Lankan Consul General Masiudeen Inamullah was also present at the Friday meeting held at the Saudi Embassy in Colombo.
Sohrabuddin fake encounter: CBI moves petition before SC, wants Amit Shah's bail cancelled
NEW DELHI: The CBI has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the bail granted by the Gujarat High Court to former state minister Amit Shah and sought an urgent hearing.
The petition was filed in the Deputy Registrar's office around 10.30 PM on Friday night after the top brass of the premier investigating agency decided to move the Apex court for cancelling the bail.
Senior lawyer KTS Tulsi, who appeared for CBI in the High Court, accompanied CBI officials when the petition was filed.
The court will be on a brief Diwali recess from Monday. The Deputy Registrar is the court's Vacation officer.
WAM Abu Dhabi -- Two books published by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) win two awards at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair.
The book titled "The Poetry of Kaab bin Maadan Al Ashqari", written by author Ahmed Mohammed Obaid was given the award of the Best UAE Author Book, while Dr. Fatima Hamad Al Mazrouei's book title "Monafarat in Pre-Islamic Literature" have won the award of Best UAE Book in the field of Studies.
Both books were published by the National Library of (ADACH).
The book "The Poetry of Kaab bin Maadan Al Ashqari" was compiled and researched by Emirati researcher Ahmed Mohamed Obaid. Al Ashqari was born in Oman in the first century of the Islamic calendar, and he is a renowned Umayyad-era poet.
By John L. Esposito and Sheila B. Lalwani
October 30, 2010
An Oct. 28 Times editorial hit the nail on the head by noting that the United Nations' newly released report, "The World's Women," makes a disturbing point: Violence against women remains a stubborn problem around the world.
The reminder is timely. Voters in Oklahoma and Louisiana will decide Tuesday on ballot initiatives that would prevent Sharia law from entering the court systems; protecting women's rights is cited as a reason, because Islamic law is believed to sanction such violence. It remains to be seen what voters will decide on Tuesday, but connecting violence against women to any religion sidesteps the real issue and primary causes of violence against women, allowing this pressing global health issue to escape the scrutiny and response it merits.
DETROIT, -- An American-born al-Qaida operative is urging Muslims living in Europe and in Detroit to carry out attacks in defense of Islam.
A new 48-minute recording released this weekend apparently came from Adam Gadhan, the California farm boy who has become an English-speaking voice of the international terrorist organization.
"It is the duty of everyone who is sincere in his desire to defend Islam and Muslims today, to take the initiative to perform the individual obligation of jihad," Gadhan said.
CBS News said the recording was made available by SITE, a U.S. organization that monitors terrorist activities.
Gadhan specifically called on Muslims living in "the miserable suburbs of Paris, London and Detroit" to rise up and attack.
By JONATHAN ROSENBLUM
Hate speech laws are applied in West against those critical of Islam, but never against Muslim imams who mock Jewish, Christian infidels.
Islamists everywhere demand respect for Islam, the prophet and the Koran, and threaten murderous mayhem should that demand not be honored. At the same time, they do not hesitate to express their contempt for other religions and their adherents, as well as the system of democratic rights protecting the freedom of religion.
Nor are those threats to be taken likely. More than 50 people died in violence triggered by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 edict against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, and all those connected with its publication or distribution. Dozens of Europeans are now in hiding or under police protection because of death threats from Muslims.
The Obama Administration has publicly acknowledged the significant role played by India in the signing of the historic transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which took more than four decades of painful negotiations between Kabul and Islamabad.
Special U.S. Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said the U.S. is grateful to India for the key role played by it, in the absence of which Afghanistan and Pakistan would not have been able the sign the agreement in this regard in Kabul a day earlier.
“I’m very grateful to the Indian government for not interposing any objections to this bilateral trade treaty,” Mr. Holbrooke told reporters at a special State Department briefing.
The Transit Trade Agreement, signed in Kabul on Friday by the commerce ministers of the two neighbouring nations, according to Mr. Holbrooke is the most important deal between Pakistan and Afghanistan since Pakistan’s independence.
By Judith Miller
At a press conference in Kabul earlier this week, President Hamid Karzai not only confirmed a New York Times story saying that he routinely received bags of cash from Iran, he boasted about it. He was “grateful” for Teheran’s generous support, he told reporters, describing the funds as the Kabul equivalent of Chicago’s “walking around money,” the cash was intended to buy friends and influence. Iranian pay offs ensured “good relations” and paid for “lots of things,” he said vaguely.
Today, he tossed America a small bone – a three month delay in his August edict disarming and shutting down the private contractors who safeguard Western diplomats, military supply convoys, and the humanitarian groups trying to save Afghan lives.
Karzai has downplayed Iran’s cash payments. America, too, has given him cash, he crowed. But America’s $100 billion investment in military and civilian aid to Afghanistan this past year has usually not been delivered in brown paper bags through his chief of staff, now the proud owner of several homes in the Gulf, and Afghans say, numerous foreign bank accounts.
KABUL-- Iran is trying to have it both ways in Afghanistan by supporting Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and the Taliban, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said Friday.
In an interview with the Voice of America Persian Service, Petraeus, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, described the Iranian government's position as "conflicted" and "disingenuous." Iran, which allegedly supplies the Taliban with arms and training, said this week that it has been giving Karzai reconstruction aid for several years.
Petraeus said Iran and the United States have a common interest in a stable Afghanistan. He said the Shiite theocracy in Iran also opposes the extreme Sunni leadership in al-Qaida and the Taliban.
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: A better understanding of Pakistan’s defence needs in the US capital may soon lead to an additional $300-400 million of annual military assistance, besides a $2.029 billion package announced last week.
Diplomatic sources told Dawn that the money would come from the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Capability Fund set up to help the country fight terrorists along and inside the Pak-Afghan border. Last year, the House Appropriations Committee approved $400 million for the counter-insurgency fund.
In February this year, the Obama administration sought a $0.5 billion increase in funds to bolster Pakistan’s counter-insurgency capabilities.
The US administration was increasing the fund from $700 million in fiscal 2009 to $1.2 billion in the current fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1. Both the funds – the PCCF and the $2.029 billion package for purchasing US weapons – are continuation of previous five-year programmes. But amounts under both programmes have been increased.
By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury
Fragile nature of security cooperation causes worry
WHEN home secretary G. K. Pillai recently expressed disappointment with Washington over an information- sharing vacuum on LeT operative David Coleman Headley, he was probably underscoring the fragile nature of the Indo- US security cooperation ever since it took shape in the early part of the decade necessitated by 9/ 11.
While both governments will look towards strengthening collaboration in the areas of cyber security and counterterror during President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip, differences remain over the approaches in dealing with threats from the Af- Pak region, terror emanating from Pakistan, the Kashmir issue and China’s role in South Asia.
There are expectations that these issues will be discussed both during the delegation- level meeting and Manmohan Singh’s one- on- one with Obama on November 8. In fact, the visit will set the tone for discussions on these issues that will be continued in the subsequent months.
Full report at: Mail Today
PATNA/HAJIPUR: One of the most intriguing aspects of the ongoing Bihar elections, and the subject of much speculation of course, is, perhaps, how will the Muslims, who comprise over 15% of the electorate, will vote.
What has further compounded matters is the emergence of a new class of "progressive" Muslim voters who are said to be most influenced by chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose disapproval of his Gujarat counterpart has certainly and warmed the cockles of many in the community.
According to the influential and respected Mohammed Wali Rahmani, who is trying to replicate the success of Bihar Super-30 with his own Rahmani-30 for IIT aspirants from the community, Nitish would have gained much more if he had displayed a little more 'hunar'.
Hunar is a scheme launched by the Bihar government two years ago for Muslim girls, who were not inclined towards studying. Though it was aimed at imparting skills -- including weaving, knitting, use of computer and maternity care -- the initiative now seems to have lost its way.
NEW DELHI: Opposition BJP on Friday took a dig at Rahul Gandhi, saying Congress leaders were giving more significance to travelling in sleeper class in trains to gain publicity while leaving serious issues like the Kashmir problem in the hands of interlocutors who are acting as "musketeers".
"Small, trivial issues are being projected as principal issues concerning the country like travelling in sleeper class. Why are they silent on Kashmir where government representatives are playing with the integrity and honour of the nation?" BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said, reacting to Rahul Gandhi's 36-hour journey in the sleeper class train journey from Gorakhpur to Mumbai earlier this month.
"Our leaders have been travelling in second and third class only, but they don't make it news to show the nation that they have obliged it by doing so for a day and how great they have become by doing so. We (BJP) are all passengers of second and sleeper class," Vijay said.
KHANDWA (MP): Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday demanded that writer-social activist Arundhati Roy and Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani be tried as traitors for their remarks on Kashmir.
"Cases of treason should be registered against them on the issue," Chouhan told reporters at village Aanvalia on the second day of his ongoing Vanvasi Yatra while criticizing the duo for supporting "Azaad" Kashmir in their speeches recently.
Later, at village Khotda in Khargone district, Chouhan criticised the Centre for not handling Kashmir issue effectively, specially the issue of Pak-Occupied Kashmir.
Referring to the tribal heroes, who laid down their lives for the country's independence, he alleged that that they were not yet given their due respect.
LONDON: Al-Qaida planned to take hostages in Mumbai-style attacks on Britain, France and Germany to demand the release of the mastermind of the 9/11 strikes and has "reactivated" the plan now, a former associate of Osama bin Laden has claimed.
Noman Benotman, a Libyan and former Afghanistan terrorist camp trainer, told German magazine Speigel in an interview that bin Laden wanted to force the US to release Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is awaiting trial for his role in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Bentoman claimed that he was present at several discussions about the plot and believed it has now been reactivated.
"I have information that I consider to be reliable, according to which al-Qaida in North Waziristan is training how to carry out multiple parallel hostage taking in order to enforce the release of a prisoner," he added.
Brussels : President Nicolas Sarkozy says France stands by its law banning burqa-like Muslim veils despite a threatening new message from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The audio tape of bin Laden's voice threatens to kill French citizens in revenge for France's law to ban Muslim veils that cover the face, and because France has troops in Afghanistan.
Sarkozy says France "doesn't let anyone dictate its policies, and certainly not terrorists." He says his country has made its choice and that it doesn't want women in France "trapped behind pieces of fabric."
He also says the tape of bin Laden's voice is authentic.
The French president spoke today at a European Union summit in Brussels.
Kampala : A young man, baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, looks first over his left shoulder and then over his right, back over his left and once more over the right before he is sure nobody is listening.
He then looks down at his feet and the small dance floor of Ugandan capital Kampala's only gay bar, T-Cozy, and starts to speak slowly -- and quietly.
There is good reason to be scared. This month a new Ugandan newspaper, calling itself Rolling Stone, ran a cover story with the headline: 100 pictures of Uganda's top homos leak.
A smaller banner headline had only two words: Hang them.
The paper printed photographs of 11 Ugandan men and women it said were gay in that first issue but says it now intends to serialise the story -- printing profiles of 10 to 15 gay people a week until it has outed the full 100.
Iran notified the European Union on Friday that it is willing to restart international negotiations over its nuclear program after November 10, potentially reviving talks that foundered a year ago.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief that Iran is ready to hold talks “in a place and on a date convenient to both sides,” the official news agency reported.
Since the break-off in talks, the United States, EU and the United Nations have stepped up financial sanctions on Tehran. The negotiations between Iran and a group of six nations, including the United States, stalled in October 2009 over a deal meant to ensure Iran could only use its stockpile of enriched uranium for fueling nuclear reactors and not for building bombs.
In Brussels, the EU confirmed it had received the letter, which was sent by the office of top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
By Masroor Afzal Pasha
KARACHI: Four Muslim League factions merged to form the Muttahida Muslim League, on Friday. The merger was announced after a meeting of the leaders of the four parties at the Kingri House.
Speaking at the announcement ceremony, Pir Sahib Pagaro, who was declared the first president of the newly-formed party, said, the country’s situation required unity. He said there was no compulsion on any political leader to join MML. The meeting constituted a nine-member committee headed by former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to contact other PML groups, including PML-N and PML-Q in order to woo them to join the new party. Jamali has also been made the convener of MML. The four factions, which merged are PML (F), PML (Zia), PML (like-minded) and Awami Muslim League.
Pagaro hoped that the Ahle-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat would also join MML. “The amalgamation of the four PML factions is the beginning of new dawn and it is my honour to join ranks with leaders different,” he remarked. The alliance would take all decisions in collaboration with all concerned leaders, he said, adding we would form a government and resolve all the problems of the people,
LAHORE: The newly-appointed US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Phelps Munter, termed the drone attacks as part of the war on terror and were targeted against the militants, a private TV channel reported on Friday.
Talking to journalists after visiting Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum in Karachi, Cameron Munter said, “I want to strengthen the bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan.” The ambassador said that Pakistan was an important ally in the war against terror and the US acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by its Pakistani friends. The envoy said that he would work on the partnership between the two countries to make sure that the relationship between the Pakistani and the American people was built on principles of mutual respect, the channel said.
ISLAMABAD: The national strategy for rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-affected areas has been designed keeping in view the needs of flood victims of all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday.
“The heavy torrential rains and floods had affected people throughout the country, and we have to take care of them by all possible means,” he added.
The PM was talking to a joint delegation of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), led by Fuaad Ali Al-Mazroei, head of the OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department.
The delegation, which included two members of the OIC and two from UNDP has been visiting various flood-affected areas since October 25. During their visits, the delegation is accompanied by Abrarul Haq of the Sahara Foundation and Youth Parliament members, along officials of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The PM said disbursement and distribution of funds to flood victims through the Smart Cards is the world’s biggest fund disbursement scheme for people affected by disasters.
JERUSALEM: A decision by the UN body in charge of preserving historical sites to define West Bank shrines sacred to both Jews and Muslims as Palestinian is ‘absurd,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday. One of the sites, in the city of Hebron, has been a flashpoint for decades. Jews call it the Cave of the Patriarchs, where the Bible says the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried along with three of their wives. Muslims call it the al-Ibrahimi mosque, reflecting the fact that Abraham is considered the father of both Judaism and Islam. Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the UNESCO decision which was made last week. ‘The attempt to detach the people of Israel from its heritage is absurd,’ the statement said. ‘If the places where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation are buried, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah and Rachel some 4,000 years ago are not part of the Jewish heritage then what is?’ Hebron is a West Bank flashpoint because it is the only place where Jews live among Palestinians. About 500 Israeli settlers, some of them extremists, live in enclaves near the disputed holy site, guarded by Israeli soldiers who control part of the city of about 170,000 Palestinians.
Abdul Jabbar Khan
KARACHI - Four Muslim League factions were merged into Muttahida Muslim League (MML) under the leadership of Pir Pagara on Friday. Pir Pagara announced the merger at a press conference at Kingri House after a meeting of factional leaders.
Former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Sheikh Rasheed, Hamid Nasir Chatta, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and Kashmala Tariq were present at the meeting.Pir Pagara, now the head of MML, said: “We welcome everyone and our doors are open whoever wants to join us. Unity is the need of the hour.”
Pagara has successfully launched the alliance to confront the ruling PPP and is expected to have the support of Nawaz Sharif, though there is no contact between the two as yet, except their contact with Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, PML-N Sindh President. Though the mid-ranking Nawaz leadership is found more confident of acing the ongoing political battle by staying solo, the PPP being the largest party, though in a mess these days, has the potential to handle the Nawaz League unless there is a bigger forum like the one established, said a political leader emerging from the meeting.
WASHINGTON: The US special envoy on Afghanistan on Friday played down reconciliation talks with the Taliban, saying that while more cadres were coming forward, their leaders were not.
“There’s less here than meets the eye,” Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told reporters after a trip to Kabul.
“There is no indication at this point that the Taliban leadership wishes to change its course,” Holbrooke said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set up a council to engage in dialogue with the Taliban, hoping to bring about an end to more than nine years of war since the United States sent in forces following the September 11 attacks.
RABAT: Morocco has suspended the operations of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television news channel in Rabat and withdrawn the accreditations of its staff, the communications ministry said Friday.
The ministry said the sanctions followed “numerous failures in (following) the rules of serious and responsible journalism”, while a leading rights group said it was a “backward step” for the kingdom.
The Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Rabat, Palestinian Abdelkader Kharroubi, told AFP that the channel “has always respected the rule of professionalism and neutrality, particularly in Morocco.”
He added that “unfortunately the question of Al-Jazeera is not only in the hands of the communications ministry. Other parties decide at this level.”
Without identifying these “parties”, Kharroubi said the suspension was “a mistake on the part of the Moroccan authorities, a mistake which has nothing to do with us.”
WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia helped identify the security threat from Yemen, the White House said on Friday, after two packages containing explosives were discovered aboard cargo planes bound for the United States.
“The United States is grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen,” said John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s adviser on counter terrorism.
Obama indicated that he suspected Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had been behind the attempt to send the packages to “two places of Jewish worship in Chicago.”
Brennan said in a statement that the Saudis, as well as officials in Britain, the United Arab Emirates and “other friends and partners,” had assisted the United States in identifying the suspicious packages in Dubai and at Britain's East Midlands Airport.
TAMPA, Florida: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said Saudi Arabia has combated terrorism not only through strong security measures but also cultural, religious, political, economic and social activities and reforms.
“In addition to taking strong security steps to counter terror directly, the Kingdom adopted indirect measures to uproot terrorism by establishing a culture that does not permit the growth of terror in society,” Prince Turki, the former intelligence chief of the Kingdom, said Thursday during a speech at the University of South Florida. He also spoke to the Council of Foreign Relations in Tampa.
Prince Turki commended the strong campaign unleashed by the Kingdom to uproot terrorism and spread awareness on its dangers, the Saudi Press Agency reported Friday.
By SIRAJ WAHAB
MANAMA: One of the key candidates in Bahrain's second round of voting admitted Friday that she faces an uphill task.
There is intense interest among political analysts in the fate of Muneera Fakhro of the Al-Waad political grouping who is contesting one of the nine parliamentary seats. None of the candidates from these nine of the 40 seats for the lower house of Parliament could secure the minimum 50-percent votes in the first round of polling last week, prompting a second round on Saturday. The two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the first round will run in the second round.
Thirty-one winners were announced last week. They included 18 members of the main opposition Al-Wefaq grouping. Many of those in the second round belong to Al-Asalah and Al-Menbar, the two political groups that saw their political fortunes dwindle during these elections. Both groups had done extremely well in the 2006 elections and had held a combined 15 seats in the outgoing National Assembly and were part of the ruling bloc. This time they lost heavily to business-friendly independents.
By YARA BAYOUMY
BEIRUT: The UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri accused Hezbollah on Friday of attempting to obstruct justice by calling on Lebanese to halt cooperation with the inquiry.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said investigators were passing information to Israel, in the latest escalation in a war of words over the inquiry which threatens to plunge the country into more turmoil.
Hezbollah stepped up its campaign against the tribunal after Lebanese officials and diplomats said the court's prosecutor may indict members of the group, possibly early next year.
"Any call to boycott the tribunal to prevent it from fulfilling its mandate is a deliberate attempt to obstruct justice," a statement from the office of the prosecutor said.
It said it expected cooperation to continue in accordance with the tribunal's statute and Lebanese laws.
By BARBARA FERGUSON
WASHINGTON: In the latest incident of a US military contractor overstepping its powers, the Pentagon accused one of its own members of organizing an “illegal” spy ring in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The story sounds like something straight out of James Bond: A renegade, out-of-control corporation, led by a former military officer and armed with state-of-the-art spyware, breaks out on its own to serve justice as it sees fit, noted one reporter.
Michael Furlong is the military defense contractor at the center of the ongoing investigation into the illegal spy ring, known as “Information Operations Capstone.”
The network, a collection of small companies that used agents to collect intelligence on militant groups inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, operated under a $22 million contract run by Lockheed Martin.
Furlong is senior official at the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center, which integrates information such as intelligence into military planning.
By MOHAMMED MAR'I
RAMALLAH: Thousands of Palestinians on Friday marked the 54th anniversary of the massacre which took place in the Arab city of Kufr Qasim inside Israel. The massacre was carried out by Israeli Border Police officers and resulted in the death of 49 Arab civilians.
Nader Sarsour, the mayor of Kufr Qasim said that the families of martyrs, thousands from the city and delegations from other Arab cities and villages, participated in the rally. Sarsour added that Arab Members of Israeli Knesset, leaders of the Arab community and a number of Jews also attended.
The officials said that the participants blasted "fascism" and the Israeli government's "violent and racist discourse."
CAIRO: One of Egypt’s best-selling novelists lashed out on Friday at an unauthorized Hebrew translation of his best known novel, describing it as intellectual “theft.” Alaa Al-Aswany told the Associated Press that he will sue an Israeli center for translating his hit book, “The Yacoubian Building,” without his permission.
The Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information acknowledged it translated the novel against Al-Aswany’s will on the grounds of “expanding cultural awareness.” The center’s founder, Gershon Baskin, said that Al-Aswany is against culture normalization with Israel and that is why he turned down several requests to translate the novel into Hebrew. In consultation with the organization’s board, Baskin said, he decided to offer a link to a PDF file of the Hebrew translation, sending it out to the 27,000 people on the group’s e-mail list.
“This man apparently rejects the fact that his country has been at peace with Israel for 30 years,” Baskin said. “With all due respect to his copyright privileges, we decided it was important for people here to read this book.
Arab League urges justice on WikiLeaks revelations
CAIRO — The Arab League called on Friday for those behind the “crimes against humanity” contained in leaked Iraq war documents published by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks to be brought to justice.
“These documents and what they have unveiled... constitute a crime equivalent to crimes against humanity and violations against the Iraqi people,” said Ahmed ben Helli, the Cairo-based organisation’s deputy security general.
“We must pursue those who committed this crime,” in cooperation with the Iraqi government, he said, quoted by Egypt’s official news agency MENA. Ben Helli called for more documents to be released.
WikiLeaks last week published nearly 400,000 secret US military documents which offer a grim snapshot of the conflict from 2004 to 2009, especially of the abuse of civilians by Iraqi security forces.
WASHINGTON: US law enforcement officials searched for suspicious packages aboard planes on Saturday as President Barack Obama said two packages from Yemen contained explosive material and were a "credible terrorist threat."
The packages were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, Obama said.
Their discovery overnight on cargo planes in transit for the United States -- one in Dubai and the other in Britain's East Midlands airport -- sparked an international security alert.
The White House said it had been tipped off by Saudi Arabia and said Washington was "grateful... for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen."
Informed late on Thursday, Obama immediately ordered cargo planes at Philadelphia and Newark international airports to be towed to isolation and checked because they were thought to contain further packages from Yemen.