Saudi women protest, web activists call for reform
Pakistan court orders arrest of Musharraf in Bhutto case
Musharraf will not comply with Pakistan warrant: Spokesman
Islamabad refuses to let Davis go scot-free
Top press award for photo of disfigured Afghan woman
Tajik leader orders crackdown on ‘illegal’ mosques
Obama recalls Gandhi in welcoming Mubarak's exit
SM Qureshi dropped as Pakistan's foreign minister
Hindus have never accepted Pakistan since its creation: Nizami
Brainwashing drives young suicide bombers
The nation remembered Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad
I will be the first to apologise if Muslim youth are proved innocent: Raghuvanshi
Urdu is proud of the services of Gopi Chand Narang: K Rahman Khan
Muslim Rashtriya Manch to hold countrywide celebrations of Eid Miladun Nabi
Book on Kasmir ‘Blunders and the way out’ presented to the President
Residents slam Jeddah municipality for slow cleanup work
Israel used excessive force on aid ship: Turkish inquiry
Egypt govt officials banned from traveling abroad
Obama urges Egyptian army to ensure democratic change
Wall Street stocks jump on Mubarak resignation
Egypt: gone in 18 days
Egypt: Rewriting history in 140 characters
Mubarak Family Fortune Could Reach $70bn, Say Experts
Children of Saudi women married to foreigners face plethora of problems
Analysis: Egyptians will resist any army bid to keep power
Sweden calls Assange public enemy no. 1
Yemeni protesters scuffle after overnight clashes
US not asking me to leave, says Haqqani
US demands ‘full immunity’ Davis’s self-defence claim rejected
Switzerland orders freeze on Mubarak assets
New leader doesn't score too high either
Yasin Malik faces protests in Ajmer
Assange's plea rejected
LeT gained from Pakistan's support: U.S.
Committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people, says Army
Stone- throwers back after attack on Yasin
Violence as strike shuts down
US-Afghan-Pakistan meeting in doubt amid US prisoner row
Magic of light sweeps Sharjah
Gunmen attack police HQ in Afghanistan
US considers tougher approach with Pakistan
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Mubarak resignation hailed as win for democracy
Feb 12, 2011
PARIS: World leaders on Friday hailed the toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as a historic victory for people power that paves the way for democracy.
As Mubarak’s three-decade-long rule ended a day after he enraged protesters by refusing to stand down, messages of congratulation to the Egyptian people flooded in.
US President Barack Obama said the people of Egypt had spoken and would settle for nothing less than “genuine democracy.””The people of Egypt have spoken — their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same,” Obama said.
The armed forces would now have to ensure a political transition that was “credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people,” Obama said, warning however that there could be “difficult days ahead.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon praised Mubarak for bowing to the will of the people and taking a “difficult decision, taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy saluted Mubarak’s “courageous and necessary” decision to step down, adding: “France calls on all Egyptians to continue their march towards liberty.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mubarak’s departure marked a “historic change” and that she expected Egypt’s future government “to continue to keep the peace in the Middle East, in that the agreements made with Israel are respected and Israel’s security is guaranteed.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that with Mubarak out, Egypt now had a “really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the country together”.
“Those who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the Egyptian people,” Cameron said.
Russia and Italy offered more guarded reactions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope the power shift would “help the restoration of stability.”
Italy, which earlier broke with most other Western leaders by coming out strongly in favour of Mubarak’s continued tenure, noted the “important development for the Egyptian people and its legitimate democratic aspirations,” in a statement by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, in a joint statement, hailed “a remarkable day for the people of Egypt.”
“All Australians will have been moved by the joy we saw last night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square,” they said.
“In their millions, Egyptians have called for change — for an open, democratic society that offers greater opportunity for its people.”
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton judged that the 82-year-old strongman had “listened to the voices of the Egyptian people” who had staged more than two weeks of massive protests for his departure.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stressed the need for free and fair elections and respect for human rights including minorities.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma praised Mubarak for “having thought like a leader, to place the interests of Egypt above his own.”In Tunisia, whose own “Jasmine Revolution” spurred on the Egyptian revolt, people danced in the street and blared their horns.
“It’s wonderful! Two dictators have fallen in less than a month,” said 23-year-old student Nourredine, referring to January’s ouster of Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Reactions came from all quarters of the Islamic world.
Iran described Egyptian protesters as having achieved a “great victory.”
”The conquest by the will of the great Egyptian nation over the resistance and persistence of officials who were dependent on the world powers is a great victory,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television.
From the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri likewise praised the “the start of the victory of the Egyptian revolution” as celebrations erupted across the territory.
In Yemen, thousands of people took to the streets. Some chanted: “Yesterday Tunisia, today Egypt, and tomorrow Yemenis will break their chains.”
Turkey tapped the Internet that has powered the Egyptian revolt, with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu twittering hopes that Mubarak’s departure would produce a new “system” meeting the demands of ordinary Egyptians.
Qatar called the power change a “positive and important step towards achieving the aspirations of the Egyptian people for democracy, reform, and a decent life,” according to a statement carried by the state news agency QNA.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, called for consensus and said he was at the “service of my country” when asked if he would stand for president in the next elections.
Israel offered a more cautious reaction to Mubarak’s departure, with a government official describing the moment as “too important to draw immediate conclusions about the outcome.”
”We hope that the transition to democracy, for Egypt and for its neighbours, will be done smoothly,” the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Feb 08 2011
RIYADH (Reuters) - About 40 women staged a rare demonstration in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, demanding the release of prisoners held without a trial as part of the kingdom's efforts to fight al Qaeda insurgents, activists said.
Women clad in black gathered in front of the Interior Ministry in central Riyadh watched by a heavy police presence, a Reuters correspondent said.
"God, free our prisoners," read one poster held up by a woman.
"The women demand to free people imprisoned in the campaign against terrorism. Many people have been held up for a long time without trial, or have nothing to do with al Qaeda," activist Mohammed al-Qahtani told Reuters by telephone later.
A Saudi security official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity,, said about 20 women gathered to demand the release of their relatives, held on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda.
The women were told that only the courts have the right to decide on the issue, the official said, adding the government is helping the women financially while their relatives are in jail.
Amnesty International and other human rights activists have accused Saudi Arabia of having detained thousands of reform activists in its sweep against al Qaeda which staged a campaign inside the kingdom from 2003-06. Riyadh denies this.
The protests took place at a time when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have rallied in the streets protesting against poverty, unemployment and authoritarian rule in Tunisia and Egypt, sending shock waves through the Arab world.
In a rare sign of rising discontent in Saudi Araba, a group of Saudi web activists also launched an online campaign calling for political reform in the world's biggest oil exporter.
The Saudi campaign, which was launched on Facebook on January 29 and has 264 members so far, called for a constitutional monarchy, an end to corruption, an even distribution of wealth, and a serious solution for unemployment, among other demands.
"Before it is too late, I call the government, and the king, to reform the country and heed our requests...if they wish to continue ruling this country, " one group member, Safaa Jaber, posted on the group's wall on Friday.
"I call on our people to take on the responsibility of demanding their legitimate rights for complete reform of our country before the situation evolves into something undesirable," she said.
Activists in Egypt have used the social media websites to rally supporters online and coordinate protests.
Saudi Arabia does not allow public dissent. Last month, police detained dozens in the port city of Jeddah after they protested against poor infrastructure following deadly floods.
King Abdullah of Saudi, who is around 87, has tried some cautious reforms since ascending the throne in 2005 but diplomats say his room for manoeuvre is hindered by opposition from powerful members of the royal family.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Rania El Gamal and Angus MacSwan)
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has issued an arrest warrant for exiled former president Pervez Musharraf in connection with the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a spokesman for Musharraf said on Saturday.
Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, weeks after she returned to Pakistan after years in self-imposed exile.
Her assassination was one of the most shocking events in Pakistan's turbulent history and remains shrouded in mystery.
"The court has issued an arrest warrant and asked that he should be produced before the court during the next hearing on February 19," said Musharraf spokesman Saif Ali.
Ali said the decision was apparently based on a report by the Federal Investigation Agency, which linked Musharraf to the case. The public prosecutor was not immediately available.
Musharraf, a former military chief who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, has lived in self-imposed exile since he stepped down under threat of impeachment in 2008. He spends most of his time in London and Dubai.
He has, however, expressed his intention to return to Pakistan and said he aimed to establish offices for his new political party by March.
The warrant for Musharraf's arrest follows a similar court order in December for the arrest of two senior police officers on allegations they failed to provide adequate security for Bhutto before her assassination.
A report by a United Nations commission of inquiry released in New York last year said any credible investigation into Bhutto's killing should not rule out the possibility that members of Pakistan's military and security establishment were involved.
It heavily criticized Pakistani authorities, saying they had "severely hampered" the investigation. The initial investigation blamed a Pakistani Taliban leader and al Qaeda ally, Baitullah Mehsud, for Bhutto's murder.
Musharraf, himself the target of at least two bomb attacks, has repeatedly dismissed suggestions he, the security agencies or military were involved in killing his old rival.
(Reporting by Augustine Anthony and Sheree Sardar; Editing by Miral Fahmy)
LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf will not return to Pakistan to comply with an arrest warrant issued by a court over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his spokesman in London said Saturday.
"No, he won't be going back for this hearing," Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for ex-military ruler Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League party, told AFP, adding that the warrant was "totally ridiculous."
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court earlier Saturday ordered Musharraf, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London, to appear for a hearing on February 19 over claims about the assassination of ex-premier Bhutto in December 2007.
Pakistani prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali said Musharraf was alleged to have been part of a "broad conspiracy" to have his political rival killed before elections but the exact nature of the charges was not clear.
Chaudhry said he had heard that Musharraf, who was president at the time of her death and who stepped down in 2008, was accused of failing to provide adequate security for Bhutto.
"How can the president of a country be made responsible for the non-provision of security? It's totally ridiculous, you cannot pin criminal responsibility on a president for that," Chaudhry said.
He accused Pakistan's judiciary of becoming politicised following Musharraf's dismissal of the country's chief justice in 2007, which prompted a constitutional crisis that eventually led to his own resignation.
"It is unfortunate that the judges in Pakistan have literally become a political party," he said.
"Pakistan's courts are right now trying to politicise the situation and take on Mr Musharraf after he dismissed the chief justice."
Chaudhry insisted that Musharraf still planned to go back to Pakistan eventually to contest elections, adding: "His return to Pakistan will be a political decision."
By Raja Riaz
LAHORE: Islamabad has made it clear to Washington that it is unable to give a clean chit to the US national Raymond Allen Davis and let him go. The matter of diplomatic indemnity will also be taken up in the court of law.
The US citizen is involved in killing two Pakistanis in broad daylight at one of the busiest places of the city. Mystery still shrouds about his diplomatic status as Davis was declared a “technical adviser” and a “consular” official. The US embassy officials described him as a “functionary” of the embassy assigned to the US Consulate in Lahore and carrying a US diplomatic passport. The other reports say he was hired at the US Consulate in Lahore as a security contractor from a Florida-based firm Hyperion Protective Consultants.
After killing the two persons in the city, Davis claimed that he did the act in self-defence while on Friday city police chief while addressing a press conference said that their “investigation into the fatal shooting of two citizens by US national Raymond Davis in January has found that the man did not act in self-defence.”
Lahore CCPO Aslam Tareen said that Raymond Davis carried out “an intentional and cold-blooded murder. The investigation was carried out on pure merit which led the police to the conclusion that Davis was guilty of murder.” The police submitted the provisional challan requesting the court to take action against him under the Article 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Full report at:
Feb 11, 2011
MSTERDAM: A shocking portrait of an Afghan woman whose ears and nose were sliced off by her husband as punishment for leaving him, taken by Jodi Bieber for Time magazine, won the top World Press Photo prize on Friday.
Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, left her husband complaining of domestic violence. A Taliban commander ordered that she face justice and her husband cut off her nose and ears. She now lives in the United States where she had reconstructive surgery.
"It's an incredibly strong image. It sends out an enormously powerful message to the world, about the 50 percent of the population that are women, so many of whom still live in miserable conditions, suffering violence. It is strong because the woman looks so dignified, iconic," said Ruth Eichhorn, one of the judges, in a statement. Reuters photographers won two first prizes in the annual contest.
Mike Hutchings of Reuters won first prize in the Sports Singles category for his photograph from the World Cup semi-final in Cape Town, South Africa, showing the Netherlands' Demy de Zeeuw being kicked in the face by Uruguay's Martin Caceres.
Omar Feisal of Reuters won first prize in the Daily Life Singles category for his photograph of a man carrying a shark through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Andrew Biraj of Reuters won third prize in the same category for his photo of an overcrowded train in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
DUSHANBE: Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon instructed his security services on Friday to tighten control over religious education and mosques, which he said were often used to foment religious radicalism in the Central Asian state.
Rakhmon was speaking two days after the main opposition Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan censured the secular government of the majority Muslim state, accusing it of corruption and trampling on religious and political rights.
Rakhmon, whose ruling People’s Democratic Party has rejected these charges, said the unchecked proliferation of mosques and religious schools posed a major threat to stability in the country of 7.5 million, which shares a border with Afghanistan.
“Under the guise of teaching the basics of Islam, criminals recruit teenagers and young people to their ranks and then send them to extremist religious schools in Islamic states,” Rakhmon told a meeting of Tajikistan’s Security Council.
“Some mosques are giving the floor to those who propagate extremist ideology and are turning into places for recruiting youths to the ranks of extremists,” he said.
Tajikistan, the poorest of five former Soviet republics in Central Asia, fought a civil war between 1992 and 1997 in which tens of thousands were killed. The Islamic Revival party formed the core of the alliance that fought against the government.
Feb 12, 2011,
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama recalled the non-violent methods of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr as he praised the people of Egypt for their peaceful protests and welcomed the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-rule.
"While the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can't help but hear the echoes of history: echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice," Obama said in his speech hours after Hosni Mubarak resigned as President of Egypt.
As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana, while trying to perfect his own, "There's something in the soul that cries out for freedom", those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note, he said.
"Egyptians have inspired us, and they've done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence; for in Egypt it was the moral force of nonviolence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force -- that bent the arc of history toward justice once more," he said.
Omer Farooq Khan
ISLAMABAD: Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who served as Pakistan's foreign minister since 2008 could not make his way into the new cabinet that was sworn in on Friday.
Qureshi has been excluded from the federal cabinet at a time when Islamabad and New Delhi announced resuming the bilateral dialogue that had fallen victim to the 2008 Mumbai attack. The decision appears to be a major setback for the government as President Asif Ali Zardari is set to visit the United States and Qureshi himself was scheduled to travel to Washington to attend the tripartite meeting with the US and Afghan foreign ministers.
According to sources, Qureshi was offered a ministry of food, agriculture and livestock in the new cabinet but he refused to accept it. State television had earlier reported that Shah Mehmood Qureshi would take oath in the new cabinet but he was not among those who were administered oath by President Asif Ali Zardari.
A new minister in the cabinet told TOI that chair was placed for Qureshi in the hall where the oath taking ceremony took place but it was removed after he refused to attend the event.
Lahore : Hindus have never accepted Pakistan ever since its creation in 1947, and India, America and Israel want to disintegrate the country, The Nation Editor-in-Chief and Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust Chairman Majid Nizami has claimed.
“Hindus have never accepted Pakistan since its creation, and the troika [India, America and Israel] wants to disintegrate the country, but we should be determined for thwarting their conspiracies and must be ready to defend God-gifted freedom,” The Nation quoted Nizami, as saying during his presidential address to the 3rd annual Nazaria-i-Pakistan Conference.
“I think many amongst us witnessed the plight of Muslims before partition and know how they were deprived of facilities by Hindus,” he claimed, adding that this reminded him to say that none of the gifts was better than freedom.
Nizami further said that although poverty and inflation were rising day-by-day and the situation in Pakistan was not ideal, yet freedom was the greatest gift that the country was enjoying.
MARDAN: A boy who killed 31 army cadets probably had all the characteristics that make Pakistan’s young suicide bombers so dangerous – they are thoroughly brainwashed, poor, disciplined and hard to detect.
Police officials are running DNA tests on what is left of the young holy warrior’s legs and scalp to determine his background and age, but they suspect he could be between 12 and 15.
Pakistan, a strategic US ally, faces ruthless and cunning Taliban terrorists determined to destabilise the government. Young suicide bombers are one of their most chilling weapons.
“We are alarmed. We plan to beef up our security even more to avert such attacks,” said Zeeshan Khan, a senior police official in Mardan, the town where the cadets were killed on Thursday.
“If incidents like this happen – involving a child who is clad in a school uniform – the implications are wider now. We have to look into this aspect.”
Pakistan’s al Qaeda-linked Taliban movement, which remains a major threat to Pakistan’s security despite military offensives against it, wasted no time in claiming responsibility for the attack on an army recruitment centre.
What makes a Pakistani child trade in his school books for a suicide vest? Experts say it’s a combination of factors but the common denominator is poverty in the South Asian country. Many can’t afford to send their children to good schools.
New Age Islam News Bureau
New Delhi: The nation remembered the former President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad on his 34th death anniversary. The authorities of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad Memorial Committee said that the President of India Pratibha Patil and Vice President Hamid Ansari paid their tributes at the mazar of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad. The Minister of State V Narain Swamy, offered floral tributes and chadar on his mazar on behalf of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. According to reports, floral tributes were also offered on behalf of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Mumbai: The former ATS Chief and Police Commissioner of Thane, P K Raghuvanshi said on Friday that if the Muslim youth were proved innocent, he wouldbe the first person to apologise but since the case was in the court nothing much could be said on the issue at the moment. Mr Raghuvanshi was speaking in a programme held on the topic ‘Terrorism and the role of the people’ organised by the National Institute of Jihad against Terrorism at Meera Road. He said the trend of bomb blasts started after the Babri Masjid demolition. If the Babri Masjid had not been demolished, the country would have progressed. Previously, after every bomb blast the names of Muslim Jihadi groups were mentioned but after that Aseemanand, Col Purohit, Pragya Singh Thakur and other Hindu organisations have also tarnished the image of the country. He further said that no religion preached killing of innocent people.
New Delhi: Releasing Gopi Chand Narang’s book, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan said that Urdu was proud of his services as he was the symbol of the multicultural heritage of India and was respected internationally. Congratulating Mr Narang on his 81st birthday, Mr Khan said that the literary dialogue of Gopi Chand Narang had a documentary value in the history of Urdu literature and language. He said that the book titled ‘Khwaja Ahmad Farooquee ke khutoot Gopi Chand Narang ke naam’ was a book that strengthened the relations between the teacher and the pupil in this decadent age. Prof Akhtarul Wassay was also presented on the occasion.
New Delhi: Muslim Rashtriya Manch will hold nationwide celebrations of Eid Miladun Nabi on February 14 and a special tour from Lucknow to Dehli has also been schedule on the occasion. On the occasion, speeches will be delivered on the life and character of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sahaba (the holy companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and prayers will be held for peace and harmony in the country.
New Delhi: Prof Bhim Singh presented his book on Kashmir ‘Blunders and the Way Out’ to the President of India Pratibha Singh Patil. The book was released in New Delhi this week. This is the tenth book written by Bhim Singh on Kashmir issue which the journalists, intellectuals and experts of Kashmir issue have welcomed. This is the first book that covers all the tragedies from the birth of Kashmir according to the 1846 agreement till the present day.
Feb 12, 2011
JEDDAH: Residents of Samer and Tawfeeq districts severely criticized officials of Jeddah municipality and members of the Municipal Council in a meeting arranged by officials to meet with residents of district at Al-Izz bin Abdul Salam Hall in Samer district on Friday.
Samer, east of the Haramain Expressway, is one of the worst-hit neighborhoods in the Jan. 26 flood, and residents complain that their roads are still filthy with silt and dirt deposited by flood waters besides being cracked and filled with potholes because the municipality neglected the neighborhood.
Officials of district centers were also present at the meeting. Residents said they lodged a number of complaints about the muddied streets, ruined roads, unusable garbage boxes, damaged sidewalks with the authorities, but no positive response was forthcoming. They also demanded immediate examination of their houses by experts to guarantee the safety of the buildings as they have suffered the onslaught of many flash floods.
The Municipal Council, however, pacified the residents of Samer and Tawfeeq, promising quick measures and lasting solutions to all issues.
ANKARA: A Turkish committee investigating Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla has refuted Israeli claims that its soldiers acted in self-defense, saying at least two activists were killed before commandos boarded the ship and another died “execution-style” as he lay injured.
Turkey released details of its formal inquiry of the May 31 incident Friday, hours after submitting the report to a UN panel investigating the incident. Eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish-American were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara.
Israel has insisted its soldiers acted in self-defense after being attacked by activists on board. An Israeli inquiry into the raid last month cleared the military and government of any wrongdoing and said the armed defense of Israel's maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled coastal strip was justified under international law.
The Turkish inquiry report — a summary of which was released to journalists Friday — concluded that Israeli soldiers used “excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate” force on unarmed civilians. It said the raid was a blatant violation of international laws.
“The force used was not justified, it was excessive,” committee member Mithat Rende, a Foreign Ministry official, told reporters.
CAIRO: Egypt's military relaxed a nighttime curfew Saturday and banned current and ex-government officials from traveling abroad without permission in its first moves since taking power after President Hosni Mubarak's ouster.
The moves came as Egyptian protesters were jubilant over their success in ousting the longtime authoritarian leader, but many vowed to stay camped in Cairo's central Tahrir, or Liberation, square until they hear "clear assurances" that the military will meet their demands for democracy.
Mubarak surrendered power to the military Friday after an 18-day uprising by millions of protesters demanding his ouster and the introduction of sweeping democratic reforms. Mubarak's regime has faced long-standing allegations of corruption.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces pledged to shepherd reforms for greater democracy and said it would issue a statement Saturday detailing its next steps.
A Cairo airport official said there is a list of former regime members and current officials with state institutions who are not allowed to leave the country without permission from the state prosecutor or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
President Barack Obama said on Friday the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reflected the will of the Egyptian people and called on the country's powerful military to ensure a transition to "genuine democracy."
Obama spoke after Mubarak handed over power to the Egyptian army after an 18-day popular uprising, with Washington now facing deep uncertainty and huge challenges in a potentially volatile power shift in Cairo that could have repercussions for U.S. policy across the Middle East.
"The people of Egypt have spoken," Obama told reporters. "Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day."
He warned that this was not the end, but just the beginning of Egypt's transition to democracy, saying, "There will be many difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered."
Though the U.S. role in Mubarak's resignation remained unclear, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council that took control on Friday, spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates by phone five times during the wave of mass protests, including as late as Thursday evening.
NEW YORK: US stocks jumped Friday within seconds of the news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, rebounding from earlier slight losses to solid gains.
Minutes after the announcement that the Middleeast strongman of three decades had stepped down, the main indexes rocketed upward, after a morning of trading trading lower on worries that rising tensions in Cairo could turn violent.
At 1630 GMT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 29.67 (0.24%) to 12,261.08, while the S&P 500 index rose 5.21 points (0.40%) to 1,327.12.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite was up 8.79 points (0.35%) at 2,799.24.
Stock markets across the Americas also jumped on the news. Brazil's Bovespa index was up about 1.75% for the day while Mexico's IPC had added 0.41%.
"We think having the military take over was the best solution in ending the deadlock between the protesters and Mubarak," Brown Brothers Harriman said in a comment on the situation.
However, the Wall Street investment bank warned, "there are still more questions than answers with regards to Egypt's ultimate fate and so investors must be prepared for ongoing volatility."
The US equity markets meanwhile remained cautious over the White House's plan for a radical revamp of the housing mortgage industry, including winding down government-backed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have underpinned the housing market for 40 years.
Egypt: GONE IN 18 DAYS
EGYPT’S President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Friday after three decades of autocratic rule and handed power to a junta of senior military commanders, triggering an explosion of joy on the streets.
Across Cairo, the chant went up: “We the people have overthrown the regime!” A grim-faced and ashen Vice-President Omar Suleiman announced the handover on state television after an extraordinary national outpouring of rage brought more than a million furious demonstrators onto the streets.
“President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Suleiman said.
The statement appeared to bring an end to constitutional rule in Egypt and invest power in a group of generals representing a military that has long been the power behind the throne in the Arab world’s most populous country.
Earlier, the 82-year-old strongman had flown out of Cairo to his holiday retreat at Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea, his ruling party said.
As news spread, cries of “Allah Akbar” (God is greatest!) and howls of victory rang out in the streets of the capital, firecrackers exploded, dancing broke out and women ululated their joy.
In Tahrir Square, several protesters fainted with the emotion of the moment following two weeks of protest. The plaza has become a focal point of the revolt since it was occupied by protesters in late January, and earlier in the day had been thronged by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, who prayed and chanted abuse at Mubarak.
Nevertheless, there was not unbridled joy at his departure. Many remained concerned that Egypt still has a long way to go to shake off its six-decade record of repression and autocracy.
Full report at: Mail Today
FOR the last 18 days, the people of Egypt have been rewriting history 140 characters at a time. If anger, unemployment and poverty were the causes of the mass uprising in the North African states of Tunisia and Egypt, it was Twitter and Face book — the two pillars of online social media — that became the drivers of a revolution that has stunned the conservative Arab world.
Take this statistic. Egypt, a low Internet-penetration country, saw only 1.22 lakh tweets uploaded between January 16 and January 23. From January 24 (the uprising began on January 25), the number of tweets went up nearly 11 times more to 1.35 million. Given that only 14,642 Twitter users identified their location as Egypt, it was a figure that had the power to change the course of a regime. Or end it.
Middle East leaders, drunk on unchallenged power that has lasted decades, realised what a potent weapon this could be, and by turns banned Face book, Twitter and later, online services altogether. Such was the panic among the ruling family in Egypt that even a corporate executive working for the online search giant Google was not spared.
Google’s Middle East and North Africa marketing head Wael Ghonim was held in captivity by Egyptian police for 11 days before he emerged free and told the world: “We will not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime.”
He quickly became the face of the uprising. In the meanwhile, Google helped the internet deprived Egyptians by starting a telephone-to-twitter service.
By Phillip Inman
President Hosni Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as $70bn (¬£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.
After 30 years as president and many more as a senior military official, Mubarak has had access to investment deals that have generated hundreds of millions of pounds in profits. Most of those gains have been taken offshore and deposited in secret bank accounts or invested in upmarket homes and hotels. . . .
[A coterie of well-connected Afghan businessmen and politicians may have plundered as much as $900m from the country's biggest commercial bank, three times the amount of earlier estimates, and the equivalent of about 7 per cent of Afghanistan's total gross domestic product.--Julius Cavendish, "Afghan elite 'plundered $900m' from leading bank," Independent, February 1, 2011]
Full report at: The Guardian
JEDDAH: The National Society for Human Rights is trying to develop a solution for children of Saudi women who are married to foreigners, as they are not automatically entitled to Saudi citizenship.
They need to have iqamas (residence permits) and obtain exit-reentry visas every time they want to leave the country.
“We are closely monitoring these cases with a view to reaching a solution to this humanitarian problem,” Hussain Al-Sharif, supervisor of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), told Arab News Friday.
He said the society had looked into many such cases and had called for a new system that would enable all such children to obtain citizenship.
Under the citizenship rules and regulations, children born to Saudi women with foreign husbands are not automatically entitled to Saudi passports at birth.
Boys can, however, apply to obtain the nationality when they are 18, while girls can only get it if they marry Saudi men.
By Alistair Lyon,
Egyptians who toppled Hosni Mubarak Friday may still have more to do to ensure a military council now in charge transfers power to civilian hands.
The army has not spelled out any transition plans it might have. The best deterrent to any attempt to maintain military rule could be the street power of protesters who showed Mubarak they could render Egypt ungovernable without their consent.
Egypt is plunging into new territory after Mubarak's 30-year rule, with its legacy of corruption, bureaucracy and immobility.
Any government will face huge social and economic problems, but one freely chosen by the people could also look to harness the vast creative energy and patriotic pride so evident on the streets jammed by demonstrators for the past 18 days.
"Egyptians have to be careful that their revolution does not get hijacked," said Hassan Nafaa, professor of politics at Cairo University, referring to the former military-backed system.
"It is now in the hands of the military council, and it is supposed to carry out the demands of the revolution, and therefore the people have to carefully follow how these demands will be applied," he said.
LONDON: Now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of the controversial whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, will know on February 24 whether his efforts to contest deportation to Sweden to face questioning and even prosecution on alleged rape of two women have succeeded.
However, regardless of the verdict by a south London magistrates' court, it is certain that the losing party will appeal to the high court in UK. The 39-year-old nomadic Australian's fate may hang in the balance until then.
Earlier, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt criticised Assange saying he has '' become public enemy number one in Sweden'' . This is '' an intolerable development'' , said Geoffrey Robertson, Assange's counsel, and sought an adjournment saying there was no chance that he would get a fair trial in Sweden. But district judge Howard Riddle rejected the appeal.
Clare Montgomery, appearing for Swedish prosecutors, dismissed Robertson's claim. She said Assange and his legal team have been holding media conferences to whip up public opinion in their favour; therefore , they could not complain.
Now consistent in a navy blue suit and a light coloured tie, Assange, upon entering the courtroom, waved and gave a thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery. He, then, settled into a glass-enclosed dock.
Summing up, Robertson referred to the allegation that Assange had used his bodyweight to hold down one of the complainants . There was no charge that this was '' without consent'' , he asserted, adding that it also needs to be considered if Assange had committed an offence under Engish law.
Thousands of Yemeni demonstrators, inspired by Egyptian protests that toppled the president, called on Saturday for a similar revolution and clashed with government supporters with fists and batons in the streets of Sanaa.
The scuffles came hours after men armed with knives and sticks forced around 300 anti-government protesters to quit a demonstration in the Yemeni capital, witnesses said.
"The people want the fall of the government," protesters chanted. "A Yemeni revolution after the Egyptian revolution."
Egypt's longtime President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign on Friday under the pressure of mass popular protests.
Around 300 anti-government student demonstrators assembled at Sanaa University on Saturday morning. As numbers swelled into the thousands, they began marching toward the Egyptian embassy but encountered a pro-government demonstration on the way.
Scuffles broke out with some protesters throwing their shoes at their opponents while others clashed with batons and fists. Two people were lightly injured.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, eyeing protests in the Arab world, has promised to step down when his term ends in 2013 in a major concession to opponents in the Arabian Peninsula state, a key U.S. ally against al Qaeda.
By Anwar Iqbal
“The characterisation of my conversation with White House officials borders fabrication,” he told Dawn. — File Photo
WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, said on Friday that the Obama administration had not asked him to leave the country, although he confirmed being called to the White House to discuss Raymond Davis’ continued detention in Pakistan.
“The characterisation of my conversation with White House officials borders fabrication,” he told Dawn. “It is not our policy to reveal details of diplomatic conversations. I can say, however, that National Security Adviser Tom Donilon did, indeed, convey the US government’s views about the case of Mr Davis during a meeting on Monday evening.”
The ambassador clarified that “no ultimatum or threat was given” during that meeting. He said he conveyed to Mr Donilon the government’s commitment to resolve the matter in accordance with Pakistani and international law.
By Asif Chaudhry and Khalid Hasnain
LAHORE: Announcing the findings of their investigation into the Raymond Davis case, Lahore police categorically rejected on Friday the American’s claim that he had killed two motorcyclists at Mozang on Jan 27 in ‘self-defence’.
However, the US Consulate’s Principal Officer Carmela Conroy called for immediate release of the man, insisting that he was entitled to full immunity from criminal prosecution by Pakistan under the Vienna Convention.
The demand came after a judicial magistrate sent Davis to jail on 14-day judicial remand, as requested by police and prosecution officials.
“He has committed a murder as he shot at the fleeing boys,” Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen said at a press conference.
Mr Tareen did not answer questions about the purpose of Davis’s visit to Mozang. He also declined to say anything about the slain motorcyclists’ activities.
“I cannot comment on the diplomatic status of Raymond and the job assigned to him in Pakistan by the American government.”
He also refused to say why did Davis shoot at the motorcyclists when the latter had not aimed guns at him.
GENEVA: The Swiss government has ordered a freeze on any assets belonging to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his entourage shortly after he was forced from office, the foreign ministry said.
The Federal Council (government) has decided to freeze any assets of the former Egyptian president and his entourage in Switzerland with immediate effect," the ministry said in a statement.
It added that the three-year freeze was aimed at preventing any risk of embezzlement of Egyptian state property.
Apart from any cash or investments in Swiss bank accounts, the order, which was published at 5:30 pm (2200 IST) according to Swiss news agency ATS, also applies to the sale or transfer of any residential or commercial property.
It was not immediately clear if any such assets had been located in Switzerland.
The Swiss government also called on Egyptian authorities "to respond to the legitimate desire of the Egyptian people in a credible, participatory and transparent manner."
The Swiss ambassador in Egypt described the situation as people massed on the streets of Cairo as "World Cup euphoria multiplied by 10", ATS reported.
Swiss authorities slapped a similar freeze on the assets of Tunisia's ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last month a few a days after he was ousted.
That has resulted in the blockage of a sum in the "two-digit millions" in Switzerland, officials said, pending legal action for its recovery by Tunisian authorities.
February 12, 2011
US officials see the head of Egypt's military council as an ally committed to avoiding another war with Israel but have in the past criticized him privately as being resistant to political and economic reform. Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Higher Military Council that took control of
Egypt on Friday after President Hosni Mubarak was swept from power, has spoken with US defence secretary Robert Gates by phone five times since the crisis began.
Pentagon has been tight-lipped about talks between Tantawi and Gates but the US defence chief has publicly praised Egypt's military for being a stabilising force during the unrest. On Tuesday, Gates said Egypt's military had "made a contribution to the evolution of democracy."
But in private, US officials have characterised Tantawi as someone "reluctant to change" and uncomfortable with the US focus on fighting terrorism, according to a 2008 State Department cable released by the WikiLeaks website.
Tantawi, 75, has served in three conflicts with Israel, starting with the 1956 Suez Crisis and in both the 1967 and 1973 Middle East wars. The State Department cable said he is "committed to preventing another one ever."
Still, diplomats warned ahead of a 2008 visit by Tantawi to Washington that US should be prepared to meet a "an aged and change-resistant Tantawi."
JAIPUR: Protests greeted Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik outside his hotel in Ajmer, Rajasthan, on Friday.
The protests appeared a reaction to the resistance faced by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its failed attempt to hoist the national flag in Srinagar last month.
The protesters, under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, shouted slogans against Mr. Malik and demanded his immediate “eviction” from the town, where he had come with his family to offer ziyarat (prayers) at the mausoleum of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. The protesters waved black flags at him and burnt his effigy.
Around noon, someone hurled footwear at Mr. Malik, who was standing in the balcony of the multi-storey building in the Dhan Mandi area, but it missed him.
The protesters also blocked traffic in the Delhi Gate area for two hours before the security forces were deployed.
LONDON: A judge on Friday rejected a request by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's lawyers for postponing until March the case in which their client is fighting extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault brought by two women he met in Stockholm last August.
The postponement was sought on grounds that Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld's reportedly “hostile'' remarks about the case had created a “toxic atmosphere'' which could damage Mr. Assange's chance of a fair trial if he was extradited.
District Judge Howard Riddle, however, ruled that there was a need for “an element of finality” and said the court would reconvene on February 24 when a verdict is expected.
As the hearing resumed after a two-day recess, Mr. Assange's attorney Geoffrey Robertson claimed that Mr. Reinfeld's remarks showed “complete contempt for the presumption of innocence”.
“Mr. Assange is public enemy number one as a result of the prime minister's statement,” he said.
Washington: Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was using charity services in the garb of extremism and has gained support from Islamabad, a top Obama Administration official has said.
“Lashkar-e-Taiba has an enormous presence in Pakistan providing education, medical services and the like, which has aligned itself very closely with many in that region and gained support from the government of Pakistan,” said Michael Leiter, Director of National Counterterrorism Center.
Noting that the LeT is using “charity services in the garb of extremism”, he said this was because the State does not provide services to its people.
“One way is to either directly attempt to provide competing services. Or more of relevance is to encourage and support the nation-states in whose areas they operate to provide similar services so that in order to compete with them, because they fill a vacuum, as LET does, that the state doesn't provide,” he said
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as President and handed control to the military on Friday. The question now turned to how the military, Egypt’s most powerful institution, will handle the transition in power. Earlier in the day, Armed Forces Supreme Council — a body of top generals — vowed to guide the country to democracy. The Council issued a statement Friday:
Due to the consecutive developments in current incidents and which define the destiny of the country, and in context of continuous follow up for internal and external incidents, and the decision to delegate responsibilities to the vice president of the country, and in belief in our national responsibility to preserve the stability and safety of the nation.
The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces decided to secure the implementation of following procedures:
First: End the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances are over. Decide on the appeals against elections and consequent measures. Conduct needed legislative amendments and conduct free and fair presidential elections in light of the approved constitutional amendments.
Naseer Ganai and Sudhanshu Mishra
KASHMIR erupted once again on Friday as stone- throwers returned to the streets after news of attack on Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front ( JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik spread in the Valley.
Three policemen were injured in clashes with stone- throwers in Srinagar and at Old Town Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Police said youth resorted to heavy stone pelting at Maisuma in Srinagar that houses the headquarters of JKLF, and at Cement Bridge ( Baramulla) soon after the Friday prayers.
“ Three policemen suffered injuries in stone pelting by miscreants at Maisuma. They were hospitalised,” a police spokesperson said.
Yasin Malik has reportedly sustained injures after he was attacked by Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) workers at a hotel in Ajmer where he is putting up along with his wife Mashaal Malik.
BJP workers hurled slippers at the JKLF chairman on Friday and asked the district administration to ensure that he left the city immediately.
The protesters, comprising members of Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha, waived black flags and burnt Malik’s effigy in front of the hotel where he is staying.
They also chanted slogans like “ deshdrohi aur algaavwadi vapas jao ( anti- national and separatist go back)” and that Kashmir was an inseparable part of India.
KARACHI: Police baton charged Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees on Friday, detaining 20 of them, following violent protests as all of the carrier’s flights remained grounded for a second day.
Staff have been on picket lines since Tuesday, resulting in the cancellation of around 400 flights, the stranding of 60,000 passengers and causing losses of around $22 million for the airline, which is on the brink of bankruptcy.
The government’s efforts to mediate an end to industrial action have so far failed to resolve the dispute.
“The police baton charged protestors and detained 20 of them after they violently attacked our officials on being asked to clear entry and exit points at the airport,” police official Mohsin Ali told AFP.
Local TV footage showed policemen beating the protestors at Karachi airport with batons and putting them into police vehicles.
PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar spokesman described the incident as “unfortunate” but added “the continued protest was also affecting businesses of other airlines and the airport itself”.
Employees are furious at management plans to farm out lucrative European and US routes to Turkish Airlines in order to avert bankruptcy. They want the plan scrapped and the managing director sacked.
KABUL: A meeting scheduled this month between Pakistani, Afghan and US officials in Washington is in doubt as a rift grows between Islamabad and Washington over US citizen Raymond Davis, accused of killing two men.
The Obama administration is insisting diplomatic immunity should cover Raymond Davis, who shot dead two Pakistani men last month in what he said was an attempted robbery on a street in the Pakistani city of Lahore
The case has become a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, which the United States counts as an important, if unreliable, ally in its war against terrorists that launch attacks against its soldiers in Afghanistan. The Afghan embassy in Washington said Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasul and other ministers would attend the meeting as scheduled from February 23 to 25, and the US State Department indicated this week that planning continued for the gathering.
However, a Pakistani diplomatic source said no decision had been made about whether the meeting would go ahead or whether it would be cancelled.
12 February 2011
The Ruler of Sharjah inaugurated the first of its kind festival in the Middle East at the scenic Al Qasba, Sharjah, on Thursday.
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the first of its kind festival in the Middle East at the scenic Al Qasba, Sharjah, on Thursday.
After launching the colourful extravaganza at Al Qasba, Shaikh Sultan went on a cruise from Al Qasba Canal to Khalid Lagoon in a procession of abras accompanied by prominent officials, VVIPs and members of the media to inspect the rare encounter of light and colour that lit up the landmarks across the emirate.
This unusual festival of light is an event that celebrates the art of drawing with the magic of light. Light accompanied by captivating music creates an exciting experience. The spotlight is on Sharjah’s rich cultural heritage and history.
Using light and computer animation in a way never witnessed in the region, the Sharjah Light Festival will cast a spell on the visitors, virtually ‘demolishing’ and redrawing whole buildings in the space of a few minutes. The shows are to be performed and supervised by world class professionals and artistes with experience in organising similar festivals in Lyon, France and Berlin, Germany.
Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority Chairman (SCTDA) Shaikh Sultan bin Ahmad Al Qasimi pointed out that Sharjah has long been home to culture, history, art, education and heritage.
KANDAHAR - Gunmen attacked the provincial police headquarters in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province on Saturday but it was unclear if there were any casualties, a Reuters witness and NATO-led forces said.
“There’s small arms fire going on right now,” a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition said by telephone from Kandahar.
A Reuters witness reported hearing two explosions followed by gunfire in Kandahar city, close to the police chief’s compound.
He said insurgents appeared to have seized a tall building near the compound from which they were firing at the police headquarters.
Kandahar province, on Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, is the heartland of a tenacious Taliban insurgency now its tenth year. Violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed Kandahar’s deputy governor as he left his home.
The United States says it has made progress in securing parts of southern Afghanistan such as Kandahar, but the insurgency has spread to previously peaceful areas in the north and west.
WASHINGTON — A standoff between the United States and Pakistan over a jailed US Embassy worker has taken an ominous turn as police are accusing the man of “cold-blooded murder.”
The United States is responding with thinly veiled threats to cut valued aid and access for Pakistan unless he is released immediately.
The case of Raymond Allen Davis has opened one of the worst breaches in memory between the US and a critical counterterrorism partner. His detention has become a point of national honor for both nations, and a rallying point for anti-American suspicion in Pakistan.
US officials say they probably will postpone an invitation to Pakistan’s foreign minister to visit Washington this month.
Officials spoke on Friday on condition of anonymity because the case is before a court.