Kazakhstan as a bridge between the West and the Islamic World
‘Fatwa' cancelling ‘nikah' after joke on Skype sparks debate
Asma Jahangir‘s victory: A first for women in Pakistan
20 radicals arrested in Bangladesh
Sonia Gandhi woos Muslims in Bihar
Taif: Teenage girl flees home to escape abuse by father
Sohrabuddin case: Former Gujarat minister Amit Shah gets bail
Kauser Bi was raped before killing: Ex-ATS officer to CBI
Osama's threat message genuine, says France
George Bush gave orders to shoot down planes on 9/11, reveals tell-all
Sharia law on ballot in Oklahoma
Illiteracy, Yemen’s worst challenge
Egyptian Christians in danger after allegedly allying with Israel
Blind woman wins Saudi ‘Miss Morality’ contest
Afghan Women Demand Liberation, Not Lip Service
Pak gives in to India threat on bus service
Kashmiri Pandits lodge police complaint against Geelani, Arundhati
Anti-terror front calls for FIR against Arundhati
Curfew lifted, life returns to normal in Kashmir valley
Whose line is it anyway: J&K interlocutors leave Cong worried
India suffers from ISI phobia: Pakistan
3 bombings near Baghdad International Fair
Interlocutors deny J& K ‘ azaadi’ stand
'French troops may begin Afghan withdrawal in 2011'
Yemeni Qaeda chief 'surrenders'
Victory against Taliban in Afghan operation ‘in sight’
US-based Sikhs to Obama: Visit gurudwaras in Pakistan
Tsunami death toll likely to pass 500
Lebanon's refugee camps no better than those in Gaza - UNRWA official
Golden Temple, Taj visits called off for lack of time
Terror suspect gets victim status in Polish probe
Nawaz for 25-yr agenda to salvage Pakistan
FBI stunned by India's slackness on Headley
Pakistani gets five years in prison for spying
Gunmen fire at Japan mission’s car in Pak
Ahmadinejad, Morales team up for a football win
US says Syria, Iran, Hezbollah endanger Lebanon
Hezbollah calls for boycott of UN tribunal
Schools, stipends trigger Israeli religious battle
Watchdog voices concern over Afghan poll turnout
Pak govt leaves villages wallowing in neglect
Israeli Arab city shuts down to protest police violence
No breakthrough in Mideast talks: Egypt’s FM
Afghan fighters training Australian special forces
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Pakistani Christian leaders: Give us our Church back
October 29, 2010
Rawalpindi: The Christian leaders urged government of Pakistan “Give Us Our Church Back” and demanded immediate action against armed Muslims who occupied Gordon College Chapel on October 19, 2010.
The APCAC leaders Professor Salamat Akhtar, Robinson Asghar, Akram Waqar Gill, Pastor Sardar Masih, Justin Javed Bachan and Pastor Samson Bhatti expressed grave concern on occupation of Church while addressing a press conference here today in Rawalpindi Press Club
“Protect our Church properties unless we will march in streets of capital Islamabad on Friday, October 29, 2010” warned Christian leaders to government of Pakistan and government of Punjab in this press conference.
The Gordon College Chapel was opened by Robinson Community Development Ministry RCDM, in April 2010, which was property of Sialkot Mission Property.
Meanwhile, more than 200 hundred Christians gathered for Sunday Service in front of Gordon College Chapel when armed Muslim were inside Church building and heavy contingent of police was deployed to stop Christian worshipers.
After Muslim occupation of Gordon College Chapel by 20 armed Muslims on October 19, 2010, in heart of Rawalpindi city. The Christian Community formed All Pakistan Christian Action Committee APCAC to take possession of century old Chapel in vicinity of Gordon College.
APCAC members took out procession in streets of city on October 23, 2010, which turned in protest gathering in front of Rawalpindi Press Club.
According to PCP, the administration deployed large number of police and APCAC members were stopped to enter in Chapel to perform Sunday Services.
The Christian worshipers sat on ground in front of Gordon College Chapel and sang Hymns and Holy Bible was recited while Police officials put pressure on APCAC leaders to disperse and threatened to use force.
The APCAC leaders clarified that parliamentarians of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group are supporting land mafia members who have occupied Gordon College Chapel to built a commercial plaza on this land.
The city of Rawalpindi falls in Punjab province of Pakistan which is governed by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group PML(N)
The Christian leaders announced that thousands of Christians will offer Sunday Services on October 31, 2010, blocking main road in front of Chapel if government fails to vacate Church occupation by Muslim land mafia.
Oct 29, 2010
ISLAMABAD: The need to reach an understanding between the major religions of the world, particularly the Christian West and Islam, was emphasised at a conference here on Thursday. Titled “Kazakhstan as a Bridge between the West and the Islamic World: Challenges and Opportunities,” the conference opened at the Marriott Hotel with Akram Zaki, former ambassador and secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the chief guest.
Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri, acting president of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in his opening remarks highlighted the significance of Kazakhstan as a growing influence in the affairs of Central Asia owing to its political stability and economic development. He said the emerging geopolitical realities provide excellent opportunities to both Pakistan and Kazakhstan for cooperation and collaboration. There was a lot Pakistan could learn from Kazakhstan’s efforts and success in achieving religious and cultural harmony, he added.
In his presidential address, Akram Zaki explained Pakistan’s deep interest in developing closer economic and cultural relations with Central Asian Republics and paid tributes to the leadership of The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. He said Nazarbayev can also influence the resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan as chairman of Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 2011 and as the current chairman of The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He also remarked that the Afghan problem was inextricably linked to the solution of the Kashmir issue. Dr Saifur Rehman Malik, assistant professor at NDU, shed light on the various factors which resulted in the recent ethnic turmoil in Kyrgyzstan. He said it was the result of corruption, political mismanagement and economic disparities.
After the ouster of the previous regime, the country was stabilizing, particularly with the financial and political help of Kazakhstan, he added.
Stressing the need to identify the various prisms with which Islam is viewed, Dimash Abdullin of the Institute of World Economy and Political, Almaty, Kazakhstan, said it was important to determine who represented standard Islam in the Muslim world
and what was meant by moderate Islam.
Former Ambassador Tariq Osman Hyder presented a very comprehensive paper on the political role of Kazakhstan in promoting peace and security in respect to Afghanistan, Kashmir and Palestine.
The first, second and concluding sessions of the conference were chaired by Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, Dr Ijaz Shafi Gillani and former Ambassador Khalid Mahmood respectively who coordinated the questions from the audience and summed up the ideas presented by the scholars. Wrapping up the discussion of the second session, Dr Ijaz Shafi Gillani said that the expectations aroused by the liberation of the Central Asian States in Pakistan remained frozen where they were in 1991. This is because Pakistan had very little knowledge about the region which had entered a new phase in its 300 years of history. After 20 years, it was still in a state of flux.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood in the concluding remarks appreciated IPRI for holding the conference while former ambassador Sultan Hayat Khan chaired the concluding session and hoped that relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan would expand and trade ties increase with cooperation in nuclear technology.
LUCKNOW: The recent instance of a young Qatari Muslim having to face the prospect of his marriage being terminated for (jokingly) typing the word “talaq” thrice while chatting on Skype with his wife has generated varied opinions. The “nikah” was annulled following a “fatwa” issued by the leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
The fatwa was in response to a written request (No. 26,075) from the young man, whose identity is unknown. He wanted to know whether his nikah was valid as he had typed talaq three times while chatting with his wife. The Darul Uloom in its fatwa maintained that “when the talaq is pronounced three times, it means the talaq has taken place. It does not matter whether it is reciprocated by the wife or not. The wife has become ‘haraam' [illegal].”
The fatwa stated that the husband had neither the right to take her back nor solemnise a new marriage without “halaalah”, which meant that his wife after the mandatory “iddat” period of four months and ten days would have to marry another man, seek divorce from this second husband, and again undergo the “iddat” period before remarrying her first husband.
Reacting to the fatwa, the Naib Imam of Lucknow's Aishbagh Idgah and executive member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, said on Thursday: “The important point here is that the husband had admitted that he typed talaq thrice and whether he did not mean to divorce his wife, or had jokingly referred to the dreaded word, does not hold ground in this case.”
The Maulana, however, added that the authenticity of the e-mail and whether it was sent by the man must be proved as there was also a possibility of the e-mail being hacked.
According to Naish Hasan, founder-member and general secretary of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, the man should not have approached Darul Uloom as it was an issue between a husband and his wife, what if talaq was typed or written three times, or ten times. “The fatwa should be rejected,” Ms. Hasan said.
She said triple talaq was a “pre-Islamic” concept and the Holy Koran was silent on it. She was of the opinion that the marriage could not be annulled under these circumstances.
AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqui said ‘nikah' is a contract, a serious issue, and talaq could not be pronounced thrice even in a lighter vein.
“Chatting in which the young man reportedly typed talaq thrice is evidence enough,” Mr. Farooqui told The Hindu from Delhi. He said in Islam marriage is a “pious union.”
ISLAMABAD: Veteran human rights activist Asma Jehangir has won a keenly-contested election for president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, becoming the first woman to hold this office.
Ms. Jehangir defeated her nearest rival, Ahmed Owais, by 38 votes in the election which she contested to assert the independence of the bar. Her contention was that lawyers should not be subservient to judges and any such development would erode the integrity and honesty of the judicial system.
In her first remarks to the media after winning the election, Ms. Jehangir described her victory as a “defeat for reactionary forces and the establishment”. “This is a victory of democratic forces and those who believe in the rule of law.” Billed as an election between pro-Supreme Court lawyers and independent lawyers, the campaign saw Ms. Jehangir's detractors trying to sabotage her prospects by describing her as a candidate of the Pakistan People's Party besides levelling accusations of being pro-U.S., pro-India and pro-Ahmadis.
DHAKA: Police said Thursday they have arrested 20 members of Bangladesh's largest religious party and seized homemade bombs from a house where they were holding a meeting.
Police officer Monir Uz Zaman said the activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party were arrested in Dhaka's northern Mirpur district early Thursday. He said the men are being held under a special law that allows detention without formal charges.
Among the detainees is Mustafizur Rahman, a former lawmaker and central committee member of the party, he said.
Police seized six homemade bombs and explosives from the house, Zaman said. He said police conducted the raid after being tipped off that party members were planning to disturb law and order.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article174500.ece
By Giridhar Jha in Patna
‘Nitish govt has done nothing for weavers in Bhagalpur’
IN a bid to build bridges with the minority community in Bihar, Sonia Gandhi on Thursday highlighted the plight of Muslim weavers in Bhagalpur under the Nitish Kumar government.
The district’s famous silk industry in Bhagalpur had been neglected, the Congress chief said.
“ This has made the weavers suffer,” she said. “ The industry has been ruined.” Sonia was addressing an election rally in Bhagalpur, which goes to polls in the fourth phase of the ongoing assembly election on November 1.
Sonia said Bhagalpur was facing problems such as shortage of potable water and electricity but the government had done nothing to develop the area. “ This government has failed on all fronts, including health and education sectors, despite getting crores of rupees from the Centre,” she said.
Full report at: Mail Today
By SULEIMAN AL-DIYABI
TAIF: A teenage girl has told police that she ran away from her home in Taif because her father was beating her up.
Police received a report of the 15-year-old’s escape on Wednesday night, eight hours after she went missing from her father’s house in Al-Majed neighborhood.
The father filed a report at the police station, adding that his daughter was young and could easily fall victim to any crime. He also claimed that she was suffering from psychological problems.
Police launched a massive search for the missing girl in and around Taif, distributing pictures of her as well as a description to all police stations.
An undercover police unit eventually spotted the girl leaving a pharmacy in Taif and tailed her until she entered the women’s section of a local mosque.
Police moved in and took the girl into custody. Police notified the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) and also called the father to come and formally identify the girl.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article174525.ece
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted bail to former state minister Amit Shah over three months after he was arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Justice R H Shukla granted bail to 46-year-old Shah on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a condition that he will have to appear before the CBI's Mumbai office every month as the case is registered there.
The court also rejected the demand of the CBI to grant three weeks stay on the bail order as the agency would like to appeal against the verdict. This plea was made by CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani.
Shah's lawyer Nirupam Nanavati assured the court that his client would comply with all the terms and conditions of the bail and also any additional terms which the CBI would like to impose.
He was arrested by the CBI on July 25 and he has spend over three months in the Sabarmati jail here.
Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has been described by the CBI as the "kingpin" of the conspiracy leading to the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in November 2005 and killing of two key witnesses, Soharabuddin's wife Kausarbi and his close aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
Earlier, a CBI court had rejected the bail application of Shah.
Oct 29 2010
Ahmedabad : Kauser Bi was raped by a sub-inspector who was part of the ATS team involved in the Sohrabuddin encounter case before she was murdered, a police official then posted with the anti-terror squad has told the CBI, which is investigating the case.
On Wednesday, the counsel for Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh had told the court during a hearing of former minister Amit Shah’s bail plea that Kauser had been killed in the ATS headquarters.
This is the first time that Kauser Bi’s alleged rape before she was killed — allegedly at Shah’s behest — comes on record.
Ravindra Makwana, who was posted at the ATS office on the day of the Sohrabuddin encounter, testified about the rape in his statement to the CBI on August 25, which forms part of the supplementary chargesheet recently submitted by the probe agency in the special CBI court. A copy of Makwana’s statement is available with The Indian Express.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/704126/
Osama bin Laden warned France that its planned ban on the veil in public places and its involvement in the war in Afghanistan justified violence against its nationals.
PARIS: France believes that an audio message from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden threatening attacks on French targets is genuine, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters that the authenticity of the message "can be considered as confirmed in light of initial checks" and that it confirmed the "reality of the terrorist menace" against France.
Osama bin Laden warned France on Wednesday that its planned ban on the veil in public places and its involvement in the war in Afghanistan justified violence against its nationals.
In an audio recording aired by Al-Jazeera television, Bin Laden said last month's kidnapping of seven foreigners, five of them French, in the Sahara desert in northern Niger was a warning.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/worldarticlelist/articleshow/6829026.cms#ixzz13igDRbD9
LONDON: Former US President George W Bush gave orders to shoot down planes on 9/11, his new book has revealed.
He also thought the hijacked airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania had been shot down.
The ex-president learned minutes later that brave passengers had forced terrorists to abandon their attempt to smash into the White House and crash land into a field.
Bush's memoir 'Decision Points' is due to be published next month, reports the Daily Mail.
He has also covered crisis from the September 11 attacks to Hurricane Katrina and the financial meltdown in his book.
But, according to the right-wing Drudge Report website, Bush takes very few shots at his critics and does not take aim at Barack Obama, who is battling his own plunge in popularity on the eve of America's mid-term elections.
The book starts with the words: 'It was a simple question, "Can you remember the last day you didn't have a drink?"'
It goes on to describe the ex-President's return to sobriety after problems with alcohol in his youth.
In the chapter 'Stem Cells', Bush describes receiving a letter from Nancy Reagan detailing a 'wrenching family journey.'
But ultimately, he wrote: "I did feel a responsibility to voice my pro-life convictions and lead the country toward what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life."
The Drudge Report also said that Bush would go on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show to promote the 'very personal' memoir.
Oklahoma (CNN) -- Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court.
The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot.
The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.
Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure.
"The fact that Sharia law was even considered anywhere in the United States is enough for me" to sign on, Sykes told CNN. "It should scare anyone that any judge in America would consider using that as precedent."
Full report at: http://www.entexion.com/2010/10/29/oklahoma-voters-face-question-on-islamic-law/
A few days ago, I was sitting among several Yemeni women who were part of Yemen’s Hajj (pilgrimage) delegation to Mecca this year. The women were very excited that they would perform Hajj. Around 60 women were present and all of them were wearing the traditional black abayas and covered their faces with black veils.
Many of them were of a senior age, which is understandable as many Muslims plan pilgrimage when they are much older, probably because of financial, career or family reasons.
However, what really shocked me is that almost none of them were educated and a few could hardly read and write. And many of them lacked confidence to a scary extent. A woman needed to go to the bathroom and she approached me for help. She decided I would know better since I did not have my face covered. She also asked me to wait for her outside the bathroom and help her return to the hall where we gathered.
The women were given a small guide book describing the steps and giving advice on the process. The books were useless to most of the women. They were staring at the photos, and feeling sorry for themselves.
Full report at: http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=34941
Egypt has parliamentary elections coming up next month and an important presidential election next year. As with similar regimes throughout history, the current rulers of Egypt need a scapegoat to take the voters’ attention off its disastrous social and economic policies (after all, rigging elections is so tedious).
Unfortunately for Egypt’s 10 million Christians, they are the perfect scapegoat in an increasingly radicalized Muslim society.
To stir up the public against the Christians, Egyptian Muslim clerics and media outlets have circulated a claim that the nation’s Coptic Christian minority is importing weapons from Israel in preparation for an assault on Egypt’s Muslims.
The claim originated on the pan-Arab satellite news network Al Jazeera, which ensured that just about every Egyptian Muslim, if not ever Middle East Muslim, was aware of the unfounded assertion that Egypt’s Christians were preparing for war with the aid of the hated “Zionist entity.”
Speaking on Al Jazeera on September 15, prominent Egyptian Muslim cleric Mohammed Salim al-Awwa declared that Egyptian Christians were “stocking arms and ammunition in their churches and monasteries - arms imported from Israel, no less, as Israel is at the heart of the Coptic Cause - and are preparing to wage war against Muslims.”
Other reports have included rumors that the Christian assault has already begun, and that Christian women who have converted to Islam are being kidnapped and tortured by the Copts.
Full report at: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=22122
JEDDAH: A blind woman beat back other candidates to take the 2010 “Queen of Beautiful Morals” crown in the now-annual Saudi contest of spiritual and filial beauty, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Zainab al-Khatam defeated 10 other semi-finalists in the eastern city of Qatif, where black-burqa-clad contestants paraded not their physical attributes but their commitment to ultra-conservative Saudi family values, Al-Watan said.
Khatam, 24, has remained at home taking care of her family since finishing school, it said.
Runner-up Eiman Zain al-Din was a 20-year-old university student in business administration.
A picture in Al-Watan showed the new queen holding a bouquet and crown, her hands the only visible part of her body. The rest, including face, eyes and hair, was completely shrouded in the mandatory all-black Saudi abaya and veil.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/04-saudi-miss-morality-contest-qs-08
By Kanya D'Almeida
UNITED NATIONS- Afghanistan will not know peace until women are equal participants in negotiations, stresses a report released Thursday by the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
"We don't want the world to see us as victims," said Afifa Azim, general director of the Afghan Women's Network, which is working in collaboration with the Kroc Institute. "Afghani women must be at the table if the peace process is to move forward. No women, no peace."
Co-authored by David Cortright and Sarah Persinger, the report entitled "Afghan Women Speak: Enhancing Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan" was presented as part of the week-long Peace Conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The report includes some 50 interviews with women leaders, parliamentarians, activists, school principals, NGO and health workers, army officials and police officers in the field in Kabul, Afghanistan, from April to May of 2010.
Since United States-led forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001, critics say Washington has dangled the question of women's emancipation over the head of the international community, using it to justify prolonged military occupation.
Full report at: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53326
NEW DELHI: Passengers of Delhi- Lahore "Sada-e-Sarhad" bus service had a horrid time for nearly four months, thanks to Pakistan's unilateral decision to withdraw security cover to Indian bus beyond the Wagah border forcing travellers to change the vehicle for Lahore. The practice continued till the home ministry, which surprisingly was unaware of the development, acted tough and threatened to do the same for Pakistani bus.
Amid threats of tit-for-tat action from the Indian side, Pakistan finally turned to earlier arrangement allowing security cover to Indian bus so that it can ply till Lahore similar to way India does for its neighbour's bus till Delhi.
Sources said, the Delhi Transport Corporation's bus to Lahore had stopped travelling to the Pakistani city since June after Pakistan authorities expressed their inability to provide security cover to it on their soil. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) bus, however, continued its journey till Delhi under security cover provided by Indian agencies, they added.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-gives-in-to-India-threat-on-bus-service/articleshow/6832266.cms#ixzz13iefA2rP
Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi
Since there has been no action on part of the Central Government against separatist Hurriyat leader SAS Geelani, writer-activist Arundhati Roy and others for their provocative speeches advocating secessionism at a seminar in the Capital last week, a criminal complaint was filed against Geelani, Roy and others at a police station in the national Capital on Thursday.
The complaint for registration of FIR against them has been filed at Tilak Marg police station, and according to the complainant, the police has promised investigation and “if the case suits, then a FIR will be filed within two days,” which may prompt the police to take action against Roy, Geelani and others.
In the complaint addressed to the SHO of Tilak Marg police station, Sushil Pandit said that he waited for the last seven days for the Government to take formal action but they failed due to conspicuous reasons.
Full report at:
The Chandigarh unit of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front on Thursday met Punjab Director General of Police PS Gill and sought registering of a first information report against controversial writer and activist Arundhati Roy for making anti-national statements during her recent visit to Jalandhar.
After Jharkhand and Uttarakhand in the past, it is the turn of Chandigarh to raise its voice against the Booker Prize winner.
The AIATF has raised objections over Arundhati's speech during a public meeting in Jalandhar on October 17. Under the leadership of AIATF chief Maninderjit Singh Bitta, four front members met Gill at the Punjab Police headquarters.
A public meeting had been organised by the front against Operation Green Hunt in Jalandhar. “Arundhati made inflammatory speeches aimed at disturbing the tranquility of Punjab and to lead its people to subvert the Government of India. In her speech, she supported the Naxalites and said that the battle waged by them is a necessity. She said that no one has the right to ask tribals and Maoists to be non-violent as everyone had the right to choose their mode of protest against oppression,” Bitta said.
According to AIATF, Roy named Manipur, Nagaland, Punjab, Kashmir and some other places where the Army and police have been deployed against insurgents.
Oct 28, 2010
Life returned to normal in major parts of Kashmir valley as curfew was lifted and separatists exempted the day from their strike calendar.
SRINAGAR: Life returned to normal in Srinagar and other major parts of Kashmir valley on Thursday as authorities lifted curfew and separatists exempted the day from the purview of their strike calendar.
Shops and business establishments were open and all modes of transport were playing in almost the entire valley.
Office-goers and students had a tough time on Thursday morning as massive traffic jams were witnessed in the city and the main roads connecting Srinagar with district headquarters.
Full report at: Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Curfew-lifted-life-returns-to-normal-in-Kashmir-valley/articleshow/6828323.cms#ixzz13ifXTFYV
D K Singh
New Delhi : There is unease in the Congress over the manner in which interlocutors for Kashmir have gone about their job, issuing public statements that have run into controversy. The ruling party is of the view that the three interlocutors should focus on “interlocuting” with people rather than make remarks that would “affect their own credibility”.
“Their role is to listen to people and try to find some solution. You cannot start solving the problem on the spot. Whatever they have to say, they can do in their recommendations to the government. I am sure the Prime Minister’s Office will intervene to stop this penchant for loud thinking by the interlocutors, which can create complications for them in carrying out their own task ,” a senior Congress functionary involved in Kashmir affairs told The Indian Express on Thursday.
The result, a Congress MP said, could be that when they come out with anything substantive, even that would be prone to misinterpretation.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/704151/
By AZHAR MASOOD
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesman said here Thursday that India suffers from ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) phobia. During a weekly briefing, Abdul Basit said India is obsessed with blaming Pakistan's spy agency for any untoward incident.
He said India should formally inform Pakistan regarding the progress in Samjhauta Express' probe.
He said 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed when bombs were set off in two coaches of the cross-country train, running between Delhi and Lahore, around midnight on Feb. 18, 2007 at Diwana near Panipat, 80 km north of Delhi.
The case was being handled by Haryana Police, which had failed to make any headway after its probe led to a tailor at Indore in Madhya Pradesh who had prepared the cover for the suitcase that contained bombs.
With no breakthrough in the three-year-old blast case, the Indian government has decided to hand over the inquiry to the National Investigation Agency.
The assistant of deputy Interior Minister for police affairs Major Hussein Mehdi and his security guard were wounded in a blast that targeted his convoy in Al Jihad District, western Baghdad.
Oil Police major Abdul Razak Abdul Wahab was killed due to a bomb stuck to his car in Al Amel District, western Baghdad.
Three consecutive bombings detonated near Baghdad International Fair in Al Mansour region. No casualties were reported.
In Nineveh, a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber exploded at the main gate of the federal police headquarters, western Mosul killing a police officer and wounding seven others.
By Arjun Sharma in Jammu
THE CENTRE’S interlocutors on Kashmir dismissed as “ fabrication” reports from Srinagar that they had suggested the Constitution be amended to make way for discussion on the issue of “ azaadi”. “ Azaadi is a very very flexible term with different meanings for different people,” Radha Kumar, one of the interlocutors, told the media in Jammu after their meeting with political, social and religious organisations over the past four days in the Valley.
The team had been criticised by political parties for their reported stand on the issue. But the interlocutors denied they had taken a U- turn on the issue.
“ We did not ask the people to prepare the roadmap for azaadi ”, Kumar said, denying they had asked the delegations in Srinagar to prepare a roadmap for “ azaadi”. “ People came with ideas and we asked them to come next time with greater details. The preparation of the roadmap has been entrusted to us,” she added.
29 October 2010
France and some allied Nato armies could begin to withdraw some of their forces from the conflict in Afghanistan as early as 2011, Defence Minister Herve Morin said Thursday.
"There's a fixed date for Nato in the framework of its new strategy, that's the start of 2011, because in 2011 we're going to transfer a whole series of districts to the Afghans," he told RTL radio.
"At that moment, there could be the first movements or first withdrawals of Allied forces from Afghanistan. In any case, that's the calendar set by Barack Obama, that in 2011 the first American troops could quit Afghanistan.
"And that's what a certain number of European countries have started to say," he explained, insisting that this has nothing to do with a threat issued against France on Wednesday by Islamist militant kingpin Osama bin Laden.
Asked whether the threat, contained in an audiotape broadcast by the Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was genuine, Morin said: "We're still in the course of trying to authenticate it. It's too soon to say.
Full report at: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=160408
A suspected al-Qaeda commander in the southern Yemen province of Abyan has surrendered to the authorities after negotiations conducted by tribal leaders, a security official said yesterday.
"Jamal Ahmed Mairan, leader of al-Qaeda in Loder and Modia (towns) handed himself in on Wednesday after mediation by tribal authorities," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said Mairan, whose home town is Modia, is wanted in connection with an attack on intelligence officers in Abyan and a bank hold-up in the spring in Aden, the main southern city.
KANDAHAR: Afghanistan said on Wednesday that a major military operation against the Taliban in their southern heartland was coming to an end, claiming that victory was in sight.
The insurgency is fiercest in the southern province of Kandahar, where thousands of US-led troops and Afghan forces have stepped up operations since the spring in a bid to reclaim the Taliban stronghold.
General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Afghan defence ministry spokesman, said that the assault was set to be wrapped up “in weeks.””The Kandahar operation is in its last stages,” Azimi told a news conference in Kabul, saying that the rebels had fled most areas without fighting.
Asked whether the Taliban were defeated in the area, he said: “Well, when an area is cleaned of the enemy, it means they're defeated.”He refused to give details, saying a full report of the operation including casualties will be released at the end of the offensive.
The Taliban said earlier this month on its website that military operations against them in the south have had little impact on their capabilities.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/21-victory-against-taliban-in-afghan-operation-in-sight-sk-05
WASHINGTON: Disappointed, but determined not to give up, the Sikh community in the US now wants President Barack Obama to visit gurudwaras in Pakistan when he visits the country next year, after Amritsar's Golden Temple was not included in his India trip in November.
"With the White House's confirmation of President Obama's visit to Pakistan in 2011, we want to implore the President to visit Sikh places of worship on that trip," 'United Sikhs', a US-based Sikh organisation, said in a statement, urging the American Sikh community to mobilise support in this regard.
"United Sikhs is disappointed that President Obama will not be visiting Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) on his trip to India next month," it said.
Although the community feels "disheartened" by this decision, United Sikhs will actively encourage the US president to visit Sikh places of worship in America and abroad, it said.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-based-Sikhs-to-Obama-Visit-gurudwaras-in-Pakistan/articleshow/6834001.cms#ixzz13jNkwleV
Laid bare: A coastal village swept away by the tsunami in South Pagai island, one of the Mentawai islands, on Thursday.
NORTH PAGAI (Indonesia): The death toll from a tsunami that pummelled remote Indonesian islands is expected to pass 500, said an official on Thursday as questions mounted over whether a warning system had failed.
Hopes were fading for hundreds of people still listed as missing after a huge wave triggered by a powerful earthquake hit the remote Mentawai islands on Monday off the west coast of Sumatra.
Meanwhile, on the island of Java in the centre of the disaster-prone archipelago, a volcano which this week killed 32 people again spewed ash and deadly heat clouds, but there were no reports of damage.
Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/10/29/stories/2010102951810900.htm
By Simona Sikimic
BEIRUT: The conditions of Palestinians living in and outside of Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps are equal to, or even worse, than those in Gaza, a top United Nations Refugee and Work Agency (UNRWA) official said Thursday.
“The situation in Gaza under full Israeli blockade is very difficult,” UNRWA Lebanon director, Salvatore Lombardo, said at the opening of the annual World Education Forum. “But the situation in Lebanon is far from acceptable.”
This year’s forum, part of the World Social Forum, is focusing for the first time on the plight of the Palestinian people and their complex education needs, with a broader focus on education reform in the Arab world.
Although the two-day event is happening at sites across the Palestinian territories, Beirut is serving as an official shadow venue for Arab activists hindered from entering Palestine by Israeli-imposed restrictions.
Full report at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=120905#ixzz13k8aT3Pk
Now it’s official. The Golden Temple is not on Obama’s itinerary. Nor is the Taj Mahal for that matter. According to the White House, the reason for both is the same: paucity of time.
As they finally announced the itinerary for the November 6-9 visit, the White House officials said the only places Obamas will get to see on this India visit will be Mumbai and Delhi. And some crowded agenda awaits them in both places.
The officials dismissed the recent media speculation that cancellation of the Amritsar visit was prompted by a headgear controversy: That Obama will have to cover his head with a scarf, sending out a wrong message to untutored segments back home that their President is a Muslim.
Scoffing at the suggestion, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama has been to multiple religious sites while on foreign travel — mosques, churches, synagogues. He may be visiting a mosque in Indonesia, where he goes after India, Rhodes said, adding the decision to scrap the Amritsar plan was dictated by time constraint and how best to advance the US-India agenda in those three days of this visit.
Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/292898/Golden-Temple-Taj-visits-called-off-for-lack-of-time.html
WARSAW: Polish officials investigating a now-shuttered secret CIA prison in this country have given a Saudi terror suspect victim status, a legal advance in the detainee's effort to show he was mistreated by interrogators, officials said Wednesday.
Legal experts said Poland's move to grant the status of victim to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri recognises the validity of his claims even as US courts have refused to allow cases involving rendition to move forward for national security reasons.
Al-Nashiri, a Saudi national accused in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship in a Yemeni harbour, was apprehended by the US, taken to secret CIA prisons in Poland and Thailand and subjected to harsh treatment, according to former US intelligence officials.
"While this is a significant step forward, it remains to be seen whether the Polish prosecutor will push forward seriously with the investigation," said Amrit Singh, a senior legal officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Polish officials in power when the prison was in operation still deny its existence but al-Nashiri's victim status weakens their position — and it raises the prospect that some could eventually be charged with abuse of power.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/04-terror-suspect-victim-poland-qs-07
LAHORE: PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has reiterated his proposal for evolving a unanimous 25-year national agenda, claiming it would go a long way in steering the country out of prevalent crisis.
Talking to media persons at SAFMA office here on Thursday, he said national reconciliation policy was the need of the hour to tackle the challenges facing the country.
He said the unanimous strategy to be called 'Pakistan Charter' (Meesaq-e-Pakistan) would be for the betterment of the nation and everyone should contribute towards it.
Explaining his vision about the proposed strategy, he said, “We want Pakistan Charter as per constitution of the country to ensure that no institution is given preference over the other and all institutions perform their functions within their limits.”
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/12-nawaz+for+25-yr+agenda+to+salvage+pakistan--bi-02
NEW DELHI: Home secretary G K Pillai's assertion that US did not share data on Lashkar terrorist David Coleman Headley's links to 26/11 might see some embarrassing questions being posed to Indian authorities over the ease with which the jihadi received visas to travel to India.
While US allowed National Investigation Agency (NIA) representatives lengthy access to Headley, who has pleaded guilty for the 26/11 strike on Mumbai, American authorities harboured a feeling that India was not telling them everything about the terrorist.
For, the FBI and other intelligence agencies of US had wondered as to how Headley could slip in and out of India to Pakistan without the knowledge of its intelligence agencies. US authorities repeatedly asked NIA as to why the sleuths were so slack in tracking Headley.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/FBI-counterattack-India-let-Headley-visit-repeatedly/articleshow/6831352.cms#ixzz13iekN0Kg
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today sentenced a Pakistani national to five years and six months in jail for spying as he was found supplying secret information to his handlers in the neighbouring country through courier in 2005.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma also imposed a fine of Rs 7,000 on Asim Waseem alias Sumaar Ali after holding him guilty under the Official Secrets Act, the IPC and the Foreigners Act.
Ali, 29, was arrested by Delhi police's Special Cell sleuths on September 15, 2005, following a tip off that a man from Pakistan's Rahimyar Khan district had entered the country and was spying on the directions of the Inter-Service Intelligence.
The police found that the accused was passing classified and secret details about the deployment and movement of army through courier. They also recovered two driving licences from Ali issued in Agra and Hissar.
KARACHI: Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a Japanese consular vehicle in Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, wounding two local employees and underscoring the fragile security in the country.
Islamist militants have targeted foreigners in Pakistan before, but police said the attack may have been an attempted robbery. Karachi is a chaotic city of 16 million, and violence linked to criminal gangs, political and ethnic rivalries and Muslim extremists is common.
Elsewhere in the country, an American missile strike killed seven suspected militants close to the Afghan border , the latest in a surge of such attacks seen over the last two months.
The shooting in Karachi happened soon after the three Pakistanis in the car had stopped by a bank to get cash, police official Javed Akbar Riaz said. The two wounded men were in stable condition, he said.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Gunmen-fire-at-Japan-missions-car-in-Pak/articleshow/6832491.cms#ixzz13iftTzEY
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales before a freindly football match in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo)
TEHRAN: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Evo Morales have long been on the same side politically. Now the presidents of Iran and Bolivia — both harsh critics of the United States — have literally teamed up, playing a friendly game of five-a-side soccer with professional players during Morales's state visit to Tehran.
State-run television on Wednesday showed Ahmadinejad scoring off a corner pass from Morales. Another shot, after a nifty one-two-one manoeuvre with the Bolivian, was blocked by the goalkeeper . The game ended 4-4 after regular time and the presidents went on to win 8-6 after a penalty shoot-out .
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Ahmadinejad-Morales-team-up-for-a-football-win/articleshow/6825965.cms#ixzz13ig1DFZv
By EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS: The United States on Thursday accused the militant group Hezbollah and its allies Iran and Syria of attempting to endanger Lebanon’s stability and undermine its independence, and a UN envoy warned that the Mideast is at “an extremely critical juncture.” US Ambassador Susan Rice singled out Syria for displaying “flagrant disregard” for Lebanon’s sovereignty and political independence, citing its provision of increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and other militias in violation of a UN resolution and issuance of 33 arrest warrants for senior Lebanese officials and foreigners.
“Hezbollah remains the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia,” she said. “It could not have done so if not for Syria’s aid, and facilitation of Syrian and Iranian arms.” The strong US stance on Syria appears to be a shift in strategy. The United States began reaching out to Syria soon after President Barack Obama took office, to try to lure Damascus away from its alliance with Iran and militant groups such as Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article174614.ece
By ZEINA KARAM
BEIRUT: The leader of Hezbollah called Thursday on all Lebanese to boycott the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of a former prime minister, saying all information gathered by the team was being sent to Israel.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah spoke a day after a crowd of women attacked two UN investigators and a Lebanese interpreter as they gathered evidence at a private gynecology clinic in Beirut. The women scuffled with investigators and stole several items from them.
The attack underscored the charged emotions behind the tribunal, which Hezbollah says is biased.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article174512.ece
By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM: During its six decades of existence, Israel has maintained a shaky alliance with its ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority that allowed most religious men to avoid military service, attend separate schools and get paid by the state to study the Bible instead of entering the work force.
But this system is coming under new scrutiny, pressured by a series of Supreme Court rulings, an ambitious education minister and the hugely unpopular cost of sustaining a fast-growing ultra-Orthodox population that has few skills for the 21st century.
The vitriolic debate has created the first serious threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.
His ultra-Orthodox partners are threatening to topple the government if subsidies to their constituents are cut.
The dispute goes far beyond money, touching on the character of the Jewish state in a modern world and the ultra-Orthodox community’s place in it.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article173982.ece
By SAYED SALAHUDDIN
KABUL: Afghanistan’s main independent poll watchdog questioned on Thursday an unexplained increase of a million votes from initial turnout estimates after parliamentary elections last month that were marred by fraud and violence.
Afghan election officials have hailed the poll a success despite throwing out as invalid almost a quarter of the 5.6 million votes it said had been cast on Sept. 18.
International observers were more guarded in their response, praising Afghanistan for being able to hold the poll despite a violent insurgency but also citing “considerable fraud.” The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said last week 5.6 million votes had been cast on Sept. 18, and that it had invalidated 1.3 million of them for reasons including voting irregularities, intimidation and fraud.
The IEC had said soon after the vote that just over 4 million votes had been cast, explaining the difference by saying that the earlier figure had been based on “estimates.”
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article174535.ece
NOOR PUR SHAHAN, Pakistan: Less than a kilometer from the sprawling residential complex of Pakistan’s prime minister, villagers have to scrabble for firewood in the dirt if they want a cooked meal.
Noor Pur Shahan is typical of many villages in the country, where supplies of cooking gas, clean water, electricity, classrooms, and also hope for the future, are hard to come by.
Improving government services for millions of increasingly frustrated Pakistanis is critical for bringing economic and political stability to a country the United States sees as an indispensable ally in its global war on militancy.
Many say the current system of governance only benefits Pakistan’s political elite and the wealthy. And it’s one that drives disaffected young men to join Muslim militant groups violently opposed to the government, analysts say.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article174497.ece
By MOHAMMED MAR'I
RAMALLAH: Palestinians in the city of Umm El-Fahm inside Israel on Thursday launched a general strike to protest the exacerbated violence directed at protesters by the Israeli police.
The decision to strike was made late Wednesday by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee (HAMC).
The HAMC said in a press statement that the strike came against the Israeli police, which attacked the Palestinians during a march of Israeli right-wing activists in the city on Wednesday.
It added that the strike also came to protest against the "increasing racist approach in the Israeli street which is unfortunately supported by the (Israeli) police and judiciary."
Abed Anabtawi, HAMC secretary, said all businesses and schools in the city were almost shut down.
Umm El-Fahm, the second Arab city after Nazareth in Israel, was occupied by the Israeli forces on May 22, 1949. Many Palestinians still live there as Israeli citizens.
Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article174280.ece
RAMALLAH - US efforts to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have not produced results so far, the Egyptian foreign minister said on Thursday, less than two weeks before a key Arab decision on whether to halt the negotiations.
The peace talks, launched last month at the White House, have stalled over Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, and Israeli and Palestinian leaders traded barbed remarks on Thursday about their future.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to extend a 10-month moratorium on new housing starts that ended on Sept. 26. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he won’t resume the talks without an extension on the building curbs.
Speaking after a meeting with Abbas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said his government is continuing its contacts with the US and Israel, but that “up to now, the necessary breakthrough did not take place.”
Egypt, the first Arab country to reach peace with Israel, wields considerable influence in the Arab world and serves as an important mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.
Aboul Gheit said Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Uzi Arad, recently held talks with Egyptian officials.
Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/October/middleeast_October463.xml§ion=middleeast
SYDNEY — Afghan guerrillas allied to a controversial warlord helped train elite special forces in Australia as part of a secret strategy against the Taliban, a report said on Friday.
Six fighters loyal to Matiullah Khan, considered the most powerful figure in the southern province of Uruzgan, met Australian officers and watched combat displays at bases in South Australia and Sydney, Fairfax newspapers said.
The report quoted the defence department as saying the Afghans were “intimately involved in the planning and execution of training objectives” for special forces soldiers headed to the war-torn country.
“It is important the ADF (Australian Defence Force) works within the cultural norms of Afghanistan,” the department said.
“Therefore in some areas where influential local Afghan leaders still operate, their cooperation can be crucial to maintaining security and stability.”
Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/October/international_October1305.xml§ion=international