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Islamic World News (18 Feb 2011 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Suicide attack in east Afghanistan kills 9

45 killed in Libya protests

Libya counters 'Day of Anger' after deadly clashes

Libya soldiers in Benghazi after overnight protests

One more encounter: Vanjara & Co. had killed Sadiq in 2003

'Muslims left behind in Gujarat's growth story'

Vastanvi’s hopes rise as Madanis still at odds

For working Saudi women, sometimes money talks

Omar announces removal of twelve more bunkers

Pak singer Rahat, four others questioned by DRI

No end in sight on Davis case

Davis case: LHC orders arrest of accused in Ibad’s killing

Was Davis running drone programme in Pakistan?

Top US lawmakers reject Pakistan aid cuts over Davis issue

Geelani’s Kashmir sold as a calendar

Islamic women's issues highlighted by CBS reporter's case

British soldiers in Afghanistan 'freezing sperm'

Abducted Italian woman says held by Al Qaeda

Pakistan man seeks arrest of second US employee

Egypt 'victory march' tests military rulers

Egypt fallout: Oman ruler postpones India trip

Brotherhood role rising in Egypt

Thousands of Egypt protesters keep up the pressure

Egypt says finds fourth stolen Pharaonic treasure

Egypt military junta launches Facebook page

Logan’s case highlights Egyptian women’s issues

US readying $150 mn in aid to Egypt

After hurling abuses at India, Pak media silent on Rahat issue

Urdu Persian Arabic University to be named after Kanshi Ram

SRK's documentary on Mughal-E-Azam

U.S. Tries to Head Off Vote Against Israeli Settlements

260 passengers in narrow escape at Madinah airport

Israelis kill three Palestinians

World Cup: 'Thackeray to decide if Indo-Pak final in Mumbai'

5 killed in Bahrain crackdown

Military deployed in Bahrain clampdown

LeT has acquired lethal capabilities: US intelligence chief

Iran’s Suez move lifts Egypt diplomatic strain

Angry Iraqis hold rally

Bangladeshis party at World Cup opening gala

Two Egyptian workers killed in Makkah workshop blaze

Two killed in Iraqi Kurdistan protest

Abbas holds urgent talks ahead of settler vote

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=4146

 

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Suicide attack in east Afghanistan kills 9

February 18, 2011

A suicide car bomb attack on a police checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan on Friday killed at least nine people and injured dozens, health and police officials said. Most of the dead were civilians, among them three women, said Abdul Hakim Esaaqzai, chief of police for Khost province. Health official

The attack targeted a checkpoint at the start of the mainroad to neighbouring Paktia province. Police at the checkpoint identified the attacker as a suicide bomber and shot at him, but not in time to prevent the detonation, Esaaqzai said.

At least one policeman was killed in the blast.

Khost, which borders Pakistan, is an insurgent stronghold where government control is largely limited to urban centres.

Earlier this month insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms ambushed and killed a provincial official in the Baak district.

At the end of 2009 a suicide bomber killed seven Central Intelligence Agency officers at a base in the province, the second-most deadly attack in CIA history.

Despite the presence of almost 150,000 foreign troops, violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, with civilian and military casualties at record levels.

More than 2,300 foreign troops have been killed, most of them Americans, since the conflict began.

Ordinary Afghans, however, have been hit the hardest. The United Nations said 2,412 civilians were killed and 3,803 wounded in the first 10 months of last year, a 20 percent increase compared to 2009.

More than 30 insurgents were killed overnight in Kunar, another eastern province bordering Pakistan, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.

A team in an aircraft patrolling the area saw a group of armed insurgents and attacked them, prompting more armed men to emerge from a nearby building. The battle lasted more than four hours, the statement said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Suicide-attack-in-east-Afghanistan-kills-9/Article1-663835.aspx

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45 killed in Libya protests

Feb 18, 2011

CAIRO/TRIPOLI: Libyan security forces were expecting violent demonstrations Friday, a day after an estimated 45 people were killed in clashes across the country.

Online postings by opposition groups called for demonstrations against the country's ruler of 41 years Muammer Gaddafi to start after Friday prayers.

Violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and security forces across the country Thursday in what opposition organisers had billed as a "Day of Anger".

Videos posted online appeared to show the bodies of several young men in different locations, and hundreds of demonstrators tearing down a monument in honour of Gaddafi's Green Book in the eastern coastal town of Tobruk.

In the Green Book, first published in 1975, Gaddafi outlines his philosophy of direct democracy through popular committees. Critics say that he actually uses those committees for political repression.

Coverage of the unrest in the Libyan media has shown pro-government demonstrators taking to the streets to proclaim their support for the country's leaders.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/45-killed-in-Libya-protests/articleshow/7521146.cms#ixzz1EIrfMnrL

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Libya counters 'Day of Anger' after deadly clashes

Feb 17, 2011

TRIPOLI: Libya countered a "Day of Anger" called by opposition activists on the Internet with a pro-regime rally in Tripoli on Thursday, after deadly clashes in an eastern city.

The situation was calm early in the day in Tripoli, where a pro-regime rally was organised in Green Square, near the capital's waterfront, with students being bused in to take part.

Traffic was lighter than usual and the security presence on main roads slightly boosted, after text messages went out on Libya's mobile telephone network warning against street protests.

The impact of Thursday's protest calls was being seen as a test for Kadhafi, 68, who has been in power since 1969. His counterparts in neighouring Egypt and Tunisia have been toppled in uprisings over the past month.

Kadhafi himself was seen on Libyan television on Wednesday night being mobbed by thousands of supporters as he laid the foundation stone of a sports complex for popular football club Ahly Tripoli.

Websites monitored in Cyprus and Libyan human rights group based abroad reported earlier that anti-Kadhafi protests in the eastern city of Al-Baida on Wednesday had cost as many as 13 lives.

"Internal security forces and militias of the Revolutionary Committees used live ammunition to disperse a peaceful demonstration by the youth of Al-Baida," leaving "at least four dead and several injured," according to Libya Watch.

Geneva-based Human Rights Solidarity, citing witnesses, said that snipers on rooftops in Al-Baida -- a city of 210,000 inhabitants -- had killed 13 protesters and wounded dozens of others.

But Libyan newspaper Quryna, close to Kadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, citing what it called informed security sources, put the death toll at two and traced the unrest to a police shutdown of local shops that soon escalated.

The interior ministry fired the head of security in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar province in the aftermath of the violence, in which protesters had torched "several police cars and citizens," the paper said on its website.

Videos circulating on the Internet showed dozens of young Libyans apparently gathered on Wednesday night in Al-Baida chanting, "The people want to bring down the regime," and a building which had been set on fire.

One Facebook group urging the Day of Anger for Thursday, which had 4,400 members on Monday, had seen that number more than double to 9,600 by Wednesday, a day after clashes in Libya's second city Benghazi.

Quryna said security forces and demonstrators clashed late on Tuesday in Benghazi, also in eastern Libya, in what it branded the work of "saboteurs" among a small group of protesters.

The director of the city's Al-Jala hospital, Abdelkarim Gubeaili, told AFP that 38 people were treated for light injuries.

Security forces intervened to halt a confrontation between Kadhafi supporters and the demonstrators, according to Quryna.

Both Britain and the European Union called for restraint by the authorities in Libya, whose relations with the West have improved sharply over the past decade after years of virtual pariah status.

The European Union urged Libya to allow "free expression," while Britain underlined "the right of peaceful assembly."

The United States said it encouraged Libya, like countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, to take steps to meet the hopes and needs of their people.

The Day of Anger was called to mark the deaths of 14 protesters in an Islamist rally in Benghazi in 2006.

On Wednesday, text messages circulated across the Libyan mobile network from "the youth of Libya" warning against crossing "four red lines: Moamer Kadhafi, territorial integrity, Islam and internal security."

"We will confront anyone in any square or avenue of our beloved country," the messages read.

The Revolutionary Committees, the backbone of Kadhafi's regime, have warned they would not allow anti-regime protesters to "plunder the achievements of the people and threaten the safety of citizens and the country's stability."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libya-counters-Day-of-Anger-after-deadly-clashes/articleshow/7516498.cm

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Libya soldiers in Benghazi after overnight protests

18 February 2011

TRIPOLI - Soldiers were deployed on the streets of Libya’s second city of Benghazi on Friday, a witness said, after thousands of people took to the streets overnight to protest about security forces killing more than 20 protesters.

New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch said that according to its sources inside the country, Libyan security forces had killed at least 24 people in crackdowns on protests on Wednesday and Thursday.

The killings happened after opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s leader for more than 40 years, designated Thursday a day of protest to try to emulate uprisings in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia which ousted entrenched leaders.

A resident who lives on Benghazi’s main thoroughfare, Nasser Street said on Friday morning the city was now quiet, with no more demonstrations.

But he said: “Last night was very hard, there were a lot of people in the street, thousands of people. Now it is quiet. I saw soldiers in the street.”

BBC radio, quoting an eyewitness, said protesters in Benghazi had clashed with security forces firing guns. Doctors had counted the bodies of 10 people. Benghazi is about 1,000 km (600 miles) east of the Libyan capital.

Another resident in Benghazi, who said he had been in contact with people in the nearby town of Al Bayda said : “The confrontation between protesters and Gaddafi supporters is still going on, some of the police have become angry ... there are a lot of people killed.”

Local sources had earlier said that at least five people were killed in Al Bayda.

The resident also said that Saadi Gaddafi, a businessman son of the Libyan leader had been on local radio and said he was coming to Benghazi to take over as mayor of the city and protect the people there.

Funerals of those killed were expected in both Benghazi and Al Bayda on Friday. Such funerals could act as a catalyst for further protests.

On Thursday deadly clashes broke out in several towns after the opposition called for protests in a rare show of defiance inspired by uprisings in other regions and the toppling of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali.

Tight controls on media and communications in Libya made it difficult to assess the extent of the violence, but on Friday unverified reports on social network sites said up to 50 people had died. There was no official comment on the violence.

Human Rights Watch said the Libyan authorities should respect citizens’ rights to protest peacefully. “Libyans should not have to risk their lives to make a stand for their rights as human beings,” the group said in a statement.

Political analysts say Libya oil wealth should give the government the capacity to smooth over social problems and reduce the risk of an Egypt-style revolt.

Gaddafi’s opponents say they want political freedoms, respect for human rights and an end to corruption. Gaddafi says Libyans enjoy true democracy.

Pro-government supporters also were out on the streets early on Friday, according to CNN. The broadcaster said images transmitted on Libyan state television labelled “live” showed men chanting slogans in support of Gaddafi.

The pro-Gaddafi crowd was seen singing as it surrounded his limousine as it crept along a road in the capital packed with people carrying his portrait. Fireworks lit up the night sky.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February632.xml&section=middleeast

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One more encounter: Vanjara & Co. had killed Sadiq 2003

New Age Islam News Bureau

Ahmadabad: One more sensational case of fake encounter has come to light in Gujarat. The former Director General of Police D G Vanjara who is behind bars is to be involved in the encounter. The victim was a Muslim called Sadiq Jamal Mehtar. This case has come to light after three cases of fake encounters. The Ahmadabad High Court has directed the Gujarat government to submit the details of the case. The incident had occurred in 2003. According to the story narrated by the police, Sadiq was on a mission to kill the Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and VHP leader Praveen Togadia. After the encounter of Sadiq, the police had claimed that Sadiq had links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Ahmadabad crime branch later investigated the encounter and said that Sadid had three accomplices who had not been caught. After that Sadiq’s brother Shabbir Jamal filed a writ petition in the Gujarat High Court demanding an inquiry into the case. Hearing the case, Justice Aqeel Quraishi has directed the Metropolitan Court and the state police to submit the details of the case in the High Court. It should be noted that the same story had been presented in Ishrt Jahan encounter case. The Special  Investigation Team set up by the High Court had carried out the investigations  into the case. The Ishrat Jahan encounter case has pointed fingers at Narendra Modi and the state police. Sohrabuddin Shaikh was also killed in a similar encounter. His wife and their friend Prajapati was also killed in another encounter.  All the cases are in  the court. The state minister Amit Shah had been behind bars and is now out on bail.

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'Muslims left behind in Gujarat's growth story'

Nandita Sengupta

Feb 18, 2011

NEW DELHI: Muslims in Gujarat have a long way to go. A new study shows there's deep-rooted poverty and income inequality among the state's lower castes and Muslims. The latter, in particular, fare poorly on parameters of poverty, hunger, education and vulnerability on security issues — nowhere benefiting from the feelgood growth story of CM Narendra Modi's state.

In the study titled "Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Religious Differentials", economist Abusaleh Shariff used the NSSO, NCAER's human development data and the Sachar Committee report, among others, to tabulate the status of Gujarat's Muslims. "Estimation of poverty by social group is rare, but the NCAER survey data, and NSSO, allow for such estimates," says Shariff, also chief economist at National Council of Applied Economic research (NCAER).

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Muslims-left-behind-in-Gujarats-growth-story/articleshow/7518871.cms#ixzz1EIrNPJez

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Vastanvi’s hopes rise as Madanis still at odds

Feb 18, 2011,

NEW DELHI: Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, who has been under fire since his pro-Narendra Modi administration comments, has got a fillip to retain his job as the Darul Uloom vice-chancellor. Vastanvi's fate will be decided at the Islamic seminary's General Council meeting on February 23.

Squabbles within the Madanis -- the first family of the Deoband seminary -- could augur well for him.

The patch-up attempt between the two warring Madanis -- Arshad and Mahmood -- reportedly brokered by Pakistan Jamiat chief Fazlur Rehman, who is visiting India, has fallen flat. Both Arshad's spokesman and Mahmood confirmed that there is no possibility for the duo to come together in the near future.

The differences between Arshad and Mahmood had cropped up a couple of years ago over the running of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which holds the key in Darul's Council. In the 18-member Council, the uncle-nephew combine controls 12-odd votes. Usually, around 16 members turn up for the meeting.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Vastanvis-hopes-rise-as-Madanis-still-at-odds/articleshow/7517183.cms

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For working Saudi women, sometimes money talks

By HAYAT AL-GHAMDI

Feb 17, 2011

ABHA: Paying money for the privilege of working is usually something foreigners do when they pay recruitment fees for jobs in Saudi Arabia, but in the Kingdom's southern region it's not unusual for Saudi women to pay their guardians (fathers, husbands or brothers) for the same right.

"We have resorted to this method in order to buy our freedom to work," said a teacher from Asir province who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject. "I am paying 2,000 riyals every month for my father's silence. He is happy with the money he receives every month and I am happy that I now work after eight years of unemployment. A working woman has a better social position than an unemployed one."

Some women object to this practice — not because they object to Saudi women having jobs but rather because they view this as bribery.

"By so doing these women are exploiting their guardians who do not want them to work or to travel to remote areas," said one woman who requested anonymity. "We do not object to women working in jobs that do not oblige them to mix with men. We only do not agree with them bribing their fathers or husbands in order to allow them to work."

Women who do resort to paying their guardians a portion of their salary agree with the cliché that "money talks."

Full report at:http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article268990.ece

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Omar announces removal of twelve more bunkers

Feb 17 2011

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today announced the removal of twelve more bunkers from the city as part of an exercise launched last year to reduce the footprints of the security forces in the Valley.

The Chief Minister made the announcement after chairing a high-level security meeting here.

With today's decision, the total number of security bunkers removed in the Valley stands at 39 with twenty seven of them removed earlier by the government in two phases.

The decision to undertake removal of bunkers in other towns will be taken shortly, an official spokesperson said.

As part of its initiative to address the unrest in the Kashmir valley, the Centre had decided to appoint a group of interlocutors to hold a "sustained dialogue" with various shades of opinion, to release about 200 youth detained for stone-pelting and de-escale the presence of security personnel.

It had also requested the state government to review the deployment of security forces in the Kashmir Valley with particular reference to de-escaling the number of bunkers, check-points in Srinagar and other towns, and to review the notification of areas as 'disturbed areas'.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/omar-announces-removal-of-twelve-more-bunkers/751422/

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Pak singer Rahat, four others questioned by DRI

Feb 18, 2011

Pakistani sufi singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and four others were today questioned by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials for allegedly carrying USD 1.24 lakh (about Rs 60 lakh) of undeclared foreign currency.

DRI sources said besides Rahat, his manager Maroof, owner of an event management company Chitresh Shrivastava, and two employees of Mumbai-based Foreign Exchange firm were being interrogated at length about the source of the money and their statement were being recorded by the officials.

They said there were possible evidence of registering a case under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against 37-year-old Khan and two of his associates.

However, sources did not immediately confirm the future course of action as the questioning was continuing late evening.

The trio were detained on February 13 from Indira Gandhi International Airport here while they were on their way to Lahore via Dubai with their 16-member troupe.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-singer-rahat-four-others-questioned-by-dri/751423/

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No end in sight on Davis case

Feb 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing stand-off between the United States and Pakistan over arrested American embassy staffer Raymond Davis got further prolonged on Thursday with the Lahore High Court granting the Foreign Office its request for three weeks time to decide on his diplomatic status.

Reacting to the hearing, U. S. Ambassador Cameron Munter expressed disappointment over the Pakistan government's failure to provide certification of Davis' diplomatic immunity in court. As to whether the U.S. presented certification of his diplomatic immunity at Thursday's hearing, embassy spokesperson said “we were not made a party to that petition''.

The position taken by the Foreign Office belied the optimism articulated by U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry in his departure statement on Wednesday after meetings with the Pakistani leadership. “I look forward in the next few days, hopefully, to finding ways that we all agreed on, that we can find in order to resolve this issue that's in front of us,'' he had said.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/18/stories/2011021866082100.htm

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Davis case: LHC orders arrest of accused in Ibad’s killing

Feb 17, 2011

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered provincial authorities to arrest the accused involved in the death of Ibadur Rehman, a citizen who was killed when a US consulate car sent to assist Raymond Davis knocked him down on January 27 in Lahore, DawnNews reported.

Raymond Davis shot dead two Pakistani men at a busy traffic junction in the city. He said he shot the men in self-defence, fearing they were about to rob him. Soon after, Ibadur Rehman was run over by a vehicle from the US consulate in Lahore that was coming to Davis’ assistance.

A petition in this regard was filed on Thursday by Ibadur Rehman’s brother Mohammad Aijazur Rehman.

Subsequently, on Friday, LHC Chief Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry directed the authorities to conclude the investigations on Ibad’s killing.

The court further directed the Punjab government to recover the car that knocked Ibad down and record the witnesses’ statements.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/18/lhc-orders-authorities-to-arrest-accused-in-ibads-killing.html

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Was Davis running drone programme in Pakistan?

Chidanand Rajghatta

Feb 18, 2011

WASHINGTON: A mysterious halt to US Predator strikes on Pakistan after the Raymond Davis incident in Lahore has led to intense speculation the American "diplomat" was connected to the drone program even as Washington and Islamabad are going eyeball-toeyeball over his status.

Davis, 36, was apprehended by Pakistani police after he shot dead two Pakistanis on a busy Lahore thoroughfare on January 27, four days after the last drone US drone strike in Pakistan . There has not been a single strike in the 25 days since then, making it the thirdlongest period of inactivity since the US ramped up the Predator program to take out terrorists infesting Pakistan's frontier regions, according to Long War Journal (LWJ), a blog that tracks US Predator attacks.

Speculation is now rife that Davis was somehow connected to the Predator program since he was reportedly carrying a GPS, telescope, camera and assorted equipment not usually associated with thoroughbred diplomats. Pakistani authorities have also accused him of unauthorized travels to the Frontier region and being in touch with extremist elements in Waziristan, which suggests he might have been coordinating the attacks with US moles in the region.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Was-Davis-running-drone-programme-in-Pakistan/articleshow/7519475.cms

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Top US lawmakers reject Pakistan aid cuts over Davis issue

Feb 17, 2011

WASHINGTON: Top US lawmakers on Thursday rejected talk of cutting aid to Pakistan as leverage to win the release of a US national imprisoned for allegedly shooting dead two Pakistani men.

And US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, just back from a visit to Pakistan to discuss the fate of Raymond Davis, suggested a solution to the bitter diplomatic dispute over his fate come come within days.

“We just need to work through the process the way we are in the next days, and hopefully we get to a better place,” Kerry said in what amounted to a plea for patience from increasingly angry colleagues.

Asked whether his trip yielded progress towards a way out of the ugly diplomatic feud, Kerry replied “I think so,” but brushed off questions about whether Davis might be sent to the United States for trial.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/18/top-us-lawmakers-reject-pakistan-aid-cuts-in-feud.htm

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Geelani’s Kashmir sold as a calendar

By Naseer Ganai in Srinagar

FORGET stone- throwing and violent demonstrations.

Calendars have become the latest ‘ it’ tool of protest in Kashmir — at least for separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The chairman of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference has issued a novel calendar containing details of major killings allegedly carried out by security forces over the past six decades, names of the victims, the genesis of the Kashmir dispute and an appeal to people to support the separatists’ “ Quit Kashmir” movement.

The 12- page calendar has been published under the banner of the Tehreek- e- Hurriyat Jammu Kashmir — a faction of the conference personally led by Geelani — and is being sold for ` 25 each.

A sales man at a newsstand at Lal Chowk in Srinagar said the calendar is in much demand. “ Some people even buy it by the dozen,” he said.

The calendar’s first page shows J& K as a separate nation, with the blue and green flag of the Tehreek- e- Hurriyat flowing atop it. The area under Indian control is shown engulfed in flames. Pakistan- Occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas are shown as a single unit.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Islamic women's issues highlighted by CBS reporter's case

Feb 18, 2011

For a moment, it seemed Egypt wasn't just throwing off its political shackles. Women long suffering from the scourge of sexual harassment reported Cairo's Tahrir Square, command central of the uprising, had become a safe zone free of the groping and leering common in their country.

Now the reported attack on a senior US television correspondent during the final night of the 18-day revolt has shown that the threat of violence against women in Egypt remains very real.

CBS has said its chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, went through a "brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating" by a frenzied mob in the square during Friday's celebrations of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ouster.

Logan was released from a US hospital and was recovering in her Washington-area home, as her story raised issues often left unaddressed in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, a White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity said President Barack Obama spoke with Logan on the telephone without disclosing details of the conversation.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/islamic-womens-issues-highlighted-by-cbs-reporters-case/751269/

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British soldiers in Afghanistan 'freezing sperm'

Feb 18, 2011

LONDON: A number of British soldiers posted in war-torn Afghanistan are said to be freezing their sperm in case they are killed or maimed, a media report said.

The British Army has paid a private firm to store sperm samples as an "insurance policy"; wives and girlfriends would use the semen to become pregnant if their loved ones are killed or can no longer father children, 'The Sun' reported.

In fact, the exercise follows after the Ministry of Defence issued a memo advising that private sperm freezing and storage for a year could cost as much as 1,000 pounds.

"The MoD provides all military personnel with pre- deployment advice on fertility preservation," a MoD spokesman was quoted by the British tabloid as saying.

One 28-year-old Army wife said: "This practice is more common than you think. Army wives and girlfriends already have to deal with their partners maybe not coming home. An added torment is that their dreams of a child are also shattered.

"If my husband dies, he's given me permission to use his sperm to have our baby. It's an insurance policy, should the worst happen."

Fears over childlessness grew after an increase in groin injuries and damage to reproductive organs from IED bombs, the report said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/British-soldiers-in-Afghanistan-freezing-sperm/articleshow/7520798.cms#ixzz1EIrr5qLd

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Abducted Italian woman says held by Al Qaeda

18 February 2011

DUBAI - An Italian woman kidnapped in Algeria in early February said she was being held by al Qaeda’s north African wing, according to an audio recording aired by Al Arabiya television.

“Maria Sandra Mariani, I am the Italian woman kidnapped on Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011 near Djanet in Algeria,” a woman said in the message aired by the news channel, speaking in French.

Al Arabiya television said on Thursday it had obtained an audio message from the woman after being contacted by telephone by a spokesman for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) who claimed the abduction and said she was alive.

“I am still being held by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb ... I ask Arabiya to please publicise this message. Thank You,” the woman said in the recording.

Full report at: shttp://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February627.xml&section=middleeast

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Pakistan man seeks arrest of second US employee

18 February 2011

LAHORE - A Pakistani man is demanding the arrest of a second US embassy employee in Pakistan, his lawyer said on Friday, adding fuel to an incident that has severely strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

The move comes as US officials pressure Pakistan to release Raymond Davis, a US consulate employee who is locked in a jail after shooting and killing two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore last month in what he said was an attempted robbery.

Ijaz-ur-Rehman, whose brother Ibad was killed when a US vehicle came to Davis’ rescue in the aftermath of the Jan. 27 shooting, filed a petition in the Lahore High Court demanding the car’s driver be arrested, lawyer Noman Atiq said.

Atiq said his client had asked for the vehicle, which the US State Department said was driven by an embassy staff member, be impounded.

“We want a proper investigation to be carried out in the murder of my brother,” Rehman said.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/February/international_February587.xml&section=international

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Egypt 'victory march' tests military rulers

Feb 18, 2011

CAIRO: Egyptians held a nationwide "Victory March" on Friday to celebrate the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule one week ago and to remind the new military rulers of the power of the street.

The scale of the march, which will also act as a memorial to the 365 people who died in the 18-day uprising that shook the Middle East, will be a gauge of Egyptian people power and of the nation's feeling about the transition to civilian rule.

With the Higher Military Council facing demands to free political prisoners and to lift emergency rules after dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution, all eyes will also be on how the military manages the event.

"We have agreed with the army to set up the stage for the celebrations today," said Ahmed Naguib, a member of the coordinating committee for a coalition of youth and political pro-democracy groupings.

"Sheikh Qaradawi will lead Friday prayers and give the sermon in Tahrir Square," said Naguib, referring to the Qatar-based preacher who backed the revolt and called it "a day from God". His sermons are broadcast on Al Jazeera television.

The atmosphere was relaxed and jubilant as the military blocked off the square to traffic ahead of Friday prayers at 1000 GMT. Soldiers and organisers conducted searches of people streaming in while an army band played "Egypt the Great".

The crowd sang along, waving Egyptian flags, and chanting: "The army and the people are united." There were tanks and armoured vehicles at the 12 entrances to the sprawling square.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypt-victory-march-tests-military-rulers/articleshow/7521446.cms#ixzz1EIr9JJwE

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Egypt fallout: Oman ruler postpones India trip

Indrani Bagchi

Feb 18, 2011

NEW DELHI: With stalwarts of the Arab world falling to high-decibel democracy protests, Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said has postponed a visit to India this week. Sultan Qaboos was to have meetings with PM Manmohan Singh early this week and was also scheduled to vacation for a while in Jodhpur, sources said. Both events were cancelled.

The visit was happening at a time when Egypt was in turmoil and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was on the verge of quitting office. Protests were already breaking out in Yemen, Libya looked like it could come under the influence while in Khartoum, disgruntled Sudanese took to the streets as well as the Algerians.

In the Gulf, Bahrain, an emirate next door to Oman, is erupting. While Bahrain has a unique problem of a Shia population under a Sunni ruler, the prospect of popular unrest was a big factor in the Sultan's calculations. In nearby Kuwait, for instance, the ruler has distributed over $3,500 to every citizen.

Oman is probably India's most important Gulf partner. Indian companies, according to officials, are setting up manufacturing facilities at a free trade zone being developed in the port town of Sohar, about 200 km from capital Muscat.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Egypt-fallout-Oman-ruler-postpones-India-trip/articleshow/7518853.cms

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Brotherhood role rising in Egypt

Feb 17, 2011

CAIRO - Egyptian youth leaders moved to set up a new political party on Thursday as the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood played an increasingly important role in preparing for post-Mubarak elections promised within six months.

Life in Egypt is still far from normal six days after the momentous overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, 82, with tanks on Cairo streets, banks closed, worker protests and demonstrations given voice by revolutionary fervor and schools shut down.

“We are in a test that we have yet to come out of. Are you pleased by the strikes, sit-ins, the closed factories, the banks that are not working?” army spokesman General Ismail Etmaan said on state television late on Wednesday night.

“The Higher Military Council will put matters back on track, but help us,” he said. “The armed forces do not have future ambitions and want to hand power to the civilian parties when they are strong so that they don’t collapse.”

The Brotherhood has a member on the constitutional committee, is also on a council set up by activists to protect the revolution and has said it will set up as a political party as soon as laws are changed to let it and others do so.

The Brotherhood’s spokesman appeared on state television a few days ago, a first for the Islamist movement which was banned in the Mubarak era.

The Brotherhood is viewed with suspicion by Washington but is seen as the only truly organized bloc in Egypt and reckons it could win up to 30 percent of votes in a free election.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0211/18/FrontPage/index.php?id=12

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Thousands of Egypt protesters keep up the pressure

18 February 2011

Tens of thousands of flag waving Egyptians massed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to celebrate the fall of strongman Hosni Mubarak and to pressure the new military rulers to deliver on reform pledges.

Crowds were expected to swell after Friday prayers in Tahrir Square — the focal point of anti-government protests that toppled Mubarak — where hundreds of military police in red berets were already positioned.

A military band in full dress uniform was playing patriotic music to the cheers of the adoring crowd.

Activists ratcheted up pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, that took power when Mubarak stepped down on February 11, by calling for a massive march in Cairo to commemorate the uprising’s martyrs and press for the release of detainees.

The Coalition of the Revolution Youth, which groups pro-democracy movements that helped launch the revolt, have called for the gathering to “remember the martyrs of freedom and dignity and justice,” after at least 365 were killed and 5,500 injured in the protests, according to the health ministry.

The coalition has vowed to keep up the pressure to ensure the rest of its political demands are met, including the “immediate release of all detainees,” it said in statement posted on Facebook.

Hundreds of people went missing during the protests, rights groups said, blaming the army which they also accused of torture.

Gamal Eid, a lawyer who heads the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said: “There are hundreds of detained, but information on their numbers is still not complete ... The army was holding detainees.”

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February638.xml&section=middleeast

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Egypt says finds fourth stolen Pharaonic treasure

18 February 2011

CAIRO - Egyptian antiquities authorities have recovered a statue of the renegade Pharaoh Akhenaten that was stolen along with eight other items during protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak.

Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass said this week thieves had broken into the Egyptian Museum on Jan. 28 and taken eight treasures from the periods of Pharaohs Tutankhamun and Akhenaten but that three of them had been recovered.

A statement from Hawass’ ministry said a protester had found the 7 centimetre (2.8 inch) long limestone statue lying on the ground outside the museum in central Cairo during the demonstrations.

Hawass, promoted to the level of minister of state in a cabinet reshuffle during Mubarak’s final days in office, is under fire from the archaeological community over the thefts. He told Reuters on Feb. 9 that no artefacts had been stolen.

Egypt’s Pharaonic sites and antiquities are a key attraction for tourists. Tourism receipts are one of Egypt’s most important revenue earners.

Akhenaten, who reigned about 1,350 BC, is famed for having tried to abandon the traditional Egyptian gods and introduce worship centred on the sun disk Aten. He also tried to establish a new capital at Amarnah, 250 km (156 miles) south of Cairo.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February624.xml&section=middleeast

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Egypt military junta launches Facebook page

18 February 2011

CAIRO— Egypt’s new military rulers have launched their own Facebook page to better communicate with the youth who used the social networking site to organise protests that drove Hosni Mubarak from power.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces dedicated the page “to the sons and youth of Egypt who ignited the January 25 revolution and to its martyrs.”

It said the page was established by the head of the council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who felt that “fruitful cooperation in the coming period with the honourable sons of Egypt would lead to stability and security.”

The military council emphasised it did not have any “political aspirations” and was still committed to a democratic transition to civilian rule, nearly a week after Mubarak stepped down following 30 years of autocratic rule.

The page quickly attracted hundreds of supporters, with some comments welcoming “the heroes of Egypt” to the popular networking site and others saying it should be a forum for dialogue between the people and the military.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February618.xml&section=middleeast

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Logan’s case highlights Egyptian women’s issues

Feb 18, 2011

CAIRO: For a moment, it seemed Egypt wasn’t just throwing off its political shackles. Women long suffering from the scourge of sexual harassment reported Cairo’s Tahrir Square, command central of the uprising, had become a safe zone free of the groping and leering common in their country.

Now the reported attack on a senior US television correspondent during the final night of the 18-day revolt has shown that the threat of violence against women in Egypt remains very real.

CBS has said its chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, went through a “brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” by a frenzied mob in the square during Friday’s celebrations of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

The Associated Press does not name victims of sexual assault unless the victim agrees to be identified.

Logan was released from a US hospital and was recovering Wednesday in her Washington-area home, as her story raised issues often left unaddressed in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, a White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity said President Barack Obama spoke with Logan on the telephone without disclosing details of the conversation.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/article268804.ece

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US readying $150 mn in aid to Egypt

February 18th, 2011

Washington: The US is preparing up to $150 million in aid for Egypt as the country grapples with economic problems following protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Thursday.

The money will be used to assist Egypt through a democratic transition and in the economic recovery following nearly three weeks of protests, Clinton said.

"It's very clear that there's a great deal of work ahead to ensure an orderly, democratic transition," Clinton said.

"It's also clear that Egypt will be grappling with immediate and long-term economic challenges. The US stands ready to provide assistance to Egypt to advance its efforts."

Egypt is already one of the largest recipients of US aid, taking in about $1.5 billion annually - most of it in the form of military assistance.

Mubarak, a longtime US ally, resigned the presidency February 11, ending his 30-year rule.

US Undersecretary of State William Burns and senior White House adviser David Lipton will travel next week to Cairo to consult with Egyptian officials to identify possible uses for the money, Clinton said.

"These funds will give us flexibility to respond to Egyptian needs moving forward," Clinton said.

Full report at: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/international/us-readying-150-mn-aid-egypt-817

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After hurling abuses at India, Pak media silent on Rahat issue

New Age Islam News Bureau

Probably realising that hurling abuses at India on the Rahat Fateh Ali Khan detention issue might go against the singer, they have become silent. Earlier, the Pak media went overboard coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories whereas the truth was that Indian government intervened on the request of the Pakistani government facilitating  the singer’s release. The Urdu print media was particularly critical and even abusive while discussing the issue. Some of the columnists had even used derogatroy phrases for Indian people though it was a legal issue and had nothing to do with the common masses. However, the Indian agencies have extended the investigations to five other cities where Rahat had done concerts.

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Urdu Persian Arabic University to be named after Kanshi Ram

New Age Islam News Bureau

Lucknow: The Urdu-Persian-Arabic University will be named after founder of BSP Kanshi Ram and a bench will be set up in the name of renowned Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpurin in Gorakhpur University. A bill has been passed in the Assembly to this effect. The Firaq Benc had to be announced by the Education Minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi when the BJP objected to the naming of Arabic Persian Urdu Universtiy after Kanshi Ram. The BJP had demanded that the Urdu University be named after Firaq Gorakhpuri.

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SRK's documentary on Mughal-E-Azam

Kunal M Shah

Feb 18, 2011

On the first floor of Shah Rukh Khan's house Mannat, lies something he wouldn't trade for gold. It's a film camera.

Not too many people know that the actor owns the original camera on which his favourite film Mughal-E-Azam (1960) was shot. Khan is a self-proclaimed fan of the classic and has now finished making a documentary on it.

SRK has always been in awe of K. Asif's direction in the film. Not only has Khan produced the film under his banner Red Chilies, he has also played the sutradhaar of this documentary.

A source from the production house said, "SRK is a huge fan of the film. He is extremely close to K. Asif's son Akbar Asif, who resides in London. Every time they meet, they have long discussions over the film."

During one of these discussions, Akbar Asif apparently expressed the desire to pay a tribute to his father and make a documentary on the classic.

SRK immediately told him that he loved the idea and that he would produce it for him. SRK also volunteered to be an anchor for the documentary.

The 40-minute-long documentary is now ready and SRK will hold a grand launch for it soon, we are told.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/SRKs-documentary-on-Mughal-E-Azam/articleshow/7519880.cms#ixzz1EIrWm5VX

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U.S. Tries to Head Off Vote Against Israeli Settlements

By DAVID E. SANGER

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration was trying Thursday evening to head off an imminent vote in the United Nations Security Council that would declare Israel’s settlement construction in the West Bank illegal, but would not declare publicly whether it was prepared to veto the resolution.

The vote is scheduled for Friday.

President Obama called President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on Thursday in an effort to delay the vote or offer a compromise, at what administration officials called a critical moment in the Middle East. Advisers to Mr. Abbas are scheduled to meet early Friday, the Palestinian Authority said, to decide whether they would continue to press for the vote.

The administration has been offering compromise suggestions in an effort to head off the embarrassing choice between vetoing the resolution — after the Obama administration has criticized Israel’s settlement policy for the past two years — or allowing the split between the United States and Israel to deepen.

The new White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said Thursday that he would not say whether the United States would invoke its rarely used veto power in the Council. He said that the United States did not “accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” which he called “corrosive not only to peace efforts and a two-state solution, which we strongly support, but to Israel’s future itself.”

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/world/middleeast/18israel.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

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260 passengers in narrow escape at Madinah airport

Feb 17, 2011

JEDDAH: Passengers on board a Saudia flight from Indonesia had a narrow escape on Wednesday night when two of the engines on their Boeing 747 reportedly caught fire after landing at Madinah's Prince Muhammad International Airport.

According to sources at the airline, the aircraft was going too fast when it turned off the runway. It tipped to the side and the wing struck the ground, wrecking two other jets on the tarmac.

The 260 passengers on board the Saudia aircraft were rescued and taken to the terminal.

None of the passengers on board flight SV817 was hurt. However, eyewitnesses reported that some of the passengers experienced panic attacks. The flight, which had originated in Jakarta, had made a stopover in Riyadh before flying on to Madinah.

Khaled Al-Khaibari, spokesman for the General Authority of Civil Aviation, said that the Saudia Jumbo jet had landed in Madinah at 8.30 p.m. Wednesday after coming from Riyadh.

He confirmed that no injuries had been logged.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article268913.ece

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Israelis kill three Palestinians

By HISHAM ABU TAHA

Feb 17, 2011

GAZA: Three Palestinian civilians were shot dead by Israeli forces in northern Gaza before dawn on Thursday, witnesses and medical sources said.

Adham Abu Selmia, a Health Ministry official for the Hamas-run emergency services, told reporters that ambulances brought the bodies of three Palestinian fishermen who were killed overnight by Israeli fire near Beit Lahiya refugee camp while they working with their nets on the shore.

He identified the three as Jihad Khalaf, 20, Talaat Al-Rawagh, 25, and Ashraf Al-Qetifan, 29. Abu Selmia added that the three men died after being hit by a tank shell and machine gunfire in Al-Waha village.

Initial reports said the Israeli army backed by combat helicopters shot the three while they were digging for gravel. Later, medics and relatives who came to the hospital to receive the bodies for burial confirmed they were fishermen.

A spokesman for the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — a small group that only rarely carries out attacks — sent a text message to reporters claiming one of the men as a member of the group and said he had been killed “during a mission carried out by our military wing.” The message from the spokesman, Abu Khaled, did not claim the other two men as members.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article268933.ece

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World Cup: 'Thackeray to decide if Indo-Pak final in Mumbai'

Feb 18, 2011

Two days ahead of the ICC World Cup, a senior Shiv Sena leader has put a question mark on any final match which involves Pakistan.

"You all know Sena chief Bal Thackeray's views. If the Pakistan team reaches the final (scheduled in Mumbai), whether to allow them to play, the Sena chief will decide," Joshi said here today.

"Thackeray will decide (whether to allow Pak team to play or not)," Joshi, whose party has been vehemently opposing cricket ties between the two neighbours, for Pakistan's 'support to terrorism in India', told reporters.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker's statement comes a day after Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said a possible duel with India in the World Cup final would be ideal for the tournament and a boost to international cricket, drawing billions of viewers.

Arch-rivals Pakistan and India are in separate groups of the 14-team World Cup, jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and starts on February 19.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/world-cup-thackeray-to-decide-if-indopak-final-in-mumbai/751298/

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5 killed in Bahrain crackdown

Feb 18, 2011

The Bahrain military, backed by tanks and armoured personnel carriers, took control of most of this capital on Thursday, hours after hundreds of heavily armed riot police officers fired shotguns, tear gas and concussion grenades to break up a pro-democracy camp inspired by the tumult swirling across the Middle East.

Soldiers took up positions on foot, controlled traffic and told demonstrators that any further protests would be banned. The intervention came after police, without warning, rushed into Pearl Square in the early hours of the morning, in a crackdown on demonstrators who were sleeping there as part of a widening protest against the nation’s absolute monarchy.

At least five people died, some of them reportedly killed in their sleep with scores of shotgun pellets to the face and chest, according to a witness and three doctors who received the dead and at least 200 wounded at a hospital here.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/5-killed-in-bahrain-crackdown/751475/

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Military deployed in Bahrain clampdown

Feb 18, 2011

MANAMA: Bahrain's military deployed armoured vehicles in the centre of Manama and vowed to restore order on Thursday after a violent police raid on anti-regime protesters left four people dead and scores wounded.

Enraged by the brutal crackdown, the largest Shia opposition bloc said it was planning to quit Parliament while angry protesters gathered outside a hospital where victims are being treated to chant anti-regime slogans.

Concerned that events in Bahrain could destabilise the entire region, Arab Foreign Ministers of the Gulf monarchies were to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday in Manama, said Bahrain's Foreign Ministry.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/18/stories/2011021866012100.htm

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LeT has acquired lethal capabilities: US intelligence chief

Feb 18, 2011

Concerned that Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Toiba is expanding horizons, a top US security official has said the terror group has acquired capabilities to launch a Mumbai-type terrorist strike in Europe and other parts of the world.

Any fresh strike by the group in India or anywhere else would hurt US national security interest and its counter-terrorism interests in the region, Michael Leiter, Director of the National Counter-terrorism Center told lawmakers.

Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Pak-based LeT has enough capabilities to launch a Mumbai-type terrorist strike in Europe and other parts of the world.

"What we have not yet seen is a history of them doing so. We are certainly concerned by some indicators we see of them expanding their horizons beyond the region.

Certainly they have the capacity – it's a large organisation," he said.

The US intelligence chief comments came as a powerful lawmaker took Pakistan's Inter Services (ISI) to task for not handing over to India, those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/let-has-acquired-lethal-capabilities-us-intelligence-chief/751332/

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Iran’s Suez move lifts Egypt diplomatic strain

Feb 18, 2011

CAIRO: The cancellation of plans by two Iranian naval vessels to pass through the strategic Suez Canal removed on Thursday a potential foreign policy headache for the new military rulers struggling to get Egypt back on its feet.

The Higher Military Council that took over after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, was under pressure on Thursday from pro-democracy activists who want the immediate release of political prisoners and the lifting of emergency rule.

Its top priorities after suspending the constitution are restoring law and order and reviving the economy, which was damaged by the 18-day revolution, but the issue of the Iranian warships had threatened to become a distraction.

Israel’s foreign minister had called the proposed passage a “provocation,” and its go-ahead could have put Egypt, a key ally of the United States which has a peace treaty with Israel, in an awkward diplomatic position.

The Suez Canal Authority was “informed today about the cancellation of two scheduled trips of two Iranian warships and no new date was set to cross the Suez,” an official, who declined to be named, said.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article268956.ece

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Angry Iraqis hold rally

Feb 18, 2011

BAGHDAD: Hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators massed Thursday in the southern city of Basra to demand the local governor’s ouster while protesters elsewhere stormed a local government building, the latest examples of the anger sweeping the country over poor government services and high unemployment.

About 600 people gathered in front of the Basra provincial headquarters, facing off against police who were protecting the building. With the exception of some pushing and shoving, witnesses said the protest was largely peaceful.

“We are demanding that the Basra governor be fired because he has not done anything good for Basra,” said Mohammed Ali Jasim, a 50-year-old father of nine who came out to the protest in Iraq’s second-largest city, 550 km southeast of Baghdad.

In Nasir, 270 km south of Baghdad, dozens of angry protesters stormed into the municipal building, setting fire to it, a police official in the provincial capital of Nasiriyah said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article268955.ece

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Bangladeshis party at World Cup opening gala

By NIZAM AHMED

Feb 17, 2011

DHAKA: Bangladeshis cast aside their usual docile and reserved image on Thursday and proudly displayed their sporting passion at the gala opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup later in the capital.

The $30 million jamboree, jointly organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), was opened by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after captains from the 14 participating nations were paraded around the Bangabandhu National Stadium on traditional cycle rickshaws.

Outside, on the often chaotic and jam-packed Dhaka roads, traffic was relatively light with the government declaring Thursday a half-day public holiday to allow people to watch the dazzling opening ceremony.

"We feel greatly privileged to co-host the cricket extravaganza in our beautiful country," Hasina told the crowd.

"I congratulate my cricket-loving countrymen for their great enthusiasm and cooperation to make this event a grand success.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/sports/article268792.ece

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Two Egyptian workers killed in Makkah workshop blaze

By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA

Feb 17, 2011

MAKKAH: Two Egyptian workers choked to death after inhaling toxic plumes from a fire in a furniture workshop on Haj Street behind the Dawas market in Makkah.

Five Civil Defense teams worked Thursday morning to prevent the fire from spreading to more than 50 nearby workshops. The two dead men were the only people inside the workshop at the time of the fire.

According to spokesman of the police Brig. Gen. Ali Al-Muntasheri, gallons of paint and other inflammable substances kept at the entrance of the workshop exacerbated the intensity of the fire and the toxicity of the smoke. The cause of the fire was still being investigated.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article268904.ece

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Two killed in Iraqi Kurdistan protest

Feb 17, 2011

SULAIMANIYAH: Two protesters were killed on Thursday when security forces fired into the air to disperse an anti-government march in Sulaimaniyah, in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, a doctor said. “We have received two dead bodies, both of which received gunshots, and are treating more than 47 other people,” said the doctor in Sulaimaniyah province’s health department, on condition of anonymity. He said the two protesters killed were men aged 18 and 25. All of the other casualties were also male, but he did not give further details. The protesters had been attempting to storm the local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of regional president Massud Barzani, prompting security forces to fire into the air to disperse the crowd. Nearly 3,000 people, the majority of them younger than 30, marched towards the headquarters of the KDP and the PUK of Jalal Talabani, the two parties that have lorded over the autonomous region for decades. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\18\story_18-2-2011_pg4_2

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Abbas holds urgent talks ahead of settler vote

18 February 2011

President Mahmud Abbas called an urgent session of the Palestinian leadership on Friday after a top-level US bid to halt an appeal to the UN Security Council over settlements.

Abbas was to convene members of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the central committee of his Fatah movement for talks in the evening, just hours ahead of a Security Council vote in New York, officials said.

The meeting was called in the wake of a late-night phone conversation between Abbas and US President Barack Obama in which they spoke about the vote on a resolution condemning Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem and calling for them to be halted.

Full report at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/February/middleeast_February635.xml&section=middleeast

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=4146

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • One man's blood wrought the end of the Arab dictatorship. Now all the Arab countries have started taking steps for the welfare of the people.


    By Ghyasuddin Sheikh - 2/18/2011 8:01:57 AM



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