Allawi edges ahead of al-Maliki in Iraq vote count
Iraq PM's bloc set to be biggest: latest results
Pak's Hindu MPs furious with terror allegations
Naif calls Al-Qaeda Khawarij
LeT not yet on Pak's radar: US Gen
‘Osama will never be caught alive’
Indonesian militants recruit fighters in video
Israel must prove it is committed to the Mideast peace process: Hillary
Pan-Islamic body accuses Israel of dragging Mideast into "religious war"
Muslim burials in Switzerland: tempest in teapot or racist issue?
IslamOnline staff protests curbs on 'editorial independence'
Hizbul chief rants jihad against India
Bareilly limps back to normal
Headley relatives knew 26/11 plans, says NIA
SIMI office to remain sealed, orders Delhi court
Niqab cartoon fuels debate on Muslim woman’s status
Aga Khan's Islamic treasures go on show in Berlin
FBI takes to Facebook, Twitter to fight crime
Karzai 'very angry' over Taliban commander's arrest
US missile strike kills 11 in Pakistan
Militants strike Lal Chowk again; 3 killed in Valley
Mysterious hiccups afflict Pak women
Bangla, India working group on boundary to meet soon: Moni
Bangladesh Army Chief visits Ladakh
Britain fails to get China nod on Iran
Zardari okays law to slash Prez powers
Pune blast a blot, advisories ignored: Chidambaram
Yemen Houthi rebels in the north 'release 178 captives'
Iranian police arrest 50 people at traditional festival
US, Israel push to end row over East Jerusalem building
Five Americans on terror charges in Sargodha, Pakistan
Three arrests over Sahil Saeed kidnap and ransom demand
Uganda's Kasubi royal tombs gutted by fire
Don't expect miracles from India-Pakistan dialogue: Antony
Deaths of Afghan civilians force US to rein in troops
Staff resist 'hijacking' of popular Islamic website
Halal food served for Islamic delegates, newsmen
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Suicide attackers killed in Afghanistan
Mar 17, 2010
Kabul -- Two suicide attackers, dressed as women, stormed a relief agency in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday and were killed by police before they could detonate their explosives.
The attempted attack occurred at an office of International Relief and Development in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, the Interior Ministry said.
The attackers entered the building, started shooting at security guards and were fatally shot. They were wearing burqas -- Islamic clothing that covers women from head to toe.
One member of the relief agency was injured, said Dawoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for Helmand province's governor.
17 March 2010
Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's bloc has edged ahead of the coalition led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Iraq's parliamentary vote, election officials announced.
Iraq's parliament, the Council of Representatives, will choose a new government once seated.
Allawi's al-Iraqia bloc was ahead of al-Maliki's State of Law coalition by about 9,000 votes of the more than 4.2 million cast for the two leading slates.
But al-Maliki's bloc continues to hold a lead in the expected number of seats in Iraq's parliament, because the prime minister is ahead in some of the largest provinces.
State of Law still leads in seven of Iraq's 18 provinces, including two of the largest -- Baghdad, where 68 of the new parliament's 325 seats are up for grabs; and Basra, with 24 seats at stake.
Allawi's coalition led in five predominantly Sunni provinces, including Nineveh, with 31 seats.
The latest figures from the Independent High Electoral Commission are based on about 80 percent of the votes cast in Iraq in the March 7 election.
Still to be counted are the remainder of those ballots, plus votes from the country's army and police force, prisoners and hospital patients, and 270,000-plus votes from Iraqis living abroad.
The mostly Shiite Iraqi National Alliance was ahead in three provinces, according to the electoral commission.
The coalition is backed by the country's predominantly Shiite neighbor, Iran, and includes controversial secular politician Ahmed Chalabi, as well as some of Iraq's top Shiite religious parties -- including followers of radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
An alliance of Iraq's major Kurdish parties led in the three majority-Kurdish provinces in northeastern Iraq.
About 6,200 candidates from more than 80 political entities were on the ballot for seats in parliament.
Millions of Iraqis defied the threat of violence to cast ballots, with nearly two out of three eligible voters turning out. At least 38 people were killed in attacks on voting day.
Lawmakers belonging to Pakistan's minority Hindu community walked out of Parliament to protest a top judge's remarks that Hindus might be financing terrorist attacks in the country.
Ramesh Lal, a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan People's Party, raised the issue in the National Assembly on Tuesday, saying the sentiments of an estimated four million Pakistani Hindus were hurt by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif's uncalled for remarks.
While hearing a petition on barring the deportation of Afghan Taliban leaders on Monday, Justice Sharif rebutted arguments by a lawyer that US security firm Blackwater and Hindus were involved in terrorist attacks and remarked that "Muslims and not Hindus are involved in terror acts in Pakistan."
He had contended that Hindus "might be the financiers" of such attacks.
Lal said if a country was suspected of sponsoring such attacks it should be named but blame should not be put on the Hindus who were as patriotic as other Pakistanis.
He drew the attention of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to the worry caused to Hindus by the judge's remarks and appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to take suo moto notice of the matter.
Some ministers and lawmakers sought to assuage the feelings of Lal but he was not satisfied and walked out of the House.
Lal was joined by other Hindu lawmakers and members of the Awami National Party in the walk out, described as the first protest in parliament against the judiciary.
March 16, 2010
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bloc looked likely to form parliament's single largest grouping Tuesday, after results showed the incumbent had strengthened his hold on key Baghdad province.
Maliki's success in the capital, which accounts for more than twice as many seats as any other province, builds on his lead in seven provinces overall, and is a major boost for his bid to retain the top job.
Maliki's main rival, secular ex-premier Iyad Allawi, leads in five provinces, with two-thirds of votes having been counted nationwide.
The election -- the second since Saddam Hussein was ousted in the US-led invasion of 2003 -- comes less than six months before the United States is set to withdraw all of its combat troops from Iraq.
Preliminary results, based on 60 percent of ballots counted in Baghdad, showed Maliki's State of Law Alliance held a 65,000-vote lead over Allawi's Iraqiya bloc with the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition of Shiite religious groups, a distant third.
Maliki, a Shiite who has sought to portray himself as the man who restored Iraq's security, also holds leads in the oil-rich province of Basra, the third-biggest in Iraq, as well as five other predominantly Shiite provinces south of Baghdad.
Despite the State of Law's success, however, analysts have cautioned that rival political groupings could still manoeuvre to form a coalition government without it.
While the State of Law has said it has established a committee to enter talks with blocs to form a government, Intisar Allawi, a senior Iraqiya candidate, said on Monday the grouping had held its own talks with the INA and the main Kurdish bloc, which she described as "very good and positive."
Iraq's proportional representation system makes it unlikely that any single group will clinch the 163 seats needed to form a government on its own, and protracted coalition building is likely.
Opposition groups have alleged fraud in the election and the count, but Maliki dismissed the claims in televised remarks to Iraq's National Security Council broadcast late on Sunday, his first public appearance since his office announced on Thursday that he had undergone surgery for an unspecified ailment.
Election officials have also downplayed allegations of fraud.
Faraj al-Haidari, head of the national election commission, told reporters the number of complaints in the general election was less than half those filed during provincial polls in January 2009.
Vote tallies have so far been released to chaotic scenes at the commission's data entry centre in Baghdad's Green Zone, with several provinces often published at once onto a single television screen, usually leaving some out of view, sparking shouts of anger from assembled journalists and observers.
Figures released on Monday showed Allawi, a Shiite Arab like Maliki, was narrowly ahead in the northern oil province of Kirkuk, defying predictions of a win for the Kurdish bloc which wants to incorporate Kirkuk into autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in the north.
Related article: Protracted vote count sparks fraud claims Iraqiya is also leading in Nineveh, Iraq's second-largest province around the main northern city of Mosul, as well as the mostly Sunni provinces of Anbar, Diyala and Salaheddin.
The INA, meanwhile, is ahead in three Shiite southern provinces while Kurdistania, an alliance of the two main Kurdish former rebel factions, was ahead in all three of Kurdistan's provinces.
Security officials have expressed concern a lengthy period of coalition building could give insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda an opportunity to further destabilise Iraq.
Their worries were illustrated when a double-blast suicide bomber targeting a military checkpoint and labourers killed eight people and wounded 28 other civilians on Monday, in Fallujah in Anbar province.
TUNIS: Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif condemned Al-Qaeda militants on Tuesday for killing innocent people the world over. "They opened fronts against the Muslim Ummah, weakening its capabilities and supporting its enemies," he said while addressing a meeting of Arab interior ministers.
He described the militants as “Khawarij” (those who went out of the fold) for going against the views of the Muslim nation and its leaders. "They called Muslims and Muslim rulers infidels," he said, underlining the efforts of the Kingdom's security and educational institutions to protect Saudi people from deviant thoughts.
Prince Naif, who is honorary president of the Arab Interior Ministers Council, said the two-day meeting that opened Tuesday will discuss a draft of the Arab intellectual security strategy. He said such a strategy was essential to strengthen the security of Arab countries.
He underscored the council's achievements in setting strategic plans to combat terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking, and ensuring traffic safety and civilian protection. "These achievements deserve the appreciation of not only Arab governments but also Arab people," he said.
Full report at:
Washington: Terror outfits like LeT are not yet on the radar of the Pakistani establishment and the need to take action against the organisation blamed for Mumbai attacks has been Washington's "source of dialogue" with Islamabad, a top US General has said.
General David Petraeus, Commander of US Central Command, said elements like Lashkar-e-Taiba are not yet on the radar of Pakistan, "which is waging a serious war against terrorism in the tribal areas of the country bordering Afghanistan, in particular the Taliban and Al Qaeda."
Appearing before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen Petraeus said the entire Obama Administration has had quite a bit of interaction with the government of Pakistan over LeT after the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including Americans.
"Obviously India has expressed its concerns as well (on LeT)," he said in reply to a question. The rise of LeT and the need to take action against it has been a "source of dialogue" with Pakistani authorities, he said.
Banda Aceh, Indonesia: From the safety of a forest camp, a commander of a new Indonesian militant group looks into a camera and ridicules the notorious extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah: They are not violent enough, come and join us, he shouts, an automatic rifle in one hand.
The emergence of the previously unknown group calling itself al-Qaida in Aceh shows how Southeast Asian militants are adapting even amid a Western-funded crackdown that began following the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and has taken out scores of top leaders.
The group's criticism of Jemaah Islamiyah is further evidence of the split in Indonesian extremist networks between militants supporting al-Qaida-style attacks inside the country and those who believe such attacks hurt the longer-term aim of establishing a Muslim state in Southeast Asia.
The speech is contained on a 75-minute training, recruitment and propaganda video obtained by The Associated Press from a person not affiliated with the militant group. It contains scenes of about 15 militants exercising on monkey bars, shooting automatic weapons and preaching in a makeshift camp in the western province of Aceh that was raided last month by anti-terrorist police.
Washington: Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will never face trial in the United States because he will not be captured alive, Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers.
During a heated exchange with Republican congressmen, Holder predicted that "we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden" rather than to the US public enemy number one in captivity.
"Let's deal with reality," the attorney general added. Bin Laden "will never appear in an American courtroom."
Holder reacted angrily to Republican critics who say the attorney general's proposal to try terror suspects in US federal civilian courts would put Americans at risk.
"They have the same rights that a Charles Manson would have, any other kind of mass murderer," he told a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing yesterday.
"The notion that a defendant in an Article III (civilian) court is somehow being treated in an inappropriate, special way -- that he's being coddled, is anything but the truth... These defendants charged with murder are treated just like any other murder defendant would be."
Republican Representative John Culberson said Holder's analogy to Manson, a convicted killer, showed President Barack Obama's administration has a profound disconnect with an American public that wants the terror suspects to be tried as war criminals and not as criminal defendants.
Israel must prove it is committed to the Mideast peace process: Hillary Clinton
Tensions ran high in Jerusalem on Tuesday while Washington waits for Israel's response to demands raised by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that could help defuse the diplomatic crisis with the United States.
Clinton's demands include the cancellation of the Ramat Shlomo construction project in East Jerusalem, which was announced during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region last week.
She also wants goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians and a public declaration by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his willingness to discuss the conflict's core issues in the framework of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
A State Department spokesman said Tuesday night that the United States expects an official response from Israel soon. He said Clinton and Netanyahu may speak by phone as early as Wednesday. Netanyahu is expected to deliver Israel's official response to Clinton during that conversation.
Full report at: Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.
Riyadh. A pan-Islamic body accused Israel of trying to drag the Middle East into a religious war after the Jewish state inaugurated on Monday a restored historic synagogue in the Old City in East Jerusalem, not far from the third holiest site for Islam, al-Aqsa Mosque, Xinhua News Agency informed.
Organization of Islamic Conference Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu "renews his call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in pre-empting Israel from dragging the region into a religious war by continuing its blatant assault on the sanctity of Muslims," the Jeddah-based body said in a statement.
Full report at: FOCUS News Agency
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The staff of Cairo-based IslamOnline website have gone on strike following a move by the site's management to restrict "editorial independence." he site was plunged into chaos after its bosses in Qatar decided to take control of its content from editorial offices in Egypt.
The move is likely to result in loss of 350 jobs at the website, which draws over 120,000 visitors per day.
Angry staff sans the move was an effort by conservative elements in the Gulf to mute the media outlet, which has a reputation for voicing liberal and reformist voices in the Islamic world.
"This is not an issue of money. It's a matter of editorial independence and media ethics, and we are not going to back down. They are trying to hijack IslamOnline, and we are resisting," The Guardian quoted journalist Fathi Abu Hatab as saying.
The protesters urged the Egyptian Government to stop the conservative management from imposing a new editorial policy on it.
"We call on the Egyptian Government to interfere in order to stop this plan and solve our problem with the Qatari owners," one striker said.slamOnline has gained popularity among Muslims since it was started in the late 1990s.
So far, it has enjoyed a degree of independence from the political and religious. (ANI)
Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Swiss media and Muslim leaders have been mixed in their reaction to the announcement over the weekend by one Muslim cleric that he wants to see Switzerland have a federal solution to burials that requires every canton to have its own Muslim cemetery.
Farhad Afshar, president of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, told newspaper Sonntag that he is planning a legal case to protect freedom of religion, that would ensure each canton has a Muslim cemetery.
The issue is not new: in 1998 Switzerland had no Muslim cemeteries and 2.2 percent of the population was Muslim, but negotiations began in several cities and towns after the issue was raised in the early 1990s. The Muslim population has grown to about 5 percent of the total Swiss population (estimated at 400,000 out of 7.7 million), and Switzerland now has nine communes with Muslim cemeteries. Geneva created one in 2007. (Ed. note: unofficial figures)
There are four Jewish cemeteries in Switzerland to meet similar religious requirements for separate burial.
Right-wing UDC party’s outspoken Oskar Freysinger promptly denounced Afshar’s move, repeating a frequent UDC political line that Muslims in the country want to create a parallel world rather than integrating.
Less colourful but possibly with greater impact in Switzerland, other Muslim leaders said that Afshar’s approach makes little sense, since burial problems are generally resolved but at the local level in Switzerland. Several leaders and scholars interviewed by swissinfo said that discussions and negotiations with local communities should be undertaken before trying to impose a law, which is not a typical approach to problem-solving in Switzerland.
Switzerland does not have one group that represents the diverse groups of Muslims in the country, but several, including the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland and Inter-Knowing Foundation. Shortly before the November 2009 vote against building new minarets a new voice has been added: the Central Islamic Council.
The Swiss federal government has met twice with representatives of the Muslim community since the November vote, to discuss issues and seek solutions.
By Ashraf Wani in Srinagar
HIZBUL Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin has been caught on camera at a terror launch pad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, exhorting his squad of suicide attackers to cross the Line of Control (LoC) and attack the security forces. “Go to India, wage Jihad. You will be fighting in the most inhospitable weather conditions. You will be killed there but your martyrdom will be supreme,” screams Salahuddin, the commander-in-chief of the Pakistanbased terror outfit.
The video accessed exclusively by Headlines Today shows Salahuddin indoctrinating his suicide attackers. They are armed to the teeth, with rocket launchers and Kalashnikov rifles. “The battlefield of Kashmir is no doubt the most difficult of all battlefields. That is why compared to others, the holy war (jihad) in Kashmir will bear you the sweetest fruit,” Salahuddin is seen telling his cadres before they cross the LoC.
Full report at: Mail Today, New Delhi.
March 17, 2010
With the district administration further relaxing curfew in the troubled areas, the situation in Bareilly was limping back to normal on Tuesday.
According to ADG (Crime, Law & order) Brij Lal, finding the situation peaceful on Monday, the Bareilly administration relaxed curfew from 6 am to 2 pm on Tuesday in all the curfew-bound areas.
People in large number came out of their houses for purchases and no untoward incident was reported. Relaxation in evening curfew was under consideration from Wednesday onwards.
Meanwhile, prominent members of both the communities along with some social organisations met the district administration on Tuesday requesting that all academic and other institutions be opened at the earliest so that students did not suffer due to the activities of anti-social elements.
The National Investigation Agency’s probe into the 26/11 attacks has revealed that Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley's close relatives in the US had prior knowledge of his terror plans.
The NIA, which tracked down some of Headley's email accounts and communications with his relatives, has now sought US government’s permission to question his relatives. “Headley had indicated to some of his close relatives in the US and Pakistan about all what he was planning to do,” said a senior NIA official.
“We have shared the evidence with US authorities and requested them to allow us question these persons. The NIA is keen to question at least one of them who seemed to be clearly in know of the plans. We, however, can’t reveal their identities,” the official said.
Earlier, the US had declined India’s request to question Headley. Headley, a US citizen whose original name was Daoud Gilani, was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation in October last year on charges of planning the Mumbai attacks in close coordination with his Pakistan-based handlers.
After arresting Headley, US authorities had visited India and shared the contents of the emails and the probe report with their Indian counterparts.
The NIA official said the agency not only managed to track down many of his email addresses, but also dug out more evidence than the US authorities could. Pakistan’s former and serving Army officers, including Major Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (retd) and Major Sameer Ali were also found to be behind the Mumbai attacks. “Their communications... show that Headley was closely in touch with them before the attacks,” the official said.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea by the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) to de-seal its office premises in the Capital, saying that it cannot be de-sealed till the ban imposed on it is not withdrawn.
Dismissing the plea, Justice S. Muralidhar said: “As long as the petitioner (SIMI) continues to be declared to be an unlawful association, no further justification is necessary to be shown for the premises used by it continuing to remain sealed.”
“As and when the declaration that the organisation is an unlawful association ceases in accordance with the law, the justification for the sealing of premises used by it will also cease,” the Court said.
In its petition, the banned outfit contended as per Section 8 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Centre had no power to seal its premises. It submitted that it could only conduct searches to prevent its activities.
The High Court, however, was not satisfied by its contention and dismissed the plea.
The SIMI was banned in September, 2001 for three years. However, the Centre has been extending the ban since.
A cartoon in a Canadian newspaper depicting a woman in niqab, with the slit near her eyes represented by prison bars and a lock, has triggered a debate on the rights of Muslim women under Constitution of Canada. The editorial cartoon, which appeared in Montreal Gazette last Friday, is based on the incident where a Muslim woman from Quebec was asked to leave a French language school after she refused to remove her niqab.
The cartoonist, Terry Mosher said his intention was to argue against the woman’s stance.
“In the Gazette on Monday, there is actually an editorial in support of the woman, and yet my cartoon is against it,” he said. “So that is part of the discussion and I think that’s a very healthy thing.”
Naïma Atef Amed, a pharmacist of Egyptian-origin, has twice been asked to leave provincially-administered French language classes after she refused to remove her niqab, that covers her head and face and leaves only the eyes exposed.
By GEIR MOULSON
BERLIN — More than 200 items from the Aga Khan's collection of Islamic treasures are going on show in Berlin in an exhibition spanning a millennium and covering half the globe.
A chestnut leaf delicately inscribed with golden calligraphy greets visitors at the start of the show of works collected by the billionaire philanthropist and illustrating the breadth of Islamic culture.
Dating back to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, it is one of the newest pieces presented Tuesday at the Martin Gropius Bau gallery. Exhibits date back as far as a green-glazed pilgrim's flask from the 7th or 8th century.
Organizers hope "to present to our western public the pluralism of the Islamic cultures," Luis Monreal, the managing director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, told reporters.
"We in general view Islam as a single cultural identity and this is simply a wrong perception, because Islam over 13 centuries has been a religion practiced by a great diversity of people," he said.
16 March 2010
WASHINGTON, March 16: The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too. US law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal justice department document that offers a tantalising glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting.
Think you know who’s behind that “friend” request? Think again. Your new “friend” just might be the FBI.
The document, obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, makes clear that US agents are already logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target’s friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips. Among other purposes: Investigators can check suspects’ alibis by comparing stories told to the police with tweets sent at the same time about their whereabouts.
Kabul : The Afghan government was holding secret talks with the Taliban's No 2 when he was captured in Pakistan, and the arrest infuriated President Hamid Karzai, according to one of Karzai's advisers.
The detention of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar -- second in the Taliban only to one-eyed Mullah Mohammed Omar – has raised new questions about whether the US is willing to back peace discussions with leaders who harbored the terrorists behind the September 11 attacks.
Karzai was "very angry" when he heard that the Pakistanis had picked up Baradar with an assist from US intelligence, the adviser said. Besides the ongoing talks, he said Baradar had "given a green light" to participating in a three-day peace jirga that Karzai is hosting next month.
Other Afghan officials, including Abdul Ali Shamsi, security adviser to the governor of Helmand province, also confirmed talks between Baradar and the Afghan government. Several media reports have suggested that Baradar had been in touch with Karzai representatives, but these are the first details to emerge from the discussions.
Islamabad: A US missile attack on Tuesday killed 11 alleged militants in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said, reports our Pakistan correspondent.
Security officials said that a drone aircraft fired missiles into North Waziristan region, killing 11.
This was the latest such strike on a major Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary. The attack targeted a militant compound in the Datta Kheil area in North Waziristan’s main town of Miranshah.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a militant and a security man were killed and several others injured in a shootout with security forces in the tribal Atta Khel area. Officials said three militants were also arrested.
In Lahore, on Tuesday, the police conducted raid at a shop in Sabzi Mandi in Iqbal town of Lahore and captured 80 bags of explosives.
A counter-insurgent policeman and two civilians died while seven persons were injured in two separate militant attacks at Srinagar and Sopore in Kashmir on Wednesday. While the second strike in the city in past four days is indicative of militants’ renewed strategy to target the capital, north Kashmir’s Sopore town is emerging as the toughest hotspot for security forces.
Sources said unknown hitmen appeared in Kokerbazar locality of Lal Chowk and fired indiscriminately with automatic weapons. A CRPF party was the target. However, three civilians and two CRPF men were hit, leading to panic among hundreds of shoppers and pedestrians.
The injured were immediately rushed to Shri Maharaja Harisingh Hos-pital, where salesman Khurshid Parray succumbed to his injuries.
Security forces immediately cordoned off the area but the assailants were not tracked down. The highly sensitive area is under round-the-clock vigil, with heavy deployment of security personnel backed by CCTV cameras.
Islamabad: A strange affliction has hit two Pakistani villages with many women reporting ill after hiccupping non-stop.
As many as 20 women started hiccupping mysteriously and four of them had to be hospitalised at the Civil Hospital in the Hyderabad region of southern Sindh province. The women, who hail from two villages in Matiari district, are believed to be relatives.
Women have been hospitalised, but doctors have been unable to diagnose the illness affecting them.
Vowing to make all efforts to maintain peace along its frontier with India, Bangladesh has said a joint working group would meet soon to discuss ways to resolve the border issue.
“The Joint Boundary Working Group (JBWG) of the two countries will meet soon to resolve border disputes” in line with the 1974 Bangladesh-India Land Boundary Agreement, commonly known as Mujib-Indira accord, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told Parliament on Monday. She, however, did not specify probable date for the meeting. Moni told reporters that “we will do everything required at any level to maintain peace on frontiers.”
Her comments came as heavy firing was reported between the border guards of the two countries in which over 1000 shots were traded on Sunday. BDR chief Major General Mainul Islam said he believed that much of the border issue would be resolved at the upcoming meeting of Joint Boundary Working Group.
17 March 2010 03:02
Srinagar, March 16: Bangladesh Army Chief General Mohammad Abdul Mubeen, who is on a six-day visit to India, has visited Ladakh frontier where he was briefed by the officials of Leh-based 14 Corps on the “various commitments of the Indian Army, peculiarities of operating in the extreme high altitude terrain of the Himalayas and the various developmental projects undertaken in the remote Himalayan region.”
Gen. Mubeen, who is accompanied by his wife Ms Begum Syeda Sarifa Khanum and four senior Bangladesh Army officers comprising the delegation, was also scheduled to visit Indian Army’s specialised Siachen battle school and fly over the Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battle field, as was reported by the newspapers earlier.
But it is unclear if he did go there eventually or not as the Army authorities in Jammu as well as Srinagar are silent on it. Although a source said, “Perhaps, he hasn’t.”
India’s claim over the Siachen glacier is questioned by Pakistan and the area has witnessed active hostilities between the facing Armies since 1984 when Indian troops took control of the strategic glacial heights after launching Operation Meghdoot.
Pakistan has made severalmilitary and diplomatic attempts to gain possession of the area in the past. In October 2008, US Army Chief General George Casey was given a tour of the glacier. Defence spokesperson Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said Gen. Mubeen visited the “Fire and Fury Corps” at Leh where he was received by Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh. “The Bangladeshi Army Chief also visited the Hall of Fame and paid homage to the martyrs at the war memorial. He praised the Indian soldiers for carrying out their task with élan while braving hardships of extreme weather. http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5765:bangladesh-army-chief-visits-ladakh-&catid=35:india&Itemid=60
Beijing, March 16: British foreign secretary said on Tuesday his country would work closely with China to resolve the stalemate over Iran’s nuclear programme, but failed to secure any firm backing from Beijing for new sanctions against Iran.
On a mission to China to persuade Beijing to give up its opposition to UN sanctions against Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme, David Miliband said the two countries are “going to work very closely together to achieve it”.
Dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme was “a test for all of us”. “We have a shared goal in ensuring that Iran lives by its commitments under the non-proliferation treaty and we are going to work very closely together to achieve it,” he said after talks with Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi.
New Delhi : Describing the Pune blast as a “blot on our record”, Home Minister P Chidambaram stated in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that there was no intelligence failure.
Chidambaram, who was replying to queries by Shiv Sena member Bhavana Gawali Patil and Supriya Sule during question hour, said, “Despite the intelligence shared, despite the advisories issued, the Pune blast occurred... I regard that as a blot on our record.”
The Home Minister said enough information had been shared with the Maharashtra Government about the terrorist threat.
He said consequently, the Pune Police had issued an advisory to all establishments in the Koregaon Park area of Pune on October 9, 2009. German Bakery manager Praveen Pant had acknowledged the receipt of the advisory. The advisory was repeated in December. However, establishments in the area did not pay any heed to the advisories. These establishments, according to him, had to take their own minimal security measures, which was not done.
Rebels in northern Yemen are reported to have released 178 civilians and government soldiers.
The release comes after the Yemeni government accused the rebels of not fully complying with a ceasefire agreed in February.
The rebels, known as Houthis, had fought Yemeni forces since 2004, until a major offensive by the government last year led to the peace deal.
But the deal is still very fragile because of mistrust on both sides.
Under the terms of the deal, the rebels agreed to free all prisoners.
They also pledged to open up roads and withdraw from government buildings and army posts in the rebel areas in northern Saada province.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8571605.stm
Iranian police say they have arrested 50 people during clashes between opposition supporters and police in Tehran during a new year festival.
The Feast of Fire comes on the eve of the Persian new year, but religious leaders had told Iranians celebrating it was "un-Islamic".
There were a number of clashes between young people and the police across the capital, a Tehran police chief said.
Opposition leaders had told people not to protest during the festival.
The BBC's correspondent Jon Leyne says there is no sign these clashes will widen into a bigger political protest.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8571001.stm
A Jewish Orthodox man walks in the streets of Ramat Shlomo
The row was started by plans for further settlement building
US and Israeli diplomats are trying to bridge divisions over Israeli building plans in occupied East Jerusalem, as clashes in the city subsided.
The Palestinians have pulled out of indirect talks because of the plan.
The US is awaiting Israel's response to its request for gestures to reassure the Palestinians.
Security restrictions have been lifted as clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli security forces on Tuesday died down overnight.
Overnight, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office welcomed comments by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissing claims that US-Israeli ties were in crisis.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8572160.stm
The men were arrested on suspicion of trying to contact militant groups
Five young Americans held in Pakistan on suspicion of plotting attacks have been indicted on terrorism charges, their lawyer has said.
The five men, aged 18 to 25, denied the charges at a court in a jail in the eastern city of Sargodha.
They were arrested in the city in December on suspicion of trying to contact al-Qaeda-linked groups.
The five face life imprisonment if found guilty. Pakistan earlier barred their deportation to the US.
Spanish police have arrested two Pakistani men and a Romanian woman in connection with the ransom demanded for kidnapped British boy Sahil Saeed.
Sahil, five, from Oldham, was taken from his grandmother's house in Jhelum on 3 March, then freed 13 days later.
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid said officers in Constanti, Catalonia, had confirmed the arrests, but said the investigation was still open.
Sahil's return is being organised by the UK High Commission in Pakistan.
He was taken when robbers broke into the house while he and his father were on holiday in the Punjab region to visit relatives.
The tombs of four Ugandan regional kings have been wrecked by fire, sparking protests and claims of arson.
Thousands of people poured on to the streets of Kampala and eyewitnesses said at least one person was killed after security forces opened fire.
Police denied anyone had been hurt and said the cause of the fire was unknown.
The Unesco-listed site housed tombs of kings of the Buganda region. The kingdom has had uneasy relations with the central government recently.
A dispute over territory between King Ronald Mutebi and President Yoweri Museveni led to mass riots late last year.
Eyewitnesses say Mr Museveni tried to visit the Kasubi tombs near Kampala to see the extent of the fire damage, but supporters of the king blocked his convoy.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8571719.stm
PANAJI: Defence Minister A.K Antony on Wednesday said Pakistan "was not taking serious steps" to destroy 42 terror camps on its soil. Stating that India was "exploring all possibilities", Antony also said he did not expect any "miracles" from the dialogue with Pakistan.
"All the terror camps in Pakistan are active. Pakistan has not taken any serious steps to destroy these camps," Antony told a press conference on the sidelines of the launch of Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Vishwast at the port town of Vasco, 30 km from here.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india5694341.cms
KABUL: General Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has brought most American Special Operations forces under his direct control for the first time, out of concern over continued civilian casualties and disorganization among units in the field.
Critics, including Afghan officials, human rights workers and some field commanders of conventional US forces, say Special Operations forces have been responsible for a large number of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and operate by their own rules.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/ 5692128.cms
March 18, 2010
CAIRO: The future of one of the world's largest Islamic websites is in doubt after hundreds of staff went on strike, occupying their office, accusing new managers of trying to hijack the site in order to promote a hardline, conservative agenda.
IslamOnline, which draws more than 120,000 visitors a day and is one of the most popular internet destinations in the Middle East, was plunged into crisis after an attempt by senior management in Qatar to wrest control of the site's content away from its editorial offices in Cairo.
Insiders claim the move, which would involve many of the site's 350 Egypt-based staff losing their jobs, is part of a broader effort by conservative elements in the Gulf to reshape the identity of a media outlet long viewed as a bastion of liberal and reformist voices within the Islamic world.
Full report at: http://www.smh.com.au/technology20100317-qfqo.html
Manila, PNA -- To cater to the gastronomic needs of Islamic delegates, organizers of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting (SNAMMM) in Manila said they are serving Halal food for them.
Halal products are food and non-food items sanctioned under Islamic law as ritually fit to be sold or served to Muslims.
Conference Spokesman Claro Cristobal said the organizers have instructed Via Mare Restaurant, the official caterer of the event, to serve halal food for the Islamic delegates from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Full report at: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&r=&y=&mo=&fi=p100317.htm&no=85