Yemen: Women fight for their husband’s release from jail
Over 100 Hindu families in Pak want to migrate to India
Iran stoning woman plans to sue German reporters
Pasban lights Asia’s largest torch for Aafia
Gilani live: India, Pak can’t afford wars
An Egyptian Muslim apology to Christians
Hindu and terrorism are contradictory words: RSS chief
The mosque in Fazilka was freed from encroachers by Majlis-e-Ahrar
Israel extends ban on immigration through marriage
Fauzia Ahmed Noman: Yemen Times Person of the Year 2010
A spot- on gadget that can pinpoint Taliban snipers
India to be given key UNSC role in fight against terrorism
UN Secretary General condemns Egypt bomb attack
Egypt top cleric accuses pope of meddling
Gilani seeks support from PML-Q to save government
Kabul women-only park reopens thanks to USAID
Palestinian killed in cold blood
'Education to Muslims must for development of community'
Ignoring India's concerns, Obama signs 9/11 health care bill
Headley an ISI spy, groomed for 26/11 operation: US report
Bomb blast destroys Nato tanker in Khyber
US to deploy new intelligence drone in Afghanistan: report
Islam Teach Love and Brotherhood
Yemen: Hundreds of Sa’ada prisoners released
Pakistan government reduced to minority
KARACHI: Brutal torture of woman
Figures show over 10,000 died in Afghan violence in 2010
Why US failed to convince Kayani
Worshippers return to bombed Egyptian church
Afghan council to visit Pakistan in quest for peace
Iran shoots down “Western spy” drones
SC admits it violated fundamental rights during Emergency
Malik blames terror to shield army on Benazir death
Iraq gun and bomb attacks kill four, injure 18
Five Arabs held for plotting attacks in Jerusalem stadium
Compulsive hostility will not help, Pakistan told
Pakistan: English-Urdu medical dictionary
First British soldier of 2011 killed in Afghanistan
Expel expats in retail sector to create jobs for Saudis, says economist
Ex-wife files complaint against Adnan
Saudi workingwomen: We don’t squander our wages
Desperate act leads to unrest in Tunisia
Iran’s president fires 14 advisers
Will dawn of new year take Islamic finance to next level?
Bin Laden’s best friends, 30 years ago
India launches Shariah stock index
Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau
Iraqi immigrant to be tried for daughter's death
By AMANDA LEE MYERS
Jan 3rd, 2011
PHOENIX -- A homicide case that drew attention to so-called honor killings moves into the trial phase this month for an Iraqi immigrant accused of killing his daughter because he believed she was too Westernized.
Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 50, faces life in prison if convicted. In October 2009, he slammed his Jeep into Noor Almaleki, 20, prosecutors said.
The woman, who longed to live a normal American life, laid in a coma for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries, which drew outrage from people nationwide.
Faleh Almaleki moved his family from Iraq to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in the mid-1990s. He and Noor Almaleki had a tumultuous relationship, according to police and court records, and her close friends.
At 17, she refused to enter into an arranged marriage in Iraq, enraging her father, according to a court document filed by prosecutors.
At 19, Noor Almaleki moved into her own apartment and began working at a fast food restaurant but quit and left her new place when her parents kept showing up at her work, insisting that she return home, the document said.
Later in 2009, she moved into the home of her boyfriend and his parents, Reikan and Amal Khalaf, shortly after she showed up at their house and said her parents had hit her. Faleh Almaleki regularly harassed his daughter and the Khalafs, once telling Reikan Khalaf that if his daughter didn't move out of their home, "something bad was going to happen," the document said.
And then on Oct. 20, 2009, Noor Almaleki spotted her father when she and Amal Khalaf visited a Department of Economic Security office in Peoria. She sent text messages to a friend saying "Dude, my dad is here at the welfare office," "I'm so shaky," "I knew I shouldn't have woke up," and later: "I've honestly never met anyone with so much evil."
When the two women left the office, Faleh Almaleki hit them with his Jeep before speeding off and fleeing the country, prosecutors said. Law enforcement soon after caught up with him and returned him to Phoenix.
Noor Almaleki underwent spinal surgery but died Nov. 2, 2009. Amal Khalaf survived.
"The investigation into these crimes revealed that the defendant was very angry with Noor for not living by traditional Iraqi values as she had, in his eyes, become too 'westernized' and brought dishonor on her family," prosecutors wrote in a court document.
Faleh Almaleki is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.
Some of his court dates were postponed because he was on suicide watch for a while and his lawyers said he didn't understand the judicial process. His trial is set to begin Jan. 18.
Prosecutors are asking the judge to allow them to include the text messages that Noor Almaleki sent the day of her killing and her father's prior "bad acts" against his daughter in the years leading up to her killing. Both show malice and premeditation, prosecutors argue.
"Evidence of a defendant's prior act is also admissible to disprove the claim that the charged crime was a mistake or accident," prosecutor Laura Reckart wrote.
Defense attorneys argue that any prior acts committed by Faleh Almaleki should not be allowed at trial, saying there's no evidence and that it's all hearsay.
"The inference is highly prejudicial and will taint Mr. Almaleki's chances for a fair trial," attorney Jeffrey Kirchler wrote. "The risk is that the jury will assume if Mr. Almaleki previously abused his daughter, he is more likely to have premeditated her death."
The United Nations estimates that about 5,000 honor killings occur across the globe every year. Although rare, they do happen in the U.S.
In the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Texas, Yaser Abdel Said, of Egypt, is accused of shooting his two Texas-born teenage daughters in the back of his taxi cab in 2008 in what the FBI calls an honor killing. Family members say Said felt the girls were acting too Western and had shamed him by dating non-Muslims.
In Buffalo, N.Y., Muzzammil Hassan is accused of beheading his wife in 2009, about a week after he was served with divorce papers. The body of Aasiya Hassan was found at the offices of Bridges TV, the station the Pakistan-born couple established in 2004 to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims.
Peoria police spokesman Mike Tellef said Noor Almaleki's killing raised awareness about honor killings in the U.S.
"It shocked a lot of people," he said. "I think it was a real eye-opener. This stuff's real, we've watched it on the news and heard about it in Florida, New York and other places in the U.S. It really is in our front yard."
Since her husband was arrested in August 2009 and accused of spying for Iran, Alia Al-Wazeer has defended him as she believes he is innocent. The 30-year-old woman and mother of two girls said that her life changed drastically when her husband disappeared for almost four months before she had any news about him.
“I was in a frenzy when I found out that my husband had been at the National Security Prison for four months without knowing what he was accused of,” said Alia.
Her husband, Waleed Sharaf Al-Deen, was 33 years old and worked in the United Nations office as an accountant when he was arrested. Four months later, in December 2009, he and three others were officially charged with spying for Iran and attempting to promote the Twelver Shiite doctrine.
Shiites have come under increasing pressure in Yemen since the Houthis, who follow the Shiite sect of Islam, demanded in 2004 the establishment of a separate state in Sa’ada province in the north of the country. In Yemen it is a widely held belief that Shiites are supported by Iran.
“For nearly seven years, since the war with the Houthis began, the Yemeni government has had a phobia of people following the same religious doctrine as the Houthis,” explained Ali Al-Dailami, head of the Yemeni Organization for Defending Human Rights.
From the beginning of the war between the Houthis and the government in 2004 until the most recent bout of fighting in 2010, many Shiite supporters were detained in various governorates and accused of supporting the Houthis. In response to these arbitrary arrests, over a hundred women joined Al-Dailami’s organization to defend their husbands.
“Ten of the hundred women are vital members of the organization now,” Al-Dailami told the Yemen Times.
Alia Al-Wazeer is one these women. A few months after the arrest of her husband, she joined the organization, in which she both organizes and participates in protests demanding his release.
Last year while she was participating in a demonstration in front of the Al-Saleh mosque, Alia was beaten by police women. However, her struggle has made her only more persistent. “I will defend him with my life,” she said, adding that even if her husband was released she would continue her work as a human rights activist.
“When I see my two daughters growing up without their father who was arbitrarily arrested, I realize that I have to get my family back together,” said Alia. “The last time I visited my husband in prison with my daughter she cried in such a hysterical way that the guards allowed her to see her father.”
Recently, Alia, her two daughters and other families of Sa’ada prisoners protested in front of the Political Security building. The families sent a letter to the head of Political Security asking him to respect the law. The letter also stated that the children of the detainees often had not been allowed to visit their fathers.
Waleed Sharaf Al-Deen and his three fellow detainees are examples of people who were arrested in relation to the war in Sa’ada. However, none of them has benefited from the amnesty the president decreed for Sa’ada prisoners of war. Waleed and the others remained under arbitrary custody for four months before they were officially charged and the trial began.
Twelve months later the trial is still ongoing. Waleed’s brother Ibrahim, a lawyer in the Yemeni Organization for Defending Human Rights, considers the men’s arrest illegal.
“The police broke the criminal procedures code when they arbitrarily arrested and held the detainees for a long period of time without trial,” Ibrahim Sharaf Al-Din told the Yemen Times. In his view the accusations are false.
His boss Al-Dailami explained that the arbitrary arrests have turned many members of the prisoners’ families into human rights activists. He points to Fatima Al-Ezzi, 28, as another example of a housewife turned activist.
She joined the organization three years ago when her husband Imam Al-Ezzi Saleh Rajeh was arrested. He was arrested because he had been talking about the Sa’ada conflict in his Friday sermons. He was released last Thursday.
“I didn’t know why they were holding my husband. I couldn’t visit him either,” said Fatima.
Even though her husband was released, Fatima said that she would continue working with the organization to support other prisoner’s wives.
As Al-Dailami told the Yemen Times, his organization currently tries to find out where the arrested people have been taken and why it is difficult for their families to visit them. He demanded that the state investigate these arbitrary disappearances.
Jan 3, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Over a 100 Hindu families in Pakistan's Balochistan province are making efforts to migrate to India after becoming the target of a campaign of kidnappings and extortion, according to a media report today.
The Hindus of southwestern Balochistan have been hit hardest by incidents of abduction for ransom and extortion, with the records of the province's Home Department showing that a large number of the 291 people abducted last year were Hindus, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Five Hindu families have already migrated from Balochistan's Mastung district to India and six more families are trying to seek asylum elsewhere or to shift to other parts of Pakistan, the daily quoted Hindu elders as saying.
Vijay Kumar, a 33-year-old chemist, claimed that over 100 Hindu families of Balochistan are making efforts to migrate to India because of the campaign of kidnappings and extortion.
""Our relatives are there in India, thus we Hindus prefer to settle India," he told the daily.
Suresh Kumar, 31, who runs a grocery shop in Mastung district south of Quetta, wants to migrate though his family has lived in Balochistan for almost a century.
"Most of the people are trying to migrate to India or other areas of Pakistan because of the deteriorating law and order situation," Kumar said.
"Kumar is not alone in this desire. Frightened by the rise in kidnappings in which their community is being targeted, many Hindus want to leave the country at the first opportunity," the report said.
In provincial capital Quetta alone, four of eight persons kidnapped last year belonged to the Hindu community.
The situation was worse in Naseerabad district, where half the 28 people kidnapped in 2010 were from the minority community.
"It is a common perception that most of the victims were released after paying huge sums of money as ransom to kidnappers. Relatives are reluctant to disclose how much money was paid to the kidnappers, fearing that they will be targeted again," the report said.
Balochistan's Minorities Affairs Minister Basant Lal Ghulshan said: "Recent incidents have shocked us."
Forty-one Hindus were abducted during the past three years and four more were killed when they resisted kidnapping attempts.
Juhary Lal, a well-known trader, was abducted about 16 months ago in Naal area of Khuzdar district and his whereabouts are unknown.
The recent abduction of spiritual leader Luckmi Chand Gurji has shaken the Hindus.
An Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery said on Monday that she plans to sue two jailed German journalists who interviewed her son.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose case has caused international outrage, said the two reporters should not be released.
More than 100 German business and political leaders, including many cabinet ministers, yesterday published a 15-page appeal in the Bild am Sonntag tabloid, which employed the two imprisoned journalists.
Her son Sajjad Ghaderzadeh is accused of illegally meeting the two reporters, who have been detained for working on visitor’s visas and whose names have not been disclose.
“I have a complaint against the two Germans who have embarrassed me, why did they come here? Why did they come here posing as journalists?,” Ashtiani told state television.
Human rights campaigners say she made the comments under duress.
“In my opinion Ms Ashtiani is under enormous pressure (from the Islamic regime) and she made this statement because she believes she is set to be released.” said Mini Ahadi, a member of the International Committee Against Stoning.
Ms Ashtiani was set to be stoned to death following her imprisonment in 2006 for helping her lover to kill her husband.
A sentence of hanging for involvement in the murder was commuted to life last year. She could, however, still be stoned for adultery.
Last month she confessed to involvement in the killing during a television interview and even participated in a television re-enactment of the crime.
By Asad Farooq
KARACHI: Pasban Karachi Chapter on Sunday lit Asia’s largest torch at Mazar-e-Quaid demanding release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
Aafia’s children Mariam and Ahmed had lit the torch. Thousands of people present on the occasion raised placards and chanted slogans in favour of Dr Aafia.
While talking to Daily Times Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia said this torch signifies light of hope and freedom.
She said that 2010 was a very good year for her struggle because the world saw Dr Aafia as a heroin, who was earlier called an alleged criminal. She said that it was a large achievement that a simple campaign to free Aafia has been changed into a movement of honour and dignity of Pakistan.
Responding to a question she said that she is hopeful that 2011 would be the year of repatriation of Dr Aafia. Her children have provided me with inspiration and hope that if they can come then Aafia can come also.
Full report at:
Islamabad : Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has said dialogue is the only way to resolve outstanding issues with India as the two countries “cannot afford wars.” Gilani made the remarks on Saturday night during the debut episode of the live show Prime Minister Online in which he answered questions from the public and tried to address their grievances.
“There is a lot of pressure from the public and Opposition on (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) but I believe that dialogue is the only answer. That’s the only way forward because we can’t afford wars. We must have a dialogue and that will happen,” he said. Gilani was responding to a question on India-Pakistan ties in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
By Bikya Masr
My name is Mostafa Fathy, born and raised in a modest neighborhood called Boulaq Al-Dakrour and my parents raised me to believe that Christians are infidels.
This is a fact I wanted to state at the beginning, because honesty is the best way for reconciliation.
In my school I had a Christian friend, the only thing that was being said about him is that he smells, just like all Christians; and that he worships the cross.
As I got older, my father, who grow up in Sohag in Upper Egypt, told me about Christians back in the days in his town: a Christian had to get off his donkey if he passes a group of Muslims, because it was not the right etiquette and he had to get off in respect of Muslims.
Back then, a Christian was a second class citizen and it would be a disaster for him if he got into a feud with a Muslim
PUNE: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has strongly criticised the tendencies among the Congress-led dispensation at the centre for targeting the Sangh by associating it with terrorism to divert public attention from corruption and scams.
"Those ruling the country find it convenient to make a scapegoat out of the RSS when they are themselves unable to deal with a situation of their own making," Bhagwat said at the concluding ceremony of the fifth Vishwa Sangh Shivir 2010 a grand conclave that is organised after every five years by the Sangh's international arm, the Hind Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) at Balewadi here on Sunday.
The HSS has a network of 750 shakhas' (branches) in 35 countries including the US, UK, France and the Scandinavian countries. Over 517 HSS activists from these countries participated in the five-day international conclave, which focused on Hinduism, the Sangh and its social work, the youth and promotion of cultural studies, among other issues.
Fazilka: The movement to open the closed mosques all over Punjab under the leadership of the Shahi Imam of Punjab and the President of Majlis-e-Ahrar Islam, Hind, Maulana Habibur Rehman Sani Ludhianvi got a big filip when the Jama Masjid situated in Fazilka within six kilometres from border with Pakistan was freed from illegal possessors. It is to be noted that Fazilka was one such town in Punjab where not a single mosque was open since the partition. The Muslims of this town had great inconveniences in offering the Friday prayers. With the efforts of Majlis-e-Ahrar and prominent social personalities of the aea, the Jama Masjid of Fazilka which was a beautiful structure and was being used as a godown by some traders was vacated. A wave of jubilation has run across Punjab on the recovery o f the mosque. Mualana Habibur Rehman Sani Ludhianvi has congratulated the Muslims of Fazilka on the occasion. On the occasion of the first namaz in the mosque after the recovery, the deputy Shahi Imam of Punjab and Chairman of the relgious affairs committee of Punjab Wakf Board, Md Usman Rehmani Ludhianvi, Board members Haji Fazal Deen Bhatti and Nadim Anwar Khan and the CEO of the Board Zulfiqar Ali were present. On the occasion of the first Friday prayer after 63 years, the atmosphere was emotionally charged. Usman Rehmani Ludhianvi said to the audience that it was an honour that Allah was taking this service from them. Replying to a question he said that other closed mosques in Punjab would also be opened soon. He further said that Punjab Wakf Board would take important part in the renovation of the mosque in Fazilka.
3 January 2011
JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday extended for six months a ban preventing Palestinians married to Israelis to immigrate to the Jewish state, the premier’s office said in a statement.
“The ministerial committee for security affairs decided tonight (Sunday) to extend for six months a text on family unification, which expired December 31,” said a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
That extension until June 30 denies Palestinians the right to acquire Israeli citizenship or resident status through marriage.
The ministerial committee also asked the justice minister “to work towards early finalisation of a law on family unification, which will meet the national security and long-term interests of the government of Israel,” the statement added.
Fauzia Ahmed Noman was among the founding women of the Yemeni Family Association which later became the Yemeni Women’s Union and that still exists today.
Noman was principle of Salem Al-Sabah school and held various positions at the Ministry of Education. Her last role was as a Deputy Minister with a ministerial rank.
She was the individual who signed the unification agreement on behalf of the Yemeni Family Association of May 22, 1990 which united Yemeni women’s movements from the north and the south. This was the birth of the Yemeni Women’s Union of which she was the general secretary for many years.
Noman established the illiteracy eradication strategy, adult education program and the girl’s education sector at the Ministry of Education which she headed until a few months before she died.
BRITISH soldiers are to test a revolutionary new device which can pinpoint the exact position of enemy snipers 914 metres away.
The tiny computerised ‘ sniper spotter’, which has been developed by the army scientists at the top- secret Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Wiltshire, identifies the shooter’s location in an instant, enabling British troops to fire back immediately and accurately.
The new high- tech gadget – just 4inch square and weighing 311 grams – is worn on a soldier’s arm. It is connected to a shoulder sensor which pinpoints the location.
The device will be trialled this month with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan.
The detector’s powerful acoustic processing technology evaluates the enemy position by determining the target’s co- ordinates on a small screen with an arrow indicator.
Full report at: Mail Today
Washington : India, which has joined the UN Security Council after a of gap of 19 years, is most likely to be given a key responsibility by this powerful 15-membered body in fight against terrorism; thus acknowledging New Delhi's prominent role in the global war against terror.
Diplomatic sources privy to the discussions at the United Nations headquarters in New York said talks are in advance stage to request India to head one of its two key counter-terrorism committees.
Ahead of its joining the Security Council on January 1, in its informal consultations with its other key members, India had made its intentions clear that it wants to make the fight against terrorism a priority area during its two-year term as the non-permanent member of the council.
NEW YORK: United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday strongly condemned the suicide attack on a church in Egyptian city of Alexandria that killed 21 people and asked authorities to bring perpetrators of the crime to justice.
"The Secretary-General is appalled by the bomb attack that killed 21 people and wounded 70 others at the al-Qiddissin Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Eve," said a statement by the spokesman of the UN chief.
"He strongly condemns this deplorable act of violence and supports efforts by the Egyptian authorities to bring those responsible to justice," the statement said.
"The Secretary-General conveys his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt," it said.
Cairo : Egypt's top Muslim cleric has criticised Pope Benedict XVI's call for world leaders to defend Christians as interference in his country's affairs, the official MENA news agency reported.
The call, following a deadly car-bombing targeting a Coptic church in Alexandria northern Egypt, was "unacceptable interference in Egypt's affairs," Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the oldest Islamic seat of learning, told reporters yesterday.
"I disagree with the pope's view, and I ask why did the pope not call for the protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?" he said at a news conference.
The Vatican immediately rejected the accusation, saying the head of the Roman Catholic Church had shown solidarity with the Coptic community as well as concern for the consequences of the violence for the Christian and Muslim population.
Islamabad, Jan 3 (IANS) In an ironic twist, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Monday sought the support of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the second largest opposition party in parliament, to shore up his coalition a day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) walked out.
Gilani telephoned PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain early Monday morning seeking his support, Express Tribune reported.
The irony was not lost on political analysts here. The PML-Q had been formed at then president Pervez Musharraf's behest just before the 2002 general elections by splitting the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister the military dictator had doposed in a bloodless coup in 1999.
The PML-Q, which was derisively referred to as the 'King's Party' during the election campaign and subsequently, was ousted in the 2008 polls by a coalition comprising Gilani's Pakistan Peoples Party and Nawaz Sharif's faction of the PML.
By Sara D. Davis
KABUL, Afghanistan — A women-only park that was closed under Taliban rule and turned into a garbage dump has new life.
The Women's Garden, an 8-acre oasis in this country's capital, reopened in November after seven months of reconstruction and funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The park gives Afghan women a place where lush trees protect them from the brutal sun and they can distance themselves from the hardships of life and strict Islamic doctrine.
Behind its walls, Afghan women find the freedom and empowerment lacking under Islamic or sharia law. The law, strictly enforced under the Taliban, forbids a woman to go to a public park without a male escort. Many wait for the fledgling democracy to formally renounce the practice, but until then, the garden provides a unique opportunity for women to chum unescorted with other women.
RAMALLAH/GAZA CITY: Israeli forces on Sunday shot dead a Palestinian man at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. The latest killing followed the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmeh a day earlier from inhaling a massive dose of tear gas fired by Israeli forces on protesters.
Paramedics from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that 24-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Maslamani of the village of Toubas died of his wounds after he was critically injured by Israeli soldiers manning the Bekaot checkpoint to the east of Nablus. "He was shot in many parts of his body,” the paramedics said.
They added that the body was handed over to them at the checkpoint and that the man's ID card and cellular phone were confiscated by the soldiers.
"I was standing on the eastern side of the roadblock when I suddenly heard someone screaming. I turned around and saw a young man in a brown shirt and jeans raising his hands. Shortly afterward, two soldiers fired at him from three meters away and he fell down,” Palestinian Hatim Al-Froukh said.
Jaipur: Terming lack of education as a stumbling block to the development of Muslims, eminent personalities from different walks of life today called upon parents to emphasise on the schooling of their children to keep pace with the fast changing world.
"The challenge before the community is lack of education, which is important to survive in the time of globalisation. Everybody should take resolution to get their children educated. Do not compromise with the career of children," a Muslim scholar Sarwar Chistry said during a national seminar on 'Challenges Before Minority'.
Speaking at the seminar, noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt appealed to Muslims to "dream big" and work for making them true to raise their position in the society.
Speakers also called for Hindu-Muslim unity for India's development. "India is the best country for Muslims and Hindus are the best neighbours. We should not be divided at any point and any time," BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain said.
WASHINGTON: Ignoring India's concerns and veiled warning that it would drag the US to the World Trade Organisation, President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that would provide free health care to the first responders of the twin-tower terrorist attack in New York in September 2001.
Obama took some time off from his vacation in Hawaii to sign the bill that provides for a fund of USD 4.2 billion for the free health care to 9/11 responders, a portion of which is being raised by extending an increase in some categories of H-1B visa fee that would mainly affect Indian IT companies. India has objected to such an increase.
It also imposes a two per cent levy on goods and services the US imports from certain developing countries, including India. An extension in increase in H-1B visa fee is estimated to cost Indian companies USD 200 million.
David Coleman Headley was not just an operative of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, but a person handpicked by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to spy on India and specially trained to map out the Mumbai terror attacks, says a new report from ProPublica, the US investigative journal.
Now, for the first time, there is a detailed inside account of how the ISI has been playing a “double game” of acting as a front-line US ally in the fight against terror while supporting selected terror groups to serve Pakistani interests, the journal says.
It says Headley began “a direct relationship with ISI officers in January 2006” and became close to an officer simply identified as Major Iqbal, who became his main handler in Lahore. Major Iqbal gave Headley secret documents on India and assigned a non-commissioned officer to give the “American standard intelligence training”.
PESHAWAR: A Nato oil tanker was destroyed completely after a bomb exploded in the Khyber tribal region. However, no casualties had been reported.
According to security authorities, the oil tanker was heading towards Torkham from Peshawar via the Pak-Afghan border highway on Monday morning.
The explosion took place at the Ali mosque area of Jamrud district in the tribal region.
The Pak-Afghan border highway was subsequently blocked after a massive traffic pile-up, which resulted in the suspension of supply.
Security forces started a search operation in the area.
WASHINGTON: The US military plans to deploy a new intelligence drone in Afghanistan, which military experts say will allow US troops to monitor much larger operational theaters than before, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. The newspaper said the airborne surveillance system is called Gorgon Stare and will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town. In 2010, a total of 711 international troops were killed in Afghanistan, according to independent website iCasualties—the highest annual death toll since the war began in 2001. The system consists of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, which can transmit up to 65 live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements, the paper said. By contrast, current Air Force drones shoot video from a single camera over a narrow area the size of a building or two, The Post noted. “Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we’re looking at, and we can see everything,” the paper quoted Major General James Poss, the Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as saying. There are around 140,000 international troops fighting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, around two-thirds of them from the United States. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\01\03\story_3-1-2011_pg7_10
Humanism, love and brotherhood is the essence of all religions. Islam stands for human brotherhood, peace, compassion, tolerance and social justice. The Qur’ān says, “Al khalqu Aayatullah” which means the entire mankind is God’s family. The Qur’ān also declares “La Ikraha fiddin” meaning there is no compulsion in respect of religion. Hence Islam is a social, moral and spiritual order based on love, peace, pity, justice, tolerance and human brotherhood.
No religion teaches hatred, violence and vandalism. A true religious person will never indulge in falsehood, hatred, cruelty, violence, etc. It is the misguided people who are responsible for spreading hatred and shedding blood in the name of religion and caste. In our country followers of all religions are peace loving and tolerant. Only a small section is casteist, communalist, intolerant and violent. Religion is being misused by them for grabbing political power. We should be beware of them.
Hundreds of Sa’ada prisoners released
SANA’A, Jan. 2 — Nearly five hundred Sa’ada war prisoners were released on Thursday in exchange for weapons, Mohammad Albasha, the spokesman of the Yemeni embassy at Washington told the Yemen Times.
Albasha explained that the Qatar mediated and brokered the peace deal as part of proceedings initiated in August 2010.
Almost 270 prisoners were released from prisons in Sana’a and around 200 were released from political security prisons in Sa’ada, according to Mohammad Al-Mansoor, spokesman of the Shiite Al-Haq Party said to be in contact with the Houthis.
Al-Mansoor told the Yemen Times that the detainees were released after the Houthis returned 31 weapons to the Yemeni army. The weapons were taken by the Houthis in Sa’ada and Harf Sufian during the sixth round of the war between August 2009 and March 2010.
ISLAMABAD: The federal government in Pakistan was reduced to a minority on Sunday evening with its biggest ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), withdrawing support a week after it pulled out its two Ministers from the Cabinet.
However, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and political analysts do not see an immediate threat to the government, primarily because the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), has made it clear that it is not interested in pulling down the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling dispensation.
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Women Wing President Faryal Talpur taking serious notice of torture on a woman ‘Z’ and later shaving of her head by her husband and relatives in Larkana, directed lodging an FIR against the accused and provided Rs 20,000 relief cheque to the victim.
This was informed by Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information and PPP Women Wing Information Secretary Sharmila Farooqi here on Sunday through a statement.
Talpur took immediate notice and directed action against the incident and issued orders to Larkana DIG and DPO to ensure security, medical treatment and justice to the victim by lodging an FIR and arresting the accused, Sharmila informed.
“Talpur also issued orders for activating women police stations in Sindh to secure women from domestic violence and inhuman acts that are the worst type of stigma on the face of the society.”
KABUL: More than 10,000 people, about a fifth of them civilians, lost their lives in violence in Afghanistan last year, an AFP count based on official figures and an independent website tally showed Sunday.
Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary revealed new figures for the number of civilians, police and militants killed in 2010 — a total of 8,560 people.
In addition, the Afghan defence ministry said that 810 Afghan soldiers died in 2010, while independent website icasualties.org puts the total death toll for international troops last year at 711.
That brings the overall number of dead from the war last year to 10,081, according to an AFP calculation.
Afghanistan has been in the grip of a Taliban insurgency since their government was ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States.
The Taliban were accused of sheltering al Qaeda leaders linked to the attack.
Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung
KAYANI HAS RESISTED PERSONAL APPEALS FROM OBAMA AND SENIOR DIPLOMATS Many tried to persuade him to look at the strategy review -- key to success in Afghan war -- but in vain
ountlessUSofficials rshavelecturedand inrecentyearshavelecturedand listened to Gen Ashfaq Kayani, the man many view as the most powerfulinPakistan.Theyhave drunk tea and played golf with him, feted him and flown with him in helicopters.
But they have yet to persuade him to undertake what the Obama administration's recent strategy review concluded is a key to success in the Afghan war the elimination of havens inside Pakistan where the Taliban plots and stages attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan.
Kayani, who as Pakistan's army chief has more direct say over the country's security strategy than its president or prime minister, has resisted personal appeals from President Obama, US military commanders and senior diplomats.
Full report at: Hindustan Times
January 03, 2011
Dozens of grieving Christians returned to pray on Sunday in a blood-spattered church where 21 worshippers were killed in a suicide bombing, many of them sobbing, screaming in anger and slapping themselves in grief.
The bombing in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria struck worshippers as they were leaving midnight Mass on Saturday about 30 minutes into the new year. Egyptian officials immediately blamed it on foreigners and Al Qaeda, even before they completed an investigation. About 100 people were wounded in the attack. During the Mass on Sunday, authorities deployed heavy security outside the Saints Church including riot police backed by armoured vehicles. Riots erupted on Saturday in Alexandria when Christians, accusing authorities of not doing enough to protect the minority group, clashed with police and Muslims.
ISLAMABAD: A delegation of Afghanistan's High Council for Peace, set up in September last year by the Karzai government to hold talks with Taliban-led insurgents in the hope of a negotiated end to the conflict, will visit Pakistan this week.
The delegation will be led by its chairman and former Afghanistan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. This was confirmed here last week by Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit. While sidestepping a question on whether the visit was confirmation that Afghanistan officially wanted Pakistan to play a role in the negotiations, he reiterated that Islamabad would always support an Afghanistan-led process towards reconciliation and reintegration.
Stating that this would be the first visit of the Council to Pakistan since it was set up, he added: “We are looking forward to intensive discussions with the delegation and Prof. Rabbani. Pakistan will continue to support and help in whatever way the Afghanistan government wants us to help.”
TEHRAN: Iran's Revolutionary Guards have shot down two “Western spy” drones in the Gulf, the Fars news agency quoted a top commander of the elite military force as saying on Sunday.
“Westerners have a series of capabilities which cannot be ignored, especially satellites, or for example they have spy planes which can take pictures in some places,” Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the air force wing of the Guards said.
He said that the drones were mainly being used in Iraq and Afghanistan but “some violations against our soil” have also occurred.
“And we have so far downed many of their advanced spy planes. In the Persian Gulf we have downed two of their planes and this is the first time that we are saying it,” Mr. Hajizadeh said without specifying when exactly the drones were shot down.
THE Supreme Court has admitted that it had violated the fundamental rights of citizens during the Emergency in 1975.
The observation came as the court, in an unprecedented move, commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence — earlier upheld by it — of a man who murdered four members of a family.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ashok Kumar Ganguly took the view that the majority decision of a five-member Constitution bench upholding the suspension of fundamental rights during the Emergency in the ‘ADM Jabalpur versus Shivakant Shukla case (1976)’ was erroneous.
“There is no doubt that the majority judgement of this court in the ADM Jabalpur case violated the fundamental rights of a large number of people in this country,” Justice Ganguly observed.
Full report at:Mail Today
THE PLOT to assassinate former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was hatched at a terrorist hideout, interior minister Rehman Malik said.
The minister dismissed reports that the 2007 murder was planned at an army brigadier’s home.
Malik asked the media to avoid speculation on the issue until the final report of the investigation was presented to the central executive committee ( CEC) of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party ( PPP), The Express Tribune reported on Sunday.
The remarks came a day after the daily said a fresh probe conducted under the interior ministry’s supervision had unveiled the role of nine men, including an army brigadier, in the killing of Bhutto.
Bomb and gun attacks across Iraq claimed the lives of four people, including a soldier and a policeman, and wounded 18 others on Sunday, security and medical officials said.
Two people, including an Iraqi soldier, were killed and three others were wounded by a car bomb targeting an Iraqi Army patrol in Al-Qayyara, 50 kms south of the northern Iraq city of Mosul, Iraqi Army First Lieutenant Khattab Mohammed said.
One policeman was killed and four others were wounded when gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Al-Filahat area, 10 kms west of Fallujah, which is itself west of Baghdad, police Captain Omar al-Filahi said. In Balad, unknown assailants blew up the home of local prosecutor Hardan Khalifa, killing one woman and injuring eight others, including three women and a child, a hospital official said.
Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet on Sunday claimed to have busted a Hamad plot to fire rockets at a football stadium in Jerusalem during a Premier League game to avenge Jewish State’s offensive in Gaza two years ago. Mussa Hamada and Basem Omri, both Israeli citizens living in overwhelmingly Arab populated east Jerusalem, were allegedly planning to carry out the attack on Teddy Stadium, the main sporting centre in the city.
Both the suspects have been allegedly affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood for a number of years. Their involvement in the terror plot allegedly began after Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip two years ago which left a trail of destruction in the Hamas ruled territory and more than a thousand dead, many of then women and children.
They had apparently been scoping out the hills around the stadium from where to launch the rocket and were gathering information about security in the area, the Shin Bet said.
NEW DELHI: India on Sunday said Pakistan's posture of “compulsive hostility” would not help a “serious and sustained” dialogue.
Noting that India “walked the extra mile in reaching out” to its neighbours, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said: “We earnestly hope that our neighbour would see the merit of constructive engagement and discard the posture of compulsive hostility.”
In an interview to PTI, he said: “Our only expectation from Pakistan is to dismantle the terror infrastructure that operates from the territories under its control. A serious and sustained dialogue can thrive only in a peaceful and terror-free climate.”
At a year-end review of the foreign policy and challenges before New Delhi in 2011, Mr. Krishna touched upon India's relations with immediate neighbours, its growing economic ties with ASEAN and Korea, and the support it has received in its bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. “Our candidature for permanent membership also received greater traction and support of the international community this year.”
KARACHI: Second issue of English-Urdu medical dictionary was released the other day at PMA House.
Compiled by Dr Shershah Syed this issue is published by Pakistan National Forum on Women’s Health (PNFWH). The 350-page book has 160 sketches, photographs, tables, charts and explanatory notes.
Simple and common medical terms and words of English that are practiced in medical colleges, nursing and midwifery schools, paramedics training centres and hospitals have been used in this dictionary with a guide to pronunciation and meaning.
Important charts and life saving procedures are explained clearly for consultation in 12 indexes while medical tests are mentioned with normal values.
LONDON: The first British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year was killed in an explosion on New Year’s Day, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Sunday.
A total of 103 British soldiers were killed in operations last year, the second bloodiest on record for British troops following the 108 killed in 2009 — more than double the 2008 toll..
The rate of British troops being killed has dropped since September 2010 when they handed over to US forces in the flashpoint market town of Sangin in the restive southern Helmand province.
The soldier killed on Saturday was from The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
He was caught in an explosion while on an operation to interdict enemy fighters in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand, the MoD said.
RIYADH: The Kingdom’s retail market should be freed from the stranglehold of non-Saudis and shopping hours should be rationalized, a Saudi economist suggested as a solution to rein in galloping unemployment among Saudis.
“Unemployment is, undoubtedly, one of the toughest challenges facing our local economy. The situation calls for ending the domination of non-Saudis in areas where employment opportunities abound,” Abdul Rahman Al-Homaid told Al-Riyadh newspaper.
“For instance, the retail sector, which is a vital part of any country’s domestic economy and an inexhaustible source of employment, is currently monopolized by non-Saudis. The workers in the sector should be replaced by local hands which could be possible by offering necessary training and support to Saudis,” he said, adding that retail shops should close early in the night as happens in European countries.
JEDDAH: The question where Saudi women spend their salaries has been on the minds of many people, especially since single women live with their parents and hardly have any costs. However, the fact is that Saudi women pay for their education and transportation, and other day-to-day costs.
“Ever since I started working, my father stopped giving me an allowance and I have to pay for everything on my own except rent and food, of course, but when it comes to shopping and paying my phone bill it all comes out of my pocket,” said Sarah Adeeb, a 26-year-old banker.
“I also pay for my holidays when I go with my friends. I pay for flights, hotels and other things. It’s not like my father is poor or tight-fisted, but he is teaching me how to spend my money in a smart way and how to take care of myself without relying on others,” she added.
TUNIS: It started with a young man who set himself on fire, acting out of desperation after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he sold without a permit.
Mohamed Bouazizi was a 26-year-old university graduate without a steady job, trying to support his family. His self-immolation — which left him in intensive care, wrapped head to toe in white bandages — shocked the North African nation and sparked protests over unemployment that have led to at least three deaths.
For decades, Tunisia has promoted itself as an Arab world success story, a place where the economy is stronger than in neighboring countries, women’s rights are respected, unrest is rare and European tourists can take stress-free vacations at beach resorts.
Iran’s president fires 14 advisers
TEHRAN — An Iranian pro-government website says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has fired 14 advisers as part of an ongoing shake-up of his administration.
The Sunday report from mashreghnews.ir says Ahmadinejad sacked the advisers a day earlier in an effort to help reduce the size of the government. The dismissals have not been confirmed by state media or the president’s office.
Last month, Ahmadinejad abruptly fired his longtime foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, as well as his vice president for youth affairs, Mehrdad Bazrpash.
Those dismissals appeared to signal a rift at the top levels of the Iranian leadership, pitting the president against rival conservatives.
The dawn of the new Hijrah year and 2011 could either signify more of the same as in the last year or a leap toward the first steps to taking the global Islamic finance industry to the next level as Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak's government says it aspires to do.
In an entrenched interdependent world, the global economic recovery and financial sector stability remains fragile with much of the adoption of the new Basel III provisions relating to core capital strength, early warning systems, stress testing, risk management and financial stability still work in progress. Even where some of the above provisions have been adopted and applied, catastrophic bank failures continue to surface, which raises questions about the very validity and efficacy of some of these provisions.
Britain’s National Archives last week released restricted materials from its underground vaults from the Cold War era, declassified after 30 years.
The papers provide insider accounts of how key western powers secretly decided to pit Afghan fighters against the Soviets. Many of them would go on to become the founders of al-Qa’eda.
In December 1979, Russia invaded Kabul to rescue a Marxist-Leninist puppet regime under threat from the mujahideen, an Islamist opposition.
What emerges from these cabinet files are details of how Western powers met secretly immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and promptly formulated plans to back the “Islamic resistance” by arming the mujahideen to their teeth. (The term global terrorism had not yet been coined.)
The papers also bring out details of how swiftly clandestine weapons routes were created by western powers to aid mujahideen fighters.
INDIA LAUNCHES SHARIAH STOCK INDEX
The Bombay Stock Exchange has launched India’s 1st index of companies compliant with Islamic law, or Shariah in an effort to bring more of the country’s 175M Muslims into mainstream finance, and to attract investment from foreign Shariah-abiding funds.
Shariah finance has become a Trillion-Dollar global business, most notably in the Gulf. But in spite of India’s sizeable Muslim population, it has not yet taken off in south Asia. The creators of the new index, called the BSE Tasis Shariah Index and launched Monday, hope to change that.
The index is made up of the 50 largest Indian companies whose operations are deemed to be consistent with Shariah, meaning that they do not derive significant profit from interest payments, or sell products or services such as tobacco, alcohol or weapons, which are considered in the Islamic faith as sinful.