r Pandit Ravi Shankar, sita 92 maestro, dies aged page 17 See

Year 2  Issue 22  Thursday, 13.12.12

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Whites outnumbered in the new London

Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar Sikh Soldier becomes first guardsman to parade in a turban

A DECADE of surging immigration has left white Britons as a minority in London for the first time, census figures reveal. Britain’s diversity is highlighted by figures showing that the proportion

of England and Wales that is white has fallen below 90 per cent for the first time. The results, published yesterday, also show that the number of mixed-race people has doubled to top a million for the first time.

Asian people in Britain has risen by two thirds, from 2.5m people to 4.2m People who identified themselves as Muslim in 2011 numbered 2.7 million, up from 1.55 million in 2001. Muslims now make up 5% of the population, compared with 3% in 2001. The change came as the number of Christians of all denominations fell 12% – a drop of 4.1 million. ‘International city’ The London statistics include 102,000 mixed white and Asian people; 119,000 mixed white and black Caribbean; 119,000 other mixed, 542,000 British Indian; 224,000 British Pakistani and 222,000 British Bangladeshi . There are 399,000 other Asians, 574,000 British Africans and 345,000 British Caribbeans in the capital, along with 170,000 other black people; 106,000 Arabs and 175,000 from other ethnic groups. White ethnic Britons no longer make up the majority of people in London for the first time, according to the latest census data which pointed to Continued on page 2 >>

A Sikh soldier has become the first guardsman to parade outside Buckingham Palace wearing a turban instead of the famous bearskin. Jatenderpal Singh

being the first Sikh to mount guard in a turban would be the “best thing in his life”. “Conducting public duties while being a

Bhullar, who is 25, is the first guardsman in 180 years to choose to wear his turban on the famous forecourt. The Scots Guardsman previously said

practising Sikh and wearing my turban is a great honour for me. I am very proud to be a member of the Continued on page 2 >>

Sharia4Belgium: Fouad Belkacem (Abu Imran) 18 months in prison for inciting hatred Belgium has convicted and sentenced deamoniser
of Islam Mi6 asset Anjem Choudary en absentia
The spokesman for the disbanded Sharia4Belgium was sentenced Friday morning to six months in prison for inciting hatred after the clashes occurred in Molebeek-Saint-Jean, in May. He has almost finished his sentence. He is in custody since early June, but still must serve two more sentences of six months imprisonment each. Fouad Belkacem will remain in prison for some time. His lawyer said Friday from the prison that chances for possible parole within 25 days. On November 30, he received six months jail. If he appeals against his conviction that can be examined from 26 December 2012.” According to news site Gazet van Antwerpen Fouad Belkacem’s co-defendant, Anjem Choudary (pictured left), the British hate preacher and leader of Sharia4 UK in Continued on page 29 >>

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Germany approves bill to keep circumcision legal

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

The new law, passed with 434 to 100 votes, grants parents the right to authorize the circumcision of their sons by a trained practitioner.
German lawmakers have approved a bill to keep male infant circumcision legal after a regional court ruled earlier this year that the practice amounts to bodily harm. “The Circumcision Act finally creates legal certainty,” said the Central Council of Jews in Germany President Dieter Graumann. “The key for us is the
Publisher Salah Bu Khamas (UAE) Sabha Khan (UK) UK Office 10 Courtenay Road, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 7ND UK Phone: +44 20 8904 0619 Fax: +44 20 8181 7575 info@satribune.co.uk India Office Satya Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. C/O Satya Group. 1st Floor, Avenue Appt., Near Sheth. R. J. J. High School, Tithal Road, Valsad - 396001 Gujarat, India United Arab Emirates Office S.K. Group of Companies P.O. Box 9021, Karama Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 2659970, 3359929; Fax: +971 4 2659971, 3341609 www.sk-groupofcompanies.com Managing Editor & CEO Mohammad Shahid Khan Group Editorial Managers Gulzar Khan (India) Abdul Khalique (Pakistan) Editorial Board UK Frances Brunner FYI Tribune team Adrian Fellar Misbah Khan Reema Shah Rohma Khan Keziah-Ann Abakah Marketing & Sales Andrew Klugman (Manager) Art Department UK Ali Ansar (Art Director) Mohammad Reazul Islam

political message of the bill, which states: Jewish and Muslim life continues to be welcome here.” In May 2012, Jews and Muslims living in Germany were angered when a Cologne district court ruled that the religious circumcision of Continued from page 01 >>

young boys amounted to bodily harm. The government proposed the law following heavy criticism by Jewish and Muslim groups. Under the new law, the procedure must be performed by a doctor once the boy reaches six months

of age. A proposal to require consent from the child for a circumsion did not pass the vote. A crossparty minority in Parliament had proposed that parents should have to wait until their son is 14 so he

can give informed consent for the procedure. Both the Jewish and Muslim communities consider male infant circumcision an ancient and essential part of their religious tradition.

Whites outnumbered in the new London Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar Sikh Soldier becomes first guardsman to parade in a turban a cosmopolitan capital increasingly down from almost 60 per cent in 2001.
divergent from the national economy around it. The 2011 data also revealed a population of England and Wales that is generally better educated but less religious than it was a decade ago – and less likely to live in a home that they own. The overall population of England and Wales when the census was taken on 27 March 2011 was 56.1 million, an increase of 3.7 million (7%) since 2001. Of that growth, 55% was due to migration, the rest was due to more births than deaths, the ONS said. Despite London’s ethnic diversity, more people identified themselves as British (38.3%) than anywhere else in the country. The total population rose by 3.7m to 56.1m, an increase of 7 per cent from the previous census in 2001. Migration was responsible for 60 per cent of that growth – 2.1m people. Of the 13 per cent of the population who were born outside the UK – 7.5m residents – just over half arrived within the past 10 years. This compares with the 2001 census, when 9 per cent of the population was born outside the UK. The surge of immigration has been especially striking in London, where more than one in three people – 37 per cent – were born outside the UK. The census also revealed a fall of more than 4 million in the number of people who describe themselves as Christians. India, Poland and Pakistan were the top three countries from where foreign-born people had arrived since 2001, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The biggest rise was from Poland. Only 45 per cent of London’s population were white people of English, Scottish or Welsh heritage, according to the latest data, Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK and the largest in the East Midlands, the latest census shows. Information from the 2011 survey shows there are 329,000 people living in the city, 24,000 more than in Nottingham, while 250,000 live in Derby. Half of Leicester’s population describe themselves as white British, compared with 80% nationally and 63.9% in 2001. Deputy Mayor of Leicester Rory Palmer said they viewed its diversity as a major strength. The details emerged in the latest round of information released from the 2011 census taken in March. While Nottingham’s population remains smaller than Leicester’s at 305,680 - 38,692 more than in 2001 - it does have a higher than average mixed race community. About 6% are mixed ethnicity, with 4% white and black Caribbean. In Leicester, about 53,000 people born outside the UK moved to the city, roughly the same as the number of people it grew by. In Nottingham about 38,000 people born outside the UK moved to the city, while in Derby, the number grew by 17,849. The West Midlands also has a high proportion of minority ethnic groups, with 4.1% of people of Pakistani origin, 3.9% who were Indian and 1.5% who were Carribean. The overall percentage of people identifying themselves as Cornish in England and Wales was just 83,000. However, in Cornwall one in eight people said their national identity was Cornish. Wales was the least ethnically diverse place in England and Wales, with just 1% of people from ethnic minorities.

Household Division and to be the first Sikh Guardsman to mount guard in a turban will be the best thing in my life, especially as a member of the Scots Guards. The regiment is full of history, as is my religion”: says Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar – Sikh Chaplain to the Armed Forces Mandeep Kaur welcomed the move: Sikhs have served Britain in World War One and Two with their turbans intact, confirming their commitment towards righteousness and serving others and living their identity till their last breath. I applaud the British Army for being appreciative and respectful towards diversity. I salute the Scots Guards who have shown a great courage by adding more to their rich traditions. Guardsman Bhullar is the first Sikh guardsman to do ceremonial duties with the Turban and I, along with the Sikh community, are very proud of him and send our blessings that he makes his regiment proud of him as he serves his nation. “Thousands of Sikhs have fought and died for the UK. They never gave up their turbans so why can’t a Sikh soldier guard the Queen while wearing his?”

The family of a Birmingham soldier at the centre of a row over his turban have hit back – pointing to the 80,000 Sikhs who died for Britain in the two World Wars. But Bhullar’s uncle, Gurpartap Singh Bhullar, said he was confident the furore would die down once the soldier had gone on parade. Gurpartap, aged 57, said his nephew was the third generation of his family to join the Army and highlighted the huge sacrifice made by Sikh soldiers in both the First and Second World Wars, with more than 80,000 killed in the conflicts. “Sikhs are Army-orientated and that goes for our family too. My grandfather fought in the First World War and my father was a gunner in the Second World War,” he said. “Thousands of Sikhs have fought and died for the UK. They never gave up their turbans so why can’t a Sikh soldier guard the Queen while wearing his? “A Sikh must always wear his turban. ” Slough-based Gurpartap said Bhullar, who lives with his wife near Birmingham city centre, gave up a lucrative career as a bricklayer to join the Army. His company is currently responsible for public duties and guarding the Queen and he parade outside Buckingham Palace.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Mo Yan for literature & Amid criticism European Union receives Nobel Peace Prize More than 20 top EU leaders attended today’s awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. But critics say the EU’s win, coming amid the financial crisis, is inappropriate.

2012 Nobel Prize held in Sweden

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negotiating tables” replacing “conflict across battlefields”.
Instead, deputy Nick Clegg got his own day of peace, attending alone to represent the UK in the splendour of the Nobel Institute in Oslo. The Nobel Prize consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and eight million kronor ($1.2 million, 925,000 euros), to be shared if there is more than one recipient. The laureates were also to be honoured at a formal dinner banquet later in the evening attended by the royal family and some 1,300 specially-invited guests. STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 10: Members of the Royal family, with Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (in green evening dress at bottom right) and Nobel Prize laureates walk down the stairs as they arrive for Nobel Banquet at Town Hall on December 10, 2012 in Stockholm,

The Nobel Literature Prize was handed to Mo Yan, one of China’s leading writers of the past half-century, who was honoured for a body of work that the Swedish Academy said mixes folk tales, history and the contemporary.

disease. Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States were meanwhile awarded the Physics Prize for pioneering optical experiments in quantum physics that could one day open the way to revolutionary

transforming a European ‘continent of war’ into a ‘continent of peace’. However, the announcement of had caused surprise and controversy in the midst of one of the EU’s worst crises and at a time of deep - albeit non-violent - rifts between major member states.

Mo has walked a tightrope during his stay in Stockholm, with some pundits supporting his own claims that he is “independent” and others casting him as a Beijing stooge. The 2012 Nobel laureates in medicine, literature, economics, physics and chemistry received their prizes from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a gala ceremony in Stockholm on Monday. The formal event, held as tradition dictates on the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel in 1896, took place at Stockholm’s Concert Hall which was decked out in pink, yellow and orange flowers for the occasion. The laureates and guests were clad in white tie and tails for men and evening gowns for women. The Medicine Prize was presented to Shinya

computers. Two Americans, Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka, picked up the chemistry prize for identifying a class of cell receptor, yielding vital insights into how the body works at the molecular level. Finally, US scholars Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley collected the economics prize for their work on how to best match supply and demand that has potential applications in organ donation, education and on the Internet. The European Union was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo last night - a win which raised a few eyebrows when it was announced back in October. The Oslo ceremony was attended by national leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Antonis

Prime Minister David Cameron stayed away from yesterday’s event - one of six EU leaders who decided not to attend.

Nick Clegg defends Nobel Peace Prize for European Union

Sweden. The European Union has collected this year’s prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for uniting the continent after two World Wars, during a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain, Evening reception of 2012 Nobel Prize held in Sweden • Sweden’s annual Nobel awards were held in Stockholm last night • More than 1,200 guests attended a banquet in Stockholm City Hall

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says awarding the 2012

Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain for work in cell programming, a frontier that has nourished dreams of replacement tissue for people crippled by

Samaras, two figures on opposite sides of the debt crisis. Attendees heard Nobel Committee President Thorbjoern Jagland praise the EU’s role in

Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union recognises • Nobel prizes for literature and science more than 70 years of peace in traditionally awarded at ceremony in Europe, with “arguing across Sweden, while Nobel Peace Prize was
presented in Norway

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NEWS EDITORIAL

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Bring a smile back on Malala Yousafzai face again!
I was shocked to see latest pictures of Malala when she met Pakistan President Asif ALI Zardari and Asifa Bhutto in Hospital. When I enlarged the picture it was evident

Malala’s visible scar and face condition after treatment.
air ambulance was actually Malala. Such attention to detail would make even the most ardent Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist appear to be a slacker in his work.

Syrian Armed Opposition Lets Children Cut off Civilians’ Heads while chanting “Allahu Akbar.”

that Malala had a massive scar for the neck dressing for Tracheostomy tube and mechanical Ventilator , facial swelling and palsy Dedicated

On Twitter, the heavy breathing over US misdeeds reflects a mindset that the only explanations for Muslims killing Muslim children are due

. Can anyone see the fear and a face with a lost smile.

Pakistan: smear campaign against Malala on social media
Yet you Must have come across smear campaign against Malala on social media Islamists and Pakistani nationalists have started a smear campaign against her, accusing her, amongst other things, of working for the United States. A highly educated senior figure and the daughter of former Jamaat-eIslami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Dr Samia Raheel Qazi who was a member of the last Parliament and works with the women’s wing of the religious-political party. from an Islamist political party has shared photo on Twitter which she claims shows Malala and her family meeting with US army officers. Photographs of Malala being rushed to the hospital are enlarged and examined with great care to spot faces of Pakistan military officers in the background and to speculate about their presence. One blogger suggested that a photograph of a partially obscured female running behind Malala’s stretcher toward an

to Western influences. In other words, the people of Pakistan have no need to look inward about the actions of their neighbors because external forces are responsible for the violence.

As one twitterer wrote, “#Malala is talk of the world, ‘Allegedly’ Taleban shot her.. It’s Just like

‘Alleged’ #WMD of Iraq, Let’s see what comes out of this one.” Lazy and convenient thinking will only further damage the integrity of the Pakistan government and its people. The independent online newspaper The Lahore Times reported that the “United States of America was behind the attack,” although most of its coverage has been generally free of speculation. I don’t excuse, nor do I see justification, in the drone attacks in northwest Pakistan. I see the bombings as crimes against humanity. Aafia Siddiqui may very well be an innocent dupe targeted by the United States to collect its pound of flesh to avenge 9/11. These are righteous causes to get behind. Yet the attempted murder of Malala is also a crime against humanity. If she had died, it would be as if the Taleban had murdered all of humanity. It is no less a miscarriage of justice than of Aafia Siddiqui or a child dead in her home following a US bombing raid. But the picture is actually a still frame from a documentary made by the New York Times, which specifies the footage is from a simple meeting with one American diplomat in 2009, during which Malala asked the US for help in girls’ education in Pakistan. Others accused Washington of orchestrating the assassination attempt on Malala to divert attention from issues like the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”, or to deflect criticism of the US drone strikes on Pakistani civilians: conspiracy theories that are spreading across the web like wildfire. Many Pakistanis however have also taken to social networks to voice their outrage over these comments and remarks. A number of online campaigns have been set up so web users can actively support the cause championed by Malala: a girl’s right to education. May God bless her with full and speedy recovery to accomplish her mission, for the benefit of other young girls who are deprived of education in Pakistan by the brutal Taliban!

A video broadcast lately showed members of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” in Homs using children to cut off heads of civilians with a cleaver after putting their heads on stones. Footage, posted to YouTube by Voice of America Arabic (Radio

accusation of “supporting AlAssad regime” was published Sunday by Al-Haqiqia opposition website which took it from the “electronic newspaper of General Khaled Ibn Al-Walid” facebook page. According to the website which said it made

Sawa) anchor and journalist Zaid Benjamin, shows a child hacking a prisoner’s neck with a machete. The video then cuts to rebels displaying the man’s severed head while chanting “Allahu Akbar.” Zaid Benjamin says he was given the video by a commander in Homs. The two victims are allegedly “Alawite Officers in Homs Believed to Be Behind Hola Massacre.” (Unlikely of course). The video that shows civilians being butchered for the

sure of the crime location and found that it took place Sunday on Homs road in Talbisa and Rastan where elements of the group are located, the page removed the video as soon as it (Al-Haqiqa) took it. Such barbarism in the “Free Syrian army’s” practices is not the first of its kind, as images were previously published for the armed groups slaughtering Syrian regime supporters, such as members of Berri family in Aleppo.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Radio station donates advertising profits to nurse’s family
2Day FM says minimum of £325,000 will be paid to family of Jacintha Saldanha, who was found dead after taking hoax call. The radio station behind the prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying has pledged to donate all advertising profits until the end of the year to a fund that will benefit the family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who took the call and was later found dead. In a statement, Southern Cross Austereo, which owns 2Day FM, said a minimum contribution of A$500,000 (£325,000) would be made. Advertising was suspended on the station on Saturday afternoon but will resume on Thursday. Keith Vaz brings solace to a nurse who apparently committed suicide after she was duped by a hoax call made to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge “miss her every moment of every day,” according to MP Keith Vaz. The Australian radio station behind a hoax phone call to the London hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was being treated could face criminal charges for airing the conversation, legal experts said Tuesday. Last week’s prank was widely condemned days after it aired, after the still-unexplained death of a nurse who answered the phone and helped two DJs get confidential information about the former Kate Middleton’s health. But when it comes to a potential criminal case, the question is not about the death; it’s whether a private conversation was broadcast without the permission of the participants. Violators could be sentenced to prison, but it’s unclear who at radio station 2DayFM or its parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, made the decision to air the call. The DJs have said executives above them made the decision, but a former 2DayFM host who orchestrated many pranks for the station said DJs were always involved in such decisions while she was there. Southern Cross Austereo has said the station had tried five times to contact the hospital, but privacy law expert Barbara McDonald said that could prove to be an inadequate defense.

Royal prank radio could face criminal charges for airing the conversation

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Jacintha Saldanha’s grieving family Labour MP Keith Vaz has said the family of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the centre of the royal hospital hoax, are “grief stricken”.

Mr Vaz, who visited Mrs Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza and family at their home in Bristol, said: “They simply cannot understand or cope with what is happening.” The family of

AN earthquake off Indonesia has shaken Australia’s Top End, rattling windows and doors and waking residents from their beds early today.
not have been strong enough to cause damage on nearby islands or to trigger a tsunami. Darwin residents took to social media soon after the quake hit. Dr Leonard said that while a magnitude eight quake could strike in areas to Australia’s north at “almost any time”, such a quake would be unlikely to cause significant damage in Darwin. He said today’s quake had caused one magnitude .3 aftershock, and there could be others throughout the day. Indonesian geophysics officials reportedly said they had not received any reports of damage. The quake was felt only weakly in the districts of North Halamahera and Morotai which were closest to the epicentre, Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in an update. Since 1900, there have been more than 22 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.5 or greater recorded in the New Guinea region, according to USGS. com. The largest was in 1938 in the Banda Sea, which registered 8.5 but did not cause significant loss of life. Indonesia is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

7.2 Large quake strikes off Indonesia

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A magnitude 7.2 earthquake has struck 236km northwest of the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia, the US Geological Survey reports. No tsunami warning was issued, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement on its website. Then USGS said the quake, which struck at 1653 GMT, was recorded at a depth of 158km. The magnitude 7.2 quake struck in the Banda Sea off Indonesia, but was felt more than 600km away in Darwin, at about 2.30am local time. Geoscience Australia senior seismologist, Mark Leonard, said the quake had been widely felt. “It has been felt over several hundred kilometres of Australia’s coastline,” he said. He said the quake was the largest to hit the Banda Arc in about seven years. Its epicentre was at about 180km depth, Dr Leonard said. It would

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Imran Farooq’s wish to pursue politics independently led to his murder: police
Killed on Sept 16, Birthday gift for Altaf?

NEWS

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

London Metropolitan Police have hinted that slain high-profile Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader, Dr Imran Farooq’s wish to actively participate in politics by pursuing his political career independently might have led to his murder Farooq was murdered in a knife attack in the Edgware district of London late on September 16, 2010. Detectives had revealed that he was killed with two kitchen knives sold in discount stores and online and a house brick may also have been used in the attack. CCTV footage of his final hours, released by police, had images of him at

two other youth were reportedly arrested form Karachi a few days back. The Nation reported that that Khalid Shamim was given the task of killing Dr Imran Farooq in London. He sought the help of a man named Hammad Siddiqi, who provided him two boys both of whom belonged to All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation. Khalid Shamim arranged student visas for both these boys. The two youth met an unidentified man in London who briefed them about the routine of Dr Imran, and they killed him near his house on

they would reach Karachi. The agencies arrested both the young killers when they reached Karachi from Colombo and shifted them to Rawalpindi whereas contacts were also made with the MQM for handing over

was seized with the petition of Bina Khalid, who sought the whereabouts of her husband, Khalid Shamim, the KWSB employee. Dawn further stated that According to a progress report placed on record on the court’s order, the KWSB employee belonged to the MQM (A) and was involved in a murder case registered at the Model Colony police station. The report stated that Khalid Shamim frequently travelled abroad during the past couple of years and the investigation officer had sent a letter to the Sri Lanka Airlines for obtaining the travel record of the missing man. However, the reply from the airline was still awaited.

Imran Farooq murder case: MQM chief’s ‘business address’ raided, confirms Scotland Yard
In charge KTC MQM Hammad Siddiqui,
an underground train station as he travelled to work on the morning of his death. Back in 2011 August Pakistan secret agencies nabbed three suspects at Karachi airport , According to published reports in Pakistan Khalid Shamim, accounts officer of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board who also belongs to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is said to be the mastermind of Dr Imrans murder, and September 16, 2010. After the murder, both the killers left for Colombo instead of coming to Pakistan. After reaching there, they contacted the mastermind Khalid Shamim, who advised them to reach Pakistan. A secret agency recorded all the conversation between Shamim and the killers and kept the former under strict watch. Shamim had also planned to murder both these boys as soon as Khalid Shamim. The Nation reported that the killers were made to hear all the recording of their conversation wherein they had planned to murder Dr Imran Farooq. After hearing their own conversation, the accused themselves told the whole story to the agencies. Though Shamim presented all facts in different contexts, statements of all the three accused proved similar at the end. According To Dawn October 2012 a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam The unnamed place raided in London by police a few days ago in connection with the murder of former parliamentarian Dr Imran Farooq has turned out to be an office of the Muttahida Qaumi Continued on page 7 >>

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Hamas to hold Nablus festival as Mashaal urges unity
Mashaal: Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem
arrival as a historic moment in Palestinian history. Hamas denied seeking guarantees via Egyptian contacts with Israel that Mashaal would not be targeted for assassination in Gaza. There was massive security for his arrival, with gun-toting, black-masked guards from the Hamas military wing patrolling the streets in opentopped trucks and motorbikes. “This is the most beautiful day in my life,” said 27-year-old policeman, Mohammed Abed. “I kissed him on the head.” Mashaal, 56, had been widely understood not to have set foot in Palestine since he left his native West Bank with his family aged 11. However in his speech he indicated he had returned for a visit as a teenager in 1975. The Hamas chief visited the home of the late founder and spiritual leader of the party, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004. “Sheikh Ahmad Yassin linked reconciliation and resistance. As Hamas leaders, and From Ahmad Yassin’s house, we promise to implement national reconciliation and end the division,” he said. Mashaal visited the homes of Hamas military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari and his bodyguard Mohammad al-Hams, who Israel assassinated on Nov. 14 at the start of its eight day war on Gaza. He also visited the al-Dalou family home. Israel killed 10 members of the family, including four children and five women, as well as two of their neighbors, in an airstrike on Nov. 18.

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The Palestinian Authority has authorized a Hamas festival to be held in Nablus in the northern West Bank, a PA security services spokesman said Monday. Adnan Dmeiri told Ma’an the two-day Hamas rally would begin Thursday. He said Hamas events were never banned in the West Bank but that the party had never requested permission to hold a festival. “Any political faction is allowed to express its opinion within the framework of the law and will not be prevented to hold any activities,” Dmeiri said. Fatah central committee member Jamal Muhassem told Ma’an his party would participate in the festival if invited by Hamas. Hamas launched celebrations for its 25th anniversary in Gaza on Saturday.Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal made his first visit to the Gaza Strip on Friday, telling crowds he hoped his next visit would be to Jerusalem, Ramallah

and a liberated Palestine. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal left the Gaza Strip for Egypt on Monday after an historic four-day visit to the coastal territory. The Hamas leader concluded his

of competing factions lined up to meet him in warm December sun. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal prays, with his head to the ground, upon his arrival at the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 7,

Mashaal said his visit to Gaza was his “third birth” referring to an assassination attempt by Israeli Mossad agents in 1997 as his previous “re-birth.” “I pray to God that my fourth

first ever visit to Gaza by visiting a family in Rafah who had lost several relatives in recent violence with Israel. After passing through the Egyptian border crossing, Mashaal knelt on the ground to offer a prayer of thanks and was then greeted by dozens of officials from an array

2012. Mashaal praised the people of Gaza and the political factions in his first ever speech on Palestinian soil. “We politicians are in debt to the people of Gaza,” he said. The leader was briefly tearful as he was welcomed by Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

birth will come the day we liberate Palestine,” he said, clearly moved by his reception, with uniformed police breaking ranks to try and kiss his hand. “Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem then Haifa and Jaffa,” he said. Haniyeh welcomed Mashaal’s

Continued from page 6 >> Movement (MQM) – Dr Farooq’s own party. London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that a search and raid operation was carried out at the “business address” of MQM leader Altaf Hussain. The press office of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC that the search continued for two consecutive days at the site. However, it was stressed that no arrests had been made, and no person was detained for interrogation. Saying that investigations into Dr Farooq’s murder were ongoing, an official of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC by phone that the raid was conducted on Thursday and the police completed its search on Friday evening. However, the MQM’s spokesman in its London secretariat was conspicuous by his denial and ignorance of the entire episode.

Imran Farooq’s wish to pursue politics independently led to his murder: police
Mustafa Azizabadi said he was unaware of any such search or raid operation. Asked if the police had raided Altaf’s “business address”, he said, “There is no such thing.” He added that despite journalists reporting it, there has been no such operation, the BBC reported. Dr Farooq was stabbed to death in Green Lane on Edgware Road on 16 September, 2010 – but leads in the case have been few and far between – or at least not publicised. The anti-terrorist unit of the Metropolitan Police said in September that, a few months before his murder, Dr Farooq had been trying to create his own independent political “profile”. The police force had hinted about the possibility that Dr Farooq might have been thinking of embarking on a new political career, and, therefore, it wanted to talk to everyone who were in contact with him from a political perspective. It also noted that Dr Farooq had created a new Facebook profile in 2010 and had established many new contacts on the social forum.

Dr Imran Farooq’s murder a case of police not govt: British HC

British High Commissioner in Pakistan Adam Thomson has said that Dr Imran Farooq was a British national and UK police are investigating a murder of its citizen. Talking to media in Islamabad on Tuesday,

Thomson said that London police is independent and unbiased institution and it should be allowed to do its job. “Imran Farooq’s murder is a matter of police not government,” he added. He said that he had no information regarding raid on Business address in Edgware area, adding that everyone should believe on a statement of the police. “We are investigating the murder of our own citizen,” a private news television quoted Thomson as saying. Commenting of upcoming general election in Pakistan, he said that Britain believed that the polls would be held on time and the results would be acceptable for everyone. The commissioner said that they hope that a civil democratic government would take over the country after the election.

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* Referendum on constitution still set for Dec 15 * Liberal, leftist opponents say Morsi worsening crisis * Islamists see conspiracy to topple elected president
President Mohamed Mursi has ordered Egypt’s army from Monday to take on police powers -- including the right to arrest civilians -- in the run-up to a divisive constitutional referendum that has triggered mass street protests. The decree, published in the government gazette, takes effect on the eve of mass rival protests on the referendum and follows street clashes that have left seven people dead and hundreds injured. It orders the military to fully cooperate with police “to preserve security and protect vital state institutions for a temporary period, up to the announce of the results from the referendum,” according to a copy obtained by AFP. A concession offered by President Mohamed Morsi by scrapping immunity decree failed to placate opponents who accused him on Sunday of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis by refusing to postpone a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists. Islamists say they see the referendum as sealing a democratic transition that began when a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak 22 months ago after three decades of military-backed one-man rule. Their liberal, leftist and Christian adversaries say the document being fast-tracked to a vote could threaten freedoms and fails to embrace the diversity of Egypt’s 83 million people. More protests were planned near Morsi’s palace, despite tanks, barbed wire and other barriers installed last week after clashes between Islamists and their rivals killed

Egypt’s Morsi caves in; scraps immunity decree
the makers of the future as long as they have the freedom to resort to the ballot box in a democratic, free and fair vote,” he said in a cabinet

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Mursi gives Egypt army police powers ahead of referendum
squeeze out other voices and restrict social freedoms. Many Egyptians just crave stability and economic recovery. Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan statement. But opposition factions, uncertain of their ability to vote down the constitution against the

seven people. Morsi had given some ground the previous day when he retracted a fiercely contested decree giving himself extra powers and shielding

Christians, had already quit the assembly in dismay, saying their voices were being ignored. A leftist group led by defeated presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy demanded the referendum be deferred until a consensus could be reached on a new draft, saying there could be “no dialogue while blood is being spilled in the streets”. After the dialogue hosted by Morsi, a spokesman announced that the president had issued a new decree whose first article “cancels the constitutional declaration”

his decisions from judicial review. But the president insisted the constitutional referendum go ahead next Saturday and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he sprang, urged the opposition to accept the poll’s verdict. Ahmed Said, a liberal leader of the main opposition National Salvation Front, described the race to a referendum as “shocking” and an “act of war” against Egyptians. The Front has promised a formal response later on Sunday. Egypt is torn between Islamists, who were suppressed for decades, and their rivals, who fear religious conservatives want to

said the scrapping of Morsi’s decree had removed any reason for controversy. “We ask others to announce their acceptance of the referendum result,” he said on the group’s Facebook page, asking whether the opposition would accept “the basics of democracy”. The retraction of Morsi’s November 22 decree, announced around midnight after a “national dialogue” boycotted by almost all the president’s critics, has not bridged a deep political divide. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, a technocrat with Islamist leanings, said the referendum was the best test of opinion. “The people are

Islamists’ organisational muscle, want the document redrafted before any vote. “A constitution without consensus can’t go to a referendum,” said Hermes Fawzi, 28, a protester outside the palace. “It’s not logical that just one part of society makes the constitution.” Egypt tipped into turmoil after Morsi grabbed powers to stop any court action aimed at hindering the transition. An assembly led by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists then swiftly approved the constitution it had spent six months drafting. Opponents, including minority

of November 22. He said the referendum could not be delayed for legal reasons. Meanwhile, main opposition parties were to meet late Sunday to decide whether to keep up street protests against President Morsi. Hundreds of people were gathering peacefully in front of the presidential palace in Cairo – the scene of violent clashes earlier this week that killed seven people and injured hundreds. Whether their number would swell to the several thousands rested with the opposition National Salvation Front coalition. agencies

Hamas celebrated Saturday the 25th anniversary of its establishment by Sheikh Ahmad Yassine in a massive public ceremony in the Katiba field with the significance presence of the movement’s Political Bureau Chief Khaled Mashaal. According to Paltoday, the movement will renew the term of Mashaal during the ceremony as he “changed his mind about leaving his position after some bureau members imposed pressure on him.” The agency added that another significant participation in this year’s ceremony was that of Fatah,

Hamas Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Significant Participation of Mashaal, Fatah
resistance’s victory over Israel. Hamas military wing Ezzedine AlQassam brigades sent different messages to the Israeli occupation in its statement during the event. It first warned that the Palestinian resistance “will cut the hand that will harm our leaders and people.” The faction remembered “the major role of martyr leader Ahmad AlJaabari in the resistance’s victory,” saluting Iran and Turkey for their support. “Peace be upon Iran the aid and revolution, and peace be Turkey the caliphate,” Al-Qassam brigades’ veiled spokesman said.

after an invitation it received for the first time since 2007 from Hamas. Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum

said the massive participation this year was due to the historic visit of Mashaal in the event, as well as the

He also addressed the Zionist leaders saying: “If you escalate your violence, we will escalate our response. We triumphed in the last battle, even though we only used tenth of our power, then how if we fight with all own power?” “Your time has gone and it is time for your departure, so prepare your passports and leave, as we will cut the hand that harm our leaders and people,” he told the Israelis, stressing that “America and the West must know that our nation will not accept the recklessness practiced on it.”

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

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Innocence of Muslims 2? Belgium alarmed as another controversial film to be released
sincerely Imran Firasat A Pakistani ex Muslim from Spain www.mundosinislam.com World without Islam

Not two, but three more Anti Islam “films” coming our way
reportedly made in cooperation with the notorious Quran-burning US pastor Terry Jones. ¬The film’s creator is Pakistan national Imran Firasat, a former Muslim who now lives in Spain. Firasat said he aims to expose the truth of the life of the Prophet Muhammad with ‘The Innocent Prophet: Life of Muhammad from the Point of View of an Ex-Muslim.’ “If we want to know the truth of Islam, we must go deep into the life of Muhammad to find out whether he was a genuine prophet sent by God or was he simply a child molester, assassin and a self-proclaimed prophet,” he said in the film’s trailer. Firasat also hailed pastor Terry Jones as his inspiration. Jones wrote on his website, “It is our hope and desire that we can present a picture of Muhammad that has possibly not been revealed in the past, that will help people in the Western world, and even Muslims, to better understand this person called Muhammad, his life and teachings.” Jones is infamous for his incendiary anti-Islam speeches, and for staging a ‘Koran-burning day’ on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

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Belgian police detain 230 protesting antiIslam film
“The Los Angeles Times tells about two ex-Muslims, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ali Sina, who have plans to make big-budget derogatory films showing Prophet Muhammad on screen. Now add a third ex-Muslim with the same intent, Imran Firasat.” both a feature film adaptation of Son of Hamas as well as the Muhammad movie. Feuer said the movie has already interested sponsors and a major screenwriter who is in the process of creating the script.

Belgian police said Sunday they have detained 230 people in the northern city of Antwerp after clashes at a demonstration against an anti-Islam film that has sparked a wave of protests. The protesters shouted anti-US slogans, and some also set fire to the US flag, according to television footage of Saturday’s unauthorised demonstration

Ali Sina

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Father Zakaria

Imran Farasat

Mosab Hassan Yousef has gone through a number of ideological changes in the past few years. Yousef’s conversion to Christianity was through the preaching of Father Zakaria Botros Henein. In June 2012, Yousef visited Israel and spoke at the Israeli Parliament where he read a statement - he says he is now “free, loving, and forgiving” “truth and forgiveness are the solution for the Middle East’s problems”. He visited Israel as a guest of Likud MK Ayoub Kara. During that visit he announced that he was making a film on Prophet Muhammad that would reveal his “real nature” to Muslims.” While in Israel he also spoke at an event in Jerusalem hosted by Media Central, a pro-Israel press relations organization. Yousef is working with Israeli film producer and actor Sam Feuer. Feuer will produce

The third film being made by Imran Farasat . According to Farasat’s we b site in Spain, announced in September he will make a film and that it will be released in 2012 in 4 to 5 languages. Based on the site, and on limited google searches, Farasat is a Pakistani exMuslim now living in Spain. He seems to be a very marginal character who will produce something to be released on YouTube. On his web site Imran Farasat also challenged Mulims as “My challenge to Muslims – Stop me if you can” he wrote that “ I invite Muslims to stop me if they can. It is my challenge man to man that in the month of October 2012 my movie will be in front of the world. It will be the first movie on Muhammad done by an ex Muslim, that’s why I can make you believe that you will find something special in that. Don’t miss it. Yours

The Belgian Interior Ministry said it was increasing the level to ‘serious threat’ as a precautionary measure, Flanders News reported. Police units in areas with large numbers of Middle Eastern and North African immigrants are reportedly on alert. Technical divisions of the Belgian police force have also been ordered to closely monitor Islamist websites and mass text messages. In response to Belgium’s heightened terror allert, Firasat said he might postpone the release of the film so it could be previewed by authorities to ensure “there is nothing in this movie which doesn’t fall under the right of freedom of expression and that my movie will not cause any kind of loss to humanity.” “The necessary modification will be also made if requested by the authorities,” he wrote on trailer’s YouTube page. Still, Firasat insisted he is not afraid of “Islamic violence,” and that postponing the release is a token of respect “towards Europe, which is my family.” Earlier this year, riots broke out in Belgium after the notorious Americanmade video ‘Innocence of Muslims’

in an area that has a large Muslim population. It degenerated into clashes with police after officers blocked the protesters from moving to a main thoroughfare. One policeman was lightly wounded, local police spokesman Fons Bastiaenssens said, adding that a total of 230 people had been detained. A leader of the Islamist group Sharia4Belgium was among those detained, according to television station RTBF. Protests have erupted in the Arab and Muslim world over the low-budget US film “Innocence of Muslims” which portrays Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed in insulting terms. Belgium has heightened its terror alert level ahead of the release of another highly provocative film exploring Islam,

‘The Innocent Prophet’ is expected to be a highly provocative film; Belgian police have raised the country’s ‘terrorism alarm’ level from 2 to 3, the secondhighest, ahead of the film’s online release on December 14.

went viral on the web, sparking violent anti-US protests throughout the Arab world. Earlier in February 2012 Pakistani living in Spain named Imran Farasat Continued on page 29 >>

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Galloway Slams Niqab Restrictions in Britain
against Muslim women. “We live in a multi-faith society and need to be sensitive about that,” he said. The face-veil has become the center of a heated debate across Europe in recent years. France and Belgium have voted to ban face-veils in public. A number of European countries are mulling similar bans. Calls have also been growing in Britain for enforcing a ban on the wearing of the face-veil in public places. In September 2010, the Burnley College in Lancashire banned the Muslim face-veil on campus. A recent YouGov survey found that some 67 percent of Britons favor faceveils to be made illegal. Lawmaker Philip Hollobone has already tabled a bill in the parliament calling for Britain to follow France and outlaw the wearing of the faceveil in public. The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) has also supported calls for a veil ban after France’s vote.

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Respected British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement of Muslim rights. “Everyone understands the need to have proper security,” Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West, told The Daily Mail on Sunday, December 9. “But these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.”

British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Under the new rules, niqab-wearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil. The new rules were supported by one MP, whose identity was not clarified by the British daily. “It will be much more welcoming for them if they are greeted by someone

whose face they can see clearly,” the anonymous MP said. British Muslims are estimated at nearly 2.5 million. Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands. Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the face veil.

Galloway, a firebrand British MP, is a main organizer for aid convoys to Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege since Hamas seized power in 2006. He is also one of the world’s most prominent and outspoken activists, seeking to bring public attention to the other side of British and American foreign policy. Discriminatory Galloway rejected the government justifications for the move, saying the restrictions could discriminate

Royal Prank Call Nurse ‘Was Found Hanged’
Kate’s nurse left suicide note
nurses’ home on Monday night in the city of London, where she had been found. Throughout the week there will be a memorial service. Jacinthas younger brother Naveen told the British newspaper “Daily Mail” to the death of his sister: “She was a making arrangements to return her body to her native India. A private memorial service is expected to be held later this week. British Prime Minister David Cameron has described the death of the nurse as a “suicide.” “I was completely

The death of Jacintha Saldanha († 46) shocked the world. Now there are new, startling details about Kate’s nurse who was on Friday morning found lifeless in her room in the nurses’ home of the King Edward VII Hospital. Jacintha Saldanha was discovered on Friday morning in her room at staff accommodation near the hospital in west London. An inquest is due to open on Thursday. “If it adds anything to this very tragic story it indicates a very determined bid to kill herself, rather than what some people describe as a cry for help,” said Sky’s Martin Brunt. “I also understand ... that a suicide note was left in which she, we believe, gave some

explanation for the actions that she’s thought to have taken.” The post-mortem to establish the cause of Ms Saldanha’s death began on Tuesday and has concluded, but the result will not be officially announced until a hearing at Westminster Coroner’s Court on Thursday morning. The death is not being treated as suspicious and the inquest is expected to be opened and adjourned as inquiries are continuing. Saldana had become a victim of prank phone, put the 2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who presented themselves as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, through to the station where the

Duchess Catherine Mountbatten was due to acute nausea in pregnancy treatment. What exactly was in the suicide note is not known. The family of the mother of two went to the

decent and honest person,” said that she had “felt by the incident, such a shame.” Saldanhas family demand answers from the private London clinic, demand an explanation of the circumstances that led to the tragic end of the nurse. Earlier this week Ms Saldanha’s husband and two children paid tribute to a “loving mother and loving wife”. It is understood the family are

shocked when I learned of the suicide,” he said on Monday. “What has happened is an absolute tragedy,” Cameron told reporters. Jacintha Saldanha was a hard working and “incredibly selfless” woman. Her body should be investigated, police said on Tuesday. If and when the cause of death is officially announced, left open the authorities.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

To hijab or not to hijab - a Muslim businesswoman’s view :
relate to the transformation of me, from the outgoing girl who fitted in, to a hijab-clad Muslim, especially in a post 9/11 environment. My journey towards hijab began when I finally moved past all my agnostic swinging of, “Yes I believe”, “No I don’t” and then back again. The eureka moment

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Syima Aslam
Bradford sales and marketing executive Syima Aslam describes her struggles over whether or not to cover her head - including a chat with a manager who thought she was talking about hair gel Last Friday the Guardian ran an article about the job crisis faced by ethnic minority women. It cited a report from MPs stating that ethnic minority women are twice as likely to be unemployed as their English counterparts. Many are also Anglicising names and, removing hijabs in order to gain access to the job market. Labour MP David Lammy, who chairs the all-party group on the issue was quoted as saying: It is staggering that in 21st Century Britain there are women who felt they had to remove their hijab or change their name just to be able to compete on the same terms as other candidates when looking for jobs. Reading the article, I felt as though the dilemma I have been grappling with over the past year had had official statistics and language put against it. After the closure of my business, and a lot of soul searching, I decided about six months ago to re-enter the job market. Decision made, I hit my next dilemma – to hijab or not to hijab. I started wearing the hijab eleven years ago. At the time I deliberated for a good few years before taking the plunge. The reason for my deliberation was quite simple – I worked in a corporate environment as an account director looking after my firm’s key partnerships in London. Although personally I had decided that I wanted to adopt the hijab, I was worried that professionally it would become a stumbling block on my career path, which to date I had been traversing with some speed. I wasn’t quite sure how people in my work environment would

had achieved y – but eventually the realisation dawned that spiritual nirvana was a long way off. Then I decided that, as a baby was part of my not too distant future planning, I would start wearing the hijab after I had had said baby and became a stay-athome mum. However, this made me feel I was taking the easy way out. I questioned myself as to

was that here was a whole new shopping opportunity!

Eleven years later my life came full circle - having struggled with, and deliberated over, the decision to wear the hijab, I now contemplated taking it off. Having decided to work on a freelance basis in sales and marketing, despite my

told me to ditch the hijab. One said: The problem is they’ll spend the first forty minutes of the meeting getting over the way you look, and the last twenty in listening, by which time you’ll have missed the boat. Although completely unrelated, I couldn’t help but think of the

came, funnily enough, when reading about the depiction of embryology in the Qur’an. The Arabic word used to describe the embryo in its early stages is ‘alaqah’, meaning a leech like clot. Scientific advances now illustrate how the embryo initially does indeed act like a leech, clinging to the mother’s uterus and obtaining nutrients from her blood. From this revelation I made the jump to the hijab. The Qur’an does not specifically ask women to cover their head; rather it tells them to draw their garments over their bosoms. In pre-Islamic Arabia women, as well as men, covered their heads and the current form of hijab is drawn both from this inference as well as the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The cultural and personal interpretations vary. In my hijab I cover my hair and body but not my face, others wear niqab which exposes only the eyes, while others wear the head-to-toe covering called the burka. Hijab in Islamic culture is closely related to modesty. Modest dressing applies not only to women but also to men who, in addition, are told to lower their gazes. The idea that the hijab moves the gaze from the external to the internal, thus making the beauty of the inner self the most important focus, was one that appealed strongly to me. Initially I kept telling myself that I would wear the hijab when I was better at doing x or when I

whether I should really wear the hijab if I was only prepared to do so when it was easy for me. The much publicised word ‘jihad’, with its current connotations of terrorism, does not actually mean holy war. The lexical meaning is struggle; or rather struggle in the path of God. There are two different types of jihad in Islam - the lesser jihad is the one that is undertaken in battle, while the greater jihad is the one that is undertaken against one’s own self. I felt that having made the decision to wear the hijab it did not say much for, either me as a person or, my commitment to the principle if I wasn’t even prepared to endure a few hurdles career-wise. I took the plunge by asking my manager if he would have an issue if I started to cover my hair – his initial response still brings a smile to my face – “What with? Gel?” Before starting to wear the hijab I spent a week visiting clients and explaining that the next time they saw me I would be wearing a scarf and, as we were post 9/11, there would be no bomb under it! What I found most surprising was that the majority of people assumed I was about to get married. In actual fact I had been married for four years and the decision to don a scarf was completely personal. It did not seem to occur to people that I may be taking this step of my own volition. The other factor I had completely overlooked

experience, I couldn’t close my eyes to the fact that I had been out of the corporate arena for quite a while. My hijab began to weigh heavy on my head. I couldn’t quite forget a few posthijab meetings, small in number but significant in my head, where people I had met with a colleague would talk only to my colleague. I would have to muscle in and they would realise halfway through the meeting that I was the one with the required expertise. One particular gentleman spent the entire meeting talking to a point slightly to one side of my head, which I found most disconcerting. My paranoia intensified when upon ringing a prominent Muslim Asian businessman in Bradford, I was told: Like my daughters, although articulate and confident, you’re in hijab and a lot of people don’t like that. You can forget the Asian community when it comes to sales and marketing, and given your hijab the corporates in the area won’t touch you with a bargepole. A number of friends, who I knew had my best interests at heart,

recent congratulations I had been given on my excellent English by a door-to-door sales man. After a lot of deliberating, and a fair amount of time standing in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Well actually I do look nicer without it’, I decided to keep the status quo. In essence my hijab and I are in a long term relationship, which is about love rather than convenience. Although my relationship with God is not summed up by a piece of cloth on my head, neither as a person am I. Removing the hijab, I feel, would be throwing out the baby with the bath water. Having been so very close to it myself, I can understand and sympathise with the women who have made the decision to remove their hijabs – because there but for the grace of God. I certainly cannot say, hand on heart, that if the economics of my situation became too pressing, I would never do the same. Syima Aslam (@SyimaAslam) is a freelance sales and marketing professional based in Bradford. She also blogs about Islam, feminism, culture and parenting.

To advertise call 020 8904 0619

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Terry Waite, the British former hostage, met with Hezbollah in Lebanon last week, 25 years after he was taken captive by a group linked to the party. Waite, now 73, was held for almost five years after he was taken hostage on Jan. 20 1987 while working to secure the release of other British hostages as a special envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury. During his trip last week, on which he was accompanied by British newspaper the Sunday Telegraph, Waite met with Ammar Moussawi, and told the Hezbollah official “that the past was the past,” according to an article he wrote for the newspaper published Sunday.

Terry Waite meets with Hezbollah 25 years after kidnapping
“I expressed my concern for the Christian groups who were leaving Syria and asked if Hezbollah would make a gesture towards helping them, especially at Christmas,” Waite wrote. Moussawi, in reply, “asked me to let him have a proposal and he would see if something could be done.” Waite was released in Nov. 1991 after 1,763 days in captivity, most of which he spent in solitary confinement and chained to a wall. He wrote that he wanted to meet with Hezbollah as an example of the reconciliation he believes necessary for coexistence in the region. “I believe that reconciliation between larger groups, political

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Waite was in Lebanon to bring attention to the situation of Christian refugees from Syria, and appealed to

Moussawi for Hezbollah to provide more help for those in the Christian community who have fled violence.

groups, has to begin here with our own personal reconciliation,” the Sunday Telegraph quoted him as telling Moussawi during their nearly-two hour meeting. During his trip Waite also met with Christian Syrian refugees, and wrote of concerns that the uprising in Syria “has now been hijacked by extreme jihadists and that, for the first time in years, religious persecution is taking place where once there was harmony.” He also wrote of the importance of encouraging coexistence in Lebanon which he said “is rapidly becoming the only country in the entire Middle East where there remains a significant Christian presence.”

Russia Tells US: No Demand for Assad to Step Down
have departed from the Geneva accords and are seeking the departure of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad,” he pointed out. “We are not conducting any negotiations on the fate of Assad,” Lavrov said Sunday. “All attempts to portray things differently are unscrupulous, even for diplomats of those countries which are known to try to distort the facts in their favor.” Lavrov met last week with Brahimi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Dublin. Afterward, Clinton said the United States and Russia were committed to trying again to get both sides in the Syrian conflict to talk about a political transition. Clinton stressed that the U.S. would continue to insist that Assad’s departure be a key part of that transition. Russia’s foreign minister said that after he agreed to a U.S. proposal to have his and Clinton’s deputies “brainstorm” on Syria, the Americans began to suggest that Russia was softening its position. “No such thing,” Lavrov said. “We have not changed our position.” He urged the international community to come together and “with one voice” to demand a ceasefire, return U.N. observers in bigger numbers and begin a political dialogue. Lavrov repeated that Russia was not wedded to Assad but believed that only the Syrians have the right to choose their leaders. Addressing fears that Assad could use chemical weapons in a last-ditch effort to save his regime, Lavrov once again said the Syrian government has given assurances that it has no intention of ever using the weapons of mass destruction. He said the greatest threat is that they would fall into the hands of militants.

Iran: Relation with Hamas, Islamic Jihad at Best Possible Level

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian and U.S. diplomats are meeting Sunday with U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for more talks on Syria, adding that the Americans were wrong to see Moscow as softening its position. Russia agreed to take part in the talks in Geneva, he said, on the condition there would be no demand for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. “We’ll not allow the Libyan experience to be reproduced in Syria. Unfortunately our Western partners

Iran said on Tuesday that the relation with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is at the best possible level. During his weekly news conference Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always stood by the Palestinians during their difficult days. He said that the Iranian support for the resistance movement of the Palestinians against the Zionist

regime is a priority of Iran’s foreign policy. Referring to the western media’s unfounded claims regarding Tehran’s ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Mehmanparast said such moves are resulted from the failure of the Zionist regime in its recent war against Gaza. They cannot tolerate another victory of the Palestinian people, the senior diplomat added.

Legendary astronomer Sir Patrick Moore dies, aged 89
British astronomer and broadcasting legend Sir Patrick Moore has died at his home aged 89, after battling an infection.

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority has officially agreed to allow a Hamas festival commemorating the movement’s 25th anniversary in the West Bank, an independent politician said Monday. Khalil Assaf, who heads a Palestinian forum of independent figures, said Hamas would organize a festival in Nablus on Thursday. Hamas leaders will deliver speeches, with the sanction of the Fatahdominated West Bank government. Hamas has already approved a Fatah festival in Gaza commemorating its 48th anniversary, Assaf noted.

Palestinian Authority to sanction Hamas anniversary event in West Bank

Fatah in Gaza announced on Sunday they would organize a celebration under the banner ‘statehood and victory’. The parties, who split Palestine into separate governments in 2007 amid bitter fighting, had both clamped down on political activity by

the rival party. Since Gaza’s Hamas rulers reached a ceasefire with Israel after eight days of fighting in November, the parties have started to lift some of the restrictions, raising hopes of reviving the stalled reconciliation deal of 2011.

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

String of mysterious ‘booming noises’ reported across several U.S. states
On Monday night at approximately 11:20 p.m., reports of a loud boom flooded police stations and social media sites alike. Sources from the Warwick Police Department said they received nearly 100 phone calls reporting a loud noise that some thought was an explosion. Some residents called to say it shook their homes. Jean Swesey was doing homework with her son in Cottonwood when it happened. “It was a whole series of booms,” Swesey said. “Up to six or seven. It was fast, it went loud. We were quiet and then my daughter down the hall screams really loud, ‘Did you hear that?’ I sat there for a second and I heard another set.” Swesey wasn’t alone. Residents in communities in and around Verde Valley and as far as Flagstaff called 911 or their police and fire departments to report the strange booming sounds. “It sounded like thunder, but underground,” Swesey said. “Like muffled thunder. And all the dogs in the neighborhood, all of them that were outside all started barking at once.” CBS 5 News first received reports of the explosion-like noises shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday and began checking with law enforcement and government sources. The U.S. Geological Survey reports no significant earthquake activity in Arizona that could have created the booms. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office had deputies in the area that either heard it or tried to respond to resident calls. They found nothing. The Sedona Fire District dispatched a crew to check a report of a strange odor, but that was unfounded and may not be related to the sounds. The Camp Verde Marshal also received a number of phone calls about the booms. Officers found no evidence of any explosions. But the Verde Valley contains large expanses of uninhabited land. “Maybe when the light comes back they’ll find something,” said Gary Johnson of Sedona Fire. Swesey sure hopes so. “It was just, ‘boom-boom-boomboom-boom all over the Verde Valley.” The cause of the mystery noise still remains a mystery. of which was predicted by us to be 1.5 - 1.7 times higher than the amplitude of the 23rd cycle. But you said that the cause of the “sky hum” can lie within Earth’s core as well, what does it mean? There is one more possible cause of these sounds and it may lie at the Earth’s core. The fact is that the acceleration of the drift of the Earth’s north magnetic pole which increased more than fivefold between 1998 and 2003 and is at the same level today points to intensification of energy processes in the Earth’s core, since it is processes in the inner and outer core that form the Earth’s geomagnetic field. Meanwhile, as we have already reported, on November 15, 2011 all ATROPATENA geophysical stations which record three-dimensional variations of the Earth’s gravitational field almost simultaneously registered a powerful gravitational impulse. The stations are deployed in Istanbul, Kiev, Baku, Islamabad and Yogyakarta, with the first and last one being separated by a distance of about 10,000 km. Such a phenomenon is only possible if the source of this emanation is at the Earth’s core level. That huge energy release from the Earth’s core at the end of the last year was some kind of a start signal indicating the transition of the Earth’s internal energy into a new active phase. Intensification of the energy processes in the Earth’s core can modulate the geomagnetic field which, through a chain of physical processes at the ionosphere atmosphere boundary level, generates acoustic-gravity waves the audible range of which has been heard by people in the form of a frightening low-frequency sound in different parts of our planet. In both cases, even though the causes of acoustic-gravity waves are of a quite understandable geophysical nature, they are indicative of the expected significant increase in solar activity and the geodynamic activity of our planet. There is no doubt that processes in the core rule the internal energy of our planet, therefore, we should expect by the end of 2012 a sharp rise in strong earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and extreme weather events with peak levels in 2013 2014.

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The cause? A “swarm” of minor earthquakes amplified by the unique bedrock beneath the state of Wisconsin. Based on all the data, the USGS believes the shaking and strange sounds are the result of “a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short amount of time,” Kuss said.

Apocalypse”. Information about that comes from all over the world: US, UK, Costa Rica, Russia, Czech Republic, Australia, etc.

Strange sounds in sky explained by scientists

When asked why Clintonville residents heard such strange noises during the apparent quakes, Caruso said all seismic shifts generate noise but these sounds cannot be heard during major quakes. “When seismic waves travel through the ground, they’re moving ... faster than the speed of sound and when they hit the surface,” Caruso explained. “(It) rattles the ground like a speaker ... so it’s common for people to hear what they describe as sonic boom sounds accompanying earthquakes. But usually when there’s a big earthquake, people either don’t hear the sounds because the frequency is lower than the threshold of what humans can hear. Or other sounds going on (like) things falling down.” Mr. Khalilov, what is the nature of the unusual very low-pitched sounds reported by a great number of people in different parts of the planet since the summer of 2011? Many call them “The Sound of the

We have analyzed records of these sounds and found that most of their spectrum lies within the infrasound range, i.e. is not audible to humans. What people hear is only a small fraction of the actual power of these sounds. They are low-frequency acoustic emissions in the range between 20 and 100 Hz modulated by ultralow infrasonic waves from 0.1 to 15 Hz. In geophysics, they are called acoustic-gravity waves; they are formed in the upper atmosphere, at the atmosphere-ionosphere boundary in particular. There can be quite a lot of causes why those waves are generated: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, storms, tsunamis, etc. However, the scale of the observed humming sound in terms of both the area covered and its power far exceeds those that can be generated by the above-mentioned phenomena. In that case, what could be causing this humming in the sky? In our opinion, the source of such powerful and immense manifestation of acoustic-gravity waves must be very large-scale energy processes. These processes include powerful solar flares and huge energy flows generated by

them, rushing towards Earth’s surface and destabilizing the magnetosphere, ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Thus, the effects of powerful solar flares: the impact of shock waves in the solar wind, streams of corpuscles and bursts of electromagnetic radiation are the main causes of generation of acoustic-gravitation waves following increased solar activity. Given the surge in solar activity as manifested itself in the higher number and energy of solar flares since mid-2011, we can assume that there is a high probability of impact of the substantial increase in solar activity on the generation of the unusual humming coming from the sky. It should be pointed out that solar activity began to rise sharply since early 2011, with its amplitude significantly higher than all forecasts given by a number of influential scientific institutions in 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the observed increase in solar activity

The mystery behind four days of unexplained shaking and odd sounds rattling Clintonville, Wisconsin, has been solved.

is fully consistent with the forecast of the International Committee GEOCHANGE published in the Committee’s Report in June 2010. If this growth rate of solar activity continues, its amplitude by the end of 2012 will be higher than the amplitude of 23rd solar cycle, and in 2013-2014 the solar activity will reach its peak the amplitude

14

Helping robots to think for themselves
by James Morgan
com, Dr Svensson explained how removing the hierarchical structure traditionally employed within production lines can facilitate greater flexibility. “At present, most production lines will run extremely effectively as long as everything remains as it should be. However, a small problem can lead to a complete halt in production.” With the aim of making production lines more adaptable to change, Dr “We wanted to instil ‘intelligence’ at each stage of the process,” Dr Svensson explained. “As they have no master, the robots know what to do with the product itself. Once it has performed the task for

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

New research, conducted by roboticists from University West, could pave the way for greater adaptability within production lines. By endowing automatons with greater autonomy, the Swedenbased team has developed an approach that could make automated manufacturing processes much more flexible than they are at present. Today’s automated production lines are extremely efficient, as long as their inputs remain consistent. However, because such systems are hierarchical, when a problem arises – such as a damaged component being fed into the process – the problematic element must be removed and the production line reset, before work can continue. The new approach, developed by automation scientists Drs Bo Svensson and Fredrik Danielsson, circumvents this obstacle by allowing each robotic actor in the production line its own agency. In an interview with ScienceOmega.

Scientists have discovered for the first time how humans -- and other mammals -- have evolved to have intelligence. Researchers have identified the moment in history when the genes that enabled us to think and reason evolved. This point 500 million years ago provided our ability to learn complex skills, analyse situations and have flexibility in the way in which we think. Professor Seth Grant, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: “One of the greatest scientific problems is to explain how intelligence and complex behaviours arose during evolution.” The research, which is detailed in two papers in Nature Neuroscience, also shows a direct link between the evolution of behaviour and the origins of brain diseases. Scientists believe that the same genes that improved our mental capacity are also responsible for a number of brain disorders. “This ground breaking work has implications for how we understand the emergence of psychiatric disorders and will offer new avenues for the development of new treatments,” said John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome

Origin of intelligence and mental illness linked to ancient genetic accident

Intellect by chance!

have a hierarchical structure,” he began. “Robots responsible for different tasks act as slaves to the master control system. Before these systems become operational, programmers must account for the equipment and components that will be available. Only then can a programme be designed to deliver optimal production. This programme

Svensson and his colleague designed a non-hierarchical system. The software that they have developed, known as P-SOP, creates an individual ‘agent’ for each robot involved in the production process, thus removing the need for a master control system. This model allows each robotic element to operate independently from its counterparts.

which it was designed, the robot can pass the component on. This structure makes the entire process more flexible. As long as there is an incoming component, production will continue.” Essentially, the actions of each agent are triggered by what is happening next to it. The cue for a robot to operate might simply be the presence

of the required component. Events do not have to take place in any particular order. Thus, if a damaged sheet of metal has to be removed from a production line, work does not have to stop. Similarly, operators can introduce new components without disturbing activity. Whilst similar ideas have been mooted in the past, the University West team is the first to implement such an approach in practice. The scientists have tested their programme on an automated production line containing three robots, two metal-cutting machines, a transportation system, a materialhandling system and a measuring station. “We have demonstrated that our non-hierarchical structure works using real robots and real machines,” concluded Dr Svensson. “Of course, we are still at an early stage, so P-SOP has not yet been used on a commercial production line. From a research perspective, however, the technology is good to go. All that is now needed is a company willing to invest in order to bring this product to market.”

Scientists have discovered for the first time how humans -- and other mammals -- have evolved to have intelligence.

Trust, one of the study funders. The study shows that intelligence in humans developed as the result of an increase in the number of brain genes in our evolutionary ancestors. The researchers suggest that a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea

500 million years ago experienced a ‘genetic accident’, which resulted in extra copies of these genes being made. This animal’s descendants benefited from these extra genes, leading to behaviourally sophisticated vertebrates

-- including humans. The research team studied the mental abilities of mice and humans, using comparative tasks that involved identifying objects on touch-screen computers. Researchers then combined results

of these behavioural tests with information from the genetic codes of various species to work out when different behaviours evolved. They found that higher mental functions in humans and mice were controlled by the same genes. The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions. “Our work shows that the price of higher intelligence and more complex behaviours is more mental illness,” said Professor Grant. The researchers had previously shown that more than 100 childhood and adult brain diseases are caused by gene mutations. “We can now apply genetics and behavioural testing to help patients with these diseases,” said Dr Tim Bussey from Cambridge University, which was also involved in the study.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

New Delhi Dec 10: At least 90 percent of Indians are ‘idiots’ who can easily be misled by mischievous elements in the name of religion, Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice Markandey Katju claimed today. ‘I say ninety percent of Indians are idiots. You people don’t have brains in your heads.... It is so easy to take you for a ride,’ he said at a seminar in the capital. He said that a communal riot could be incited in Delhi for as meagre an amount as Rs. 2000. He said that all somebody has to do is make a mischievous gesture of disrespect to

At least 90 percent of Indians are “idiots” Js Katju
a place of worship and people start fighting each other. ‘You mad people will start fighting amongst yourself not realising that some agent provocateur is behind this,’ he said. Justice Katju said that before 1857 there was no communalism in the country but the situation is different now. ‘Today 80 percent Hindus are communal and 80 percent Muslims are communal. This is the harsh truth, bitter truth that I am telling you. How is it that in 150 years you have gone backwards instead of moving forward because the English kept injecting poison,’ Justice Katju said. ‘The

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policy that emanated from London after the mutiny in 1857 that there is only one way to control this country that is to make Hindus and Muslims fight each other,’ he said. He said that then there was a propaganda that Hindi was the language of Hindus and Urdu of Muslims. ‘Our ancestors also studied Urdu, but it is so easy to fool you. You are idiots, so how difficult is it to make an idiot out of you,’ he said. Mr Katju said that he was saying these harsh things to make Indians, whom he loved, to understand the whole game and not remain fools.

demand apology over insult to Indians
Lucknow: Two city youths have sent a legal notice to chairperson of Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju for his remarks that 90 per cent of Indians were idiots. Tanya Thakur, first year law student, and her brother Aditya Thakur in their notice have asked Justice Katju to issue a public apology and in case this does not happen within a period of 30 days they would move to the court. Tanya and Aditya have said that being average citizens of of the country they were deeply hurt and humiliated by the statement. They further added that PCI chairperson’s statements would deprecate the reputation of the country and its citizens and a person of his stature should have deliberated on the implications of his statements. Addressing a seminar organised by the South Asia Media Commission in Delhi on Saturday last Katju had said that 90 per cent of Indians were ‘idiots’ who can easily be misled by mischievous elements in the name of religion. “I say ninety percent of Indians are idiots. You people don’t have brains in your heads....It is so easy to take you for a ride,” he had said. “You mad people will start fighting amongst yourself not realising that some agent provocateur is behind this,” he said. Katju had said that before 1857 there was no communalism in the country but the situation was different now. He had said that he was saying these harsh things to make Indians, whom he loved, to understand the whole game and not remain fools.

Legal notice to Js Katju over ‘idiot Indians’ remarks

Salman Khurshid advises caution over Markandey Katju’s views on Kashmir
Days after PCI chief Markandey Katju favoured reunification of India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has cautioned against picking up issues which may raise people’s emotions unnecessarily. Khurshid said the Press Council of India (PCI) Chairperson has freedom to say a lot of things which he does not have. “Justice Katju has freedom to say a lot of things but I don’t have. We cannot talk about something reversing history because that can only be done if everyone speaks that way...We should not pick up something that once again raises on the sidelines of a function when asked to comment on Katju’s views. Addressing a seminar here, Katju had said that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong and ‘modernminded’ government which will not tolerate bigotry. Khurshid said both India and Pakistan should emotionally bond to understand each other. “Well it is a way of expressing what divides us. Originally one people, one family. We got divided because of the events that took place. But sometimes when it happens you have to learn to live together. And in learning to live together if you blame each other you never learn to live together. So emotionally you have to bond to understand each other,” he said. Khurshid said India wants resolution of all issues with its neighbours through talks. “With our neighbours we have to talk. Because there is no substitute to dialogue and dialogue and it has to be placed with open heart. Sometimes it improves sometimes it gets retarded sometimes it move forward but we are working on it and let the dialogue continue,” he said.

people’s emotions unnecessarily,” he said. “But he is a visionary and he is a

person who has his own ways and it’s interesting to hear what he says,” Khurshid said on Monday

16

China:Doomsday rumors trigger panic buying, reflection
Doomsday panic baseless: minister
Such beliefs have spawned a cottage industry, despite having been debunked multiple times by archaeologists and other scientists. Businessman Yang Zongfu, who hails from the city of Yiwu in east China’s Jiangsu province, sought to capitalize on the craze four months ago, when he debuted his own version of “Noah’s Ark.” Yang’s invention, a large stainlesssteel ball intended to shelter and protect survivors in the event of a world-ending event, sells for 1 to 5 million yuan (160,300 to 800,150 U.S. New Zealand. The rumors have prompted some to make drastic decisions, much to the consternation of their loved ones. A woman surnamed Jiang, also from Jiangsu, recently mortgaged her property for 1.04 million yuan, although the property was previously valued at 3 million yuan. Jiang said she expected to “donate the money to orphans and enjoy my life before doomsday.” Her husband, angered by his wife’s decision, convinced her to get their apartment back. for marriage registrations for the date of Dec. 21. Science fiction author Wang Jinkang believes those convinced by the rumors would do well to focus more on the here and now, stating that they should be more wary of disasters caused by climate change, a possible shortage of freshwater and deadly pathogens. “The rumors are a misinterpretation of the Maya calendar and are still going on,” said Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist for China’s lunar orbiter project, adding that he believes Dec. 21 will be a peaceful and safe day. “The sun will still rise on Dec. 21. All reactions to the doomsday prophecy show a strong recognition of the crisis of human existence. However, these reactions should be rooted in science,” said Wang Sichao, an astronomer at the Nanjing Purple Mountain Observatory. He explained that when the sun transforms from its current stable state into a red giant, its expansion will devour Earth, signaling the end for the human race and the very planet itself. “However, that won’t happen for another 5 billion years. At that time, humans will have to be able to find a new home,” Wang Sichao said, adding that the best reaction to the rumors should be to cherish one’s life and loved ones.

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Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said Wednesday that although people should be conscious of the need to prepare for potential disasters, they should not create unnecessary panic with baseless forecasts of doom. Jiang was referring to a “doomsday” forecast by Nantou County resident Wang Chao-hung, nicknamed “Teacher Wang,” who predicted that a magnitude 14 earthquake and massive tsunami would devastate Taiwan on Wednesday at 10:42:37 a.m. Candles and matches have almost sold out in two southwest China counties following online rumors of a coming doomsday event that some believe will bring the end of the world. Panic buying in Shuangliu and

Malala Fund for education set up
wore a button of Malala’s face on his lapel. On Oct 9, the 15-year-old education activist from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was shot in the head and neck by Taliban militants while returning home by a around the world. Mr Brown, who is the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Global Education, said her father, Ziauddin, was perfect for the role of advising him in his campaign. The position is not a UN role. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who was also present on this occasion, visited Malala Yousafzai a few days ago in a hospital in Britain’s Birmingham city where she is recuperating from the gunshot wound. At a “Stand Up For Malala” advocacy event at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations’ cultural arm, Mr Zardari said he was “deeply moved” to have met the teenager at the hospital in Britain over the weekend. “I have no doubt that our resolve to provide education to all, in particular to the millions of schoolgirls, is the best strategy to defeat the forces of violence,” said Mr Zardari, who

Longchang counties, both located in Sichuan province, was stirred by rumors of “three consecutive days of darkness after Dec. 21.” The rumors have been widely spread via Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, becoming one of the site’s ten most popular topics in recent days. Local businesses and online vendors have picked up on the rumors, offering packages of supplies, self-help manuals and even beauty products for the end times. The trending topic appears to be related to myths stating that a calendar used by the ancient Maya accurately predicts the end of the world, with many believing the event will occur in December 2012.

dollars). Yang said a businessman from north China’s Shanxi province has purchased 15 of the devices, adding that he has also received orders from

Others have rushed to get married before the end of the world arrives. Marriage registry offices in the cities of Xi’an, Hefei, Guangzhou and Shanghai have filled their daily quota

Pakistan’s President Asif Zardari pledged $10 million for girls’ education to UNESCO on Monday in the name of a Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, saying sending girls to school was the best way to combat extremism. Pakistan and UNESCO have signed an agreement to establish Malala fund to support the education of girls in Pakistan and other countries. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Pakistan’s Education Minister Sheikh Waqas Akram and UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova at the UN headquarters in Paris.

school bus. The pledge came as Gordon Brown revealed he has taken on Malala’s father as a special adviser on education, as part of a campaign to get millions more girls into school

“His unique qualities - a teacher and headteacher as well as a parent who has had to struggle against opposition to girls’ education and the closing of schools - makes him ideally suited to leading in our educational effort

to get all to school,” he wrote for the Huffington Post. Brown is also pushing for Malala’s birthday, July 12, to be designated a day of action each year when children around the world are invited to march, demonstrate, petition and pray for education to be delivered worldwide. “Before she was shot, Malala was advocating the cause of girls’ education faced by a Taliban that had closed down and destroyed 600 schools,” said the former British prime minister, now UN special envoy for global education. “If the Taliban sought to vanquish her voice once and for all, they failed.“For today her voice and her insistent dream that children should go to school echoes all around the world, as girl after girl, each wanting all girls to have the right to go to school, identifies with Malala.” Brown added: “In time Malala herself is determined to join the campaign for every girl’s right to education and when she has recovered she will do so, becoming one of the leaders of that campaign.

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

Pandit Ravi Shankar, sitar maestro, dies aged 92
A ‘national treasure’: Sitar virtuoso who took the sitar to the world
on November 4 along with Anoushka. The first of the Grammy awards came in 1967 for his collaborative album with Menuhin, West Meets East. Shankar has also been nominated for the 2013 Grammys for his album The Living Room Sessions Part-1. Anoushka has also been nominated in the same category. In 1999, Shankar was awarded the highest civilian citation in India - the Bharat Ratna, or Jewel of India. The sitar virtuoso was responsible for incorporating many aspects of Carnatic ( south Indian) music into the north Indian system, especially its mathematical approach to rhythm. He also gave a new prominence to the tabla player in concert. He was appointed Director of Music at the Indian People’s Theatre Association, and later held the same position at All India Radio (1949?56). He composed his first

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Legendary sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who spearheaded the worldwide spread of Indian music and had a major influence on Western musicians like The Beatles, Ravi Shankar, who has died aged 92 in San Diego. His family said he had been admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego last week, but had failed to recover fully from surgery. In a statement, Shankar’s wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said he had recently undergone surgery which would have “potentially given him a new lease of life”. In February 2012 ,The sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar has performed what is widely believed to be his last concert at a the “Premaanjali Festival 2012” held at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore.. George Harrison called him “the godfather of world music” and it was Shankar’s vision that brought the sounds of the raga into western consciousness, thus bridging the gap between eastern and western music for the first time. In a long career he was still winning awards in 2002 when his album Full Circle/ Live at Carnegie Hall (2000) achieved a Grammy for best album in the world music category. Shankar’s distinction as a sitar player was his brilliant virtuosity, creativity and vast range of musicianship. In the west, certainly, his name is also synonymous with the music of India. Shankar gained widespread international recognition through his association with The Beatles. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a “national treasure and global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage”. A Bengali Brahmin, he was born Robindra Shankar on April 7, 1920 in Varanasi, the youngest of four brothers, and spent his first 10 years in relative poverty, brought up by his mother. He was almost eight before he met his absent father, a globetrotting lawyer, philosopher, writer and former minister to the Maharajah of Jhalawar. In 1930, his eldest brother Uday Shankar uprooted the family to Paris, and over the next eight years Shankar enjoyed the limelight in Uday’s troupe, which toured the world introducing Europeans and Americans to Indian classical and folk dance. As a performer, composer and teacher, Shankar was an Indian classical artist of the highest rank, and he spearheaded the worldwide spread of Indian music and culture, said writer and editor Oliver Craske, who provided additional narrative for Shankar’s autobiography ‘Raga Mala’. Shankar achieved his greatest fame in

Shankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility...(He was) a national treasure and global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage. --Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister India has lost a distinguished son. --Meira Kumar, Lok Sabha Speaker His passing away will create an irreparable void in music and performing arts. His deep-rooted bond with Bengal will be treasured forever in our hearts. --Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM With the death of Panditji, an era in classical music has come to an end. He was truly a multi-faceted personality. --Manish Tiwari, I&B Minister He was a worshipper of Lord Krishna and was like the lord for us. We used to talk about everything. The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world. --Lata Mangeshkar, Singer

Ravi Shankar, musician and composer, born 7 April 1920; died 11 December 2012

the 1960s when he was embraced by the Western counterculture. He played at Woodstock and the 1967 Monterey Pop festival, and also

Talking in later life about his experiences at the influential Monterey Pop festival, Ravi Shankar said he was “shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly”.

Pandit Ravi Shankar with wife Sukanya & with daughter Anoushka

collaborated with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Shankar also composed a number of film scores - notably Satyajit Ray’s celebrated

He told Rolling Stone magazine that he was horrified when Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire on stage. “That was too much for me. In our culture, we have such respect for musical

new raga in 1945 (30 more would follow) and began a prolific recording career. The music doyen wrote a new melody for Mohammed Iqbal’s patriotic poem ‘Sare

Pandit Ravi Shankar was a legend in music and he took classical music to new heights. --Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual Leader

Apu trilogy (1951-55) and Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982) - and collaborated with US composer Philip Glass in Passages in 1990.

instruments, they are like part of God,” he said. A three-time Grammy award winner, Shankar last performed in California

Jahan Se Accha’. The daughter of Ravi Shankar, and Sukanya Rajan, Anoushka Shankar is a sitar player and composer in the United States. a bank employee. Through her father, she is the half-sister of Grammy Award winner Norah Jones.

The Music just died.. --Derek O’Brien, VP of Trinamool Congress Mourn passing of a musical genius and gentle soul. Attended his last concert Nov in Calif. He played with such passion. --N. Menon Rao, Indian Ambassador to US Ravi Shankar was a great ambassador of Indian art, culture and music. His death creates a void which is not possible to fill. --Lord Swaraj Paul, NRI Industrialist

Ravi Shankar teaches George Harrison the sitar

World reknown sitar player, composer, teacher and writer, Ravi Shankar (L) smiles at his wife Sukanya Rajan (R) and daughter Anoushka (2nd R) after receiving the University of Melbourne’s highest honour, the degree of Doctor of Laws, at a special conferring ceremony in Melbourne, on March 19, 2010.

While micro blogging site Twitter was abuzz with condolences from all factions, the Prime Minister and the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar condoled the demise of the maestro in their respective messages. An era has passed away with Pandit Ravi

18

Talaash: This is serious business
Talaash, as the name suggests, is a film in which people are looking for answers. It has some obvious searches like why did the car end up in water? Who is the killer?

ENTERTAINMENT

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

And then there are the subtly and beautifully embedded intrinsic quests of a father in search of reconciliation with himself, not really by selfflagellation but by being silent. Or a wife in search of her husband whom she lost to a tragic accident in their lives. m disappointed in myself, because it took me over an hour to realise where I had seen Talaash before. I hadn’t seen it before, I had read it. Talaash is very heavily inspired by, one of my all-time favourite books called, ‘The Fallen’ by T Jefferson Parker. I am disappointed because it took me that long to visualise scenes from my favourite book. On my Twitter query to her, director of Talaash, Reema Kagti has denied having read the book which effectively means it’s a mere coincidence, albeit a huge one that almost two thirds of the story and some scenes are a straight lift from the aforementioned book. Nonetheless, while I am in talaash of this answer, there is nothing wrong even if it is heavily inspired from the book. Talaash is an almost epic mastery of storytelling. Almost because in the end it leaves you with your mouth open and mind confused about whether to love the climax or not. It leaves you questioning your beliefs. If you can believe the twist in the climax, then you will leave the theatre thinking that you have seen one of the best films ever. If not, like I did not, then you will struggle to consider Talaash an alltime great, instead, it will become an almost classic for you too. If you put the belief factor aside, you will realise that throughout the film there were cues for you to understand what was happening, but you did not because you were involved in the side tracks too much. Director Reema Kagti has shown tremendous aptitude of the grip on screenplay and visual treatment. Giving Talaash after Honey Moon Travels shows the versatility in her ability. She commands your attention throughout the movie and your eyes are like magnets to the screen. The attention to detail and sensitive treatment are the pillars Talaash is standing on. Rani’s look is ruffled – her eyes have dark circles and her face is freckled because she doesn’t have time to focus on her physical appearance. Aamir is playing his age – something a certain other Khan needs to learn from. He is a cop of high repute but

breaks. Talaash is no joke; its serious business! ‘Talaash’: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor at the success party Directed by Reema Kagti and produced by Excel Entertainment and Aamir Khan Productions Talaash featured Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles. Dressed in a grey waistcoat, a regular shirt and blue denims, Aamir Khan remained the show stealer. Amir Khan playing the role of a police officer, Surjan Singh Shekhawat. ‘Talaash’ producers, Farhan Akhtar, Aamir Khan and Ritesh Sidhwani pose for the shutterbugs. Farhan Akhtar believes Aamir Khan’s connection with a thriller like ‘Talaash’ itself, spoke volumes about the film’s content. Filmmaker Farhan Akhtar believes superstar Aamir Khan’s link with a supernatural thriller like ‘Talaash’ itself, spoke volumes about the film’s content. “It automatically speaks something about the content of the film. He is someone who is known to attach himself to a film that has a serious story to tell and something new to share with people,” the 38-year-old said here Monday at the success

there is no over the top praising by his team members like the entry of SRK in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Instead there is a simple ‘bohot suna hai sir aapke baaray mein, maza aaye ga aap ke saath kaam kar ke’ (I have

look, she comes off as strangely hot in her sari clad housewife look. Charming

heard a lot about you, sir; it will be fun working with you) which is enough to establish his work ethic. On the downside, Kareena Kapoor

indeed and much needed after a disastrous Aiyya. Her confrontation scene with Aamir on the road is

be called a Kareena film as her other performances are far stronger. Raj Kumar Yadav is also impressive once again. I am now eagerly waiting for his ‘Shahid’. Subrat Dutta is a star too, even though in a much smaller role. Having said as much, the film belongs to Aamir Khan and why wouldn’t it? This is his second venture with Excel Entertainment after the era defining Dil Chahta Hai and he has delivered another masterpiece for them. The perfectionist that he is, Khan has given one of his best performances to date. His self-inflicted pain is obvious on his face. His eyes communicate his tiredness, his face communicates his regret. The best scene of the film, in

looks too classy to be a low end prostitute. A downgraded look, if not a different actress, would have really helped. If we act overly critical, we can also question the honesty of genuine interest of the entire police force to solve a high profile case, which isn’t generally a reality. Talaash demands big efforts from the cast and they deliver. It’s great to see a vintage Rani Mukherjee performance. A perfect reminder of why she was a Film Fare worthy actress not long ago. Even though, far away from a glamorous

really good and her helplessness in front of her psychiatrist is expressed beautifully. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is having the best year of his life. With Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur and now Talaash, looks like his struggling days are over. His portrayal of Taimur is nothing short of brilliant. This is one actor I would want to see more and more in every film. Kareena Kapoor is good, minus the unfitting perfect Hindi accent unlike other prostitutes shown in the film. Even if we ignore that, it still cannot

which he is reliving the tragedy of his life and how he could have changed the whole event, is one of the best ever created on cinema. When he was happy to see his wife enjoying a senseless movie, the audience felt his relief. When he cried, people on either side of me in the theatre cried; definitely the best performance of the year. Even better than Paan Singh Tomar and Gangs of Wasseypur. If you plan on watching Talaash, make sure you don’t miss any part of it. Every minute is important. Don’t text, don’t tweet and don’t take toilet

party of the film. “He is known to do that and when he attaches himself to a movie like ‘Talaash’, it automatically sends out a signal to the people that there must be something interesting going on in the movie,” he added. Besides playing the lead as Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat, Aamir was also the co-producer of ‘Talaash’ along with Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani. Farhan, however, accepts that Aamir’s celebrity status is also a major reason why people come to watch a film.

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

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At a rally in Kheda today, chief minister Narendra Modi delivered the perfect photo-op. Standing with him was cricket icon, 28-year-old Irfan Pathan, whose father used to announce namaz at a mosque in Vadodara. This was the chief minister’s pithy comeback to those who accuse him of co-opting divisive politics for political dividends. Cricketer Irfan Pathan today shared the stage with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the campaign rally of BJP, the party which is trying to appease minority community voters in the state. During the rally for the second phase polling in the state, Irfan was seen standing besides the Chief Minister on the huge stage. His return to power in Gujarat can be taken for granted, but the larger prize for Mr Modi is to be declared the prime ministerial candidate of his party, the BJP. And his sadbhavna or communal harmony tour last year, conducted across the state, telegraphed his attempts to reinvent his persona and distance himself from the riots of 2002 which ravaged Gujarat when he was in power. The concerted attempt to prove Continued on page 29 >> BALASORE: India on Wednesday successfully test-fired nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile with a strike range of 700 km from a test range off Odisha coast, Indian media reported. The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher at about 8.30 am from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from Balasore, defence sources said. Scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which developed the missile, witnessed and supervised the test, Prasad added. Describing the test as successful, ITR Director MVKV Prasad said, “It was a practice trial conducted by the Strategic Force Command of the Indian Army.” “The mission was successful,” he said.

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Irfan Pathan bats for Narendra Modi in Gujarat Assembly poll
Amid Gujarat polls, debate over whether Muslims are being politically marginalized

Thursday, 13.12.12

international
India tests nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile

Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metrelong Agni-I, which is capable of carrying payloads up to 1000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army.

Upcoming election termed most expensive in Pakistan’s history
The upcoming general election will be the most expensive in the history of Pakistan.

Afghanistan, Pakistan pursue peace despite attack

The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan are determined to press ahead with peace efforts after a meeting in Turkey, the country’s president said Wednesday, despite an attack that wounded the Afghan intelligence chief.

President Abdullah Gul described the bombing, which Afghanistan believes was planned in Pakistan, as an attempt to derail dialogue between the two countries. Continued on page 29 >>

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) estimates that Rs5.90 billion in expenses will be incurred during the election compared to Rs1.45 billion spent in 2008. According to the ECP sources, the 180 million ballot papers printed for the election will be

watermarked and are expected to cost Rs1 billion. This amount is double of what was spent during the last general election. Polling staff is expected to cost an additional Rs2 billion. The average cost incurred on each voter will be Rs65.50 which is Rs42.50 higher than the last election.

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Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

Jamat e Islami anti America or Hypocrite?

Taliban leaders send their girls to school: UN
Senator, has regrettably tried hard to mend his ties with the extremists. Using the anti-American public sentiment and deliberately obfuscating the issue, he has consistently condemned the US for everything that has gone wrong in Pakistan, but has not mustered up the courage to go after the real perpetrators of the attempted assassination of both Malala Yousafzai and himself. In that way, he has stuck to the core ideology of his party where perhaps personal safety is the top priority even when the safety of the nation is compromised. What a shame. Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, the daughter of former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, began circulating valley”. On the other hand Qazi Hussain Ahmed portrays as him and his party are the worst enemy of USA. He is a strong critic of counter-terrorism policy of the United States, and is widely known for his opposition against United States. A day after he survived a targeted suicide attack, former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Qazi Hussain Ahmed reiterated that America was the “ultimate beneficiary” of such an assault. Yet he never tell the truth about his son Asif Luqman Qazi who studied and post graduated at the Boston University. Also it is to remind that in April 1979, the founder leader of the Jamat e Islami Moulana Moududi

Qazi says US ‘ultimate beneficiary’ of attack on him
A top UN official claimed that some Taliban leaders, who issued fatwa against girls’ education during their rule in Afghanistan, have themselves sent their female children to schools run with the support of the international body. Louis-Georges Arsenault, who was Unicef representative in Afghanistan from 1998 to 2001, said top Taliban officials had “openly” told UN officials that the fatwa was issued because they needed their troops not be distracted by the movement of women and girls. “Some of the Taliban fighters were sending their girls in schools any way,” said Arsenault, who is credited with managing one of Unicef’s largest humanitarian operations

only condemning the attack without denouncing the perpetrator. What a

in taking advantage of the innocence of Malala Yousafzai. “When she was

in Afghanistan. According to the UNICEF, Arsenault, despite the Taliban’s edicts against girls’ education, initiated several projects to arrange private schooling for them. Regarding Malala Yousaf Zai attack : The Pakistan Jamat e Islami former Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed who is known for his support for Taliban , regrettably, but not surprisingly, had confused the issue, more than ever, by

shame. Keeping his guards up against any provocation to the extremists, he had proclaimed, “A 14-year-old child is neither entirely aware of her circumstances, nor can she be fully committed to a cause. At this young age, there must be someone else behind the scenes exploiting her innocence, and whoever has manipulated her is equally guilty of the crime as her shooter.” To make further inroads with the Taliban, Qazi Hussain Ahmed narrated the story about her father and touched upon the condemnable role of the international news agencies

11 years old, the ground situation in Mingora, Swat was really bad, almost like a curfew. During that time, a BBC representative stayed in her house for three days as a guest of her father, in which he had a chance to converse with her in detail,” he said. “The video tapes of that interview are available and can be provided to the media upon demand. After that discussion with the BBC representative, she was introduced to the Pakistani NGOs and groomed for a ‘special purpose’.” Decoding that ‘special purpose’ is not complicated at all. Qazi Hussain Ahmed , a former

images of Malala with patently false messages and twisted logic. One particular image showed the Swat girl talking to Richard Holbrooke, the late former U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was passed off by Samia as a meeting with “U.S. military authorities”. The lie was subsequently, nailed by discerning observers with video footage of the event, where the only comment made by Malala, in fact, was a plea for the U.S. “to invest in the education of girls in the war-torn

Maududi’s long-time kidney ailment worsened and by then he also had heart problems. He went to the United States for treatment and was hospitalized in Buffalo, New York, where his second son worked as a physician. Following a few surgical operations, he died on September 22, 1979, at the age of 76. Maulana Maududi, had kidney stones and once famous progressive poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz made a remark to Maulana as Allah stoning him from inside.

Pandi: an Indian Chef in China’s Hefei
Pandi came to east China’s Shanghai as a cook in 2010. Before long he went to Hefei and continued his roti prata works. Roti prata is a kind of traditional snacks in India which is quite popular among the folks. Pandi mastered the roti prata skills in a culinary school of his hometown, Chennai. Everyday at the launch and dinner time, Pandi shows up at his operating table to serve the customers in the restaurant. After a series of process including kneading, rotating and flipping, a mass of dough gradually turned into a piece of thin, large pancake. After being fried with diced fruits or chive, the golden roti prata was served in porcelain plates for the customers to take. For most

people who eat in the restaurant, not only Pandi’s Roti prata are feasts to the stomach, but also the making process is a feast to the eyes. Pandi learned the Chinese language after he arrived in Shanghai. It not only brought him the opportunity to chat with customers, but also a group of Chinese friends. He likes to hang out with his friends after work, sometimes going to the karaoke, sometimes simply a chat over coffee. On his future plans, Pandi says that he has heard lots of interesting places in China and he would like to visit them one by one. But after the tour, he will come back to Hefei. “I’ve got a lot of acquaintance here, so living in Hefei makes me happy,” Pandi said.

Pandi waves a roti prata in a buffet restaurant in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui Province

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN NEWS
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday for an unannounced visit to consult with top commanders and President Hamid Karzai. The visit comes at a difficult juncture in the Western coalition’s efforts to shift more security responsibilities to Afghan forces so the combat mission can end in December 2014. While security has generally improved lately, the Afghan government’s ability to effectively govern and to root out corruption is in great doubt. Peace talks with the Taliban are on a back burner. Earlier Wednesday in Kuwait, Panetta said President Barack Obama will decide in the next few weeks how many U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends. Panetta did not reveal what options Obama is considering, but officials

Panetta in Afghanistan to Meet with Karzai
have said he may settle on a figure between 6,000 and 10,000. There currently are about 66,000 U.S. troops members inside an aircraft hangar at a desert base west of Kuwait City. He thanked them for their service and stay in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends in December 2014. Panetta did not reveal what options Obama is considering, but officials have said he may settle on a figure between 6,000 and 10,000. There currently are about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The post-2014 mission is expected to focus on counterterrorism and advising Afghan security forces. Panetta spoke Wednesday to about 100 U.S. service members inside an aircraft hangar at this desert base west of Kuwait City. He thanked them for their service and emphasized that the U.S. is winding down its involvement in lengthy wars. On Tuesday, Panetta met with top Kuwaiti government officials. This is likely to be Panetta’s last visit to the Middle East before he retires. He has not said publicly when he

in Afghanistan. The post-2014 mission is expected to focus on counterterrorism and advising Afghan security forces. Before flying to Afghanistan, Panetta spoke to about 100 U.S. service

emphasized that the U.S. is winding down its involvement in lengthy wars. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that President Barack Obama will decide in the next few weeks how many U.S. troops will

is quitting to return to his native California, but it is widely forecast for early next year, possibly in January. In recent months, following the administration’s announced strategic policy “pivot” to Asia, Panetta has been at pains to assert that doing more in Asia and the Pacific does not have to mean doing less in the Middle East. He said the U.S. military has about 50,000 troops in the Middle East. That includes about 5,000 on each of two aircraft carrier battle groups. Kuwait has been regarded as an important U.S. def ense partner in the years since Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, prompting US military intervention and the start of a two-decade confrontation with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi leader was toppled in 2003, but insurgents kept U.S. forces tied down there until December 2011.

Provincial police chief killed in Afghan blast
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A Taliban bombing killed an Afghan provincial police chief and gunmen fatally shot an official in charge of women’s affairs on Monday - the latest victims of a campaign targeting government officials across Afghanistan. The police chief for Nimroz province was travelling home from neighboring Herat province when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the morning hours, said the chief’s secretary Obaidullah, who goes by only one name. The police chief, Gen. Mohammad Musa Rasouli, was seriously wounded and was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his wounds, said the secretary. Rasouli was returning to his job in Nimroz after a short break in Herat province, Obaidullah said. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the insurgency had been tracking Rasouli. “We are continuing to target government officials,” Ahmadi said. Also Monday morning, gunmen shot and killed the head of the women’s affairs department for Laghman province, said Sarhadi Zewak, a spokesman for the provincial government. Najia Sediqi was on her way to work from her home on the outskirts of the provincial capital when she was attacked, Zewak said. She had taken the job after her predecessor, Anifa Safi, was killed in a July bombing. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Sediqi’s killing. Police are investigating, Zewak said. A statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai called it a “terrorist attack.” An Afghan policeman looks at a vehicle on which the police chief of Nimroz province

Mohammad Musa Rasouli was killed in Herat, Afghanistan, on Dec. 10, 2012. The police chief was killed Monday in a blast in the neighboring Herat province, a police spokesman said. Afghan officials and pro-

government figures have been repeatedly targeted by the militants over the past years as the Taliban intensified activities against government interest across the country. The insurgent group, which has been waging

an insurgency in more than one decade, has warned civilians to stay away from official gatherings, military convoys and centers regarded as the legitimate targets by militants.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BANGLADESH NEWS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is not meeting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert O Blake due to a schedule conflict, a senior official at the

PM not meeting Blake: Source We condemn the violence most strongly
Editorial
Advisor Gowher Rizvi and the leaders of readymade garment sector. The official said there was not too much to read into the Prime Minister being unable to give him time in the it,” he said. Bangladesh and the US have been negotiating for the last four years to sign non-binding Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) but could not reach an agreement over labour issue. Washington only signs TICFA with big trading partners and BangladeshUS bilateral trade was over $6 billion in the last fiscal. Concern over RMG Washington expressed its concern over the recent fire incident in Tazreen Fashions and overall labour issues in the readymade garment industry, the foreign ministry official said. “The US is the biggest destination of Bangladeshi exportables and Washington is worried about the labour standards in the garment sector,” he said. US Secretary of Labour Hilda L Solis last month issued a strong statement saying perpetrators should be punished. “Investigations should be conducted and the perpetrators punished, but things cannot then return to business as usual,” she said in the statement. Over 110 people were killed in the tragic incidents at Tazreen Fashions on Nov 24.

What did the 18-party siege achieve?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday. “The Prime Minister met the Assistant Secretary three times before this visit and this time so far as I know, she is not meeting with Blake due to a schedule problem,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “The US is the biggest export destination of Bangladeshi products while it is also the biggest investor and there is no way Bangladesh will alienate US,” he said. Blake came to Dhaka on Dec 8 and met Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, the Prime Minister’s International Affairs

wake of media reports that she was not too keen on meeting Blake. Blake also addressed a symposium on women’s entrepreneurship and had a luncheon with the Acting Foreign Secretary. He is scheduled to meet Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia on Monday. TIFCA Washington has no problem if Dhaka does not sign TICFA, but warned Bangladesh might face problem in the future, the official said. “The US has made it clear that it would be in Bangladesh’s interest that it signs TICFA and Washington will not put pressure on Dhaka to sign

Two die and hundreds injured in nationwide demonstrations demanding caretaker administration oversees 2014 poll

Bangladesh police fire rubber bullets during deadly protests over election
Dhaka. Another protester was killed in the capital by a speeding bus as some demonstrators tried to stop it, said a police official who

We wonder what the BNP and its alliance members have achieved in the half-day siege yesterday. Except for the violence, that we had predicted in this very column yesterday, that the programme would engender because of the fact that the siege would be ‘enforced’ by the 18-party alliance, anything that the BNP-led alliance had wanted to convey to the people was marred by senseless violence and destruction. It sounds ludicrous that the siege, among other things, was to protest against the public sufferings caused by government policies. We cannot agree with the BNP leaders that the programme was supported by the people spontaneously. The matter was compounded by the fact that the AL and its student and youth wings were on the streets too, which reportedly, had also indulged in violence and damaging of vehicles. The situation on the streets was rather different yesterday than on previous occasions. The alliance activists were seen to be more active and belligerent, indulging in pitched battles with the police. Living up to the veiled threat of the acting secretary general to keep all types of vehicle off the roads, the opposition activists had targeted the vehicles that had ventured on the streets. Although it was supposed to be ‘peaceful’ programme, violence had occurred in some parts of the country that resulted in two deaths and more than hundred injured and destruction of property both public and private including ambulances and police vehicles. And in spite of what the BNP says about the police preventing it from exercising its political right, we are afraid that exercising ones political right can not subvert the political rights of others which the BNP-led alliance programme had certainly done. By the same token, using the student wing of the ruling party to thwart the programme cannot be condoned. The job of the law enforcing agencies cannot be outsourced to supra government elements. When political programmes lead to vandalism and pitched battles between the opposition which called the programme, and its political opponents and the law enforcing agencie, with the aim to stifle that programme, than that no longer remains a political programme but becomes a political joust. We condemn such violence in the strongest possible terms.

At least two people were killed and more than 200 others injured in violence in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, and other districts, police and witnesses report. Police have fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse protesters who set fire to vehicles and tried to block roads across country to demand restoration of a caretaker administration to oversee upcoming national elections. Local police chief Wahid Zaman said a protester was killed during clashes on Sunday between opponents and supporters of the government in Sirajganj district, 104km (65 miles) north-west of

Fakhrul, Rizvi, 250 others sued over Sunday’s violence 2 more cases filed with Uttara, Savar police stations for vandalism

did not want to be named. At least 200 people, including some police officers, were injured in clashes between police and protesters across the country, according to reports by local television stations Ekattar TV and Somoy TV.

A case has been filed against 200 to 250 unnamed people, but including BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, for their alleged involvement

in the Sunday’s violence centring the 18party alliance’s countrywide blockade. One “Ainal” filed the case with Paltan Police Station around 8:20pm Sunday, Sheikh Mohammad Zubayer Mokki, a sub-inspector of the police station told The Daily Star on Monday. BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was also made accused in the case which was filed under Explosive Substances Act. Meanwhile, at least 96 persons including former Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) President Azizul Bari Helal were sued in a case filed in connection with torching a BRTC bus and vandalism at Uttara during Sunday’s blockade. Makbul Ahmed, driver of the torched BRTC bus, filed the case with Uttara East Police Station by mentioning 46 names including of Helal and 50 to 60 unknown people, said the duty officer of the police station. In Savar, police filed a case against at least 600 people naming six of them for torching and vandalising vehicles on the capital’s suburb area on Sunday. Tahmina, a sub-inspector of Savar Police Station, told The Daily Star that the case was filed around 8:30pm Sunday for vandalism and arson and blockading the roads.

Journalists’ mass hunger strike Dec 23

Journalist couple Sagor and Runi

Journalists will stage a mass hunger strike on December 23 in the capital demanding trial of killers of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi. The six-hour hunger strike will start at 10:00am in front of the Jatiya Press Club, announced Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ). The announcement was made at a

gathering of journalists in front of the press club on Monday. The journalist organised the gathering to press home their several demands including trial of Sagar-Runi killers. Sagar, news editor at the private TV station Maasranga, and his wife Runi, senior reporter at another TV channel ATN Bangla, were killed in the wee hours of February 11 at their rented apartment in the capital’s West Rajabazar.

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

Rangers continued the targeted search operation in Karachi areas and detained at least twenty-two suspects from Mehmoodabad and Pak Colony including political party workers, reported Monday.
KARACHI: According to security forces, Rangers conducted a targeted search operation in Mehmoodabad, Pak Colony and the adjoining areas and detainedat least 22 suspects. The detained suspects include three local office bearers of political parties. Rangers Sindh carried out a targeted operation in Bilal Colony area of Korangi, arresting 15 suspects, including three wanted criminals on Sunday. Acting on a tip-off, over 1000 Rangers personnel carried out house-to-house search with the help of detection dogs in Bilal Colony area of Korangi, recovering weapons. The entry and exit points of the locality were blocked during the operation. Ghas Mandi areas here on Saturday night. A Rangers spokesman said in a communication on Sunday that 24 alleged criminals were detained, including a target killer and a weapon supplier. As many as 19 weapons of different calibers, including SMG, MP-5, rifles, pistols, huge cache of ammunition including armour piercing bullets, satellite phones, daggers, telescopes, binocular and laser range finder were recovered. The Rangers spokesman further pointed out that an operation was in progress in Bilal Colony where 15 accused have been detained and over 40 weapons recovered. nni/app

Rangers conduct operation in Karachi, recover huge quantity of arms

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A spokesman for the paramilitary force said that the Rangers had also arrested two dozen suspects, including a target killer and an arms supplier, from Surjani and Ghas

* 22 from Mehmoodabad & 39 suspects from Bilal Colony, Surjani and Ghas Mandi areas
Mandi areas. He said that the suspected targeted killer was affiliated with a political party. The spokesman added that a Sub-Machine Gun (SMG), an MP-5 rifle and 19 other fire arms with

satellite phone and telescope were recovered from the possession of suspects during the operation. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Saturday night conducted a targeted operations in Surjani and

Asgar’s Advent Calendar Hair
www.asgarboo.com
Ranger personnel seen moving to their positions during search operation in the area of Mehmoodabad.

Tata Housing not to pull out of Maldives

Tata Housing Development Company today ruled out pulling out of Maldives and is discussing with the Government there regarding an alternate site for a housing project following plans to construct the Supreme Court on one of the allotted sites. The Tata group entity also said it is “seriously considering” the island government’s offer of an alternate land parcel instead of an earlier location and hopes to settle the issue within next 1-2 months. “We are not pulling out of Maldives. We are

amicably discussing with the government there. We hope that in the next 1—2 months, we will have a final settlement,” Tata Housing Development Company Senior Vice President (International Business and New Business Initiatives) Sandeep Ahuja told PTI here. The company has been facing issues with the Government there for one site, in which a Supreme Court building is planned. The Indian firm was offered four sites to develop housing projects.

Christmas Work Do - Perfect Pony Stay sleek and sophisticated with the low ponytail one of 2013’s hottest hair trends as seen at Matthew Williamson and Christian Dior. This look easily transcends from the day straight through to evening. To add a bit of an evening twist, wrap approximately 1/5th of the ponytail around the elastic band holding the main body of the ponytail down whilst doing so.(Ensure this is enough hair to cover the band). Secure the wrapped hair with hair grips and hairspray. Christmas Lunch With Friends Messy Top Knot Bun This casual, effortless look has been worn all summer by celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Courtney Kardashian and Nicole Richie and isn’t going anywhere this Winter. Gather your

hair to create the highest ponytail that you can (adjusting height to suit your preference). Secure with a hair band and then begin teasing the hair with a comb. Once you

have achieved enough volume, wrap the hair around the hair band into a bun and secure this firmly with hair grips. Finish with hairspray. Christmas Eve - Wild and Free

- This is definitely a time to feel merry, so let your hair down and take inspiration from celebrities all over with loose toussled curls. This look is a hit for 2013 no matter the length of your hair. Begin by tipping your hair upside down which will achieve more volume. Separate the hair into two four sections (2 on each side). Brush the hair through and spritz the hair with a good quality thermal hear protecting spray. Start with one section taking a small fraction. Curling away from the face using a medium barrel hair tong. Repeat until this section is complete. On the two left sections, curl the hair clockwise slowly twisting the barel to curl. Hold for 10-15 seconds. On the two right sections of hair, curl anti-clock wise. So the curls aren’t so pronounced, run your fingers through the curls until they are slightly loosen. To hold the hair, use a good quality hair spray which will see you through the night.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF INDIA NEWS
BS Yeddyurappa’s show of strength: BJP leaders, thousands present at formal launch of his party
The BJP government faced the threat of instability after 13 MLAs, defying the party, threw their lot behind former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who formally launched his Karnataka Janata Party at a mega rally Sunday. Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa Sunday took over as President of his newly-minted Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) amid loud cheers from the thousands that had gathered for a massive rally in Haveri in north Karnataka. With that, Mr Yeddyurappa put an end to the months of threats, behind-

13 BJP MLAs openly back BSY, govt faces threat

Adding to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s blistering attack on Narendra Modi’s performance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the Gujarat government worked for a handful of corporates and called for “liberating” the State from divisive politics. Addressing his first election rally in South Gujarat’s tribal district of Vansda, he touched upon the “insecurity” of minorities — something Sonia Gandhi chose to avoid given that the issue had cost the party dearly in the 2007 elections. He spoke at length on the issue, though he also pooh-poohed Mr. Modi’s claims of development by reeling out statistics of Gujarat’s poor human development index. “Unlike the Opposition we do not play politics of dividing the people. Such type of politics is bad and cannot benefit a political party in the longer run,” the Prime Minister said. He asserted, without naming Mr. Modi, that, “The time has come to liberate Gujarat from such politics and prevent those from returning to power who have been trying to get votes by dividing our society and country.” The Congress had always worked to unite the people. “We know that if there are divisions in our people on the lines of religion, caste, creed and clan...Then we cannot surge ahead as a nation,” he said. “We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and some other segments of society are

Liberate Gujarat from divisive politics: Manmohan

the-scene bargaining and public displays of strong emotion that had followed his bitter fallout with his former party, the BJP, which he finally quit in November this year. It was a show of strength alright what with the huge turnout that Mr Yeddyurappa managed and fittingly so. Haveri, a stronghold of

feeling insecure in the State. Even a few State government officers have filed such complaints, which is very unfortunate for our country,” Singh said. “It is a matter of great regret that such an environment prevails in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.” Dr. Singh pointed out, “The foundation of Gujarat’s development was laid by the Congress governments in 70s. It is due to the hardworking people of this State that it is considered to be developing.” He asked if the benefits were reaching minorities, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. “It is very unfortunate that in a developed State like Gujarat, 41 per cent women are victims of malnourishment. If one looks at women in the 15-50 age group, we find that 55 per cent women are anaemic,” Dr. Singh said. “If we take a look at the top 20 States in terms of human development Gujarat ranks 18th. You must think what the reason behind this is.” The Prime Minister said the public health sector was in a pathetic state and new employment opportunities were not being created.

the Lingayats, saw one of its biggest gatherings in decades for the tallest leader of the community today. But more worryingly for the ruling BJP, it was the presence of several of its party leaders, including at least 10 MLAs, who shared the dais with Mr Yeddyurappa, blatantly ignoring the party’s warnings to keep away from the latter. Prior to the party’s launch, Mr Yeddyurappa had also hosted a breakfast meeting which was attended by at least 21 BJP MLAs, seven legislators and four Lok Sabha MPs. Actress Pooja Gandhi, who was with the JD(S) earlier, was also present and later joined the KJP. Emboldened by the support, Yeddyurappa, at the rally, dared Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to dissolve the assembly and face the people. “Shettar said action will be taken against legislators if they participated in today’s rally. The government has no majority now. You are in Chief Minister’s chair because of the support of Yeddyurappa. If you have the guts, dissolve the Assembly and seek fresh mandate”, he said.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s comments came a day after Mr Shettar sacked Cooperative Minister BJ Puttaswamy, a loyalist of the former, from the cabinet with the BJP also suspending another staunch supporter and Tumkur MP G S Basavaraj from the party. Both were issued show cause notices. Most of what was said at the rally was anti-BJP rhetoric with Mr Yeddyurappa. It’s known truth that the Government is continuing in office with the support of my followers...”,he said, adding, he would like to remind the BJP leadership that it was because of him that the party could form its first-ever government in the south. “People of Karnataka will not tolerate the treatment meted out to me by the BJP leadership and selective action taken against my supporters”, he said. The BJP, meanwhile, played down talk of possible defection. Ruling out his resignation as demande by Mr Yeddyurappa, Mr Shettar asserted that he still commanded majority. He, however, said action would be taken against those who defied the

party directive and participated in Mr Yeddyurappa’s rally. “There is no question of tolerating indiscipline”. But the impressive numbers at Mr Yeddyurappa’s rally have sent out clear signals that his KJP could have a significant impact on next year’s assembly elections. Mr Yeddyurappa, on his part, would be keen to play kingmaker, if not the king. The former BJP strongman, who was forced to step down following corruption charges, had done much to build up the party’s presence in Karnataka, heading its first government in south India. But the top BJP leadership did not agree to his repeated demands to be reinstated - or given the post of the state party president. Mr Yeddyurappa staged several shows of strength over the months - huddling with his followers in resorts outside Bangalore - and being openly critical of the party high command, especially his longtime rival and state leader Ananth Kumar. But the BJP did not relent - and Mr Yeddyurappa parted ways with the party after decades of being its most powerful leader in the state. Mr Yeddyurappa still has his loyalists although none of the MLAs close to him have, so far, formally joined the KJP. Mr Yeddyurappa has stated that he does not want to bring down the government or embarrass the BJP with his new party. Given his past record, the BJP leadership will be taking that claim with a liberal pinch of salt.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF PAKISTAN NEWS

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will submit documents and evidence to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at a meeting in Turkey on Tuesday over the wounding of his intelligence director in a suicide bombing which he says was planned in Pakistan, his spokesman said. “President Karzai will submit all the documents and evidence in hand to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, which suggest the attack was hatched in Quetta in Pakistan, and follow this up seriously,” said Siamak Herawi, a spokesman for Karzai. The bomber, who hid explosives inside his underwear and posed as a peace messenger, wounded spy chief Asadullah Khalid last Thursday in a brazen attack that set back a nascent, already fragile reconciliation process. While the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the bombing, Karzai has said the raid was too sophisticated to have been carried out by the Islamist militant group. “Bigger hands are involved,” said

Attack on spymaster hatched in Quetta; Karzai to submit evidence: spokesman
Herawi, repeating a phrase often used by the Afghan leader after high-profile attacks. Speaking after the attack, Karzai stopped short of directly blaming the neighbouring country but said he knew on Tuesday and Wednesday. Foreign ministers and senior officials from both countries will also meet at the summit, the seventh of its kind in Turkey. Pakistan has said it would assist in any investigation into the bombing, to raise its international standing in recent years, playing host to high-level diplomatic events and attempting to act as a broker in conflict resolution. Turkey’s foreign minister has said he wants its largest city, Istanbul, to be a “UN city”. A Turkish official said on Monday a special hotline had been set up to allow Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan to communicate better during times of crisis. Strained ties While the latest spat is unlikely to cause any lasting damage – Karzai has issued more direct charges at Pakistan in the past and has said contacts between both countries would continue – ties between Kabul and Islamabad remain strained. Afghanistan has been angered by cross-border raids by militant groups from Pakistan, and has repeatedly accused its neighbour’s intelligence agency of backing Afghan insurgent groups to advance its own interests in the country.

“for a fact” the bomber came from Pakistan and that Kabul would seek clarification from Islamabad during meetings in Turkey. Karzai was to hold talks with Zardari at a trilateral summit hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara

but also urged Karzai to provide evidence before “leveling charges”, and suggested Kabul look into any lapses in its own security arrangements that may have led to the raid. Turkey, a Nato member that has troops stationed in Afghanistan, has sought

Pakistan denies the accusations and says it is committed to helping bring peace to Afghanistan. The attack on Afghanistan’s top spy was almost a carbon copy of last year’s assassination of the country’s chief peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani, a killing in which Afghanistan alleged Pakistan was involved. Pakistan denied the accusations. Pakistan has, however, sent recent strong signals it would support the Afghan government’s efforts to draw the Taliban into negotiations after more than a decade of war. The United States and Western nations with troops in Afghanistan have long abandoned the notion of defeating the Taliban militarily and have reluctantly thrown their weight behind negotiating with the militants to end the fighting. That the insurgents are capable of striking in the heart of the Kabul after more than 10 years of fighting highlights Afghanistan’s ongoing instability as USled Nato troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.

Pakistan: Delaying polls is not an option Protest in Islamabad: Man
Television anchors who causally discuss the possibility of postponement of the general elections and analysts who in an equally laidback attitude offer views on the subject give the impression that they somehow have not grasped the importance of timely elections. The possibility of delay in polls is considered in the context of the Supreme Court’s order for correction of voter lists and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi. Iran was at war with Iraq when it held general elections. Nobody in that country made an excuse that the whole nation was at war and it was not the right time to go to polls. Nobody said that there was not enough extramanpower with the government to arrange for the election process. Nobody even said the country had to be saved first and elections could be held later when the nation had successfully repulsed the enemy.. Regardless of whatever views one holds for and against the correction of voter lists and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi, the delay in elections should not even be on the table during the argument. While it is true that polling day is a time for the nation to make a new beginning and there is a general atmosphere of festivity, holding polls is not a meaningless ritual. The process of bidding. The correcting of voter lists and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi, though are extensive jobs and will need more manpower, these, nevertheless, are neither complex nor time consuming matters. It is a matter of weeks if the proper number of manpower is employed and appropriate protection is given to the staff doing the job. The army is ready to give the needed security and have enough people to carry out the job. There seems no problem in implementing the Court’s orders unless one is bent upon making mountains out of molehills. After the Supreme Court’s orders on the issue, the argument whether the verdict is right or wrong is only academic in nature; the practical side of the matter is that the apex court of the country has given directions and these should be carried out in letter and spirit. Just recently, the United States had to face the most devastating hurricane of its history, large portions of that big country came under water, millions of Americans were displaced but within days that nation went to polls. We should learn a lesson from both Iran and America as to how the two nations held elections on due date in extreme situations. Elections must be held and on due date if we have to move forward as a democratic country.

accuses uncle of blasphemy
Blasphemy case lodged against author
An author by the name of Dr Iftikhar Sheikh has been arrested and charged on allegations of blasphemy in the capital, report. A man accused his uncle of blasphemy in I-9 sector of the federal capital Saturday evening. The police, however, refused to register a case unless the charge was established by experts. Sheikh Usman, a resident of Rawalpindi, accused his uncle Dr Iftikhar A Khan, a resident of Sector I-8/4, of “writing comments in his paper that could be interpreted as blasphemous”, a police official told reporters. Dr Iftikhar is said to be a PhD scholar who has authored several books on different topics. Usman, accompanied by local residents and clerics, surrounded I-9 police station asking the police to lodge an FIR against Dr Iftikhar. But the police said they would not register a case without investigating it. “We have recorded the complaint and have sent it along with photocopies of the written material to our legal branch for their opinion,” said a senior police officer. More than hundred local residents and seminary students blocked the road in front of I-9 police station, suspending traffic for some time. They shouted slogans against Dr Iftikhar and demanded the police book him for blasphemy. “The [protesting] clerics pointed to certain references made in the notes that included discussion on Islam and the Prophet (PBUH),” said the police officer. He added that it was difficult to say if the material constituted blasphemy as defined by the law. “We cannot determine the blasphemy intent in the material,” he said. Police said some of the protesting clerics belonged to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The protesters threatened to take to streets again if the police did not register an FIR. However, the police said a lowranking police officer was not authorised to register a blasphemy case. Under section 295 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), an officer of superintendent of police (SP) rank investigates the matter before deciding to file a blasphemy case.

voting is not symbolic of democracy; it is democracy; indeed, the very essence of it. As such, changing dates of voting day, or delaying it is most undesirable. On Election Day the whole nation goes to elect the next government of the country. Casting a vote to elect a representative may not be the only requirement for a full-fledged democratic society; it, however, is the mainstay of a political system based on the opinion of the masses. Other aspects of democracy like tolerance, freedom of speech, justice for all etc flow from the concept of people having the right to choose the men and women who form government. Even if what the Supreme Court had ordered were a difficult and complex task, all government and non-government entities should have focused on doing the courts

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF MALDIVE NEWS

Former Foreign Minister and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Dr Ahmed Shaheed has welcomed the Maldives’ selection as a Vice President of the UN’s Human Rights Council for 2013, stating that the nomination can help strengthen society against domestic abuses. Speaking to Minivan News by e-mail today, Dr Shaheed said significant human rights concerns remained in the Maldives, including the “pathetic state of the judiciary”, lack of an educational focus on rights, and little scope for “informed discussion” on religious freedom. However, Dr Shaheed added that the Maldives’ election to the council reflected the strong reputation of its diplomats over the last six years in “championing” human rights causes, even despite developments such as February’s controversial transfer of power that saw a new government installed following a police and military mutiny. “If you look at the Maldives’ voting record in Geneva and in the Third Committee in New York, it is as if there has been no change in the government in Male’. The Maldives still supports country-specific mandates, country-specific resolutions, and progressive positions in human rights debates, including on issues of defamation of religion,” he said. “The Maldives will continue to get challenged in places like the Human Rights Committee but in the political councils of the world, the spokespersons for the Maldives continue to be professional diplomats, and they are doing a good job to limit the influence of radical Islamists on foreign policy.” News of the Maldives’ election to the Human Rights Council was broken yesterday by the Reuters news agency, which noted that the country had the

“Pathetic state of judiciary”, religious intolerance Maldives’ major human rights failures: Dr Shaheed
same day been criticised for its stance on banning religious freedom in a report compiled by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) NGO. After two days of religious counselling in police custody, Nazim repented before television cameras at an Islamic Ministry press conference and gave been put together in order to stand as a reference for alleged abuses of nonreligious peoples on countries all over the world. Churchill suggested that the high-profile focus may help “shine a light” on wider abuses occurring in the country and allowing for some form of redress. However, in the case of the Maldives, where the country’s religious ideals are enshrined in its constitution, Churchill accepted that effecting any sort of change would be much harder. “However, just because an issue is a sovereign matter and has a vocal majority it does not mean that people are not suffering,” he said. “People at present are having to hide their beliefs for fear of oppression.” “Good reputation” Despite the concerns of the IHEU, Dr Shaheed said he was optimistic about the Maldives’ new role on the council. “The Maldives [UN] delegation still enjoys a good reputation in Geneva and is still playing a very constructive role. I believe the position would militate in favour of improving the domestic human rights situation,” he said. “I would like to congratulate Ambassador Iruthisham [Adam] and her team for this fine achievement.” Addressing the issue of freedom of religion in the Maldives, which he stressed was a fundamental human right, Dr Shaheed said that any nation choosing to impose any particular faith on its people or discriminate along the same lines would face “stiff international opposition”. “A number of NGOs have been raising the issue of religious intolerance in the Maldives, and the notion of sovereignty does not trump human rights obligations. There is indeed scope for informed discussion in the Maldives

The IHEU, which describes itself as an “umbrella organisation embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist” organisations around the world, yesterday published its report, ‘Freedom of Thought 2012′ , which details international examples of discrimination against non-religious people. The report, which was welcomed by UN Special Investigator on Freedom of Religion and Belief Heiner Bielefeldt, concluded that the Maldives did not prohibit discrimination on a religious basis, while also making practising Sunni Islam compulsory for Maldivian citizens wishing to vote or stand for office. Pointing to prominent cases of discrimination, the IHEU highlighted the case of 37 year-old Mohamed Nazim, who in 2010 faced public calls for his execution after standing in front of a crowd of 11,000 people in Male’ and declaring himself “Maldivian and not a Muslim”.

Shahada – the Muslim testimony of belief. The report also highlighted the case of 25 year-old air traffic controller Ismail Mohamed Didi, who was found hanged from the control tower of Male’ International Airport in an apparent suicide. He had previously sought asylum in the UK for fear of persecution over his stated lack of religious belief. “Ismail Mohamed Didi faced the same choice as Mohamed Nazim: believe or die. He chose death,” the IHEU stated. Speaking to Minivan News, IHEU Communications Officer Bob Churchill said the NGO did have some concerns over the Maldives’ election to the Human Rights Council considering its attitudes to non-Muslims and non religious peoples. However, Churchill added that the Maldives was not the first country to hold such a position in the UN council while also having questions over its own work on human rights abuses. The IHEU added that the report has

on religious freedom,” he said. “Perhaps a good place to start would be to lift the ban on the book co-authored by Dr Hassan Saeed – the current Special Advisor to President Waheed – which argues that there is no apostasy in Islam. This is a position that is upheld by a growing number of reputable scholars in the Islamic world and elsewhere.” “Biggest breakthroughs” Beyond the issue of religion, Dr Shaheed claimed that the Maldives had over the last decade pressed ahead with a number of significant developments in bringing the country in line with human rights regulations. “The biggest breakthroughs, in my view, were the ratification of the core international human rights treaties, and the establishment of an independent human rights commission, as well as freedom of the press, and the separation of powers,” he said, but emphasised that there remained room for improvement. “The major failures include the pathetic state of the judiciary, which is not only corrupt, but also coming under the influence of radical Islam, even to the extent of violating codified laws of the Maldives and clear international obligations,” Dr Shaheed added. “Disregard for rule of law has also meant that a culture of impunity is deeply entrenched, rendering many of the human rights of the people meaningless. It is also very disappointing that respect for human rights have not been made mainstream in our education system, because human rights safeguards are not only about litigation and legislation, but also about ideas and values, which are formed and transmitted through the education system.”

Maldives firms up defence ties with China amid GMR row
BEJING: Amidst a row over termination of Indian infrastructure major GMR’s Male airport contract, China and Maldives today firmed up their defence ties with Beijing promising to maintain mutually beneficial relations with the Indian Ocean archipelago nation. Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie held talks with Maldivian counterpart Col (Retd) Mohamed Nazim here during which both sides pledged to strengthen military ties, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said. The Ministers exchanged views on regional security as well as relations between the two countries and their militaries, it said. The visit of Nazim comes days after Maldives the USD 511 million contract, signed by the previous regime of Mohamed Nasheed, on November 27. Media reports had then said that China could be the force behind the move against GMR. “Looking at the political situation and political framework in Maldives, I can’t rule out anything,” GMR Airports chief financial officer (CFO) Sidharth Kapur had told journalists last week in a press conference in New Delhi when asked about China angle. China has been developing relations with Maldives with aid and commercial deals after consolidating its ties with Sri Lanka, gaining strong footing in India’s backyard.

eased out GMRBSE -3.38 % from the Male airport project much to the disquiet of India. Nazim, who arrived yesterday, was at the forefront of talks with GMR for the smooth taking over of the airport by Maldives government after it “unilaterally” terminated

Government revenue in November was 29 percent higher than the same period last year, the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has revealed. MIRA collected a total MVR 403.5 million (US$26 million), including US$17.1 million in US dollar receipts during November. The revenue collected in November was 2.3 percent higher than forecast. Goods and Services Tax (GST) accounted for the largest portion of revenue with 54.6 percent while tourism taxes accounted for 18.4 percent.

Government revenue 29 percent higher in November

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF NEPAL NEWS
Kathmandu: Britain on Tuesday announced a USD 5.7 million contribution to Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF) to build and strengthen the peace process in the country. The funds, provided under the UK Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), will go to the NPTF to implement the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, according to a press release issued by the UK Embassy in Kathmandu. According to the agreement, NPTF will utilise the funds to support

UK Govt pledges USD 5 million to support Nepal’s peace process
provided USD 5.3 million of MDRI funds as a contribution towards government-run programmes for rural electrification and hydro power. “Consolidating and building peace in Nepal is a key priority for the Government of Nepal and for the international community, including the UK,” UK’s Department for International Development head Dominic O?Neill said. “These funds underline our ongoing commitment to work alongside the government to help establish peace and stability in Nepal and to build a platform for the kind of longer term development which will improve the lives of Nepal’s citizens,” he added. Nepal, in February 2007, established NPTF as a mechanism for interested donors to contribute to the peace process through direct contributions to the government. Following more than a decade of internal conflict in Nepal, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CAP) was signed in 2006 under which the Maoists were brought into mainstream politics.

grassroots peace building initiatives, conflict-affected communities and

future elections. Last year, the UK government

Nepal leaders again fail Nepal: Chronic Uncertainty – Analysis to form unity government
The irreversible gains of 2011 had excited widespread expectation of further consolidation in Nepal, with the hope that the political class would settle their deeper political rifts through a substantially consensual political process. Regrettably, Kathmandu remained as fractious as ever through 2012, deepening the political uncertainty in the country. At the end of 2011, there was optimism regarding the formation of a National Consensus Government (NCG); today, Nepal is led by a Government which has lost its constitutional mandate, having missed the November 22, 2012, deadline for elections.

Nepal’s rival political factions missed a second deadline Thursday to form a national unity government to take the country into parliamentary elections next year, a spokesman for the ruling Maoists said. The leaders of the main parties had been in talks all week to strike a deal on the political make-up of a proposed new cabinet, missing a deadline extended by seven days, despite a final day of heated negotiations. “Our effort to reach agreement on a common prime ministerial candidate failed today. The leaders of the major parties will meet the president on Friday to ask for another extension to the deadline,” Maoist spokesman Agni Sapkota said. “Opposition leaders want only the leadership of the government but are reluctant to discuss a package deal that includes the date and process of elections.” Nepal has been run by a caretaker Maoist-led administration since the collapse in May of an interim assembly that had failed in its main task of drawing up a new constitution following a 10-year civil war that ended in 2006. It was the second consecutive Thursday deadline given by President Ram Baran Yadav to the parties to agree on the make-up of a unity government to take Nepal into polls for a new parliament set for April or May next year. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai hopes to name a cabinet that includes members of his Maoist party and others from the opposition Nepali Congress and UML, as well as smaller regional groups. Talks have been stalled over who should lead the new administration, with the opposition blocs publicly rejecting the idea of a Bhattarai-led national unity government and the premier refusing to step aside. Agni told reporters after a meeting of the main parties the opposition were unwilling to commit to elements of the new constitution which had already been agreed. The president was not expected to comment on developments until after Friday’s meeting.

Nepal Significantly, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA), on May 27, 2012, after the Supreme Court rejected any further extensions of its tenure, left the Government with no legal alternatives to an election, and on May 28, 2012, Prime Minister (PM) Baburam Bhattarai declared, “We have no other option but to go back to the people and elect a new Assembly to write the Constitution. Though we were unable to promulgate the Constitution, we have decided to seek a mandate through elections for a new Constituent Assembly on November 22.” The PM stated, further, that he would be leading a caretaker Government until the elections scheduled for November 22, 2012, leading to a breakdown of negotiations with other political formations in the country, who were demanding that elections could only be held under the NCG, as agreed upon earlier. Nevertheless, the four major parties – Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), Communist Party of NepalUnified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Nepali Congress (NC) and the United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) – soon engaged in the process to negotiate an agreement on the procedure of conducting the CA elections. Unsurprisingly, the intrinsic character of the Nepali polity came

to the fore again, and the parties failed to reach a consensus. The deadline could not be met. On November 20, 2012, the Government announced fresh CA elections in the month of Baisakh (April-May) 2013. The present political impasse has risen over the question of who is to head the NCG, under whose leadership the CA elections are to be conducted. The NC and the CPNUML have strongly rejected the idea of an NCG headed by the UCPN-M. Staking his party’s claim to the NCG’s leadership, NC President Sushil Koirala, who has been chosen by his party as its prime ministerial candidate, argued, on December 2, 2012: “We have history of free and fair elections conducted by NC-led governments. Besides, the Maoists and the UML have already led the Government twice each.” The CPNUML has already expressed support for the NC’s leadership of the proposed NCG. On the other hand, the UCPN-M is willing to pass the Prime Ministership to the NC only after the opposition agrees to a ‘political package’ on constitution making. UCPN-M spokesperson Agni Sapkota argued that the ruling alliance sought to stress the resolution of all outstanding issues, including the government leadership, election date, number of election constituencies, appointment of officebearers in constitutional bodies, among others, in a ‘political package’. In an attempt to end this impasse, exercising his powers under Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution, President Ram Baran Yadav, on November 22, 2012,

called the political parties to recommend an appropriate proposal by November 29, 2012, for the selection of the PM, as a prelude to the formation of the NCG. As expected, this deadline passed without any conclusive result, and was again extended on November 30, 2012, for another seven days (till December 6, 2012). A new six-day extension followed the failure of the parties to meet this deadline as well. Given PM Bhattarai’s description of the President’s November 22 initiative as being “against the tenet and spirit of the Interim constitution”, it is certain that this deadline will also pass without any result. As SAIR noted earlier, the lack of political stability has more to do with intra-party rivalries in the major political formations, than with any other single factor. While NC and CPN-UML leaders continue to differ among themselves on the peace process, it is the intra-party rivalry among the Maoists which has been the cause for the greatest alarm. Indeed, after nearly a year of functioning as a ‘party within the party’, Vice President Mohan Baidya aka Kiran engineered a vertical split on June 19, 2012, forming a new party to “accomplish the remaining tasks of the people’s revolution.” The new party has been christened ‘Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist’ (CPN-M). The name is very similar to that of the Matrika Yadav-led CPN (Maoist), though the new party’s Central Committee (CC) member Bharat Bam points out that they have avoided any parenthesis in the name. Moreover, in a demonstration of the lack of faith in the party leadership, leaders attending the seventh plenum of the UCPN-M came down heavily on party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and PM Baburam Bhattarai. Further, on July 20, the party plenum turned into a battlefield for a while after a “minor dispute” broke out between the Prachanda and Bhattarai factions. Clearly, all is not well within the UCPN-M even after the split.

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF SRILANKA NEWS

The body representing Sri Lanka’s clothing manufacturers says the sector continues to be challenged by the loss of trade preferences to the EU, labour shortages and cost of energy. Speaking at the ninth annual meeting of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), outgoing chairman A Sukumaran said the apparel industry reached its US$4bn export target in 2011 and is focused on growing this to US$5bn by 2015. But he emphasised that Sri Lanka does not get any preferential treatment from its major markets, whereas competitors such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Vietnam “are continuing to negotiate preferential agreements”. Sri Lanka was removed from the European Union’s GSP+ scheme in

SRI LANKA: Apparel manufacturers face continuing challenges

2010, which had previously entitled it to duty-free exports to the EU. “Under the new GSP regulation, EU authorities have tightened beneficiary country obligations and these countries are now expected to undertake binding commitments to report to monitoring bodies on conventions, two-year reviews and reporting to the EU Parliament and Council by the Commission, and

the burden of proof in the event of an investigation is now passed to the beneficiary countries,” said Sukumaran. “A conscious study of these new dimensions of requirements/ obligations needs to be done in deciding our course of action on [trying to reinstate] GSP+, towards obtaining a positive response from the EU.”

He added the industry’s proposals for a regulatory framework for anticompetitive practices in logistics services has been accepted, but is yet to be implemented. He also notes labour is becoming more scarce due to competition from the emergence of other sectors, and that energy prices “are also a challenge.” On the positive side, opportunities

for Sri Lanka’s apparel sector are being created in the domestic market and through the development of hub operations in the country. Sukumaran called on the industry to tap into emerging markets, as well as increase their share in traditional ones. “A concerted effort to increase our market share in the traditional market is a major challenge. We are ethical and are going green; that is the path of sustainability in this market. Simultaneously, a framework for penetrating into other emerging markets particularly China and India needs to be pursued aggressively,” he said. Sukumaran is stepping down as JAAF chairman after three and a half years in the role. He will be replaced by former deputy chairman Azeem Ismail.

Sri Lanka’s high taxes India continuing training of hurting India’s auto exports Sri Lankan military personnel
the situation in mind”. Responding to the questions on how to address the issue Additional Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Rajeev Kher has said that diplomatic approach is one solution. “There are many options, one option is to approach purely diplomatically, and request the Sri Lankan government because it is a win-win situation if they cut down the tariff,” he has told media at a function of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He has noted that Sri Lanka is a very important market as far as cars and commercial vehicles are concerned. “Obviously, we are concerned about it. We believe that the very substantial rise in import tariff in Sri Lanka is going to adversely affect our car exports to that country,” Kher has said in response to questions. “Earlier the increase in duties affected small cars, two wheelers and threewheelers exports from India. Just two weeks before, they had increased duties on sports utility vehicles as well,” he has added. Sri Lanka in the next year’s budget raised the minimum import duty for imported cars to Rs. 750,000, raising the price of an Indian-made Maruti car, a popular vehicle among the lower middle class, by Rs. 200,000.

Colombo: India is reportedly seeking diplomatic intervention to convince the Sri Lankan government to reduce the high tariffs it introduced on vehicle imports earlier this year to curtail the ever growing trade deficit. Sri Lanka’s high import taxes on foreign vehicles, increased almost 100 percent in March, have adversely affected the Indian auto exports as Sri Lanka is an important market for India’s automobiles. Commenting on the losing revenues, the Director General of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Vishnu Mathur said last year India had exported vehicles worth US$6 billion out of which automobiles worth US$800 million had been sold in the Sri Lankan market. “Now this has almost gone,” Mathur has said. Mathur has further said that SIAM had planned to host an auto expo in the country but postponed it “keeping

India said Monday it will continue to provide defense training to the Sri Lankan military personnel as a part of India’s short- and long-term training programs to military personnel from Sri Lanka and other neighboring countries. India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a written statement to the Lok Sabha has said that training exchanges are conducted between Armed Forces personnel of India and various neighbouring countries including Sri Lanka. “Short-term and long-term training programmes, in technical and non-technical streams are conducted for Armed Forces personnel of foreign countries including Sri Lanka in different States of the country, where defence educational and training establishments are located, depending on the training requirements,” Defence Minister has said. He was responding to a query from two parliamentarians, P. Lingam and Prabodh Pandain whether India is still training Sri Lankan military personnel despite the objections from the Tamil Nadu state’s politicians. Responding to the queries on protests in Tamil Nadu

state against the central government training Sri Lankans, the Minister has said the Indian government is pursuing an approach keeping in view all aspects of national interest.. Indian government in July this year caved into the pressure from anti-Sri Lankan Tamil Nadu politicians and decided to send back nine Sri Lankan Air Force officers who have arrived in the Tambaram Air Force station in Chennai for a nine month-long training as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. Later the government moved the Sri Lankan personnel to a different location in Bangalore. In October India’s Defence Ministry has asked the Indian Navy to hold joint exercises with Sri Lanka in future away from the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. However, the Indian government has reiterated that it will continue to provide training to Sri Lankan defence personnel at India’s defence facilities despite the opposition from the Tamil parties in the state of Tamil Nadu.

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Continued from page 1 >> England was sentenced to one year imprisonment effective on the basis of the Anti-Terror Law in absence as Choudary, did not show up in court . The Antwerp public prosecutor recommended a 2 year prison sentence for Fouad Belkacem, head of sharia4belgium and a 1 year suspended sentence for Mr Anjem Choudary, regarding comments made in early 2010. “We’ll have to decide whether to now serve both. It is also taken into account to receive an electronic bracelet but the prison administration that makes the decision,” said his lawyer, Walter Damen , . Fouad Belkacem had already been sentenced in May on charges of inciting hatred, violence and discrimination against non-Muslims, as well as harassment on the person of Frank Vanhecke, widower of Marie-Rose Morel. He was sentenced to two years in prison, including a farm and 550 euro fine. He however appealed this judgment. Fouad Belkacem was prosecuted before the court at Antwerp for incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination against non-Muslims, following the arrest of a woman wearing the niqab in Jette last May. The arrest was followed by clashes’’ Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. The prosecution had demanded the harshest sentence last Friday: one year imprisonment and loss of civil rights for 10 years. “On November 30, he received six months jail. He also has two more penalties for racism and recalcitrance of both six months to sit. Such penalties are implemented simultaneously.” “Only when the final sentence of November 30, may also be examined Belkacem an anklet can get. Belkacem If no appeals against his conviction on 30 November, it can be examined from 26

Sharia4Belgium: Fouad Belkacem (Abu Imran) Irfan Pathan bats for Narendra Modi in Gujarat Assembly poll Continued from page 19 >> wear that as badge of honour? Should I wear my pain as 18 months in prison for inciting hatred he can be an inclusive leader was sullied when, in the an ornament? Nobody will pat me on the back for that...
December 2012.” Anjem Choudary came to public attention in 1999, when the Sunday Telegraph identified him as playing an instrumental role in the recruitment of Muslim trainees leaving Britain to fight abroad. He told the newspaper “before they go abroad to fight, the volunteers are trained in Britain. Some of the training does involve guns and live ammunition”. Even mainstream commentators like Jon Gaunt have described Anjem Choudary as “probably an MI5 agent” because he appears so much like a James Bond villain. Choudary founded another Islamic group, al-Muhajiroun, with Omar Bakri Muhammed, who admitted in 1998 he shares a special relationship with British intelligence. It should be noted that authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory have documented a special relationship between Islamist leaders, including Abu Hamza al-Masri and Abu Qatada, and British intelligence. The British Secret Service, MI6, protected Haroon Rashid Aswat, the alleged mastermind of the 7/7 London bombings, according to counterterrorism expert John Loftus. Aswat was affiliated with al-Muhajiroun. In 2004, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed said British intelligence handles all Islamist groups of note in the United Kingdom including the Muslim Brotherhood, the UK Islamic Mission, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Iranian opposition groups, and the Iranian Ahlul Bait groups in Britain. Last month the known deamonisers of Islam with new name Shariah4Pakistan declared in a resolution that Jinnah a Traitor & Pak Army anti Islam and soon to launch a new Sharia project for Pakistan. gaze of cameras, Mr Modi, who had accepted and worn a variety of turbans gifted to him by religious leaders refused a skull cap from a Muslim cleric. He chose, instead, to drape a green chador around his shoulders. In his campaign, the chief minister has stressed among his accomplishments the development of his state and the security of its residents. “There is no Hindu-Muslim issue in Gujarat. The state has been peaceful for a decade. The development story is what the BJP is focused on,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman to NDTV. Mr Modi has suggested that Gujarati Muslims have moved on, and that it is outsiders and his critics who reference the riots to undermine his leadership and his state’s unity. In its campaign, the opposition Congress has, in contrast to the last election of 2007, not invoked the riots either. So the debate around the Muslim community in Gujarat has shifted to the question of what sort of political space is offered to the Muslims of Gujarat, whether they are being forced to the margins of political discourse, and whether they are in danger of being rendered politically irrelevant. After all, though they form 10 percent of Gujarat’s population, not a single Muslim has been fielded as a candidate by the BJP. The Congress has seven Muslim candidates. The BJP says its selection of candidates is based purely on the likelihood of their victory, not on prejudices or the need to counter criticism. The party points to hundreds of Muslim candidates who took part in the local elections of 2010. But the Congress alleges that the absence of Muslim candidates in these elections proves the BJP’s exclusionary philosophy. “If a government is secular and inclusive, then development is secular and inclusive. Development means justice, security, a feeling of belonging and feeling that the government is yours.People may have some issues with the government, but they say that ‘It’s my government’. We should not make an artificial divides that there is a secular vs communal debate or development and non-development debate,” says Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit. On the ground, as always, the truth is more complex than political rhetoric acknowledges. A select number of upper class Muslims, especially businessmen and industrialists, are now clearly ready to engage with the Modi government. Like Zafar Sareshwala, who is from one of the oldest families in Ahmedabad. His home and office were ravaged by the rioting in 2002. But today, his stock broking and investment advisory business has been revived. Holding onto the past, he says, is selfdefeating. “I was a victim I lost everything. But should I

Not two, but three more Anti Islam “films” coming our way
freedom of expression or religious freedom The Quran is a book which causes women to suffer and be tortured by means of its unjust and macho laws. The Quran is a book which rather than teach unity, teaches disunity and in this way does not allow its believers to form friendships with those who are not Muslim, because in the eyes of the Quran they are infidels. The Quran is a major threat to the free society of Spain. A book which clearly offers a message of jihad, killing, hating, discrimination and vengeance for that reason cannot be compatible with the Spanish system in any sense. It is a book totally contrary to what the law and constitution of Spain say. And it is inciting hatred and violence in our country. Source: Minuto Digital Via: La Tercera Yihad Farasat is a Pakistani citizen with legal residence in Spain as a political refugee. He has his own blog called World Without Islam. It’s mostly in Spanish but there is some material in other languages, including English.

Continued from page 19 >> has launched a petition calling for the Quran to be banned. He has sent it to numerous government officials, ministries and organisations. His petition has 10 points: The Quran is not a sacred and religious book, but a violent book, full of hatred and discrimination. The Quran is a horrible book which provokes a community which calls itself Muslims to undertake jihad, kill innocent people and destroy the peace of the world. The Quran is responsible for all the terrorism we have seen in recent years in which thousands of people lost their lives. The Quran is a book which contains evil teachings and forces its believers to capture the entire world and total power at any price. The Quran is a book which legally permits and incites hatred and violence and for that reason it is not compatible with the modern world including Spain. The Quran is a book which directly discriminates between human beings The Quran is a book which does not permit

there is a chance for growth. In fact Muslims should secure themselves, because in the slightest disturbance, we are hurt. There is prosperity and we can feel it.” The opportunity to throw one’s nets into the currents of Gujarat’s strong economic story has in some instances altered the narrative of marginalisation. But many Gujarati Muslims are exempt from that possibility. The geography of Ahmedadbad today tells its own story. Ghettos and separate living quarters have now sprung up in a city where Hindus and Muslims once lived in mixed neighbourhoods. Muslim workers used to make kites for the Hindu festival of Makar Sakaranti; Muslim craftsmen produced the bangles and bindis that Hindu women wear. Those cultural synergies have been distorted by successive riots. “2002 finalised the ghettoization of the city. For the most part, Hindus and Muslims now live separately,” says Gagan Sethi, a human rights activist. So while much of Ahmedabad gleams from the growth story embodied by glitzy malls and car showrooms, there is also the congested, under-developed and noisy Muslim locality of Juhapura, which has scaled up into a separate township. At the local auto-rickshaw stand, Jahangir Sheikh says he has little at stake in these elections. Gujarat’s growth story is genuine, he says, but it is foreign to his community. In Juhupara, the Muslims don’t speak much about the days or the impact of the riots. Their concerns are that their colony doesn’t have a water supply line from the local municipality, and that the sewer line that does exist does not work. Juhapura originally developed to house first the victims of floods in 1973 and then expanded to accommodate the victims of the 2002 riots. Till three years ago, there was no blueprint for a town plan. Neighbourhoods like Juhupura are now virtually cities within cities. But with the BJP offering no tickets to Muslims and the Congress running a low-key campaign, people here ask who will hear their voice and speak on their behalf in the political system. Syed Shahbuddin, a prominent voice from the Muslim community, courted controversy when he wrote MrModi a letter saying “Gujarat’s Muslims see some signs of change in your attitude” but added nine conditions, including a public apology for the riots, for a reconciliation. “Modi has successfully courted upper class muslims. My letter was strategic to expose Modi,” he says. Whether Gujarat’s Muslims have been politically sidelined may have no impact on the outcome of the state election, but in the age of coalition politics, the question of inclusive politics will become relevant when the focus shifts from Ahmedabad to the national stage in New Delhi for the general election.

Continued from page 19 >> At the end of a meeting aimed at easing tensions and increasing cooperation between the governments in Kabul and Islamabad, Gul said both had ”renewed trust and are determined to work together.” He was flanked by counterparts Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan. Afghan intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid was seriously injured last week when a suicide bomber posing as a Taliban peace envoy detonated an explosive, dealing a setback to fragile efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and find a political resolution to the war in Afghanistan. Karzai has said the attack was planned in Pakistan, but stopped short of directly holding Islamabad responsible for the explosion that was claimed by the Taliban. Karzai said Wednesday the two leaders had ”very good conversations” about the assassination attempt, but refused to go into details. Afghan officials said Karzai would present evidence to Zardari during their meetings about the attack. ”Hopefully the fight against extremism and terrorism will take itself to a conclusion where the populations of the two countries are not

Afghanistan, Pakistan pursue peace despite attack

threatened by these attacks,” Karzai said. ”The environment of dialogue is better than it has been,” Karzai said. ”At the same time, we are seeing unfortunate incidents of terrorism both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” For his part, Zardari distanced his country from the attack on Khalid. ”They (terrorists) don’t want us, the governments, to get together and to be able to lead the nations to peace,” he said. ”It is in the interest of Pakistan that Afghanistan prospers,” he said. ”It is in my interest that peace returns to Afghanistan and Pakistan.” A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting said a ”joint working group” would address the attempt on the intelligence chief’s life. Pakistan is seen as a key player in the Afghan peace process. Pakistan helped the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan in the 1990s, providing funding, weapons and intelligence, and the Afghan government and the US have accused Islamabad of continuing to support the group. Pakistan has denied the allegations, but many analysts believe the country continues to see the Taliban as an important ally in Afghanistan to counter archenemy India.

30

SAARC exhibition with 35 artists from South Asia
between 13 and 18 years from SAARC nations for two weeks to paint messages of peace and regional solidarity. Inaugurating the exhibition, Mathai said the show next year should be called “the rainbow to bring all the individual colours together”. “For an artist, painting is a means of expanding emotions. The only time an artist is happy is when he is painting,” Mathai said. Explaining the implication of the rainbow, he said it “has the colours of individuality and commonality and what you have is the manifestation of south Asian collaboration”.

NEWS

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

A group of 35 artists from South Asia have come together to exhibit their works at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Dehli with a mandate to promote cultural connectivity in the region. The exhibition, “Colours of SAARC” presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), was inaugurated by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Friday. The exhibition has been curated from a large body of art pooled by artists from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan and India in three four camps -

Jaisalmer Yellow in 2007, Puducherry Blue in 2010, Kerala Greens in 2011 and Cultural Confluence in the capital

this year. The Cultural Confluence hosted at Hotel Ashok brought 34 children

“The success of South Asian related cultural events including the painters’ camp and the bands festival in the past, the residency for young painters from south Asian countries and the collaborations at the Delhi International Arts Festival has demonstrated the importance of culture being the foundation of unanimity among countries in the region,” Suresh G.Goel, the director general of ICCR, said. The exhibition is the first of the SAARC cultural exchanges - including SAARC Bands Festival and the SAARC Literature Festival - between December 2012 and March 2013.

Jeans banned at Haryana college to curb harassment

Women-led SMEs promise faster economic growth
Melanne S Verveer says at South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium
US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O Blake speaks at a symposium on South Asia women’s entrepreneurship, at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital yesterday. Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, seated left, was also present.Photo: STARStar Business Report The small and medium enterprises that are run by women guarantee faster economic growth, but access to finance remains a major barrier to women entrepreneurship, said Melanne S Verveer, US ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. Verveer spoke at South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium that began yesterday in Dhaka to create cross-border linkages among women entrepreneurs in the region. Some 120 participants from 11 South and Central Asian countries attended the event to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by women-owned SMEs. “SMEs are the engines of economic growth. It is a fact that women-run SMEs drive economic growth and create jobs. This is true in my country and it is true around the world,” Verveer said at the event at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. The US Department of State organised the symposium attended by participants from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. “If you want to drive GDP, the best investments that can be made are women-run SMEs,” Verveer said. But access to finance acts as a major challenge for women entrepreneurs to grow, she said. She also said microcredit has lifted millions of poor women around the world out of poverty and enabled them

New Delhi: A college in Haryana announced on Monday it had banned girls from wearing jeans, short dresses and T-shirts to crack down on sexual harassment, sparking outrage from pupils and rights campaigners. The Adarsh Women’s College in Haryana state, 110 kilometres west of New Delhi, said students would be fined 100 rupees each time they broke the dress code. “We have imposed a ban on jeans and T-shirts because these are completely Westernised and (so) are short dresses,” school head Alaka Sharma told a TV channel. “The small dresses don’t cover students and that is the reason why they have to face eve-teasing.” “Jeans and short tops invite attraction and also distract the students,” Sharma said in a separate interview. Skinny jeans, T-shirts and other Western fashions have rapidly grown in popularity among young Indians, spreading from cities to rural states such as Haryana, though many older people disapprove of such clothes.

Pupils at the Adarsh college, which teaches girls between 16 and 19, complained that they were being punished unfairly instead of being protected from harassment. “A ban on wearing jeans and T-shirts doesn’t mean that there will be no crimes and boys will not pass lewd comments on you,” Ritu, a college student, said. “Men who want to eve-tease can do it if a girl has donned traditional clothes also. I don’t think dressing in Indian attire will bring a change.” Mamata Sharma, head of the National Commission of Women, told reporters that sexual harassment in India could not be tackled by ordering girls to wear saris and other traditional styles of dress. “Our country is progressing, we have entered into 21st century and it is very disappointing to hear or see such things,” she told reporters. “The government should take action against the college management or such institutions who impose diktats on girls.”

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to earn, support families and pay back the loans. “Yet the significant gender gap to finance remains painfully acute as it affects what we might call the missing middle of the small and medium enterprise sector, which is mostly women-run and has the best growth and job creation potential,” said Verveer. In addition, barriers like a lack of access to markets, training, mentors and technology act as impediments to women entrepreneurship. Women also often confront discriminatory regulations and a lack of inheritance and property rights, she said. Verveer also stressed investing in girls’ education and favoured women’s representation at the policymaking level. “As your businesses grow, we are confident you will speak out against corruption when you see it. As leaders in businesses, we know that you will also work to strengthen democratic institutions and civil society,” said Verveer. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said the government has enacted a number of

new laws for women and children and adopted a gender-responsive budget. The government has framed ‘women development policy’ to ensure equal opportunity for men and women. The government also took various initiatives to promote women entrepreneurship. The government has kept 10 percent of small enterprises’ fund for women entrepreneurs at Bangladesh Bank and ensured preferential treatment to them at commercial banks, she said. “Strong networks among women entrepreneurs will certainly enhance their ability,” said the foreign minister. She said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has joined a global initiative by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Under the initiative, women’s representation in Bangladesh’s parliament will be raised to 30 percent from present 20 percent, said Dipu Moni. US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O Blake said the summit will help women entrepreneurs foster cross-regional collaboration and build multilateral connections.

Saarc international I Thursday 13 December 2012

Pakistan won their first Champions Trophy medal since 2004, beating India 3-2 in the bronze medal playoff, depriving their arch-rivals of their first medal in more than 30 years. Pakistani champion Shakeel Abbasi said the bronze was as good as winning gold. “It was a very important match for us because for the past eight years we haven’t won a medal at the Champions Trophy,” Abbasi said. “So for us this is a gold medal because after such a long time between winning medals, but also winning against India, for me and my team and for Pakistan this is a gold medal.” Pakistan beat India by the same score in the bronze medal showdown at Lahore eight years ago. India began the stronger Sunday, drawing a penalty corner in the opening minutes as the ball came off the foot of a Pakistani defender. The goal was converted by VR

Pakistan beat India for bronze

Australia wins fifth consecutive hockey Trophy

SAARC

31

Raghunath and India had all the momentum. However, Pakistan eventually worked their way back into the game, drawing level with a field goal from Muhammad Rizwan Senior on 21 minutes. Pakistan continued to control the play after half-time, scoring twice more through Shafqat Rasool and Muhammad Ateeq to set up a commanding lead. India continued to fight until the end, scoring a penalty corner goal through Rupinder Pal Singh as the final siren sounded. Indian midfielder Yuvraj Walmiki

said despite losing, his team would take a lot away from the

at the Champions Trophy, after the Olympics and World Cup, it is one

tournament. “Coming out from the London Olympics we finished 12th and now

of the top tournaments so finishing fourth is a good achievement,” Walmiki said.

“But we are sad that unfortunately we couldn’t get bronze.” Pakistan also had wins over Germany (2-1) and Belgium (2-0) in the tournament, while India defeated England (3-1), New Zealand (4-2) and Belgium (1-0). Australia went some way to erasing the pain of their London Olympics flop by winning a record fifth consecutive Champions Trophy in a 2-1 extra-time victory over the Netherlands on Sunday. An early Dutch goal was cancelled out by Russell Ford four minutes before half-time, with the final going into golden point extra time. Kieran Govers clinched victory with a brilliant field goal from the top of the circle five minutes into extra time to give the Kookaburras victory. Five-times world player of the year Jamie Dwyer said it was the perfect response to the disappointment of finishing with the bronze medal at this year’s Olympics, after going in as strong gold medal favourites.

Continued from page 32 >> it and the lone T20I that followed. Bangladesh entered the Tests against the West Indies after not having played the format for 11 months. Apart from two National Cricket League (NCL) games leading into the first Test on November 13 in Dhaka, the Tigers had not played the longer form of the game for the best part of a year. That they scored 556, their highest Test total, in the first innings was indicative of the talent and fortitude they possess. Naeem Islam hit his maiden Test ton while Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain missed theirs by 11 and four runs respectively. More than the total on board, what was heartening was the fact that the batsmen were eager to spend time in the middle as Bangladesh played out 148.3 overs -- a monumental achievement considering that they had spent most of the previous five months playing twenty-overs cricket. Their inexperience in Test cricket caught up with them in the next innings as they looked completely unable to pace a chase of 245, falling short by 77 runs on the final day. The next Test in Khulna too saw some individual brilliance from the Tigers, with debutant fast bowler Abul Hasan scoring a century from number ten to save Bangladesh’s blushes after they slumped to 192 for eight. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who scored 203 in Mirpur, hit 150 here but the show was stolen by a marathon 260 from the

Tigers keep up the momentum India to Meet Pakistan in Blind
attractive Marlon Samuels as West Indies racked up 648 to set up a 10wicket win. Bangladesh’s performance in the Tests is not fairly reflected by the 2-0 result. They gave enough signs of progress, hinting at becoming a competitive side sooner rather than later. Offspinner Shohag Gazi’s nine wickets in his debut Test, the Tigers’ highest Test score, that they took both Tests into the fifth day and ended three out of the five days of the first Test on top were all positive signs. They currently seem a side just a step or two short of real competence in Test cricket. Two of the things they will have to look at is maintaining a consistent level of performance all through the five days, and becoming more incisive as a bowling unit. In both these regards the Bangladesh Cricket Board can help by strengthening the domestic firstclass structure to make players more longer-version savvy. Even in the 18-run loss in the tourclosing T20I, Bangladesh were not disgraced as they lost only one wicket in the chase of a mammoth 198. It was more a case of West Indies playing better than Bangladesh playing worse. There are still problems -- some dropped catches turned the game in favour of the West Indies in the fourth ODI which also saw the Tigers’ frailties against genuine pace and swing bowling resurface. But it was a tour that carried on from the Asia Cup in March in strengthening the notion that

Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan to wed on 12/12/12

Bangla-desh are an improving side, and will keep improving the more they play. In case of Test cricket, one hopes that the BCB pays special attention in that regard.

Cricket T20 World Cup Final

Bangladesh’s star player and formerly the nation’s most eligible bachelor Shakib al Hasan is set to marry his American Bangladeshi girlfriend Umme Ahmed Shishir on Wednesday in a ceremony timed for 12/12/12, a friend and local reports said. The 25-year-old cricketer, the world’s leading all-rounder, will tie the knot with an American of Bangladeshi origin in a private family ceremony organised on the once-in-a-lifetime date, his friend told reporters. The wedding ceremony will be held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, family sources said. The couple was seen together watching the lone T20 international against West Indies at Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium on Monday. The former skipper introduced his would-be wife to his teammates after the match.

Continued from page 32 >> The captain of the Pakistan blind T20 team (the world cup is currently on in Bangalore) who is partially visually impaired, accidentally drank diluted soap, which was kept in a plastic bottle on a table where usually mineral water bottle is kept at his hotel here on Saturday, official sources said. The player, Zeeshan Abbasi, who is here to play for the first World T20 Cricket Tournament for the visually impaired, was admitted to M S Ramaiah hospital where he was treated and discharged late Friday afternoon. He said he was feeling well and that he would play the next match. Pakistan’s team manager too has said that the matter has been resolved and that the hotel authorities have apologised. He added that the matter will not be taken forward. The apology, it is learnt, was issued immediately by the hotel and the

Pakistan contingent accepted it. NDTV spoke to Sultan Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Blind Cricket Council who is currently with the team in Bangalore. Shah said, “We have accepted the hotel’s apology and now all our focus is on the World Cup. If Zeeshan is up to it, he will play against Sri Lanka, tomorrow, otherwise day after against Nepal.” Shah also sounded confident that his Indian counterparts would take care of the situation well. “We do not want to politicize the issue. We have a very good relationship with our Indian counterparts. The game must go on,” said Shah. Meanwhile in latest development, the hotel staffer responsible for the ‘mess’ has been terminated. The sources tell NDTV that the house-keeping staff was cleaning the dining room and Abbasi consumed the diluted soap accidentally. He also immediately spat it out.

32

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 13 December 2012

Tigers keep up the momentum
The Bangladesh cricket team ended their year with a series against the West Indies that can justifiably be called a fruitful one. Not many gave the Tigers much of a chance against a West Indies side that had recently regained the services of explosive opener Chris Gayle, whitewashed New Zealand in a home Test series and won the ICC World Twenty20. The highlight of Bangladesh’s campaign against the men from the Caribbean was their 3-2 ODI series victory, but there were positives to take from the Test series that preceded Continued on page 31 >>

Sports

SAT

Pakistan blind team beat England, reach T20 final
Indian blinds convincingly by eight wickets in Twenty-20 World Cup Cricket Tournament for the blind at Banglore, Indian metropolitan, on Friday. India set a huge target of 250 for Pakistan in 20 overs which the green shirts chased handsomely in 19 overs with the loss of just 2 wickets. Pakistan’s Mohammad Akram and Mohammad Ashfaq played plentiful innings of 92 and 90for the team, winning the game easily and earning a place in semi final. In other matches Australia met Bangladesh‚ West Indies played against Sri Lanka while England faced Nepal at the same venue. Pakistan blind cricket captain discharged from hospital after accidentally consuming diluted soap Pakistan blind cricket team skipper Zeeshan Abbasi’s bottle of water contained ‘diluted soap’, which Abbasi drank. He has now been discharged from a local hospital and says he feels fine.

India to Meet Pakistan in Blind Cricket T20 World Cup Final

BANGALORE : The first ever Twenty20 World Cup for the blind will witness nine countries battling it out for the trophy here from December 2 to 13. Hosts India will take as yet undefeated rivals Pakistan in the final of the Blind Cricket Twenty20 World Cup in Bangalore after both sides won their semi-finals convincingly. Pakistan, who took a record of eight straight wins into their match against England, made it nine wins in a row courtesy of a nine-wicket win. Pakistan blind cricket reached final

overs. India, meanwhile, ensured their progress to the final as they beat Sri Lanka by 119 runs in a high-scoring match in which Ajay Reddy scored a century. The two sides met in the group stage when Pakistan won by eight wickets. Pakistan achieved the target in 13th over with the loss of one wicket. Mohammad Akram smashed 103 runs of 43 balls while Amir Ashfaq hit 34 runs not out. Pakistan team with a marvelous display of skills have remain

of World T20 tournament after beating England by nine wickets here on Wednesday. England battled hard but could only make 181 for nine as Matt Dean top scored with 61. Mohammad Akram blasted 103 not out in 43 balls to help Pakistan reach their target in 13

unbeaten in the tournament, outclassing England, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and Bangladesh in the first round. Pakistan defeat India by 8 wickets Pakistan blind cricket team thrashed

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