Monday, December 13, 2010

Gunmen kill two policemen in Charsadda

peshawarpolice reut543 Gunmen kill two policemen in Charsadda

PESHAWAR: Gunmen shot dead two Pakistani policemen on Monday, the second double shooting of officers in two days, police said.
Taseer Khan, 30, and Derwaish Khan, 43, who were brothers, were ambushed as they were driving to work on a motorcycle in the Charsadda district of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, police said. They died instantly.
“They had no personal enmity. Both brothers were in uniform and were coming on duty. They died on the spot,” Nisar Khan Marwat, Charsadda district police chief, told AFP.
The officer said the attackers fled the scene after the ambush.
Gunmen similarly killed two policemen on Saturday in Hayatabad, on the outskirts of Peshawar and next to Khyber district, part of Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Pakistani intelligence officials blamed the attack on the Taliban.
Security has been stepped up across Pakistan and in the country’s northwest in particular, to prevent attacks marring Muharram, the first month of the new Islamic year.

SC rejects challenge to PCO judges case bench

SupremeCourt ap5431 SC rejects challenge to PCO judges case bench

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the challenge to the constitution of the bench hearing contempt of court charges case against PCO judges.
Earlier on Saturday, former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar challenged the presence of two judges on the Supreme Court bench constituted to hear contempt charges against him and other superior court judges. He said the two judges had been appointed on his recommendation.
“Propriety demands that Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez may kindly step down from the bench in the interest of justice and fair play so that the requirement of Article 10-A of the Constitution is fully met, which is now a fundamental right guaranteed to a citizen,” said the application moved by Ahmed Raza Khan Kasuri on behalf of Justice (Rtd.) Dogar.
The oath of Justice Dogar, who was named the Supreme Court chief justice soon after the November 3, 2007, emergency imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf, was held unconstitutional by a 14-judge bench in its verdict on July 31 last year.
The July 31 verdict also held illegal all actions taken by the former president, including the appointment of a number of judges.
The four-judge bench comprises of Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez and heard on Monday contempt charges against Justice Dogar and other judges for taking oath under the PCO in defiance of a restraining order issued by a seven-judge bench on November 3, 2007.
Besides Justice Dogar, the other judges facing contempt charges are: Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, a former chief justice of the Lahore High Court, and eight sitting judges — Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain of the Supreme Court and Justices Khurshid Anwar Bhinder, Hamid Ali Shah, Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, Hasnat Ahmed Khan, Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, Yasmin Abbasey and Jehanzaib Rahim of different high courts.
This was the third challenge against the composition of the bench.

Haj corruption case: Azam Swati submits reply in SC

Hamid Saeed Kazmi 543 Haj corruption case: Azam Swati submits reply in SC

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Science and Technology Mohammad Azam Khan Swati submitted a written statement in the Supreme Court in reference to the Haj corruption case on Monday.
Swati’s statement quoted Secretary Religious Affairs as saying that Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi was involved in the corruption.
A seven-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry heard the suo motu case against the alleged corruption by the Ministry for Religious Affairs in the Haj operations.
Kazmi’s counsel Latif Khosa said that being cabinet minister Swati would be a party to the alleged corruption and therefore he should resign before levelling allegations against Kazmi.

LHC summons Education Secretary in students’ torture case

lahorehighcourt543 LHC summons Education Secretary in students’ torture case
LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry summoned the Education Secretary on Tuesday in the suo motu case regarding police torture on protesting students and teachers outside the Punjab Assembly building.
The protest of December 8 was staged after the Punjab government announced to establish boards of governors in 26 public colleges of the province to run their administrative affairs.
During today’s hearing, the Punjab government’s lawyer told the court that the proposed boards were meant to maintain discipline at the educational institutions and that the measure would, in no way, result in a rise in the students’ fees.
Meanwhile, Additional Advocate General told the court that teachers at the institutes were running their private academies in the cover of government jobs.
Justice Ejaz subsequently sought a detailed report on the relevant institutes.
He further questioned that if the boards have to reinstate discipline at colleges then what job is the Secretary Education performing.
Moreover, the police, in its report submitted to the court, said it tried to prevent students and teachers from damaging public property.
Justice Ejaz then remarked that the police had the right to stop the protesters, not to beat them.
On December 8, hundreds of charged students and teachers took to the streets to protest the formation of boards of governors in 26 colleges of the province, apprehending it will lead to privatisation of educational institutions.
The protest had, however, turned violent when the agitators entered the Punjab Assembly premises and the guards and police tried to push them back. The ensuing clash between the two sides, during which police resorted to severe baton charge, left at least 10 protesters injured.

Afghan, Pakistani presidents call Holbrooke

richard holbrooke 543 Afghan, Pakistani presidents call Holbrooke

WASHINGTON: Veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke received telephone calls from the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan as he recovered from lifesaving surgery, correcting a tear in the large artery that moves blood from his heart.
Holbrooke, 69, underwent additional procedures Sunday to improve blood circulation, but he remained in critical condition at George Washington University Hospital.
The president’s diplomatic point man on the Afghanistan war, Holbrooke was stricken Friday while at the State Department and was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent more than 20 hours of surgery to repair the tear and bleeding in his aorta.
The State Department said Sunday that he received calls from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. As US President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the longtime diplomat has made numerous visits to the region.
Holbrooke was meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about midmorning Friday when he fell ill, collapsed and was rushed to the hospital a few blocks away.
“Many people would have succumbed to that. Richard is fighting through,” Obama adviser David Axelrod told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Anyone who knows him, and I was with him Friday morning before this happened, knows how tough and resilient he is, and we’re all praying that that quality sees him through now.”
A torn aorta is a condition in which a rip develops in the inner wall of the body’s largest artery allowing blood to enter the vessel wall and weaken it. If not corrected the condition can lead to rapid death. As blood enters the wall it reduces blood flow just as though there were a severely bleeding wound, leading to serious internal bleeding, a loss of blood flow and possible complications in organs affected by the lack of blood, according to medical experts.
While doctors were said to have stabilized Holbrooke’s condition, recovery is likely to be lengthy.
Holbrooke’s illness comes just days before the Obama administration is expected to roll out the results of its review of the Afghanistan war, on Thursday.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan; Mark Sedwill, Nato’s senior civilian representative; and Ashraf Ghani, special adviser to Karzai, said in a joint statement that they “wish him a full and fast recovery.”
Holbrooke’s prolonged absence could effect the administration’s ability to put in place – and also sell to a skeptical Congress – its push for Afghan forces to assume a greater role in the fighting, allowing US troops to come home. It is a transition in which Holbrooke was expected to play an important part.
The feisty and sometimes abrasive diplomat – whose forceful style earned him nicknames such as “The Bulldozer” or “Raging Bull” – is perhaps best known for helping broker the Dayton accords, a 1995 agreement that ended the war in Bosnia.
He served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton administration. He also was ambassador to Germany from 1993 to 1994 and then assistant secretary of state for European affairs. – AP

US, S Korea to hold more war games

As tensions continue to run high in the Korean Peninsula, top US and South Korean military officers announce plans to stage more joint military exercises.

The announcement came as top military officials of the two countries, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and his South Korean counterpart General Han Min-Koo held talks in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on Wednesday over the deteriorating situation on the Korean Peninsula. 

The two officials condemned North Korea's recent alleged attacks on Yeonpyeong Island, describing it as deliberate and illegal. 

During the meeting, Mullen reiterated Washington's commitment to defend South Korea. 

US President Barack Obama has already promised what he called unshakeable support for Seoul. 

In recent months, the US and South Korea have conducted several massive joint sea and air drills in waters east of the Korean Peninsula. 

The North has called the drills provocative and an effort to trigger a war, warning the South against holding more joint military exercises with Washington. 

Tensions have erupted between the two Koreas after last month's deadly clash between South and North Korean forces along their disputed sea borders. 

The fighting left four South Koreans, including two civilians, dead. Each side blames the other for initiating the fighting.

Nigeria seizes more militant camps

Nigeria's Joint Task Force has taken over eight more militant camps in the southern Rivers state in the Niger Delta in the latest clampdown on militants in the oil-rich part of the country.

In a statement on Sunday, Nigeria's Military Spokesman Timothy Antigha said, "The Joint Task Force (JTF) has taken over eight camps formerly owned by Ateke Tom during the stormy days of militancy in the Niger Delta," AFP reported. 

According to JTF Commander Major General Charles Omoregie the militant leader laid down arms and surrendered the camps voluntarily. 

There are conflicting reports about the number of civilians killed in the operations. 

The military has staged a series of raids in recent weeks targeting John Togo, the most wanted militant leader of the Niger Delta Liberation Force. 

A campaign of oil pipeline bombings and high-profile kidnappings has been ongoing in the region since 2006. 

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta blames the government for not equally distributing energy revenues from the Niger Delta's resources. 

Oil exports of the country account for 80 percent of government earnings. 

Afghan Taliban attacks on NATO rise

Taliban small-arms attacks against the US-led troops in Afghanistan have almost doubled in less than a year, Pentagon officials say.

According to the Pentagon officials, at least 18,000 attacks were launched by the Taliban against the US-led forces in 2010 as compared with 10,600 in 2009. 

Army Captain Ryan Donald, a military spokesman in the Afghan capital, Kabul, said the rise is a result of bringing "the fight to them." 

According to Donald, the coalition troops have been on the offensive in an attempt to dislodge the Taliban from their strongholds in southern Afghanistan and in the East along the mountainous border with Pakistan. 

Taliban forces used automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and in some cases, missiles against NATO troops. 

The rise in battles comes as the Obama administration prepares a year-end review of how its strategy is working in war-torn Afghanistan. 

There are about 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan, including a "surge" of 30,000 troops ordered into combat by US President Barack Obama. 

There are about 40,000 troops from allied countries fighting alongside the US and Afghan troops.

'Israel dumps chem. waste in W Bank'

Israeli factories are quietly dumping hazardous industrial waste from polluting industries in the West Bank city of Tulkarm, the city's governor says.

The Israeli move came to light in November when Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces seized a truckload of chemical waste, originating from Israeli factories, to be emptied in the grounds of Khaduri University, Talal Dweikat said. 

PA officials said that a Palestinian man was hired for the job, Ma'an news agency reported on Sunday. 

The waste was examined in PA laboratories and was found to be dangerous. 

PA forces were put on high alert to check every Israeli truck, arriving in Tulkarm, for hazardous material. 

Meanwhile, University President Daoud Az-Za'tery said the university is holding awareness courses to educate students on the hazardous materials. 

He noted that many complaints have been received from Tulkarm residents concerning the chemical waste being dumped in the area by Israeli factories. 

Some occupied West Bank towns have become "dustbins" for Israeli industrial wastes -- including toxic wastes -- raising cancer rates up to 10 times, according to local Palestinian doctors. 

Another report says there are at least seven Israeli industrial zones in the occupied West Bank and an estimated 200 such factories are located there. 

Many of the factories are built mainly on hilltops, which often results in the flow of industrial wastewater into adjacent Palestinian lands damaging the citrus trees, polluting the soil as well as polluting the underground water. 

For example, a pesticide factory in Kfar Saba which produces dangerous pollutants has been moved to an area near Tulkarm. 

The Dixon Gas industrial factory, which was located in Netanya has also been moved to the Tulkarm area. The solid waste generated by the factory is burned in open air. 

US accused of human rights abuse

A rights group based in the US state of Arizona has accused the White House of severe human rights violations against immigrants and minorities.

Border Action Network on Monday called on the US government to adhere to human rights laws recognized by the international community. 

The group's executive director, Jennifer Allen, told Iran's official news agency IRNA in an interview that Washington rarely prevents violations against immigrants and minorities in the United States. 

She also accused local and federal US law enforcement agents of violating the rights of legal immigrants and even American citizens. 

Border Action Network is an organization that works with immigrant and border communities to ensure their rights are respected. 

The comments come as Arizona officials grapple with a controversial immigration law introduced by the state's governor, Jan Brewer. 

According to the Arizona law, which took effect on July 29, immigrants in the state will be treated as criminals if they fail to provide proper immigration documents. 

The law also allows law enforcement agents who are not necessarily federal agents to stop suspected people and check their status. 

Supporters argue that the law is intended to be race neutral, but critics believe it will inevitably open the way for racial profiling against Latinos in a state on the Mexican border. 

The law has raised the ire of Latin American countries and has sparked protests in Arizona, especially among the Hispanics and labor activists. 

The United States is home to an estimated 11 million illegal residents, with Hispanics comprising the majority of them.

US frisks 2nd Indian diplomat

A second Indian diplomat has been frisked at Texas Airport in the US after he was asked to remove his turban while refusing to do so.

India's UN envoy, Hardeep Puri, was held for more than half an hour at Texas International Airport. 

The incident comes after the Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was pulled out of a security line at a Mississippi airport. 

She was patted down despite telling security officials of her diplomatic position. 

India's Foreign Ministry has lodged a formal complaint with the US over the frisking of its UN envoy, Hardeep Puri. 

Puri, a Sikh, first refused to let his turban be searched and was then detained in a holding room, the news channel reported. 

Washington responded to the complaint by assuring that it would look into the alleged insult, the news report said. 

The incident follows several recent cases of Indian diplomats being apparently singled out for security checks in US airports. 

N Korea gives fresh warning to South

North Korea has warned that the cooperation between the US and South Korea could bring a nuclear war to the already volatile Korean Peninsula.

The warning comes after South Korea began fresh military drills amid lingering tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The drills are scheduled to run from Monday to Friday at 27 different locations. 

The regularly-scheduled exercises are receiving special attention following a North Korean artillery attack on frontline Yeonpyeong Island that claimed the lives of two South Korean marines and two civilians. 

In a show of unity, top diplomats from South Korea, the US and Japan met in Washington last week and said they would not resume negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program until the country's behavior changed. 

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited South Korea last week and warned Pyongyang to stop its "belligerent, reckless behavior." 

The November 23 artillery barrage, the North's first assault to target a civilian area since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, began after the North accused South Korea of having fired the salvo toward its territorial waters. 

South Korea said it had fired shells southwards, not towards North Korea, as part of routine exercises. 

After the attack, South Korea staged joint military drills with the United States and pushed ahead with more artillery exercises despite the North's warning that they would aggravate tension. 

A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer tried to play down the significance of this week's drills, saying they were part of routine military exercises and would not occur near the disputed western Korean sea border where last month's attack took place. 

Storm claims 15 lives in Egypt

Raging storms have left 15 people dead and dozens injured in Egypt as heavy rains and fierce winds hit countries across the Middle East.

Police sources confirmed that 11 people were killed and 58 injured in road accidents around the country, reported Ahram Online on Monday. 

Three people lost their lives in other incidents, while at least one person was dead in the collapse of a textile factory in Alexandria, a security official said, blaming "bad weather and heavy rains." 

"It has been raining steadily and very hard since yesterday (Saturday) in Alexandria. The building is 30 years old and the foundations could have been damaged," one security official said. 

Relief workers rushed to the scene to assist more factory workers, officials said, adding that 30 people could have been working in the six-storey factory in the northern Alexandria neighborhood of Moharram Bey. 

Twenty-six ships were barred from entering the Suez Canal and 29 vessels were delayed for three hours before they could move through the waterway linking the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. 

The waterway was hit by poor visibility and winds of up to 40 knots an hour, said an official at the canal, Egypt's third-largest source of foreign revenue after tourism and remittances from expatriate workers. 

High waves also closed all eight of Egypt's main Red Sea ports on Sunday for the second consecutive day, as well as its Mediterranean ports of Alexandria and Dekheila, officials said. 

Meanwhile, officials at Cairo airport said preventive measures were being taken after visibility was reduced to 300 meters. 

People in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, have also been advised to stay indoors due to a sandstorm that has blanketed the city. 

With temperatures having plunged since Friday night, thunderstorms and heavy rains have lashed the north coast, Red Sea region and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. 

Strong winds reaching up to 60 kilometers per hour have whipped up sandstorms in Syria and Jordan as well. 

In Lebanon, at least one person has been killed and some of the country's roads have been closed. 

Flights to and from many airports in the region have been delayed or canceled. 

The stormy weather is expected to last through Monday. 

West blamed for Ivory Coast standoff

The camp of Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has accused Western diplomats of trying to turn the country's military against him.

On Sunday, Gbagbo, who is under pressure to step down, accused US-led western countries of meddling in the country's internal affairs. 

Meanwhile, the newly-named Interior Minister Emile Guirieoulou accused foreign envoys of seeking to turn the military against Gbagbo. 

Guirieoulou has warned that the Gbagbo-led government "will no longer tolerate meddling by any diplomat in the internal affairs of the state of Ivory Coast." 

"For several days, civil and military members of certain Western chancelleries in Abidjan have discreetly approached senior officers in our national army," AFP quoted him as saying. 

Political crisis is mounting in Ivory Coast as both men claiming presidency are involved in a bitter standoff over who should hold the post. 

The country's ten-year President Gbagbo says he is ready to sit down and talk. 

But his rival Alassane Ouattara says he would not negotiate unless Gbagbo steps down from office and respects the will of the Ivorian nation and the international community. 

Following South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki's visit to the country, the African Union suspended the membership of Ivory Coast for as long as Gbagbo remains in office. 

The UN Security Council has also threatened to impose sanctions on the country unless Gbagbo lets go of the presidential seat. 

The country's Electoral Commission declared Ouattara as the winner of the November 28th run-off vote. 

Gbagbo's allies, however, rejected the outcome by alleging fraud. Both contenders have sworn themselves in as president and have appointed governments. 

The disputed presidential election has raised the risk of a long power struggle in the country. The world's top cocoa-producing nation is still reeling from the 2002-2003 civil war, which split the West African country in two.

2010 WISE chooses summit theme

The second World Innovative Summit on Education (WISE) in Qatar has chosen “The Future of Education” as its theme this year.

In today's rapidly evolving world where technology has become part of our daily lives, there is a growing need to develop education, stressed the delegates. 

High on the agenda were methods of working out innovative solutions and meeting the challenges of funding, Euronews reported 

“You have to prioritize, give it a priority in the sense that we all have problems, but government owes it to the people to provide the funding. Because education is very essential, so if you have a budget, you allocate an adequate amount of money for education,” said Hamidoun Ali, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council 

The forum was held from 7 to 9 of December, 2010, in Doha, Qatar. 

The summit has become an annual platform for more than 1,200 delegates from around the world - teaching professionals, decision-makers and business leaders - to share ideas and come up with innovative solutions to the problems of providing education. 

The organizers of the forum unveiled the first international award for next year which brings with it a cheque for nearly 400,000 euros. 

15 children held hostage in east France

An armed young man has taken hostage at least 15 children in a primary school in eastern France, a report says.

The 17-year-old man, holding two swords, initially took 20 children hostage when he burst into the school in the city of Besancon but later released five of them, AFP reported on Monday. 

"Around 14 children have come out and at the moment there are still five or six inside," Besancon mayor Jean-Louis Fousseret told French Info radio. 

According to French media reports, the teenager suffers from depression. 

Police have surrounded the school and Education Minister Luc Chatel was on his way to the city, officials said. 

Hundreds protest Egypt elections result

Hundreds of political activists and opposition leaders in Egypt have protested against the outcome of the parliamentary elections, which has been marred by widespread allegations of fraud.

The protest outside the Supreme Court in Cairo on Sunday came as President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party said the elections had been fair despite a few irregularities. 

Hundreds of demonstrators repeatedly chanted slogans that the elections were "null." 

"This is not our parliament. Down with the illegitimate parliament," said a placard held by a demonstrator. 

George Ishak, one of the leaders of the National Association for Change, a broad coalition of opposition groups and movements, said that dissidents intended to challenge the legitimacy of the new parliament. 

"We will file complaints locally and nationally against this parliament," AFP quoted Ishak as saying. 

"This is a protest against what happened in the election, which proved to be forged," he added. 

This is while some of the losing candidates have said they were organizing a parallel popular parliament. 

Mubarak's party won a sweeping victory in the parliamentary elections, after a final round of voting boycotted by the two main opposition groups. The two rounds of voting were held on November 28 and December 5. 

Meanwhile, major Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei has also called for a boycott of the country's presidential election, slated for next year. 

In a video posted on Facebook, the Nobel Laureate and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said, "The opposition must join ranks... and announce, frankly, that it will boycott the presidential election as long as the constitution has not been amended." 

"I urge you to send a clear message to the regime that we will not take part in this farce next year," he added. 

ElBaradei warned that the opposition could resort to violence unless political reforms were implemented in Egypt. 

"I hope that the regime understands that if they don't allow us this, the Egyptian people will be left by one choice only... there will be violence in Egypt and that is something no Egyptian wants," he said. 

Muslim Brotherhood opposition party has called for the dissolution of the new parliament. The party says it is gathering evidence of vote rigging. 

Earlier, international and local human rights activists condemned the elections for widespread fraud.
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