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pyromaniac

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NEW DELHI — In much of India, the first line of defense against crime stands just over five and a half feet tall, earns less than $100 a month and is armed with little more than a shiny belt buckle.

Terra Force’s training includes a fire safety class and anti-terrorism drills. Many recruits were turned away by the army and police.

Security guards have long been a sleepy presence here, but a string of fatal attacks, culminating in the siege of three Mumbai hotels by terrorists last November, have created a demand for new and better trained guards, state-of-the-art equipment and guns for the guards and businessmen themselves.

Capsi, an industry trade group, estimates that India’s $2 billion private security sector will add a million employees this year, even as other industries lay off workers while the economy cools. Already, it employs about 5 million people, 1.3 million more than India’s police and armed forces combined.

In fact, with India’s official police stretched thin (there is one officer for every 1,000 people in India, less than half the United States average and one-tenth the average in China), security guards are moving from fetchers of tea at government offices and car washers at wealthy homes to becoming corporate India’s de facto police force.

Still, what measure of security these guards provide came under question after the Mumbai attacks. Terrorists were able to store ammunition in the Taj Hotel, and enter it and two other hotels with arms, despite a sizable private security contingent at all three. For nearly three days, they were able to keep hundreds of people hostage.

In many areas of India, a police presence is “nonexistent,” said Arjun Wallia, the chairman and founder of Walsons, an Indian security firm that employs 12,000 guards and is partly owned by the global giant Securitas. But just adding “more guards and more people is not a solution,” he said. Instead, Mr. Wallia and others in the business are talking about better training and increasing pay scales and, in many cases, arming guards.

Many guards were farm workers in small villages just a month ago. Through job fairs and local offices in rural states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab, companies sign on thousands of young men at a time, put them through training camps, then send them into urban centers.

According to security firm executives and interviews with job candidates themselves, many of the recruits are men who tried and failed to enter the police or military but still crave a job with a uniform. Most of them earn a starting salary of about 4,000 rupees a month, or $82.

“No one picks private security over armed forces,” said Rituraj Sinha, the chief operating officer of Security and Intelligence Services, which plans to add 10,000 guards this year to its 30,000-member force.

Recruits must provide police verification of their identity, pass routine medical tests and tests for literacy and basic math. But there is little vetting of their character or their background.

Security firms say relatively new rules making training mandatory help to weed out corrupt or ineffective guards. In the past, companies used to just “pick up a boy and give him a uniform” said J. R. Trikha, a retired colonel who is the executive director of the security trade association. “Now he gets 28 days of training before being deployed to the site.”

Before the training, most of the recruits have never been to an office park, ridden an elevator, used a fire extinguisher or, often, seen a gun.

In about a month, they are supposed to be able to determine who should and should not enter the malls, corporate office parks, apartment blocks and even public transportation in India’s urban areas. They are also the first on the scene in accidents and fires because fire and ambulance services are slow or nonexistent in many parts of India.

Some companies, like the real estate giant DLF — which counts Cartier jewelers, Max New York Life and Citigroup among its tenants — have started their own private security forces. Terra Force will patrol DLF’s thousands of Indian properties. The company is hiring as many experts as it can, including former National Security Guards, the black-clad commandos who reclaimed the Mumbai hotels.

“Only those that deliver well-trained security personnel will survive” in the industry, said Harsh Wardhan, president and chief executive of Terra Force Securities, who was recruited from G4S, the only foreign security firm that operates in India. Terra Force uses bomb-sniffing dogs, night-vision goggles and I.B.M. surveillance systems and is importing instructors from the Israeli army and the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Wardhan said.

Still, much of the business revolves around training fresh recruits from rural areas of India in camps like one on the outskirts of Gurgaon, a slapdash boomtown city south of New Delhi.

On a recent visit to the camp, located where Gurgaon’s glass towers and malls peter out to low-slung buildings and open lots, a batch of young men in creased navy trousers stood at attention. Their superior barked an order and they saluted and yelled in unison “Good morning, sir” again and again.

Kammesh Baboo Rathore, a 28-year-old recruit, said that Terra Force was his third choice. “I tried the army and the police and didn’t get through” he said. “This is my next choice. I want to work for the nation and am enamored by the uniform.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/business/worldbusiness/03security.html?ref=business



Wow, at this rate they can replace our policemen...
 

EnlightenedMonk

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Open to the idea of being Prez again : Mush

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/open-to-the-idea-of-being-prez-again-musharraf/87229-2.html

Karachi: Taking a strong anti-terrorism stance, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on Monday urged concerted efforts to prevent militants from operating on the country's soil even as he extended his unequivocal support to the government, the army and spy agency ISI in their efforts to stamp out terrorism from the country.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi on his return from attending a conclave in New Delhi, he urged India and Pakistan to resolve their differences in a "sensible way" and "avoid whipping up war hysteria".

"War hysteria is negative as it creates differences between people of the two countries. The people need to be brought together for the success of the composite dialogue and peace process," said Musharraf, addressing his first full-fledged press conference after leaving office in August 2008.

"It is time for the Pakistani establishment to come out of the dark and accept that there foreigners with extremist agendas operating from Pakistani soil. We as Pakistanis need to know if there are foreigners on our soil or not. And I can say with confidence that whether you call them al-Qaeda, Uzbeks or outsiders, they are present in Pakistan. The government has to take action against them. It is for Pakistan to take action and not for foreign agencies to do so. We are getting notorious in the world because of them and every leader has pointed it out," he stated.

"Whenever the country is in trouble, the army needs to step in and restore order. I am not going to judge the Army Chief. He can take his own decisions," he further said.

"The situation in Pakistan is before your eyes. According to me there are three problems plaguing us - political disputes, law and order - which includes terror and extremism - and economic concerns. The government needs to tackle these and take Pakistan on the path of progress," Musharraf added.

At a time when General Kiyani has virtually put President Asif Ali Zardari on notice, Pervez Musharraf has indicated he wouldn't mind replacing him.

"If it's being offered and if i can be a useful president then i would want to contribute to the nation," he said.

Noting that "we live in a globalised world and not in a vacuum," Musharraf said Pakistan was putting itself in a difficult position by not taking action against militant groups operating in the country.

He also sought to debunk suggestions in the Indian media that there was no distinction between the militants, the Pakistani state and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

"The government, the army and the ISI are all playing their roles in combating terrorism. We should support them and not demean their efforts," he contended.

Musharraf also defended an accord between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and a radical cleric on imposing Shariat laws in Swat and six other districts of the province, saying it was in line with the demands of the people and would help restore peace in the area.

"Thousands of people had come out in the area. What did they want? They wanted speedier justice. That will eventually bring peace," he said.

"The people wanted speedy justice which was not possible because of the high court and the Supreme Court (appealing against orders of the trial courts). Now, these appeals will be heard by the Federal Shariat Court," Musharraf pointed out.

He also noted that the move to impose Shariat laws in seven districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) had been initiated during his tenure in office.

"The demand had been made during my time. We had initiated discussions on it," Musharraf said.

Under the deal between the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), or Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws of radical cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad, and the NWFP government, the Taliban that control the area would lay down their arms in return for the imposition of Shariat laws.

The US and other Western governments have roundly criticised the accord, saying it amounted to bowing before the Taliban.

Musharraf did not agree.

"I think we can work with some elements of the Taliban. If it brings peace, why not give it a chance?" he retorted.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has warned that he would validate the accord only after peace returned to the region.

On Monday, NWFP Chief Minister Haider Khan Hoti signed the documents for promulgating Nizam-e-Adl, as the Shariat laws are known.

This will now be sent to provincial Governor Owais Amhed Ghani and then to Zardari. They will become law once the president gives his assent.

The TNSM is believed to be pressuring the NWFP government to impose the new laws by March 15.
 

EnlightenedMonk

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US bill ties aid with access to A.Q. Khan

WASHINGTON: Already reeling under terrorist violence and political turmoil, Pakistan came under increased US pressure on Thursday when lawmakers introduced a legislation aiming to cut off military aid to the country unless American officials were able to question Dr A. Q. Khan.

The United States claims Dr Khan headed a network of nuclear proliferators and some US politicians want to question him over his alleged involvement in providing nuclear know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

He was placed under house arrest after the unearthing of the alleged network but was released in early February.

‘Khan is again a loose nuke scientist with proven ability to sell the worst weapons to the worst people,’ said Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, a lead author of the bill.

The legislation would also tie continued US military aid to assurances from Islamabad that it is monitoring Dr Khan’s movements and activities.

‘Hopefully, appropriate Pakistani officials worry as we do that their civilians could become nuclear targets — as could Nato soldiers in neighbouring Afghanistan or civilians in any number of Western countries,’ said Rep. Harman.

The United States had stopped military and economic assistance to Pakistan in 1990, following a dispute over its nuclear programme.

Diplomatic observers in Washington, however, say that it would be difficult to bring such sanctions against Pakistan at this stage when the United States wants the allied nation to increase its role in fighting terrorism.

Pakistan is already resisting Washington’s offer for greater US involvement in training the Pakistani military.

Senior US officials and lawmakers — such as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee — have described the previous sanction against Pakistan as a mistake and opposed any future sanctions.

US officials say that the previous sanction, known as the Presslar Amendment, reduced their influence in Pakistan, particularly in the military, and has left bitter memories in that country.
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn%20Content%20Library/dawn/news/world/us-bill-ties-aid-with-access-to-a-q-khan-hs
 

EnlightenedMonk

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BCCI-Home Ministry meet on IPL inconclusive

BCCI-Home Ministry meet on IPL inconclusive

New Delhi: The fate of Board of Control for Cricket in India-promoted Indian Premier League (IPL) is still uncertain with security issues dogging the Twenty20 cricket tournament.

However, the meeting between the BCCI officials and the Home Ministry, which took place in New Delhi on Monday, failed to break the deadlock regarding the schedule of the second season of the Indian Premier League.

"We had discussions and Home Ministry expressed its concern and we have also conveyed our concerns and issues and that of the stakeholders to the Home Ministry," said BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan after the meeting.

Home Ministry sources said that they expressed their concern on the security and will also talk to the state governments on the issue

"The revised schedule that IPL came up with did not have many changes except for that of the Vishakhapatnamand the state governments were not consulted while making the revised dates," said a source.

Five BCCI officials went into the crucial meeting to discuss the internal security in the mega event which is clashing with the election dates.

The Union Home Ministry plans to ask the IPL organisers to hold proper consultations with the states in which they want to hold the Twenty20 matches.

Most of the states have voiced their inability to provide security during the matches due to General Elections.

However, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said that before coming out the new fixtures, all states concerned had been taken into confidence.

Reports suggest that West Bengal may be taken off from the schedule as the state was demanding deployment of 30 companies of central para-military forces.

With IPL clashing with 15th Lok Sabha elections and security continuing to be a major issue, the options before IPL are limited.

The first option for IPL is to shift matches from main venues to smaller venues like Dharamsala, Cuttack, Raipur, Ahmedabad and add the number of grounds they already have.

It will mean logistically they can conduct more matches every day keeping security concerns in mind and also the willingness of the states involved.

The second option is a fall-back option in which the IPL board may split the championship into two parts. First half of will take place in April-May and second half of it after India's tour of the West Indies in July.

However, the second option will be a logistical nightmare in terms of availability of international players and cost of the tournament.

In the third option, the IPL can be truncated and a shorter version agreed upon where teams play seven matches on neutral venues instead of home and away basis.

However, it will mean sponsors will not get value for their money and will be forced to return part of it.

This option can cost IPL close to Rs 400 crore and franchises may have to shell out some of their personal sponsorship money.

The last option is of course to cancel the IPL but it will lead to a huge financial loss.

Meanwhile, in more trouble for the league, Bombay High Court on Monday restrained IPL from discussing the broadcasting rights with any other company. The court has also asked IPL to produce more documents.

Sony TV has taken the IPL to court for discussing telecast rights with other channels.
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/bccihome-ministry-meet-on-ipl-inconclusive/87781-5.html
 

EnlightenedMonk

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Most likely looks like it'll be shipped off to England now...
 
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Deja Vu For Obama As US Afghan Policy Turns Full Circle To 1965

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Dej...han_Policy_Turns_Full_Circle_To_1965_999.html

Deja Vu For Obama As US Afghan Policy Turns Full Circle To 1965

US won't speed up troop withdrawals from Iraq: Obama
Washington (AFP) March 30 - President Barack Obama said he would not speed up troop withdrawals from Iraq, arguing the country was "moving in the right direction" but still needed US help. "No, I think the plan that we put forward in Iraq is the right one, which is let's have a very gradual withdrawal schedule through the national elections in Iraq," he said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS program "Face the Nation." "There's still work to be done on the political side, to resolve differences between the various sectarian groups around issues like oil, around issues like provincial elections," Obama said. "I'm confident that we're moving in the right direction. But Iraq is not yet completed. We still have a lot of work to do," he said. "We still have a lot of training of Iraqi forces to improve their capacity. I'm confident, though, that we're moving in the right direction." Obama has ordered an end to US combat operations in Iraq by August 31 next year, but says 50,000 troops will remain under a new mission until the end of 2011.
by Claude Salhani
Washington (UPI) Mar 30, 2009
President Barack Obama's new Afghan policy is eerily reminiscent of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam policy, when in 1965 Johnson announced the buildup of the war in Southeast Asia, saying he was sending more U.S. combat troops to Vietnam as well as civilian workers.

Just as Obama stressed the importance in deploying civilian advisers to help rebuild Afghanistan, it is worth recalling that by 1964 Johnson had as many as 23,300 American civilian advisers working in South Vietnam alongside 184,300 U.S. combat troops. Less than four years later, U.S. forces in South Vietnam soared to 536,100.

Obama unveiled his latest policy last week, outlining the manner in which the United States should address the war in Afghanistan in view of the rising threat the Taliban and their al-Qaida allies pose to world security. It isn't the most brilliant of policies, as it does not even hint at a time in the near or distant future when U.S. and NATO forces might begin to disengage from Afghanistan. Rather, Obama said he would be sending an additional 4,000 U.S. troops in a first step to increase American military and civilian forces in the country. Under the current circumstances, though, Obama really had no other choice. Had this policy been adopted eight years ago, the world today would have been a very different place.

In fact, Obama's new plan takes the United States back to where it was on the day after Sept. 11, 2001. This is what should have happened then; the brunt of the U.S. forces should have been directed against al-Qaida and their supporters in the Taliban. But there came a distraction in the form of the war in Iraq.

The war in Afghanistan could have probably been won had the emphasis been placed on hunting down the Taliban and al-Qaida's leadership.

One important distinction made in Obama's new policy is the inclusion of Pakistan as part and parcel of the problem. For the first time since the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States is approaching this issue in the most pragmatic manner. The Afghan problem, that of the resurging Taliban, is unlikely to go away so long as the Takfiri rebels can find refuge in neighboring Pakistan.

The problem is this: Both countries are intricately connected in more than one manner.

Neither can be solved so long as the Taliban can enjoy a rear base in the Pakistani border areas. And as long as Afghanistan remains unsettled, it accentuates the risk of the conflict expanding and engulfing other countries in the region.

In outlining his new policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S. president explained the reasons for the new strategy: that the expanding power being gained by the Islamists poses a real and present danger to the security of the entire free world.

Obama described the situation as "increasingly perilous" and said that the power being encroached by the Taliban posed a threat to the people of America and of the free world.

Obama outlined a dual road to what he hopes will bring stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan's border areas: an increase in U.S. military personnel as well as additional support for the civilian restructuring of the country. The first installment would come in the dispatch of some 4,000 additional U.S. troops.

While both countries welcomed Obama's announcement, some Afghan diplomats remain skeptical regarding the success any plan may have as long as some elements in the Pakistani leadership, more particularly in the military, continue to profit from what one diplomat termed "the AAA of Pakistan." The diplomat explained: "Allah, Army and America."

For some leading members of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency, the AAA has turned into a lucrative business. While the problem of the jihadi Taliban and al-Qaida continues (Allah), the U.S. (America) will continue to send funding to Pakistan and support the country's military in weapons as well as with money, thus keeping the remaining A, the army, in business.

The other novelty in this new policy is that there is a clear sense of mission, with a clearly defined target: "to disrupt dismantle and defeat" the two groups, al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Obama reminded the U.S. allies that the trouble currently brewing just beneath the surface in Southwest Asia is not simply an American problem: "It is instead an international security challenge of the highest order."

Well cognizant of the challenge the region poses to their security, the Russians have indicated their willingness to help out in the Afghan campaign. As a Russian military attache told this reporter last summer, "Had it not been for the tensing of relations between Moscow and Washington over the Bush administration's support of the Georgians during the very brief, but very fierce, war between Russia and Georgia, Russia would have been ready to help out in Afghanistan."

Enough water has since flown under the bridges, and Moscow said it was prepared to help out in Afghanistan. In an interview with the BBC, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow was "ready to participate in the efforts directed at putting things in order" in Afghanistan.

This is an offer Washington cannot and should not refuse.

Claude Salhani is editor of the Middle East Times.
 

Pintu

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ISRO Scientists are on LeT Target

The Times of India reports that Lashkar-e-Taiba plans to target senior ISRO scientists and Engineers.

The link and the report of The Times of India follows:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/LeT-plan-to-target-ISRO-scientists/articleshow/4357358.cms


LeT plans to target Isro scientists
4 Apr 2009, 0309 hrs IST, TNN
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NEW DELHI: In a clear sign of Pakistani terrorists attacking symbols of India’s growing power, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, it is learnt, plans to
target senior scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organization, especially those working on the space programme. ( Watch )

The revelations came during the interrogation of Sarfaraz Nawaz, an LeT operative, by the Karnataka police in connection with the 2008 Bangalore blasts. Nawaz named a Pakistani terrorist, Jasim, as saying that the Lashkar planned to send terrorists to target the scientists, including Isro head G Madhavan Nair. Jasim also named a woman Muslim scientist from UP working on the Agni missile project as a potential target. P 13

Pakistan’s officially backed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba plans to target senior scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), an arrested LeT operative has revealed.

In revelations which are chilling because of what they tell of the mindset of the terror group, officials told TOI that interrogations of an LeT terrorist, Sarfaraz Nawaz, by Karnataka authorities showed that LeT was planning to despatch terrorists to assassinate senior members of Isro, specifically those involved in the space launch programme.

Nawaz told interrogators that Jasim alias Tahsin, an LeT terrorist from Pakistan, had talked about targeting these scientists. Jasim apparently mentioned the names of 'Alex, Sajivnath, Suresh Kumar and a female Muslim scientist from UP (a lady scientist working in Agni missile project), apart from G Madhavan Nair, the head of Isro.

This is not the first time LeT has targeted elements of India’s growing power. There have been attempts on Infosys and Wipro, an aborted terror attack at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The attack on Jaipur targeted India’s tourism industry, while those in Parliament House targeted the seat of power. Of course, the biggest were the Mumbai attacks which targeted India’s commercial capital and its most potent symbols of soft power.

Officials said Nawaz’s statement had detailed accounts of how the terrorists in Kerala operated on instructions from leaders in Pakistan and Gulf. Nawaz was brought to Bangalore recently from Muscat in connection with the probe into the Bangalore blasts of July 25, 2008.

Police said, "Nawaz attended a meeting with Jasim and Ali, both members of LeT in Muscat. Things like how to carry out terror activities in India came up during discussions. This included attacks on top scientists. Nawaz told us that these things were at a discussion level during meetings in Muscat."

Nawaz, who joined SIMI in 1995, had attended Nadwat-ul-Ulema in Lucknow and started working in the SIMI headquarters in New Delhi in 2000.
 

Pintu

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Malyasian PM says he is freeing detainees in the interest of Malayasia

According to AFP Malayasian Prime Minister says that his decision to free 13 people including ethnic Indian activists is good for "the people and the nation".

The link and the Report from AFP are following herewith:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gvqZZka0DQ8y4M2XffIumMmwnMDg

13 detainees freed in the interest of Malaysia

14 hours ago

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Prime Minister Najib Razak Saturday said the upcoming release of 13 people held under Malaysia's tough security law was good for "the people and the nation" and denied it was a bid to win popularity.

"If you don't release (them), they say the government is repressive. If you release (them), they say we are populist. So which is which?" he said.

"We think (it is) in the best interests of the people and the nation," he told reporters during a press conference at his residence in Putrajaya, the new administrative capital south of here, after taking office Friday.

In his first act as premier, Najib announced on Friday that he was revoking a ban on two newspapers and releasing 13 people held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite detention.

Among those set to be freed Sunday are two ethnic Indian leaders who have been held under the draconian act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

Musa Hassan, inspector general of police said the 13 will be freed on Sunday.

"The documentation process has to be completed first. We will release all of them tomorrow (Sunday)," the official Bernama news agency cited him as saying.

S. Jayathas, coordinator of the banned Hindraf group told AFP that lawyers V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan would be freed but that three other leaders from the group would remain in detention.

"The government is only freeing two of our leaders," Jayathas said.

"We urged the authorities to free the remaining three leaders and all other ISA detainees and abolish the ISA," he added.

The two lawyers set for release were detained for mounting a rally alleging discrimination against minority ethnic Indians in December 2007.

Of the others due to be freed, seven were believed to be members of the Darul Islam religious group and three were foreigners accused of falsifying government documents, according to the Star newspaper.

The last was a suspected member of the Al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah militant group.

Najib's decision to release the 13 and lift the ban on two opposition newspapers was seen as part of a reconciliation plan aimed at winning back support for the ruling party.

Najib has said he will focus on uniting the multi-racial nation after ethnic minorities shifted support to the opposition in the 2008 polls.

Malaysia's population is dominated by Muslim Malays, and the country's ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities fear their rights are being eroded as it becomes increasingly "Islamised."

Rights groups say 70 people, mainly suspected Islamic militants, are being held under the ISA.

Parts of the act date back to the British colonial era, when it was used against communist insurgents. It provides for two-year detention periods that can be renewed indefinitely.

Critics accuse the government of using the law to silence its opponents.
 

Pintu

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26/11 Trial to begin

According to Expressindia.com 26/11 trial will be at Arthur Road jail on April 15.

The link and the report from Expressindia.com are followed:

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/26-11-trial-at-arthur-road-jail-on-april-15/443868/


26/11 trial at Arthur Road jail on April 15
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Mumbai Kasab, co-accused to be produced in person in special court; construction of court almost over

Almost four-and-half months after the terror attack on Mumbai by 10 alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba men from Pakistan, the Mumbai police on Monday informed the court that they were ready to open their case against the lone attacker captured alive, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and co-accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, at the special court inside Arthur Road prison on April 15.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam informed the special Judge, M L Tahilyani, that the construction of the court was almost over and the minor repairs that remain will be completed before the next hearing.

Based on the assurance given by the prosecution, the court directed the jail authorities to produce the three accused before it on April 15. The court also extended the judicial custody of the three accused till April 15.

The Public Works Department had undertaken the work to build an explosion-resistant, bulletproof cell for Kasab at the court inside the prison.

On April 15, Nikam will be opening the case for the Mumbai police and briefing the court about the prosecution case and presenting several documents and evidences to prove the charges against the accused.

Kasab, who is being represented by state legal aid lawyers Anjali Waghmare and K P Pawar, gave his consent to allow the copy of his chargesheet to be given to them. He also sought to meet his lawyer. The court said he would be allowed to meet his lawyer on the next date of hearing.

Accordingly, the court has directed the jail authorities to submit the chargesheet to the court on Tuesday.

Co-accused Ansari told the court that he would like to hand over the chargesheet to his wife who would give to a private lawyer whom he intends to appoint.Sabahuddin has given his consent to lawyer Ejaz Naqvi to visit him and take a copy of the chargesheet.

Cop pressure on wife: Ansari
Fahim Ansari on Monday alleged that his wife Yasmin and other family members residing at Goregaon were being threatened by some Mumbai police officials to make him accept a lawyer from the state legal aid panel. Ansari also sought a month’s time to engage a lawyer to defend him.

Yasmin who had come to the court also made the same allegation. However, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, “These are baseless allegations made by the accused. He is just trying to prolong the trial by not engaging a lawyer and not accepting a lawyer from the state legal aid panel either.”

Order on Lam’s plea reserved
Judge M L Tahilyani on Monday reserved the order till April 15 on the plea of lawyer K B N Lam who had moved an application before the court wanting lawyer Anjali Waghmare, who is representing Ajmal Kasab, to give in writing that she would not extend her legal services to a victim of the attack. The court said the order on the application would be passed on the next date of hearing.

Intervention plea rejected
A businessman, who has an export and import business and trades in shares, Ishwar Prasad Khandelwal, on Monday moved an intervening application. Khandelwal, who is the president of an NGO, Lashkar-E-Hind, which he said was fighting terrorism legally, stated that he wanted to help the prosecution to work freely without any pressure to prosecute Kasab.

The plea stated: “Since the beginning of his (Khandelwal’s) student life he had pledged that all Indians are his brothers and sisters... thus he had the locus-standi to conduct the prosecution... for justice to Indians.”

The court rejected the application saying it was devoid of any merit.

Khandelwal had earlier filed intervening applications in the Bombay HC against the ban on Deshdrodhi, a film based on the MNS’s North Indians in Maharashtrian issue, and had also staged a sit-in outside the sessions court, shortly after the arrest of extradited gangster Abu Salem. When asked whether he was doing it for publicity, he had said, “Of course not. My NGO sincerely works towards making a terror-free city and has assisted the Mumbai Police by sharing information on many city-based wanted accused .”
 

Payeng

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Egypt joins Israel in anti-Hezbollah campaign

Egypt joins Israel in anti-Hezbollah campaign

Sun, 12 Apr 2009 13:56:27 GMT
Egypt is mulling over building a case against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in line with an Israeli campaign launched against the movement.

Egyptian lawmakers and legal experts have called for an arrest warrant for the Lebanese movement's leader, accusing him of "encouraging terror activities in an attempt to destabilize the [Egyptian] state," the Saudi-based Al Arabiya television network reported Sunday.

The parliamentarians called to include Nasrallah's case in the indictment expected to be served against 49 people arrested in Egypt several days ago over suspicion of "arms smuggling" into the country.

The announcement came hours after Israel threatened to assassinate the Hezbollah leader who has been a "marked man since the Lebanon war" in the summer of 2006.

Israel which failed to achieve its goals to destroy the resistance group during the 33-day war in southern Lebanon, has long been threatening the movement on a regular basis.

Israel's Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, a close aid to the new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Sunday that "Nasrallah deserves death and I hope that those who know what to do with him (in Israel) will act and give him what he deserves."

Tel Aviv launched the campaign late last week after Cairo alleged that those arrested were planning terror acts against Israeli targets in Egypt.

The Hezbollah leader however denied the allegations that the movement plans to destabilize the Egyptian security.
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Senate bill strips references to India for conditional aid to Pakistan

Senate bill strips references to India for conditional aid to Pakistan :: Samay Live


Senate bill strips references to India for conditional aid to Pakistan


Tags: By Arun Kumar Washington


Published by: Deepak Rana
Published: Tue, 05 May 2009 at 10:46 IST


By Arun Kumar
Washington: Two influential US senators have introduced a bill to triple American aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion annually for five years, with some exacting conditions but stripped of references to India to make it more palatable to Islamabad.



Introduced Monday on the eve of President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to Washington, the 'Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009' incorporates exacting conditions for aid in keeping with President Barack Obama's promise that there would be no "blank cheque" for Pakistan.


However, the bill sponsored by Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and the top Republican on the panel Richard Lugar drops all specific references to India.


The House bill moved by the House Foreign Affairs panel chairman Howard Berman, 'Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (the PEACE Act)', makes aid to Pakistan contingent on, among other benchmarks, stopping all Kashmiri militant groups from operating from the Pakistani soil and on Pakistan giving an undertaking that it will not allow its territory to be used for any armed attack against or inside India.


The Kerry-Lugar bill, on the other hand, frames the condition in a broader context. Among other things, it conditions military aid on certification that the Pakistani security forces are making concerted efforts to prevent Al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups from operating in the territory of Pakistan.


It also makes aid conditional on Pakistan making concerted efforts to prevent the Taliban from using Pakistan as a sanctuary from which to launch attacks within Afghanistan and are not materially interfering in the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.


The so-called 'Detailed Pakistan Assistance Strategy' also requires the president to submit a semi-annual report to Congress that describes in detail the assistance provided to Pakistan under this Act and "assesses the effectiveness of US assistance, including any incidents of waste, fraud, and abuse".


It also requires the secretary of state, after consulting with the secretary of defence and the director of national intelligence, to submit to Congress an annual report on the progress Pakistani security forces have made in fighting extremism.


The bill authorises $7.5 billion over the next five years ($1.5 billion annually for FY 2009 -2013) that is "intended to emphasise economic growth and development", and advocates an additional $7.5 billion over the subsequent five years.


This amount is separate from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursements that Pakistan gets for servicing US presence in Afghanistan for which the bill recommends greater oversight.


Introducing the bipartisan bill, Kerry and Lugar detailed Obama's endorsement of their legislation as part of his comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that lays equal importance to "diplomacy and development to provide economic stability and diminish the conditions that feed extremism".


"While our bill envisions sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan, it is not a blank cheque," Lugar said. "It expects that the military institutions in Pakistan will turn their attention to the extremist dangers within Pakistan's borders."
 
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China-wary Australia plans military build-up

China-wary Australia plans military build-up .:. NewKerala - India 's Top Online Newspaper

China-wary Australia plans military build-up

Sydney
, May 2 : New submarines with cruise missiles able to strike targets thousands of kilometres from Australia are the centrepiece of plans for a military build-up announced here Saturday.

The 20-year defence blueprint acknowledged the rise of China as a military force and the challenge to US supremacy in the region.

"Shows of force by rising powers are likely to become more common as their military capabilities expand," the plan said. "Growing economic inter-dependence will not preclude inter-state conflicts or tensions short of war, especially over resources or political differences."

The thrust of the policy is to defend Australia against any potential threats and to be able to do that offshore.

The Navy is the big winner in a programme that foresees maintaining a three-percent annual increase in spending until 2018 and 2.2 percent after that.

The number of submarines would double - from six to 12 - and new warships with anti-submarine sonar are to be added to Australia's fleet.

The plan stated that "we might have to contend with major power adversaries operating in our approaches - in the most drastic circumstances, as a consequence of wider conflict in the Asia-Pacific region".
 
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Should Pakistan Exist?

Faith Freedom International Should Pakistan Exist? Print

Should Pakistan Exist?
Posted By Dr. Jack Wheeler On May 9, 2009 @ 6:07 am In Politics | 28 Comments

Dr. Jack Wheeler is a leading conservative pro-western civilization intellectual. He runs the bog To The Point News - To The Point News, and writes intelligent and to the point articles. The following is a brilliant solution to the Gordian Knot of Pakistan.

To The Point News

Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler

Let’s cut to the chase. The answer is no. Pakistan should never have existed in the first place. There is no reason for it to continue to exist now.

The place to start here is with The Lunacy of a British Legacy from July 2006, which gives you the background on Pakistan’s creation, and that of the Taliban.

You could follow that up with Moslem Terrorist Drug Lords With Nukes from November 2007, which explains the Afghan heroin production as a joint operation between the Taliban and the ISI - the Pakistan military’s InterServices Intelligence Agency - and how Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his family are in on the heroin take.

Mr. Karzai met with Mr. Zero in the White House yesterday (5/06), along with the leader of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. All three men privately despise each other, and publicly professed mutual admiration and support.

Ostensibly, they were meeting because the Taliban are now destabilizing Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. You can be sure Zero did not insist on solving the heart of the Taliban problem, any more than did his predecessor. Mr. Bush refused to order Afghanistan’s poppy fields be wiped out via high-altitude spraying of a micro-herbicide developed by DARPA. And so has Zero.

The poppy-killing fungus will cause the entire Afghan poppy crop (which supplies 90% of the world’s heroin) to disappear for decades - with no other crop being affected. Doing so would wipe out the Taliban and the ISI financially. But as it would also wipe out lots of powerful folks on the take in the Afghan and Pak governments, it will not be used, and the Taliban will expand its power until it takes over both governments.

So let’s talk about India instead. There are indications India is about to take matters into its own hands, with or without Washington’s approval. This is particularly true since, as noted by former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill in a speech in New Delhi this week (5/05), Zero is abandoning the efforts of George Bush to build a strong US-India relationship in favor of currying favor with China.


Pakistan is a make-believe country. Take a look at this official map which the Pak government delineates its borders:

First look at the area in the upper right labeled “Jammu & Kashmir.” See that faint dotted line starting at the China border, goes across the area underneath Skardu and wraps around Srinigar? That’s the real border: below it (Srinigar) is India, above it (Skardu) is Pak. The Skardu-Gilgit area is composed of ancient tribal peoples such as Baltits and Hunzukuts who just want to be left alone by the rest of the world, including Islamabad.

The NWFP, or North West Frontier Province is Pushtun, the same tribe that populates 42% of Afghanistan, forming that country’s largest ethnic group. That nice dark line between Afghanistan and the NWFP, which Islamabad pretends is its border, is an illusion. There is no border, the entire region on both sides of it are Pushtun, and Islamabad has never exercised any control over it.

The pretend line continues, claiming to divide Afghanistan and Iran from the Pak province of Baluchistan, a huge region that takes up almost 45% of Pakistan yet contains only 10% of the country’s population, mostly split between Pushtuns in the north and wild Baluchi nomads in the southern desert wastelands.

The Pak government has never controlled the Baluchis any more than the Pushtuns. It’s all Apache country over which it has little real sovereignty.

So we come to the core of the country, Punjab and Sindh, and the unending hatred between Punjabis and Sindhis.

First a famous story that I can’t resist relating. India, including what is now Pakistan, was created by the imperial British, and when the region of Sindh was conquered by British General Sir Charles Napier in 1842, he sent a one-word message back to Delhi headquarters announcing his victory: peccavi.

In those days, all British officers were classically educated, so they knew instantly what Napier was saying. Peccavi is Latin for “we sinned.” Napier had Sindh.

Sindh is a feudal region dominated by wealthy land-owning families (of which the Bhutto and Zardari families are among) who control the lives of 40 million poverty-stricken illiterate farmers.

It also contains Pakistan’s largest city (12m) and business center, Karachi, where the Mohajirs are concentrated, the Indian Moslems who fled to Pakistan during 1947 Partition and their descendents. The hatred is mutual between them and native Sindhis.

While Sindhis are farmers ruled by a land-owning aristocracy and Mohajirs are business folk, Punjabis consider themselves warriors. Half the Pak population is Punjabi, some 80m. 90% of the Pak Army officer corps in Punjabi.

Not only is the Punjabi Pak military so politically powerful that , as Alex Alexiev observes this week in The Real Problem in Pakistan, “Pakistan is not a sovereign state with a military, but a sovereign military with a state at its disposal to use as it sees fit.” It is that the Punjabi Pak military is so economically powerful that it controls most business activity like a mafia.

There is no way to untie this Gordian Knot of ethnic hatreds, fanatical stone-age Islamism, a heroin-smuggling mafia military, corruption at every level of society, feudal poverty, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The solution is to let India cut the Gordian Knot of Pakistan asunder.

This is tricky. India has no desire to conquer and absorb Pakistan, which would double the number of Moslems within it (there are 160 million Moslems in each). It needs to rather break the place apart into pieces.

The first object should be a quick in-and-out military operation to seize Pakistan’s nukes. They are dispersed so it’s complicated - and more so because there will be no help from the US military under Zero. So India will be smart about it and take advantage of the Pak military’s greatest vulnerability: it’s officers and key personnel are for sale, they can be bought.

The Punjabis have always looked upon Afghanistan as theirs, and the Pushtuns as barbarian inferiors. (The disgust is returned. The greatest insult a Pushtun parent can give a misbehaving child is: “Stop that - you’re behaving as a Punjabi.”) Simultaneously, they are in constant fear of Pushtuns on either side of the border joining together to form an independent “Pushtunistan.”

Yet Pushtuns don’t want their own political entity apart from Afghanistan. The solution is to move the border east, so that Afghanistan encompasses the NWFP and the Pushtun region of northern Baluchistan.

This is not difficult to broker. The Pushtuns would jump at the chance to be unified, and it would deny the Taliban of the fig leaf of a Pak sanctuary. After India seizes the Pak nukes and engenders a period of chaotic destabilization, India has Kabul claim all of Pushtunistan and the Pushtuns declare for it. The US military, commanded by David Petraeus, is then free to nail the Taliban with no concern over violating “Pakistan sovereignty.”

During the same chaotic time, the Baluchis can get the independence from Islamabad they’ve fought decades for. The capital would be Quetta, and the Baluchis could make a go of it, as one of the world’s largest gold and copper deposits is at Reko Diq in the west near Iran (it’s being developed by the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton). Further, the Chinese have spent $2 billion developing the Baluchi port of Gwadar (spelled Gawadar on the map) with state-of-the-art import/export facilities.

What would be left is a rump state of Sindh-Punjab plus the Gilgit-Skardu northern territory. If the Sindhis and Punjabis and Mohajirs can get along sufficiently, they could still have a single country however reduced in size and power - for the chaos should be used to shrink concomitantly the size and power of the Punjabi Pak military.

Such a plan is being worked on right now at the South Block headquarters of the Indian Defense Ministry in New Delhi. The generals all realize now they have to act alone without America. It is the same situation that Israel is in regarding Iran. There is even some talk - for there is a great deal of communication between the Indian and Israeli militaries - of coordinating attacks, Israel upon Iran’s nukes, Indian upon Pakistan’s nukes, simultaneously.

“Your president would be like a deer in the headlights if this occurred,” says one US-educated Defense Ministry fellow I know. “He’d be paralyzed.”

Pakistan has become the world’s most dangerous failed state. It needs to be disarmed and dismantled. Just like Iran. Working together and ignoring Zero, India and Israel may kill two nuclear birds with one cooperative stone.
 
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US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens

US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens

US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens


By PAULINE JELINEK and ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writers – 41 mins ago
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama fired the top U.S. general in Afghanistan on Monday, replacing him with a former special forces commander in a quest for a more agile, unconventional approach in a war that has gone quickly downhill. With the Taliban resurgent, Obama's switch from Gen. David McKiernan to Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal suggests the new commander in chief wants major changes in addition to the additional troops he's ordering into Afghanistan to shore up the war effort.
McKiernan, on the job for less than a year, has repeatedly pressed for more forces. Although Obama has approved more than 21,000 additional troops this year, he has warned that the war will not be won by military means.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates echoed that view at a grim Pentagon news conference announcing the leadership overhaul. "As I have said many times before, very few of these problems can be solved by military means alone," he said. "And yet, from the military perspective, we can and must do better."
"It's time for new leadership and fresh eyes."
A new team of commanders will now be charged with applying Obama's revamped strategy for challenging an increasingly brutal and resourceful insurgency. The strategy, still a work in progress, relies on the kind of special forces and counterinsurgency tactics McChrystal knows well, as well as nonmilitary approaches to confronting the Taliban. It would hinge success in the seven-year-old war to political and other conditions across the border in Pakistan.
McKiernan, named to his post by former President George W. Bush, had expected to serve into next year but was told he was out during Gates' visit to Afghanistan last week.
Gates said he asked for McKiernan's resignation "with the approval of the president." The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and McKiernan's military boss, Gen. David Petraeus, both said they supported the switch.
The White House said the recommended change came from the Pentagon.
"The president agreed with the recommendation of the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the implementation of a new strategy in Afghanistan called for new military leadership," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
McChrystal is a former special forces chief credited with nabbing one of the most-wanted fugitives in Iraq. Taking a newly created No. 2 slot under his command will be Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, a veteran of the Afghanistan fight who has been Gates' military shadow, the top uniformed aide who travels with him everywhere.
By year's end, the United States will have more than 68,000 troops in the sprawling country — about double the total at the end of Bush's presidency but still far fewer than the 130,000 still in Iraq.
McKiernan and other U.S. commanders have said resources they need in Afghanistan are tied up in Iraq.
Although Obama had pledged to add forces in Afghanistan while shutting down the Iraq war, his new administration has sought firmer control over the pace and scope of any new deployments. Gates and Mullen have both warned Obama that a very large influx of U.S. troops would be self-defeating.
Asked if McKiernan's resignation would end his military career, Gates said, "Probably." But he praised the general's long service, and when pressed to name anything McKiernan had failed to do, Gates demurred.
"Nothing went wrong, and there was nothing specific," he said.
Gates, too, was appointed to his position by former President George W. Bush. He noted that the Afghan campaign has long lacked people and money in favor of the Bush administration's focus since 2003 on the Iraq war.
"But I believe, resources or no, that our mission there requires new thinking and new approaches from our military leaders," he said. "Today we have a new policy set by our new president. We have a new strategy, a new mission and a new ambassador. I believe that new military leadership also is needed."
McKiernan issued a short statement in Kabul.
"All of us, in any future capacity, must remain committed to the great people of Afghanistan," McKiernan said. "They deserve security, government that meets their expectations, and a better future than the last 30 years of conflict have witnessed."
In June 2006 Bush congratulated McChrystal for his role in the operation that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. As head of the special operations command, McChrystal's forces included the Army's clandestine counterterrorism unit, Delta Force.
He drew criticism for his role in the military's handling of the friendly fire shooting of Army Ranger Pat Tillman — a former NFL star — in Afghanistan. An investigation at the time found that McChrystal was "accountable for the inaccurate and misleading assertions" contained in papers recommending that Tillman get a Silver Star award.
McChrystal acknowledged he had suspected several days before approving the Silver Star citation that Tillman might have died by fratricide, rather than enemy fire. He sent a memo to military leaders warning them of that, even as they were approving Tillman's Silver Star. Still, he told investigators he believed Tillman deserved the award.
___
 
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US military: 44 Afghan cases of white phosphorus

US military: 44 Afghan cases of white phosphorus


US military: 44 Afghan cases of white phosphorus


By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writers – Mon May 11, 2:45 pm ET
KABUL – The U.S. accused Afghan militants Monday of using white phosphorus as a weapon in "reprehensible" attacks on U.S. forces and in civilian areas.
The accusation comes two months after an 8-year-old Afghan girl named Razia was wounded by white phosphorus in a battle between militants and NATO troops. Razia has received 10 skin grafts at the U.S. military hospital at Bagram. A U.S. military spokeswoman said her injuries could have been caused by either side.
U.S and NATO troops frequently use white phosphorus to illuminate targets and create smoke screens. But human rights groups denounce its use as a weapon, or over populated areas, for the severe burns it causes.
Also Monday, the Pentagon replaced the top U.S. and NATO general in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, as President Barack Obama tries to turn around a stalemated war. Replacing McKiernan will be Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who has had a top administrative job at the Joint Chiefs of Staff for less than a year.
The U.S. military declassified documents Monday showing at least 38 instances where militants had used white phosphorus in attacks or where weapons had been found in eastern Afghanistan, where the U.S. primarily operates. The NATO-led force supplied information on six other instances in the country.
The U.S. said militants used white phosphorus in improvised explosive attacks at least seven times since spring 2007, some in civilian areas. The documents showed 12 attacks where militants used white phosphorus in mortars or rockets, the majority of which came the last two years.
The most recent militant attack came Thursday, when a NATO outpost in Logar was hit with two rounds of indirect white phosphorus fire, the documents said. Most troops in Logar, just south of Kabul, are American.
Afghan authorities have also said Taliban fighters may have used a burning agent — possibly white phosphorus — in a major battle on May 4, after doctors discovered unusual burns among the dead and wounded. President Hamid Karzai has said up to 130 civilians died in that battle; the U.S. blamed militants for deliberately putting civilians in harm's way.
Doctors are treating 16 patients with severe burns from that battle, said Nader Nadery, an official with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said the U.S. didn't use white phosphorus in last week's fight in Farah province.
Farah's governor told the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission that many of those killed in the battle had severe burns, Nadery said. The governor said that Taliban fighters may have attacked the villagers with a flammable material, though not necessarily white phosphorus, Nadery said.
The militants' use of white phosphorus as a weapon could cause "unnecessary suffering" as defined in the laws of warfare, U.S. spokeswoman Maj. Jenny Willis said.
"This pattern of irresponsible and indiscriminate use of white phosphorus by insurgents is reprehensible and should be noted by the international human rights community," she said. Willis said the military doesn't necessarily know militants are using white phosphorus deliberately, but that its use is still "indiscriminate."
Militants find white phosphorus rounds in old weapons stores left over from decades of war, she said, but also get newer rounds from "neighbors," a reference to militant networks in Pakistan.
A Taliban spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
The U.S. allegations come after Human Rights Watch last week called on NATO to release information into a March 14 battle in Kapisa — one province northeast of Kabul, where many French troops are stationed — in which Razia was burned by white phosphorus munitions.
Willis said the NATO-led force can't be certain which side fired the round that wounded Razia.
"Either scenario is possible, and equally regrettable. One thing is certain: Razia will have the best care that we can give her," she said.
White phosphorus may have been used by NATO troops as a smoke screen or to mark targets, Willis said. The release of information about militants' use of white phosphorus was not meant to refute the Human Rights Watch statement, she said.
"We declassified it because there seems to be a general lack of awareness that insurgents are in fact accessing and using white phosphorus, so this is an effort to correct the record," she said. "We're not trying to exonerate ourselves for what happened to Razia, because we just don't know. It could have been our fault."
White phosphorus is not banned by any treaty that the United States has signed.
 
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Pakistan expanding its nuclear capability

Pakistan expanding its nuclear capability - Pakistan - msnbc.com

Pakistan expanding its nuclear capability
Internal struggle, construction of two reactors raise concern about arsenal

ANALYSIS


By Robert Windrem
msnbc.com contributor
updated 3 minutes ago

On the dusty plain 110 miles southwest of Islamabad, not far from an area controlled by the Taliban, two large new structures are rising, structures that in light of Pakistan’s internal troubles must be considered ominous for the stability of South Asia and, for that matter, the world.

Without any public U.S. reproach, Pakistan is building two of the developing world’s largest plutonium production reactors, which experts say could lead to improvements in the quantity and quality of the country’s nuclear arsenal, now estimated at 60 to 80 weapons.

What makes the project even more threatening is that it is unique.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

“Pakistan is really the only country rapidly building up its nuclear forces,” says a U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the issue, noting that the nations that first developed nuclear weapons are now reducing their arsenals.

Moreover, he and other U.S. officials say, there long have been concerns about those who run the facility where the reactors are being built near the town of Khushab. They note that a month before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Khushab’s former director met with Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and offered a nuclear weapons tutorial around an Afghanistan campfire.

Then there are the billions in U.S. economic and military aid that have permitted Pakistan’s military to divert resources to nuclear and other weapons projects.

Bottom line: Khushab exemplifies all of the dangers posed by the Pakistani nuclear weapons program.

First new reactor near completion
In the past several months, satellite imagery shows the first of these new reactors at Khushab nearing completion while the second is in final stages of external construction. Operations at the first may begin soon, while the second is four or five years from operation.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a project that studies non-proliferation issues, is one of the few in Washington who sounded the alarm about the Khushab reactors.


Video

Zardari on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal
May 10: Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari joins NBC’s David Gregory to discuss the size and location of his nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Meet the Press
“It’s a lot further along than we expected,” says Albright. “We’re seeing steady progress. … We don’t know if they have the (uranium) fuel or heavy water on-site, but on the outside, major construction appears finished … We don’t know what’s going on inside.”

What is clear, Albright says, is that Pakistani officials are committing limited national resources to building up the country’s nuclear arsenal, resources he and others note have been supplemented and replenished by U.S. aid.

“They’re building a capability beyond any reasonable requirement,” says Albright, who first wrote about Khushab two years ago, when he noticed construction south of an existing but smaller plutonium production reactor that’s been operating since about 1998.

“We think it’s bigger than the first one,” he says of the so-called Khushab-I reactor, estimated by U.S. intelligence at 70 megawatts.

Albright estimates the new reactors are “at least on the order of 100 megawatts,” each capable of producing enough plutonium for “four or five nuclear weapons a year.” While small by power reactor standards, that’s substantially larger than the research reactors that provided material for the weapons programs of Israel, India and North Korea. He also believes that the reactors could have a separate mission: producing tritium, an element critical to the development of thermonuclear weapons, what used to be called H-bombs.

Change in nuclear strategy
Albright is not alone among non-proliferation experts. Zia Mian, of the International Panel on Fissile Materials at Princeton University, says adding a reliable and large-scale plutonium stream to the country’s long-term expertise in uranium enrichment signals a change in Pakistan’s nuclear strategy.

“The addition of the two reactors does two things,” Mian notes. “It allows them to make a lot more warheads, four or five a year, but it also allows them to make much lighter and more complex weapons for longer-range missiles and cruise missiles. ... And triggers for thermonuclear weapons are almost always plutonium-based.”

Mian notes that Pakistan already has intermediate-range and short-range missiles capable of hitting any target in India, as well as submarine-launched cruise missiles.

Moreover, Mian says he believes that Pakistan also is upgrading its uranium centrifuge program at Kahuta, outside Islamabad, which has already given the country its first 70 nuclear weapons.

“There have been a series of reports where you can find evidence of Pakistan developing third- and fourth-generation centrifuges, much more powerful,” he said, “the same as the Europeans use to produce reactor fuel.”

The Pakistani government has no official comment on the reactors or the suspected upgrade in uranium enrichment. A senior Pakistani official who worked in the nuclear weapons program would only say “these reactors are part of plutonium production for the classified program” — code for nuclear weapons development.

There is not even a ruse that the Khushab reactors would produce electrical power for energy-starved Pakistan.

“There’s no connection to the national grid, no turbine at this site,” Albright said. “These kinds of reactors can be scaled up to power, but they need more cooling towers to make them large enough for electrical generation, and we don’t see that.”



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USA is making a HUGE mistake with this war on terror. When aid packages come pak will take some effort to eradicate the taliban, but soon they will end up signing peace treaties with the Taliban, and then use funds received from USA to arm terrorist groups and shore up their arsenal.

There was a time when i used to support the PA''s efforts towards eradicating the taliban, but once they allowed Sharia to be set up in certain parts of the country, it was evident that they have no real intention of fighting the terrorists. India has been fighting Maoists and Jihadis for decades now. We haven't given in to their demands. Rather we have fought on and our Jawans have sacrificed their life blood to ensure that our citizens don't have to suffer under terrorism.
 
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Indian flag set to soar high with American astronaut

The Hindu : International / India & World : Indian flag set to soar high with American astronaut

Indian flag set to soar high with American astronaut

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: American astronaut Andrew Feustel, who will fly in space shuttle Atlantis on Monday, will carry the Indian national flag with him because he is married to an Indian, Indira Bhatnagar, who belongs to Ambala, Haryana, and he “loves India.”

Mr. Feustel is a geophysicist who will undertake three spacewalks. This will be the shuttle’s final maintenance mission to the Hubble space telescope. According to Ashima Bhatnagar, who is related to Indira, Mr. Feustel’s love affair with India began with his marriage to Ms. Indira and introduction to Indian food. Ms. Indira is the daughter of Dr. Vijay Mohan Bhatnagar of Ambala, now settled in Cornwall, Canada.

“Within months of the historic Chandrayaan-1 mission, the Indian flag will again leave the confines of gravity and take its place in space,” Ms. Ashima said. Mr. Feustel can speak a few words in Hindi and called his last trip to India in 2007 “out of the world,” added Ms. Ashima.

Mr. Feustel and Ms. Indira met when they were students at Purdue University in the U.S., said Sandeep Bhatnagar, Commissioner of Customs (Exports), Chennai and father of Ms. Ashima. The shuttle mission’s commander is Scott Altman.
 
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Russia signs civilian nuclear power pact with Bangladesh

AFP: Russia signs civilian nuclear power pact with Bangladesh

Russia signs civilian nuclear power pact with Bangladesh

10 hours ago

DHAKA (AFP) — Bangladesh and Russia signed a deal Wednesday which could lead to construction of the first civilian nuclear power plant in the electricity-starved South Asian nation, an official said.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on peaceful use of nuclear energy, which officials said was the first step toward construction of a plant.

"We've had approaches from other countries. We're looking into safety and cost and then we'll decide which country will build the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh," power minister spokesman Afrazur Rahman told AFP.

China and South Korea have also made pitches to build Bangladesh's first nuclear power plant, according to Bangladeshi media reports.

"If it goes ahead, the plant would have a capacity of 600 to 1,000 megawatts," Rahman said.

With the country badly affected by power outages, the Awami League-led government of Sheikh Hasina, which took power in January, has ordered that talks for building nuclear power plants be accelerated.

In 2007, Bangladesh received approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global nuclear watchdog, to set up a nuclear power plant for peaceful use.

Years of under-investment mean state-owned power plants generate only 3,500 megawatts of electricity a day in Bangladesh, whereas demand is 6,000 megawatts and growing at 500 megawatts a year due to increasing industrialisation.

Power outages are frequent, particularly in the summer months from April to October, when supply is diverted to farms for irrigation.

A key election promise made by Hasina, who holds a three-quarters majority in parliament, was to increase the power supply.

Experts say Bangladesh's gas reserve are also fast depleting, forcing the country to look for alternative sources of energy.

The country is already a signatory of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
 
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Pakistani AL- Queda handing out college degrees in England

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article6330037.ece

From The Times
May 21, 2009
Former pub became the centre of a web of bogus colleges

Seat of learning: one of the colleges set up in Stockport Road, Manchester
Andrew Norfolk
With its humble setting, the building might seem an unlikely nerve centre for an elaborate, multimillion-pound fraud that made a mockery of UK immigration policy.

In the rush hour, cars crawl south from the centre of Manchester along Stockport Road past line after cramped line of Asian retail outlets, some less grubby than others.

Among the fast-food shops, Haj travel agents, halal butchers, curry houses and money-exchange outlets is a former pub, reborn in 2006 as Manchester College of Professional Studies.

Here, two young men from a town in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan — in Britain on student visas — started a scam that would earn them a small fortune.


The Times has evidence that in 15 months from October 2006 they enrolled 1,143 foreign students, most Pakistanis, and sold bogus college qualifications to enable another 654 to extend their stay in the UK.

With each student making average payments to the college totalling at least £1,000 — in many cases it was far more — those running the operation are thought to have banked almost £2 million in less than two years.

By the time the college closed last summer, to that total of 1,797 students could be added a further 1,181 would-be international students who had been sent letters of admission.

That was a remarkable achievement for a college with only three teachers, which during its existence gave lessons from three small classrooms to — at the most generous estimate — no more than 130 genuine students. Others may have wanted to study, but found when they arrived that the course on which they were enrolled did not exist — because the college was validated to teach only eight of the 55 diplomas and degrees that it advertised.

Most students, however, had no intention of entering a classroom. They were in the UK to earn as much as possible for as long as possible.

The college’s huge intake soon gained such notoriety within Manchester’s Pakistani community that it became known as Pathan College, a reference to the language of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

If the Home Office is to believed, it was also not long before word of the magic carpet to Britain reached the exporters of worldwide Islamic jihad.

The Times has established that eight of the ten Pakistani students — most from NWFP — arrested in Manchester and Liverpool last month over their alleged links to an al-Qaeda network were, on paper, students at Manchester College of Professional Studies.

Aged from 22 to 38, they were enrolled over an 11-month period from November 2006. College records suggest they were studying — with impeccable attendance — for diplomas and degrees. For the vast majority of students, the documents were a charade. The college was a front that provided cover for students to do whatever they wanted in Britain.

Most came from Pakistan, but hundreds were also admitted from Nigeria and other countries in Africa, South Asia and the Far East.

They may have been running a scam, but Fayaz Ali Khan, 30, his business partner, Asfandyar Bashir, 29, and their small team ran their sham college with admirable efficiency.

The Times has been given evidence from a database listing every student admitted and every diploma and certificate that was sold. It records how the eight terror suspects and more than 1,000 others were given letters designed to fool the Home Office, Inland Revenue, banks and local authorities into believing they were students.

Diplomas and attendance records in the name of other colleges were also printed and sold, often to provide a “history” to account for missing years during a student’s time in the UK. The men invented the grandly named, Dublin-based Greenford University.

This mythical seat of learning proceeded to accredit Manchester College of Professional Studies with a bewildering range of undergraduate and postgraduate honours courses that its few employees had no authority — let alone the capacity — to teach.

Manchester College of Professional Studies was also affiliated with Blackpool University, again based in Dublin, established “under the order of the King of Belgium” and licensed by the Accreditation Council of Higher Education (ACHE).

All of which might sound impressive until one learns that ACHE is based in Wallis and Futuna, an island group in the South Pacific.

Finally, the college also posed as a study centre for the University of Newcastle, which is really the online University of New Castle, incorporated “in the sate (sic) of Delaware” and, like Blackpool University, accredited by a group of South Pacific islands.

Mr Fayaz and his friends could run their scams for so long because the UK’s system for controlling and monitoring international students was — until last month — lamentable. He was able to open a college and gain a place on the Government’s register of educational providers by completing an online application. No one checked his background, no one came — at the outset — to inspect his premises and no one sought to discover whether the teachers he said he was employing had the qualifications claimed.

Advance notice was given of the periodic Home Office visits made after the college opened, so there was always time to make sure associates and employees were sitting studiously in a classroom when an inspector arrived.

Astonishingly, there was not even a system for limiting or monitoring how many students a college enrolled.

A Home Office spokesman admitted that until April there were “no statutory obligations” regarding student admission numbers. There was merely “a voluntary code of conduct”.

One bad apple would have been one too many, but The Times has uncovered a tangled web linking 11 international colleges formed during the past five years, in Manchester, Bradford, London and Essex.

A few barely existed beyond their registered office address, others had impressive internet sites and some even gave lessons to a minority of the students they enrolled. Seven were partly or wholly controlled, for at least some period during their existence, by Saif Ullah, another young Pakistani who came to the UK on a student visa.

In adjoining buildings on a sloping street in Bradford the 32-year-old, from Punjab, operated campuses for Fort Williams College and Liverpool College of Management Sciences. Mr Ullah went on to become a director of London Academy of Business & Technology and Infonexus College London, both in Ilford, Essex. He founded Bradford College of Professional Studies and Capital College of Professional Studies, in Manchester. His final and most lucrative venture was Cambridge College of Learning, in the East End of London, where — although it had some genuine students — police believe he signed 2,500 fake postgraduate diplomas, charging up to £3,000 a time.

Each diploma entitled its holder to apply for and usually gain a lucrative two-year UK post-study work visa.

Mr Ullah fled with his millions to Pakistan, where he is in hiding, after Cambridge College of Learning was raided by the police and UK Border Agency officials in December. By then, he had passed on the tricks of the trade to Mr Fayaz, one of his former agents, who registered Manchester College of Professional Studies in January 2006. Later that year he started Oxford College of Management Science, above a cash-and-carry shop farther along Stockport Road.

That was another institution claiming to run degree courses for the less-than-genuine University of Newcastle. In 2008 Mr Fayaz took control of Bradford College of Professional Studies, now in the city’s Manningham Lane, later expanding it with a sister campus in Manchester.

Today, two of Mr Fayaz’s young protégés run both the Bradford College businesses. Another former employee went on to start two more colleges in Manchester that are still open.

The Manchester College of Professional Studies database reveals that it also printed certificates and diplomas for a further four colleges in London, Manchester and Glasgow. One, Metro College of Management Sciences, above a fresh halal meat and poultry store, was another that drew most of its intake from NWFP. It specialised in students from Swat Valley, where the Pakistan government ceded control to Taleban commanders earlier this year.

Last year a Liberal Democrat website revealed that one of its councillors in Manchester had been “humbled and thrilled” to receive an honorary degree in social work from the college which, it noted, was affiliated with “the Greenford University”.

Manchester College of Professional Studies closed last summer after the Home Office discovered some of the numerous irregularities.

A new college, under different ownership and with no connection to the immigration scam, is operating from the same premises. Some of the other colleges that Mr Fayaz and Mr Ullah ran are also under new ownership. Many hundreds of former Manchester College of Professional Studies students remain, however, in Britain.

Some have moved to other sham colleges. Others have used false documents to win places at genuine colleges and universities.

Facilitating the commission of a breach of immigration law by a non-EU citizen is, under the Immigration Act 1971, an offence that carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Mr Ullah may be beyond the reach of the British authorities, yet Fayaz Ali Khan and many of his former associates at Manchester College of Professional Studies are still in the UK.

The Times handed its evidence yesterday to the UK Border Agency.

HOW TO FOOL THE AUTHORITIES

• For £50, a young man in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan is sold a letter of admission to Manchester College of Professional Studies (MCPS) from one of many “educational consultants” acting for Fayaz Ali Khan

• The admission letter is used, together with educational qualifications and financial records faked by Fayaz’s associates in Pakistan, to apply for student visa entry to Britain

• If a visa is granted, student pays £250 to consultant, to be split with Fayaz

• Student arrives in UK and enrols at MCPS, paying £500-£1,000 to be issued with letters confirming status as full-time student. Used to gain national insurance number, bank account and exemption from paying council tax

• Student finds full-time work, returning to college almost 12 months later when visa is about to expire.

• Student pays from £500 (if Pakistani) up to £2,000 (if African or from the Far East) to MCPS for certificate confirming impeccable attendance record during past year and successful completion of course

• In some cases, MCPS sends leave-to-remain letter to Home Office supporting student’s visa extension application, stating that he has started new course due to run for next two/three years. Student gets extended leave to stay in UK

• In other cases, fake diplomas and certificates are used to gain place at genuine college or university, also leading to extended leave to remain

• Other students use bogus postgraduate diplomas, bought for up to £3,000, to apply for two-year post-study work visa, meant to allow brightest graduates to get work
 

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