Pervez to contest three constituencies Karachi, Chitral and Islamabad

 sagarmedia on March 31, 2013

Pakistani authorities have directed officials at airports across the country to bar former President Pervez Musharraf from going abroad. The Federal Investigation Agency formally issued written orders to immigration officials in this regard.

The move came a day after the Sindh High Court issued orders that Musharraf cannot leave Pakistan without the permission of courts that are hearing cases against him. The High Court issued the directive while extending by 21 days the pre-arrest bail granted to him in connection with several cases.

Musharraf plans to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the upcoming general elections. He has filed his nomination papers for three parliamentary constituencies in Karachi, Chitral and Islamabad.

Serena Williams beat Sharapova lift 6th WTA Miami title

Serena Williams won a record sixth Miami title as she came from a set and a break down to beat Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in the Sony Open final.

The American, 31, reeled off 10 games in a row to record an 11th straight win against the world number two.
Sharapova, 25, has still to win in Miami after losing her fifth final.
Williams became only the fourth woman in the modern era to win the same event six times, following Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.
She converted all seven of the break points she created to continue her dominance over Sharapova, whose only two wins in their 14 meetings were in 2004.

NEWS AROUND THE World – 31 March, 2013

Two  killed, thirteen  injured as bus falls into ravine in Mexico

Two people died and 13 have been injured in a car crash in Mexico after a microbus lost control and fell into a ravine, Itar-Tass reported. The accident took place in the state of Hidalgo. The injured passengers were taken to hospitals, some of them by helicopter. Several victims are said to be in grave condition, including one child. Mexico has one of the highest road traffic mortality rates. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Five dead in helicopter crash in South Africa

Five air force personnel died in a helicopter crash in South Africa’s Kruger National Park during an anti-poaching operation, according to a statement by the South African military. The team was on a regular patrol of the park, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash. South Africa is struggling to stem the widespread poaching of rhinos, whose horns are sold to buyers in Asia where it is believed to sure diseases. However, no medical evidence supports these claims.

Egyptian satirist faces arrest warrant

Egypt has issued an arrest warrant for a popular Egyptian satirist for allegedly insulting Islam and the country’s president Mohammed Morsi, raising fears of a crackdown on freedom in the region, Media reports . Earlier, Bassem Youssef faced several complaints against his show ‘El Bernameg.’ The arrest warrant comes following the detention of five prominent pro-democracy activists in an apparently widening campaign against dissent. Last summer, Egyptian authorities arrested a minority Coptic Christian teacher for allegedly posting cartoons on Facebook that insulted Islam – charges that are becoming a common theme in a country ruled by an Islamic government.

One dead, one wounded in Toronto mall shooting

One person is dead,another  wounded at a shooting at the Yorkdale Mall parking lot in Toronto. Multiple shots were fired in the parking lot at around 8:00pm local time on Saturday. Wounded victim given medical treatment after being rushed to hospital, and is reportedly in serious but stable condition. Local media alleged that the shooting was part of a confrontation between two groups of people. Police tape cordoned off the parking lot where the incident took place, and a command post was later set up in the southwest corner of the mall.

Two killed, three wounded in Libya army base attack

Two soldiers have been killed and another three wounded in an attack on a military camp in Libya. Assault took place on the Tamahind base, near the desert town of Sabha, some 800 km south of the capital Tripoli. “They came in cars, shooting. Two officers were killed and three others were injured,” Ali al-Sheikhli, spokesman for the army chief of staff, said. Matter is put under  investigation way.

Media agencies

National Team BJP announced 2013

March 31, 2013

Uma Bharati VP,Prabhat Jha fInds place but surprisly Shivraj left out,Varun Gandhi gets G Secretary,Amit Shah too inducted . Amit has court cases but his induction is attributed to Narendra win.Hindutva shines ,Yashwant Sinha, Ramjethmalani, Mahesh fades out.BJP with their inner differences amongst their top leadership tough time for RajnathBJP chief to work with Rss idealogue of hindutva likely to emerge in coming elections.posterboys of Modi finding place thus bank upon Modi magic.

BJP team becomes important for the saffron party to tread with ease in the ensuing G Election and nearly ten assembly election around.BJP chief , President Rajnath Singh could not announce his team due to consensus differed on induction of two leaders Amit Shah from Gujarat and CM Shivraj  Singh the later is backed by Advani and Sushma and former by Naredendra Modi.Possibly BJP chief Rajnath Singh may be able to get consensus on two names and pronounce today his Organsiation  structure. General election round the corner does make the team BJP an important political gameplan for brand BJP to embattle the ballot war to achieve nation governance .

BJP core decision making team of five members are Rajnath Singh,Arun Jaitly,Sushma,Nitin and Modi which explicitly explains the majority  of Rss. There is hidden cold battle being fought to swift take over by the RSS ideologues to take  saffron reigns.The process of putting the young leadership with eloquence and ideologue would definitely bring its colorful image in order.Saffron leadership equal arrogance with that of ruling class brings its image in par with ruling party. Most of the saffron leaders are left out in process of dynamics of political race openly say that Congressisation of BJP is damaging the party and leaders at top of BJP and Congress are in amicable state and sharing the fruits

Thus we are advancing into state of fluid and the political functionary do bring aberration in the dynamics of political ideation where individuals ,leadership,and party gets takes front seat,the national voice,nation ideation,and ultimate power to move ahead with other developed nation reach low ebb.It is therefore  lurking thought prevail ,bio polar party system may end in India but either of two parties may give outside support in forming the government to regional parties with adequate numbers of senate or one party loss could be gain to other major brand.

Narendra Modi gets inducted into parliamentary board of eleven members with prominent role and likely to play an important role in campaign of nextGeneral election.Modi shall be leading the party with modern tech and with his team thus paving way for RSS to put their men in vanguard of electoral battle to follow in ten states and general election.

Putting in frame the fact of ascending heights in political arena,      CM’s who have done welfare and masses  work in the past with ease and determination plus vision has been rewarded with coveted post either in Cabinet, two apex post, PM and President  in time of coalition call.
Hence branding of a politician in individual capacity is very essential with flair of ethics and truism paves his way onto  the two coveted apex post of this great nation. 

The contenders are essential features of politics in building leadership for the cause of nation running in dignified manner,there lies the hopes of billion plus people on their righteous attitude.How are they recognized ? By their fan following ? By their influence they exert with money ? Or it is shear when one achieve confidence of all classes of people.The  holistic strata  of the society look upon to this man essentially a gentleman on whom mass build the trust. 

Presently we term him empirically with “PM Material” ,these special beings or species need to be present in all political parties which help the nation to take strides in various streams of development.During Ensuing  election year,the debate of leadership quality,with the dilution of  each other action are put on debate by various group . In an era of all around developments, education, communication moot point of selection of leaders remain with the masses which spring surprise to all of us.

The new BJP parliamentary board members:

Rajnath Singh, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkeya Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitely, Narendra Modi, Anant Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Lal.

Rajnath’s new team  comprises vice-presidents: C P Thakur, Jual Urao, Sadananda Gowda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,S S Ahluwalia, Balbir Punj, Satpal Malik, Prabhat Jha, Ms Uma Bharti, Ms Bijyo Chakravarti, Ms Lakxmikanta Chawla, Ms Kiran Maheshwari and Smriti Irani.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that due representation has been given to women, youth and backward classes in the the new BJP team.

North Korea declares ‘state of war’ with South Korea

North Korea said it had formally entered a “state of war” with South Korea and warned that any provocation would swiftly escalate into a nuclear conflict.

“As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol,” the North said in a statement attributed to all government bodies and institutions.
It is the latest in a string of dire threats from Pyongyang that have been matched by tough warnings from South Korea and the United States, fuelling international concerns that the situation is spiralling out of control.
“The long-standing situation of the Korean peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over,” said the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The two Koreas have always technically remained at war because the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
The North had announced earlier this month that it was ripping up the armistice and other bilateral peace pacts signed with Seoul in protest against South Korea-US joint military exercises.
“This is not really a new threat — just part of a series of provocative threats,” the South’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.
The defence ministry added that no particular troop movement had been observed along the border. Voiding the ceasefire theoretically opened the way to a resumption of hostilities, although observers noted it was far from the first time that North Korea had announced the demise of the armistice.
The armistice was approved by the UN General Assembly, and both the United Nations and South Korea have repudiated the North’s unilateral withdrawal.
Saturday’s statement warned that any military provocation near the North-South land or sea border would result “in a full-scale conflict and a nuclear war”.
Most observers still believe this will remain a rhetorical rather than a physical battle, but the situation has now become so volatile that any slight miscalculation carries the potential for rapid escalation.
Both China and Russia asked for all sides to cooperate to prevent the situation worsening on Friday, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voicing particular concern.
“We can simply see the situation getting out of control, it would spiral down into a vicious circle,” Lavrov told reporters at a news conference. His warning came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered missile units to prepare to strike US mainland and military bases, vowing to “settle accounts” after US stealth bombers flew over South Korea.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed that Washington would not be cowed by Pyongyang’s bellicose threats and stood ready to respond to “any eventuality”.
The high-stakes standoff has its roots in North Korea’s successful long-range rocket launch in December and the third nuclear test it carried out in February.
Both events drew UN sanctions that incensed Pyongyang, which then switched the focus of its anger to the annual joint South Korea-US military drills.
As tensions escalated, Washington has maintained a notably assertive stance, publicising its use of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in the war games.
The long-distance deployment of both sets of aircraft out of bases in Guam and the US mainland were intended as a clear signal of US commitment to defending South Korea against any act of aggression.

While Hagel stressed that Washington was taking the threats from the North “very seriously,” US military intelligence noted that Pyongyang’s combative rhetoric has not, so far, been matched by any overtly provocative troop build-up. And analysts have underlined that the threats and counter-threats have increasingly stressed a conditional element of the other side acting first.

All India Motor Transport Congress Calls off Nationwide Strike from Midnight of 1 April, 2013

All India Motor Transport Congress Calls off Nationwide Strike
Strike was Proposed from Midnight of First April, 2013

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has called off the proposed strike after its representatives met the Secretary, Road Transport and Highways(RTH) here today. All India Motor Transport Congress has given call to suspend operations of goods transport and transportation services with effect from the midnight of April,1,2013 demanding that various issues affecting transport community are resolved by 30th March,2013. During the Meeting, the Secretary Road Transport and Highways, Shri Vijay Chhibber assured that Ministry appreciates the requests of AIMTC and will take steps to facilitate resolution of issues.

All India Motor Transport Congress(AIMTC),an apex body of transporters(both cargo and passenger) represent approximately 75 lac truckers and transporters and about 40 lac buses and tour operators. AIMTC claims that whole transport industry is hit by high input costs and deep recession resulting in huge economic viability gap. AIMTC has forwarded list of demands to the RTH Ministry for immediate redressal.

The demands of AIMTC include –Immediate withdrawal of unilateral hike of Third Party Insurance Premium(TPP) for Goods Vehicles w.e.f April,1,2013,Reconstitution of Committee for any TPP tariff revision, with AIMTC as its member; Immediate implementation of Toll Permit in line with the National Permit; Replacement of the monthly increase of Diesel prices with half yearly increase; ,demand for uniformity of diesel prices across the country; Fixation of minimum freight rates for Road Transport Sector; National Permit for buses on lines of Goods Vehicles; Action against States indulging in illegal Entry Tax/Mechanical Tax; Sales Tax/Commercial Tax issues, onus of any Sales Tax issues to be on consignor /trader, trucks not to be detained anywhere in the country; Centralisation of RC books; Standardisation of documents to be done across country; Removal of Anti-Dumping Duty on import of tyres; The reservation of the Road Transport Sector on Carriage by Road Act/Rules to be addressed immediately and Industry status for Road Transport Sector.

World News at Glance 30 March 2013

March 30, 2013

Four hundred thousand Syrian refugees sheltering in Lebanon – UN
UN is aiding nearly 400,000 Syrians across Lebanon, according to a new report published Friday. It was projected there would be over 500,000 refugees in Lebanon by the summer, but the current influx of people is outpacing estimates, local media said. The number of refugees waiting to register has increased to 145,524, and officials estimate there are between 200,000 and 500,000 more unaided refugees.Media agencies
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Pakistani Taliban claims Peshawar attack
Pakistani Taliban claims Peshawar attack that killed 10 near US Consulate.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an explosion near the US Consulate in Peshawar on Friday. At least 10 people were killed and 31 injured in the blast, police said. A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Frontier Constabulary (FC) convoy in the city’s security area, by a military checkpoint near the US Consulate on Peshawar’s Fakhr-i-Alam Road. FC Commandant Abdul Majeed Marwat was reportedly targeted, but the senior paramilitary official managed to escape the attack in which 8 to 10 kilograms of explosives were supposedly used. Suicide blast kills 6 in Peshawar, Pakistan.A suicide bombing of a security convoy has killed at least six people, including two women, and wounded 15 more in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. According to police officials, the explosion targeted Abdul Majeed Marwat, the head of the Frontier Constabulary, Pakistan’s paramilitary police force. Marwat was not injured, while three security officers and three civilians died. No group has claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Peshawar, a city that borders Pakistan’s tribal region, a Taliban militant stronghold. Media agencies
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Anastasiades:The bank crisis had been “contained”
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday the island’s bank crisis had been “contained” following a tough bailout deal with the EU. “We have no intention of leaving the euro,” media quoted Anastasiades as saying in Nicosia. “In no way will we experiment with the future of our country,” the president added.

Cypriot central bank has announced that all domestic debit and credit card transactions are now unrestricted. On Thursday, Cyprus reopened the country’s banks following a 12-day shutdown, but imposed a 300-euro limit on all cash withdrawals. The Cyprus Stock Exchange extended its almost two-week shutdown, and will remain closed until April 1. The measures were introduced to deal with the worsening financial crisis in the country.

Cyprus Telecommunications Authority ‘Cyta’ will be offering free national calls to subscribers, both fixed line and mobile, for the month of April, said the company. Cyta added that it would not be disconnecting any of its subscribers who have not been able to settle their bills following the two week closure of the banks. The organization will review this decision on April 15 in light of the situation at the time. This measure is intended to help ease the blow from the economic crisis on the island.

Big depositors in lender the Bank of Cyprus are to receive shares in the bank worth 37.5 percent of their deposits over 100,000 euros, a source told media. The other depositors may never be paid back. 22.5 percent of deposits over the same amount will attract no interest and the 40 percent remaining will continue to attract interest. These conditions come in the wake of a banking crisis is Cyprus and are expected to be announced on Saturday. media agencies
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French troops to stay in Mali upto 2013
French troops to stay in Mali through end of 2013:Hollande. President Francois Hollande has said French troops will stay in Mali to fight Islamist militants at least through the end of 2013. However, the first of the more than 4,000 French troops in Mali will pull out in late April, Hollande said on France-2 television Thursday night. About 2,000 soldiers will remain deployed in the former French colony by July. By the end of the year, “1,000 French soldiers will remain,” the president said. The French troops could become part of a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali.
Posted by Naresh Kumar Sagar
China urges easing of tensions on Korean peninsula
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei called for an easing of tensions on Friday after North Korea put its missile units on standby to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific.

The North’s move came after the US flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula.
Posted  by Naresh Kumar Sagar

Berlusconi ready for coalition with Italy’s center-left
Berlusconi ready for coalition with Italy’s center-left, opposes technocrat govt Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he is ready to support a coalition government with center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani. Berlusconi met President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday, after Bersani failed to form a government and end a month-long political deadlock since elections last month. Berlusconi rejected another technocratic administration like the outgoing one led by Mario Monti, Reuters said. Roberto Maroni, leader of Berlusconi’s Northern League ally, also rejected the technocrats, saying it would be better to hold another election.
Posted  by Naresh Kumar Sagar

France Uphold EU embargo on arms to Syrian rebels
French President Francois Hollande has stated that the EU arms embargo on Syria would remain in place as long as France could not be guaranteed that weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels would not “fall into the hands of terrorists.

” France and Britain have attempted to push for a relaxation of the embargo, which expires on June 1.

Hollande now says that no weapons will be supplied to the opposition until France is certain “there is complete control of the situation by the opposition.” Media agencies
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Kyrgyzstan sends nationalist MPs to jail
Kyrgyzstan sends nationalist MPs to jail for coup attempt. A court in Kyrgyzstan has sentenced three nationalist opposition MPs to up to 18 months behind bars for an attempt to seize power in the Central Asian republic. Prosecutors demanded a sentence of up to ten years for nationalist leader Kamchibek Tashiyev, Sadyr Zhaparov and Talant Mamytov. The three lawmakers of the Ata Zhurt party were arrested back in October, following a protest demanding the nationalization of the huge Kumtor gold mine in the former Soviet Republic. The rally resulted in clashes with police as protesters attempted to storm the parliament building in the capital of Bishkek. Several people were injured. On Friday, several hundred supporters of Tashiyev’s supporters were rallying near the court building demanding that the three MPs are released.Media agencies
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Sicily revokes US military satellite station build up

Sicilian regional government in Italy has withdrawn permission for the US to build a satellite station aimed at boosting communications capacity for the US military and its allies, its governor said.

The ground station designed on a part of the ultra-high-frequency satellite network Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). Government overturn is on possible health risks, such as fears of cancer from the station’s electromagnetic waves, had provoked protests on the island.

The demonstrations could have compromised operations at Sigonella, a U.S. naval base in Sicily, the Italian government said. Rome stated that the decision of the regional government of Sicily, which in January issued a special decree to suspend work on the station’s construction, harms the strategic interests of the country.
Media agencies

Solar plane prepares for coast-to-coast US flight

MOUNTAIN VIEW: A groundbreaking solar-powered Swiss aircraft is ready to make a coast-to-coast flight across the United States, its creators said Thursday.
The experimental Solar Impulse plane, which has made several trips since its maiden flight in 2009, will take off on May 1 on a transcontinental tour split in five stages.
“We are ready to do this flight across America,” said Solar Impulse co-founder Andre Borschberg during a press conference at a hangar in Mountain View, near San Francisco.
Borschberg said the flight is being split into multiple stages for security reasons, emphasising nevertheless that the single-seat aircraft was technically capable of flying non-stop across the United States.
A non-stop flight would take approximately three days travelling at the aircraft’s cruising speed of around 43 miles (70 kilometers) per hour.
“We have limited ourselves to fly a duration maximum of 24 hours,” said Borschberg, who will share the piloting duties with Solar Impulse president Bertrand Piccard.
Weather conditions permitting, the Solar Impulse will take off on May 1 and is scheduled to make stops in Phoenix, Dallas and Washington before arriving in New York in early July.
The plane will spend up to 10 days at each stop on its journey in order to showcase its technology to the public, schoolchildren and students who will also have a chance to talk with the pilots.
“The people will be able to follow the mission, to speak to the pilot, to ask questions,” Piccard said.
“We would like to inspire students, schoolchildren, inspire as many people as possible to try to have the spirit to dare, to innovate, to invent.”
The Solar Impulse project was launched 10 years ago before the plane, which weighs about the same as a family car but boasts a wingspan roughly equivalent to a Boeing 747, made its first flight in 2009.
In 2010, the plane was flown 26 hours non-stop in order to demonstrate that its photovoltaic cells could soak up enough solar energy in daytime to power the plane at night.
A year later, the plane made its first international flight between Belgium and France before it set off on a 1,550-mile intercontinental flight from Madrid to Rabat in June.
Borschberg and Piccard are planning an around-the-world flight of the plane in 2015.

Snippets World News 28 March 2013:

Bersani fails to form Italian government

Bersani fails to form Italian government

Pier Luigi Bersani, the Italian centre-left leader, said Thursday that his attempt to a form a government after last month’s inconclusive election had failed and that President Giorgo Napolitano will now have to decide what to do. Bersani has spent the last week consulting with political parties to try to find a way out of Italy’s political impasse. Italy’s February election resulted in deadlock and without an agreement Italy may have to head back to the polls. President Napolitano is to begin new consolations with parties on Friday morning.

UN creates first offensive military unit

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the first ever “offensive” UN peacekeeping force to battle the insurgency in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new unit of 2,500 troops will be made up of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special force and a reconnaissance company with orders to “neutralize” and “disarm” militants  in the east of the country. The UN will also deploy surveillance drones by July to monitor borders with Rwanda and Uganda to track the extremist activity.  The resolution’s mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” has never been given to a peacekeeping mission before.

NATO ambassadors approve nomination of new Supreme Allied Commander

The North Atlantic Council has approved the nomination of US Air Force General Philip Breedlove to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the alliance announced on Thursday. Once the national confirmation processes have been completed, Breedlove will officially succeed US Admiral James Stavridis. The alliance says that the change of command ceremony at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Mons, Belgium is expected to take place in the Spring of 2013.


163 killed in South Sudan clashes

163 people including many rebels were killed in clashes in South Sudan, says  the country’s military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer. As a result of fierce battles earlier this week 143 militia and 20 government forces were killed, 70 were wounded, Aguer said. Government forces captured an airstrip that the rebels have been using to import their military supplies, he added.  South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011 and is still dealing with ethnic and tribal violence inside the country.

Major Sufi shrine blown up in Libyan capital-reports

Unidentified attackers bombed the Sidi Al-Andlusi mausoleum in Tripoli, a major shrine of a Sufi theologian from the 15th century protected under law as a national monument , residents said, Reuters reports. One person has been arrested and is under investigation, according to a local. The head of Tripoli’s local council, Sadat al-Badri, condemned the attack saying it is “against the ways of the Islamic religion” state LANA news agency reported. This is the first time a Sufi religious site has been targeted since attacks last spring and summer. Since the end of the 2011 war that brought down Muammar Gaddafi, ultra-conservative Islamists have targeted Sufi religious sites which they claim are idolatrous.

Decisive action needed on Slovenia – experts

Slovenia may repeat the Cyprus scenario, while “Italy and Spain have solid foundations and aren’t a cause for concern”, said the Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Pier Carlo Padoan. According to him, Italy and Spain are based on “a sustainable system,” while Slovenia ” is a small country with a banking system that needs to get back on its feet.” The established restrictions on the capital movement “can be useful, but only in the short term” Padoan said according to ANSAmed news agency adding that the Cypriot crisis suggests “that EU needs a banking association, which would control and ensure the safety of deposits.” On Monday, the EU approved a deal on a €10 billion bailout aimed at keeping Cyprus in eurozone.

Myanmar president vows to ‘use force’ to stop riots

Myanmar President Thein Sein said Thursday that his government will use force if necessary to quell deadly religious rioting that started last week. In his first public comments on the violence, Sein warned that he would take every legal effort to stop “political opportunists and religious extremists,” as attacks on Muslims by Buddhist mobs continued in several towns. The religious unrest began March 20, with rioting Buddhists targeting minority Muslims in the central city of Meikhtila, killing at least 40 people and driving about 12,000 from their homes.


Syrian refugees riot at Jordan camp – UN

A riot has broken out at a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan after some of the refugees were told they could not return home, the UN refugee agency said. It is unclear how many refugees were involved in Thursday’s riot at the Zaatari camp, said Ali Bibi, a UNHCR liaison officer in Jordan. Jordanian authorities reportedly refused to let buses head to the Syrian border, and promised to organize the refugees’ return home at another time. No injuries were immediately reported.

Israel to strengthen medical teams at Syria border

The Israeli military is beefing up its medical teams deployed along the border with Syria, following several cases of wounded Syrians crossing the frontier to seek medical assistance. There have been “numerous incidents” in recent months in which Syrians wounded in the fighting in their country arrived at the frontier seeking first aid from Israeli medics, a military official said on Thursday. Eleven people were treated at Israeli hospitals, including one who died from his wounds on Wednesday. Others returned home after their conditions improved.

ECHR orders Estonia to pay 50,000 euro over 2007 Bronze Soldier protests

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Estonian authorities violated the rights of four plaintiffs when police dispersed protesters during the April 2007 removal of the Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn. The court also ordered that the Estonian government pay 11,000 euro each to three of the plaintiffs, 14,000 euro to another, and 3,000 euro in court fees. A total of seven plaintiffs complained of ill-treatment, and said that they were deprived of liberty unlawfully and arbitrarily. The government or the plaintiffs could appeal the ruling.

Dozens of Egyptian protesters injured in Tahrir Square attack

Dozens of protesters were injured after unidentified men on motorcycles attacked and burned their tents at dawn in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Al Arabiya reported Thursday. Protesters said the Interior Ministry and the police incited thugs to carry out the assault, and claimed they saw some policemen among the more than 30 attackers. They reportedly used Molotov cocktails to set fire to tents, and chased protesters.

Turkey deports 600 Syrians after refugee camp clashes – reports

Ankara has reportedly deported at least 600 Syrians staying at a refugee camp near the border following clashes with Turkish military police sparked by protests over living conditions. “These people were involved in yesterday’s violence,” a Turkish official told media. The security forces are still looking at the footage, and “if they see more they will deport them,” the official said.

S.African judge eases Pistorius bail restrictions

South African Judge Bert Bam has said Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, can leave South Africa, on certain conditions, to compete in international competitions. The Olympic and Paralympic athlete must provide authorities with his travel plans at least a week before he leaves the country, and must return his passport to the court within 24 hours of returning to South Africa. Pistorius’ lawyers said in the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday that he had no immediate plans to compete.

Russian president orders military exercises in Black Sea

President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of military exercises in the Black Sea region on Thursday, his spokesperson said. Putin issued the order at 4:00am Moscow time (0000 GMT) as he flew back from an international summit in South Africa, the president’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Judge in Sarkozy probe receives bullet in letter

The judge who charged French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has received a bullet and a death threat in the mail, officials said Thursday. The letter was sent to Jean-Michel Gentil, the most prominent of the three judges investigating the case, on Wednesday, according to the magistrate union’s statement. The threatening letter was accompanied by blank cartridges, AFP reported. The letter, mailed to a Bordeaux office, also contained threats against other magistrates. Police were called in to investigate.

24 killed in Peru bus accident

At least 24 people, most of them miners, were killed when their bus plunged into a ravine in Peru on Wednesday, police said. A comparable number were reportedly injured in the accident. The bus departed from Orocampa town in Castilla province with 48 passengers on board, and was traveling along a highway in the southern region of Arequipa, 1,000km south of the capital Lima. Most of the passengers were going to take part in Holy Week festivities. The accident occurred on a highway linking Arequipa and Puno, when the bus reportedly skidded off the road and plunged more than 100 meters into a ravine.

Kyrgyz parliament to vote on NATO transit agreement

An agreement between Bishkek and NATO on the ground transport of the alliance’s military cargo to and from Afghanistan has been submitted to the Kyrgyz parliament for ratification. Earlier this month, the Kyrgyz government approved a bill allowing the transit. Bishkek signed the agreement with NATO in May last year during a NATO summit in Chicago. The main transit hub for NATO forces in Afghanistan is the Manas military base near Bishkek. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev announced plans in November to shut down the base by 2014.


UN sends extra armored cars to Golan Heights

The UN has sent extra armored personnel carriers and ambulances to its mission in the Golan Heights, a spokesperson said Wednesday. The extra equipment for the force monitoring a ceasefire between Israel and Syria is being sent as the UN Security Council expresses concern over the growing dangers faced by peacekeepers. The UN is also trying to find replacements for about 100 Croatian troops who have been withdrawn. The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) consists of about 1,000 peacekeepers that have only light arms.

Cyprus Stock Exchange to remain close on  April 1

The Cyprus Stock Exchange extended its almost two-week shutdown after the island nation placed controls on currency transactions before banks were to reopen on Thursday. The exchange will remain shut during Easter, from March 29 to April 1, media reports said. The bourse explained that the Target2 system of interbank payments throughout the European Union would not be working. The last trading session of the Cypriot bourse was on March 15.

Mandela back in hospital

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital over a recurring lung infection, the government said on Thursday. Mandela was admitted shortly before midnight, Reuters reported. The government gave no further details.

Thai govt launches peace talks with Muslim rebels

Thai authorities and Muslim separatist leaders started peace talks on Thursday aimed at ending almost a decade of unrest in the country’s far south. National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr is meeting with the rebels’ governing National Revolution Front (BRN) in Malaysia. More than 5,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency erupted in three Muslim-dominated southern provinces in 2004. Three BRN leaders signed the peace pact last month; they may be joined by other rebel representatives.

US sends nuclear-capable stealth bombers to S. Korea

Washington has deployed two B-2 stealth bombers for US-South Korean military drills on the peninsula, potentially inflaming already-strained relations with Pyongyang. Washington said the mission “demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will.” Pyongyang has already threatened “all-out war” in response to the military drills happening on its doorstep.

N. Korean border factory operational despite hotline cutoff

South Korean workers were approved to cross the border into the North to work in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, despite Pyongyang’s move to lock down its borders. North Korea announced that it had closed the last military hotline that permitted cross-border travel between the antagonistic countries on Wednesday. Around 50,000 Koreans work in the joint-run industrial complex.

Rescuers find body after Russian mine flood accident

One of four missing miners was found dead days after a coal mine became flooded in Russian Siberia. The body has not been identified yet. A criminal investigation has been launched into the cause of the flooding at the mine in Russia’s Kemerovo region on Tuesday. A reported 143 miners were evacuated, 10 of whom were lightly injured. Searches are continuing for the three missing workers.

Moody’s declares Russia bond rating stable as GDP grows

The Moody’s ratings agency has assured that, because of Russia’s low government debt, the country’s Baa1 bond rating has a stable forecast. Moody’s credited Russia’s nearly-balanced budget and an increase in exchange-rate flexibility, among other factors, with keeping the outlook bright. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry predicted the country’s GDP to grow by 3.6 per cent this year and by another 4.3 per cent in 2014. In 2012 Russia’s government debt was equivalent to about 13 per cent of the annual GDP, according to Moody’s. Russian GDP grew by 3.4 per cent last year, the smallest amount since the 2009 recession.

On Easter Pope washes prisoners’ feet

On Easter Pope washes prisoners’ feet

March 29, 2013

Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 young offenders including two girls and two Muslims at a Rome prison on Thursday in an unprecedented version of an ancient Easter ritual, seen as part of efforts to bring the Catholic Church closer to those in need.

The pope knelt down, washing and kissing the young prisoners’ feet in the first Holy Thursday ceremony of its kind performed by a pontiff in prison, and the first to include women and Muslims.

“Whoever is the most high up must be at the service of others,” Francis said at the mass in the Casal del Marmo youth prison, a fortnight after being elected Latin America’s first pope.

“I do this with all my heart because it is my duty as a priest, as a bishop. I have to be at your service,” the 76-year-old said.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said many of the participants broke down in tears at the ceremony, which was open only to Vatican media. One young man had to be replaced at the last moment because he was too overcome with emotion.

Lombardi said that while this was the first time a pope had washed women’s feet, Francis had performed this type of ceremony in his native Argentina many times before becoming pope including in jails, hospitals and old people’s homes.

Popes performing the ritual have usually washed the feet of priests.