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Landmark mosque in Aleppo burned in fighting

BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered on Monday immediate repairs to a historic mosque in the city of Aleppo after fierce fighting between rebels and regime forces set parts of the compound on fire over the weekend. Government troops had been holed up inside the 13th century Umayyad mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in downtown Aleppo for several months before rebels fighting to topple Assad launched a push to liberate it this week. Activist Mohammad al-Hassan said the army had been using the mosque as a base because of its strategic location in the center of the old city of Alep...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Buddhist monks march in Myanmar to thwart Islamic office plan

YANGON: Thousands of Buddhist monks marched in Myanmar's two biggest cities on Monday to protest against efforts by the world's biggest Islamic body to help Rohingya Muslims involved in deadly communal clashes four months ago. The monks, a potent political force in the predominantly Buddhist country, denounced plans by the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to set up a liaison office in northwest Rakhine state, where violence erupted in June between ethnic Buddhist Rakhines and Rohingyas. Just hours after the monks dispersed, President Thein Sein's office announced it would...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Victory looms for Putin loyalists amid fraud allegations

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin's loyalists swept to victory in most local election races in Russia, early results showed Monday, while independent observers said the vote was marred by widespread fraud. The Central Election Commission's results show Kremlin-backed candidates and incumbent governors have swept all five gubernatorial races in the country's five regions. Putin's United Russia party also dominated mayoral races and those for local legislatures. Observers from the independent monitoring organization Golos recorded over a thousand violations nationwide, including voter roll irre...
Published On: 2012-10-15

EU sanctions 30 Syrian individuals and firms

LUXEMBOURG: The European Union slapped fresh sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime Monday, agreeing an assets freeze and travel ban on 28 Syrians and two firms at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. This 19th round of sanctions since the start of the Syrian conflict in March last year brings to 181 the number of people and to 54 the number of companies blacklisted by the EU. The measures target people linked to violence against protestors and entities involved in supplying equipment used for repression by the regime. The sanctions were accompanied by a ban on EU residents buyi...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Number of Syrian refugees in Turkish camps exceeds 100‚000

ISTANBUL: The number of Syrian refugees housed in camps in southern Turkey has exceeded 100,000, the Turkish disaster management agency (AFAD) said on Monday, a level beyond which Ankara had previously said it would struggle to accommodate more. AFAD said in a statement there were now 100,363 Syrians at more than a dozen camps in Turkish provinces along the border....
Published On: 2012-10-15

Rats‚ mold won't delay Guantanamo hearings in 9-11 case

GUANTANAMO BAY: U.S. attempts to move forward in the trial of five Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks have been thwarted for months by scheduling conflicts, religious observances, an Internet outage and a tropical storm. But the judge has rejected a request to further delay the military tribunal proceedings because of a rat and mold infestation in the offices assigned to defense lawyers at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. A week of pretrial hearings is set to begin at the base on Monday morning for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of th...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Pakistani schoolgirl attacked by Taliban sent to UK for treatment

ISLAMABAD:The Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by Taliban gunmen for pushing for girls to be educated has been sent to the United Kingdom for medical treatment, a military spokesman said on Monday. The spokesman said in a statement that 14-year-old Malala Yusufzai, whose shooting has drawn condemnation abroad and at home, will require prolonged care to fully recover physically and psychologically. The spokesman said an air ambulance transporting Malala, provided by the United Arab Emirates, had departed from Islamabad and was heading for the United Kingdom. "The panel of doctors recom...
Published On: 2012-10-15

UAE sends medics to Pakistan to evacuate girl shot by Taliban

DUBAI:The United Arab Emirates has dispatched a medical team to evacuate a Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban if doctors decide she should be taken abroad for treatment, a UAE news agency reported on Sunday. The WAM state news agency said the team would evaluate the condition of education campaigner Malala Yousufzai and facilitate her transfer to a hospital outside Pakistan. Fourteen-year-old Yousufzai was leaving school in her hometown in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan when she was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban for speaking out against the militants and promoting edu...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Turkey bans Syrian planes from its air space‚ rebels gain

BEIRUT/AMMAN: Turkey has banned all Syrian aircraft from its air space as it takes an increasingly firm stance against President Bashar al-Assad, while Syrian rebels said on Sunday they had made more gains in a key province near the Turkish border. Human Rights Watch said Syrian government forces had dropped Russian-made cluster bombs over civilian areas in the past week as they battled to reverse rebel advances, an act which rights groups say can constitute a war crime. NATO-member Turkey has increasingly taken on a leadership role in the international coalition ranked against Assad. Turki...
Published On: 2012-10-15

Iran denies attacks

TEHRAN: Iranian officials have denied any role in recent cyberattacks against oil and gas companies in the Persian Gulf. The Sunday report by the semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Mahdi Akhavan Bahabadi, who is head of the National Centre of Cyberspace, as saying that allegations of an Iranian link to the attacks on Saudi state oil company Aramco and Qatari natural gas producer RasGas are “politically motivated.” Bahabadi said Iran is ready to cooperate in finding the source of the attacks. He said Iran has also offered help to boost the companies’ cybersecurity. Free Sco...
Published On: 2012-10-14