12 killed as gunman storms immigration services centre
Islamabad HC chief justice under lens
Nawaz party to support, not join, Pak government
US sees threat in Mehsud
‘Pak unearths plan for terror attack on Islamabad’
2 top LTTE leaders among 47 killed
Taliban whips girl in public
Curry chefs hold summit, not far from that G20 thing
New York, April 3
“While the situation is still developing and details are being gathered, we do know that a gunman entered the American Civic Association in Binghamton this morning and that there are fatalities,” Governor Paterson said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are monitoring the situation, and I have directed the State Police to assist the Binghamton Police Department in any way they can.”
The gunman, described as an Asian male, had a high-powered rifle, Mayor Matthew Ryan of Binghamton told The Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. NBC News quoted law enforcement sources saying that several weapons were recovered from the scene
Four people were removed from the American Civic Association building on stretchers and taken to hospitals, the Press & Sun-Bulletin newspaper reported on its website. Earlier, television coverage showed police armed with rifles, some carrying shields, deployed around the building. As many as 41 people were inside the building when a man entered and started shooting, WBNG television news reported on its website, citing police scanners.
Some people escaped to a basement and more than a dozen were hiding in a closet, WBNG said, reporting that emergency dispatchers had been in contact with people inside.
The American Civic Association building is used to teach English and provide other services to recently immigrants to the United States who are preparing for US citizenship, Bob Joseph, the news director for WNBF radio, said in an interview with CNN. He said his sources described that the shooter may have blocked the rear entrance to the building with a parked car.
Binghamton is about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of New York city with a population of about 45,000. Last month, a man killed 10 people, many of them family members, in a shooting rampage in Alabama. Mass shootings have become more frequent in recent years in the United States, where guns are widely available for purchase and the right to own weapons for self-defense and hunting is defended by many. On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, became the site of the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history when a student gunman killed 32 people and himself. — Agencies
Islamabad, April 3
“For the first time in the country’s history, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has initiated suo moto proceedings against a high court chief justice over allegations of involvement in murky activities, including connections with the crime underworld,” The News reported quoting judicial sources. According to sources, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Bilal Khan was aware of the SJC proceedings against him.
The SJC is tasked with checking misconduct, moral degradation and corruption in the higher echelons of the judiciary. The March 7 appointment of Khan, who had previously served for six years as a judge of the Lahore High Court, had sparked widespread criticism in legal and political circles.
The News had in February carried a report by its Editor Investigation Ansar Abbasi quoting a police letter to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Zahid Hussain on the confessions of Fayyaz Rasool alias Nanno Goraya, an alleged high-profile gangster, about his links with Khan. The Supreme Court last week had asked Abbasi to provide details and evidence on the basis of which he had filed the stories.
“I have furnished all the evidence, including a CD containing confessions of Fayyaz Rasool alias Nanno Goraya, in which he boasts of his contact with then Lahore High Court judge Justice Bilal. Other pieces of evidence include the inquiry report of SP Syed Ali Mohsin into the case, a letter from regional police officer Zulfikar Cheema and the statement by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Zahid Hussain in which he confirmed receiving the police letter regarding Justice Bilal’s connection with Goraya,” Abbasi said.
The News also reproduced parts of Cheema's letter to the Lahore High Court. “As regards the interrogation report of the notorious underworld don Fayyaz Rasool alias Nanno Goraya, it is submitted that a team head by Gujranwala SP (CIA) Ali Mohsin interrogated him thoroughly to unearth his network and supporters.
“The SP’s report, in which Nanno Goraya had made startling revelations about his meeting with a high court judge, brought the shock of my life... The interrogation report also supported the links of the same judge of the high court with criminals like Nanno Goraya and Baoo Khalid, nothing can be more dangerous for any society if the individuals have their supporter in the judiciary,” the letter stated. — IANS
Lahore, April 3
“The PML-N will fully endorse the federal government unconditionally,” Sharif declared at a PML-N meeting here yesterday.
“It was decided in the meeting that presently, the PML-N had no intention of rejoining the federal cabinet,” The News reported today.
Observers here saw Sharif's decision as a means of buying time as Pakistan's political scenario takes on new contours with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani emerging on top at the cost of President Asif Ali Zardari after the events of the last few weeks.
Be it the restoration of the Supreme Court judges sacked in 2007 or the reinstatement of Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab province, it is Gilani who has emerged the statesman while Zardari has only added to his wheeler dealer image.
Most importantly, once the controversial 17th constitutional amendment is repealed, Zardari would be left with only ceremonial powers, giving Gilani greater authority to run the country. Observers said Sharif was perhaps waiting for the new dispensation to take shape before making his next move.
That Sharif and his brother are important players is quite clear, with an editorial Friday saying they “have emerged as the rising stars of Pakistan's politics”. — IANS
Islamabad, April 3
For years, the US had considered Mehsud a lesser threat than some of the other Pakistani Taliban, their Afghan counterparts and Al Qaida, as most of his attacks were focused inside Pakistan, not against the US or NATO troops in Afghanistan.
US fears that Mehsud’s growing powers could result in increasing violence in Pakistan, and destabilising the nuclear-armed ally.
“Mehsud poses a very real threat to stability and security in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the Daily Times quoted Eric Rosenbach, terrorism expert at Harvard's Kennedy School, as saying.
“He normally doesn’t issue hollow threats,” Brigadier (retd) Mehmood Shah, a former chief of security in northwest Pakistan, said.
Mehsud, who is in his 30s, has said his group was responsible for the attack on a police academy in Lahore, in retaliation for drone strikes.
He has no record of attacking targets abroad, although he is suspected of being behind a 10-man cell arrested in Barcelona in January 2008 for plotting suicide attacks in Spain.
He also threatened Washington in a flurry of phone calls to various media outlets. Head of US Central Command General David Petraeus said officials were studying whether Mehsud’s warning posed a credible threat to the US.
“Everyone is quite riveted on analysing that and seeing what further we can find out," Petraeus said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. — ANI
Islamabad, April 3
The claim, however, seems fanciful as it suggests India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has tied up with Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud to stage the attacks.
Mehsud has owned responsibility for the March 30 terror assault on the Manawan police academy on Lahore’s outskirts when heavily armed militants held over 400 trainees hostage for over eight hours before Pakistani security forces recaptured the complex. “Our agencies have intercepted a RAW plan to hit Rawalpindi and Islamabad by using terrorist elements within Pakistan,” The News Friday quoted an official as saying.
An intelligence report shared with the newspaper by an interior ministry official “reveals” that Chaudhry’s life “is in danger as RAW wants to target him to cause anarchy in Pakistan”, it added.
According to the intelligence report, at least 20 Uzbek terrorists dispatched by Mehsud “have already reportedly reached Islamabad” and “would play a key role in this operation”.
They are divided in groups and each group has been assigned a different attack plan, the report said.
“The terrorists may try to capture important buildings like the Pakistan Secretariat blocks, TV stations, police training centres and foreign chains of schools,” the intelligence report said. “This time, the attacks could be conducted at four or five places simultaneously in various areas of the twin-cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Vigilance is required to counter and curb attacks or terrorist acts planned by the extremists,” the report added.
Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kalb-e-Abbas confirmed the threats and said rigorous security measures had been taken to secure the diplomatic enclave, military installations and other sensitive buildings. — IANS
2 top LTTE leaders among 47 killed
Colombo, April 3 Two top LTTE commanders, Gobith and
Amuthab, who headed a special unit named after Prabhakaran’s son “Charles
Antony”, were killed in fierce fighting in which troops wrested the village of
Anandapuram, defence ministry sources said. The LTTE had been putting up a stiff resistance to prevent the army from taking over the village which was its last road link for bringing in supplies and logistics. Sources said that LTTE’s explosive expert Paramanantha master was among the dead. Sri Lanka has driven out the Tigers from the eastern province, but officials said that pockets of Tiger resistance still remained. As the war between the government forces and the Tigers appears to be entering the last stages, more civilians trapped in the battle zone are coming over to the government-fixed IDP zones. Some of the civilians, who sought refuge with the armed forces yesterday confirmed the killings of the two LTTE commanders and said, “The junior and middle-level cadres of the rebels are planning to surrender or seek refuge as civilians.” —
Colombo, April 3
Two top LTTE commanders, Gobith and Amuthab, who headed a special unit named after Prabhakaran’s son “Charles Antony”, were killed in fierce fighting in which troops wrested the village of Anandapuram, defence ministry sources said.
The LTTE had been putting up a stiff resistance to prevent the army from taking over the village which was its last road link for bringing in supplies and logistics.
Sources said that LTTE’s explosive expert Paramanantha master was among the dead. Sri Lanka has driven out the Tigers from the eastern province, but officials said that pockets of Tiger resistance still remained.
As the war between the government forces and the Tigers appears to be entering the last stages, more civilians trapped in the battle zone are coming over to the government-fixed IDP zones.
Some of the civilians, who sought refuge with the armed forces yesterday confirmed the killings of the two LTTE commanders and said, “The junior and middle-level cadres of the rebels are planning to surrender or seek refuge as civilians.” — PTI
Taliban whips girl in public
President Asif Zardari has ordered probe into the incident of lashing of a young married girl by local Taliban in Swat. The girl was whipped continuously by some Taliban fighters for venturing out of her house without a close relative (mehram).
Video footage of the episode, widely broadcast by private TV channels in the country, caused countrywide outrage with human rights and women advocacy groups calling it a barbaric and shameful act. The footage was reportedly recorded on mobile phone by an unknown person.
The 17-year old girl was lashed by four Taliban activists in the presence of scores of people who silently watched the proceedings. She continued crying and seeking forgiveness while being delivered 30 lashes on her back. She had reportedly gone with her father-in-law, which Taliban declared as non-mehram.
Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan justified the lashing under Shariah laws saying these have been enforced in Swat area under an agreement with the provincial government.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also condemned the incident. He said the Nizame Adl (justice system) Ordinance for enforcement of Shariah sentences has yet not been signed by the President who has linked his signature with restoration of peace in the troubled Swat area.
Another religious organisation the Tehrike Nifaze Shariah Mohammadi (TNSM) led by Sufi Mohammad that had signed the Swat accord last month, however, condemned the lashing. TNSM spokesman Ezzat Khan described the episode as un-Islamic and alleged that it had been perpetrated by enemies of the accord who have brought Shariah to disrepute.
President of Pakistan Human Rights Organisation Asma Jehangir told a news conference in Lahore that the episode of lashing actually took place about a month ago. She said the girl was punished not because she came out of the house with her father-in-law but due to refusal by her parents to marry a Taliban activist. She announced countrywide protest on Saturday.
While most religious scholars challenged the Islamic credentials of punishing the girl with lashes, the newly elected chief of right wing Jamat Islami Syed Munwar Hussain indirectly justified the lashing and accused the media of indulging in exaggerated sensationalism. He said the liberal lobbies that were condemning the lashing failed to protest against drone attacks by the US and killings and displacement of half a million people of Swat and tribal people.
London, April 3
“These rich G20 countries should relax their immigration policy,” said Bajloor Rashid, president, Bangladesh Caterers Association, on Friday.
Rashid and 28 other representatives of the ethnic food industry met tourism minister Barbara Follett and financiers in a bid to set up a Curry College — a measure they have been forced to consider after recent tightening of immigration rules by the British government.
According to new points based system (PBS), non-Europeans who want to work in Britain must prove they have the relevant academic qualifications, pass an English language test and show high levels of previous income.
But, curry house bosses in Britain complain chefs in the Indian subcontinent come with cooking skills, not academic qualifications.
The 12,000 curry restaurants in Britain provide direct and indirect employment to some 350,000 persons and the industry has an annual turnover of $3.5 billion, Rashid said.
“We need cooks from the subcontinent. We tried European workers but it didn’t work out. We need people who don’t mind washing our dishes and keeping unsocial hours,” Rashid said.
His comments reflect the discussion that took place at the G20 summit of leaders of the world’s largest economies, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called upon rich countries to roll back protectionist measures in the area of services, which includes skilled migration.
“The PBS should be reviewed,” Rashid said, adding the British economy stood to lose more in the current recession if the ethnic food industry were allowed to decline.
The Curry College, which needs an initial investment of one million pounds to set it up, will also train chefs in other ethnic cuisines, such as Chinese, Turkish and Thai, which were represented at Thursday’s Curry Summit.
According to Enam Ali, chairman of the guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, 150 curry houses have closed this year as they struggle to fill a shortage of 30,000 cooks and chefs. — IANS
Michelle more popular than
Plane hit by lightning
after take off Climate change more
serious : Fidel Castro Tipu’s throne finial sold
for £3,89,600 Viruses to power
cellphones, cars ‘Marquez won’t write
any more’ Indian mission in Dubai Source: Agencies
Climate change more
serious : Fidel Castro
Tipu’s throne finial sold
Viruses to power
‘Marquez won’t write
Indian mission in Dubai