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Thread: Today's Top Islamic News (DAILY)

  1. #2081
    BAE to pay $450mn to end bribery case
    Sat, 06 Feb 2010 11:12:53 GMT

    BAE Systems says it is preparing to pay nearly $450 million in penalties — one of the biggest-ever fines — over alleged corporate bribery.

    The world's No. 2 defense contractor will plead guilty under its agreements with the US Justice Department and Britain's anti-fraud agency for making false statements.

    The company agreed to pay $400 million fines to US authorities to end decades-long investigations into its actions in Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.

    The company is also set to pay penalties of $46.9 million for a minor accounting offence in Britain. BAE's various overseas activities have been under investigation since the 1980s.

    The anti-fraud agency has been probing bribes BAE allegedly paid out in the lucrative Al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia and its involvement in the alleged bribes behind a Czech deal to lease Anglo-Swedish Gripen warplanes.

    BAE "regrets and accepts full responsibility for these past shortcomings," Chairman Dick Olver said in a statement on Friday.


  2. #2082
    US Probes FBI Killing of Detroit Imam
    04/02/2010 12:11:50 PM GMT

    CAIRO - The US Justice Department has opened an independent investigation into the killing of an imam during an FBI raid near Detroit last October, The New York Times reported on Wednesday, February 3. "The civil rights division has received the FBI's report and is now conducting an independent review of the shooting," spokesman Alejandro Miyar told a news conference.

    Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a 53-year-old local imam in Dearborn, near Detroit, was shot by FBI on October 28.

    An autopsy, done in November but only released Monday, showed the slain imam had received 21 gunshot wounds, including shots to the head, abdomen, scrotum and back.

    FBI agents said they opened fire and killed Abdullah after he shot a dog they sent into his home.

    But according to the report of the autopsy, when an investigator from the Medical Examiner's Office arrived at the scene Abdullah's body was found on the floor of a semi-trailer full of flat-screen TVs with his wrists handcuffed behind his back.

    It also showed that Abdullah had several abrasions on his hands, the reason of which could not be identified.

    The findings raised many questions and demands from civil rights advocates and Muslim groups for an independent investigation.

    At the time of the raid the FBI report described Abdullah as a "highly placed leader of a radical fundamentalist Sunni group" whose primary mission was to establish an Islamic state within the US.

    Yet, the authorities were reportedly trying to arrest Abdullah on charges of conspiracy to sell stolen goods and illegal possession and sale of firearms.


    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed the Justice Department's announcement.

    "We welcome the decision to open a civil rights investigation of the imam's death," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad told a news conference.

    CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights group in the US, has announced a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for materials, including surveillance videos, relating to the raid.

    It has also requested copies of the autopsy photographs and results of a necropsy of the killed police dog.

    The necropsy would be checked to confirm whether the dog was killed by bullets from a non-police weapon as investigators have said.

    Awad paid tribute to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. John Conyers who had asked Attorney General Eric Holder to have the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division look into shooting.

    "We thank Representative Conyers for his leadership in ensuring that all the facts in this troubling case come out."

    The family of the slain imam is seeking a second autopsy and any video surveillance the government might have showing the deadly FBI raid.

    Lawyer Nabih Ayad said they are concerned about reports of lacerations to Abdullah's hands and wonders if an FBI dog bit him before he allegedly fired back, killing the dog.

    "It's really hard and it's really painful for me," said Amina Abdullah, the 36-year-old widow.

    "I was shocked. I couldn't eat, and I couldn't sleep."

    Source: IslamOnline

  3. #2083
    US spies authorized to kill American Threats
    Thu, 04 Feb 2010 10:39:28 GMT

    US spy agencies have the license to 'take out' any American they deem a threat to the national security, an intelligence chief declares.

    Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair admitted Wednesday that Washington can take out potential American terrorists overseas.

    Blair told the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives that direct action will be taken against US citizens that threaten other Americans.

    "We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community. If that direct action, we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that." The intelligence chief said.

    The National Security Council and the Justice Department will have to determine who fits that profile.

    "I just don't want Americans who are watching this to think that we are careless about endangering -- in fact, we're not careless about endangering American lives as we try to carry out the policies to protect most of the country," Blair claimed at the annual threat briefing before the committee.

    His comments came amid reports indicating US President Barack Obama's approval of the continuation of the Bush-era policy of killings Americans deemed involved in 'terrorist activities' overseas.


  4. #2084
    Senate: Lobbyists launder 'dirty money' in US
    Thu, 04 Feb 2010 11:18:24 GMT

    The US Senate says foreign dictators, prominent bureaucrats and arms dealers are still able to funnel millions of corruption dollars into the United States.

    In a report due for full release on Thursday, a Senate subcommittee has incriminated Washington lobbyists and lawyers for helping foreign political figures bring in over 100 billion dollars of dirty money into the country over the past few years.

    The two-year-long inquiry supervised by the board chairman, Senator Carl Levin, implicates high-ranking foreign officials, including former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar and the son of Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, for using American banks and financial institutions in order to transfer a combined figure of around 150 million dollars into the US without proper scrutiny.
    Earlier, Levin told journalists about the "significant holes" in America's defenses against money laundering.

    "Particularly now that we are focusing so much on the threat of terrorism, going after the source of money that supports terrorism, we have to take strong steps here to make sure that we do not aid and abet dirty money," he said, adding, "We have got to live up to our own rhetoric in this regard."

    The 330-page report on money-laundering practices in America, comes despite the counter-money-laundering legislation in place in the country since 2001.

    US President Barack Obama recently spoke of a need to fight transfer of money by lobbyists who seek to 'bankroll US politics.'


  5. #2085
    NY Republicans oppose 9/11 trials in Manhattan
    Fri, 05 Feb 2010 15:20:29 GMT

    Local authorities and Republicans in New York City are against an Obama administration plan to try the alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and his collaborators in a Manhattan court.

    "This trial cannot go on, not in New York, not in anywhere in America," Rick Lazio, a Republican and NY gubernatorial candidate, told Press TV on Thursday.

    It is estimated that maintaining the security of the city during the trial sessions and providing the funds for the trials are going to cost nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

    Moreover, if the trials are held in downtown New York, there are concerns about the effects on the people who live and work nearby, Lazio suggested.

    "We might have a trial that could last years, dislocate businesses and people in New York, expose them to grave risk," said Lazio.

    Critics argue that suspected terrorists should not be given civilian rights, by standing trial in a US civilian court.

    "These trials must be placed where they are deservedly cast for: In a military tribunal," said Mike Long, chairman of the NY State Conservative Party.

    Faced by the controversy over the issue, authorities are now looking at alternative sites and options.


  6. #2086
    White House says new jobless report 'encouraging'
    Fri, 05 Feb 2010 16:36:32 GMT

    The White House on Friday characterized the new jobless report as an "encouraging" sign as it introduces a 0.3 percent decline in the nation's unemployed rate.

    The report released by the Labor Department on Friday suggested that 20,000 jobs were lost in the United States during January.

    "While unemployment remains a severe problem, today's employment report contains encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing," said White House economic advisor Christina Romer, AFP reported.

    However, Romer said that the "the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high," and noted that the actual number of unemployed Americans rose slightly.

    "Even as today's numbers contain signs of the beginning of recovery, they are also a reminder of how far we still have to go to return the economy to robust health and full employment," she said in a statement.

    The unemployment rate is expected to remain high this year despite President Barack Obama's focus on reviving the job market. This has raised concerns that the economy could enter a period of extremely slow growth or even fall into another downturn that economic pundits call a double-dip recession.

    The US witnessed an unemployment rate of 10 percent in the beginning of 2010 — one of the reasons behind President Obama's declining popularity in the nation.


  7. #2087
    Row over Rio Carnival role for seven-year-old girl
    Julia Lira rehearses in Rio, 3 Feb

    Julia Lira's father says she is a natural samba dancer

    A row has erupted in Brazil over the decision to make a seven-year-old girl "queen" of a top samba school taking part in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

    Children's rights groups have raised concerns that it is inappropriate for a child to take on the traditionally "sexy" role for the 80-minute parade.

    But Julia Lira's father dismissed their concerns, saying she was a natural and would cope with dancing in the heat.

    A judge is now considering a ban on her starring role in next week's parade.

    Julia has been picked as the drum corps queen for the Viradouro Samba School, which is among a dozen top-tier samba groups to take part in the annual Carnival.

    To be queen of a Rio samba school is one of the most sought after roles in carnival but is more often associated with scantily-clad women, for whom a little plastic surgery is not uncommon, the BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says.

    While Julia would certainly represent a very different image, her potential participation is alarming child welfare groups, our correspondent says.

    Any man who looks at a seven-year-old girl and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor
    Marco Lira, Julia's father

    The Rio de Janeiro state Council for the Defence of Children and Adolescents suggested it would only "increase the treatment of children as sexual objects in Brazilian society".

    "We're not against kids participating in Carnival; it's part of Brazilian culture," the council's director, Carlos Nicodemos, told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.

    "What we can't allow is putting a seven-year-old girl in a role that traditionally has a very sexual focus."

    Viradouro organisers have said Julia's outfit will be appropriate for a child and that she will cope with the demands of dancing for 80 minutes in the sweltering summer heat.

    "Any man who looks at a seven-year-old girl and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor," her father, Marco Lira, told AP.

    "She has the aptitude to be drum corps queen... she has a seriousness inside of her when she is on stage."

    A family court in Rio is expected to rule this week on whether she can take the role. Carnival events will run from 13 to 16 February.

  8. #2088
    Military high court upholds Abu Ghraib convictions
    Fri, 05 Feb 2010 23:30:48 GMT

    The US military's highest court has upheld convictions of two soldiers for abusing Abu Ghraib detainees in Iraq.

    The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington has confirmed the conviction of former Army officers Sabrina Harman and Michael Smith. Harman had helped place a hooded detainee atop a box with wires in his hands.

    The detainee was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box.

    The court found no errors by the judge who presided over the court-martial of former Sgt. Michael Smith, an Army dog handler.

    Smith, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was convicted of offenses that included letting his Belgian shepherd bark and lunge at prisoners for his own amusement.


  9. #2089
    World's oldest monastery restored
    Monastery of St Anthony

    Visitors take a tour of the newly-restored monastery

    Egypt has completed the restoration of reputedly the world's oldest Christian monastery, called Saint Anthony's.

    The monastery is believed to be 1,600 years old. The government-sponsored restoration project cost over $14m (£8.9m) and took more than eight years.

    The monastery is a popular site for Coptic Christian pilgrims.

    The restoration comes soon after Egypt's worst incident of sectarian violence in a decade, when six Copts were shot dead on Christmas Eve.

    BBC's Cairo correspondent Yolande Knell says it is hoped the newly-restored monastery in Suez City will be held up as a sign of co-existence between Egypt's Muslim majority and Christian minority.

    Solitary life

    Speaking at the site, Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass stressed that restoration work at the monastery was carried out by Muslims.

    "The announcement we are making today shows to the world how we are keen to restore the monuments of our past, whether Coptic, Jewish or Muslim," said Mr Hawass.

    Saint Anthony settled in a cave in remote mountains close to the Red Sea at the end of the 3rd Century to live in isolation. When he died, his followers built the monastery and named it after him.

    The project has restored an ancient wall, a tower, two main churches and the monks' quarters.

  10. #2090
    US army helicopter crash in Germany leaves 3 dead
    Thu, 04 Feb 2010 01:00:55 GMT

    A US army helicopter has crashed near the German city of Darmstadt, killing at least three people, a spokesman for the firefighters said.

    The exact number of people in the helicopter and the cause of the crash were not immediately known.

    The helicopter went down about 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday in northeast of Manheim, between Frankfurt and Heidelberg, in the vicinity of the US military's Coleman Barracks, military officials said.

    A US army spokesman confirmed the accident and identified the helicopter as a Blackhawk. He did not give other details.

    About 100 rescuers were reportedly at the site of the crash but the investigation was being carried out by US military.


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