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LAHORE: Former captain and fast bowler Waqar Younis has been named as the new head coach by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the board announced on Tuesday.

The appointment of Younis, who has been given a two-year contract, comes merely days after Sethi’s interview to a local newspaper in which he hinted that a deal between the two parties was all but done.

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Army on Thursday said it has found over 100 assorted weapons of Chinese make near the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of Kashmir.

“More than 100 weapons, including 98 pistols, have been seized near the Line of Control in Keran Sector of Kupwara district,” an army spokesman said.

He said the recoveries included 10 AK rifles and two assault rifles of other makes.

“The weapons are of Chinese make and the packing material like newspapers are also Chinese,” the spokesman said.

He said a possible tragedy has been averted due to high vigil of the army along the LoC as “the adversary is trying to push in maximum warlike stores before winters“.

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Dr Rajwant Singh, an influential Sikh American community leader, met President Barack Obama  and First Lady Michelle Obama  to personally thank them for their deep concern and unstinted support in the wake of the horrific massacre of Sikh worshippers on August 5 at a gurudwara at Oak Creek, Wisconsin by white supremacist and neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page.

Singh, a dentist from Maryland, is the founder and president of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education and longtime executive director of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation gurdwara in Maryland.

He conveyed the deep gratitude of the Sikh American community at a White House reception he and his wife Dr Balvinder Kaur were invited to, hosted by the President for diplomats and United Nations ambassadors at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel on September 24, on the eve of Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“We thank you deeply for your kindness and your support during the tragedy at the Sikh gurudwara in Wisconsin. We really appreciate it,” he told the President.

Obama responded by saying, “It was needed and more to come and you can be assured of that.”

Singh has been a regular in interactions with White House officials — both in the George W Bush [ Images ] and Obama administrations — on issues of racial profiling and hate crimes against Sikhs post the 9/11 attack.

After the carnage in the Wisconsin gurudwara by Page, Singh appeared on CNN and other media outlets to explain what Sikhism is all about.

He then told Obama, “We prayed for you and will continue to pray for God’s blessings upon you,” to which the President had quipped, “I need that every day.”

Kaur, a child psychiatrist who practices in Washington, DC, told Obama, “Mr President, we are grateful that you lowered the US flags at half staff”.

Obama reiterated, “It was a senseless killing and it should not have happened”.

The couple also thanked the First Lady on behalf of the Sikh community, with Singh telling her, “Your visit to Wisconsin to see the families of the victims was really healing for all of us. It was gratefully appreciated by all Sikhs.”

Michelle Obama had replied, “I was touched by sentiments and spirit of the families, especially the youth. They are all so kind.”

Singh said he had requested Michelle Obama to prevail upon her husband to meet some Sikhs and be seen with them because that would “send a positive message all across the nation.”

He had suggested that “perhaps he (Obama) can have a delegation at the White House or he can visit a Sikh centre,” to which she had said, “We certainly will work on it.”

Singh also had an extended interaction  with Valerie Jarrett, the President’s senior-most political adviser and close confidante ever since his Chicago state Senator days, about future initiatives to help the issues of Sikhs in the US.

“She assured us of the support of the President and his administration,” Singh said.

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Ahmad exploded outside the prime minister’s office in Sanaa on Tuesday, killing at least five bodyguards but the minister was safe, government sources said.

The attack came following the death of the number two leader of the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, Said al-Shehri, in an attack in eastern Yemen last week

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ISTANBUL: Turkey will not hand over Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who faces a death sentence against him in Baghdad, and he can remain in Turkey as long as he needs to, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

“I’ll say it very clearly. We will be willing to host Mr. Hashemi as long as he wants, and we will not hand him over,” Erdogan told a news conference in the capital Ankara.

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Ben West and Kamran Bokhari examine the recent upsurge in Pakistani Taliban attacks in Pakistan’s Punjab province and the leverage that the militants may hope to gain from the country’s political instability.

SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY: Pakistan's militants can take advantage of its weak government.At dawn on July 12, militants raided a prison guard residence in Lahore, Pakistan, leaving nine staff members dead and three more wounded. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the guards had mistreated prisoners who were members of the Pakistani militant group. The raid came just three days after militants ambushed an army camp in the district of Gujrat, killing seven soldiers and one police officer who were searching for a missing helicopter pilot. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan also claimed that attack.

Over the last two years, Pakistan has had something of a respite from dramatic attacks such as those that plagued the country from 2007 to 2010. During those years, a series of high-profile and highly disruptive attacks against police, army and intelligence targets challenged the government’s ability to control the country. The attacks occurred in Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, in cities such as Lahore and in the capital Islamabad.

read more here: http://asianaffairs.in/august2012/taliban-militancy.html

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Shyam Bhatia looks at the UK’s new breed of home grown jihadists, who make innovative use of everyday items for their deadly devices while clinging to well-worn hatreds.

HATE-FILLED: The couple planned to blow up synagogues and kill JewsChapati flour has been revealed as one of the key ingredients in a homemade terrorist bomb that an Asian husband and wife team were planning to use against Jewish targets in the UK.

Other seemingly innocuous items that police seized from the Manchester home of the Pakistani-origin couple included bleach, acetone and peroxide liquid capable of being transformed into ingredients for explosives. So were the ground-up fire lighters, safety goggles, funnel, needles and syringes. Equally significant was the collection of electrical wires, Christmas tree lights, bulbs and a battery.

The substances and equipment collected to make an improvised explosive device belonged to 33 year old Mohammed Sajid Khan and his 38 year old wife Shasta. Both have been convicted on terrorism charges, with Shasta jailed for eight years. Husband Mohammed has been given an indeterminate sentence, but will have to serve a minimum of eight and a half years in jail before being considered for parole.

read more here: http://asianaffairs.in/august2012/britis-%20jihad.html

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The huge impact of economics on global political security is a factor Asia and the Arab regions forget at their peril, says a leading Middle East consultant.

MONEY MATTERS: Difficult economic conditions contributed largely to the Arab SpringIt’s the economy, stupid’ — James Carville’s famous truism that powered Bill Clinton to the American presidency — is in reality the key to understanding the so-called Arab Spring and much else in today’s unstable world.

‘It’s something of a misnomer that what has gone on in the Arab world has been a political process. It has, of course, had political aspects and people are seeking political outcomes but it has only come about because of economic reality,’ Hagai Segal, Middle East consultant and lecturer at New York University, London told the recent Securing Asia 2012 conference in London.

‘These economic issues that lead to geo-strategic ones we ignore at our peril. There are lessons here for the rest of Asia on what happens when people do not have their core economic issues addressed and they associate that lack of address with the government in question.’

read more at:http://asianaffairs.in/august2012/socio-economics.html

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Mumbai: Actor Salman Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger is likely to set a box-office record of sorts by notching the highest-ever first-day collections. While Ek Tha Tiger is set to cross Rs 30 crore on the first day of its release, Hrithik Roshan-starrer Agneepath held the record earlier by collecting Rs 23 crore on its first day.

Khan’s previous hits – Bodyguard and Ready – also posted high earnings at the box-office on their first day of release, at Rs 21 crore and Rs 12.5 crore respectively.

Khan is known for choosing his film’s releases around Id. Not many analysts believe this is a good decision because it’s considered a period of austerity. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, The industry felt Ek Tha Tiger’s release during Ramzan was not wise as most single-screen audience would stay away from watching films in this period.” However, he said that Ek Tha Tiger witnessed heavy blackmarketing of tickets at many single screen today-an indicator of rapid business in Bollywood circles.

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ISLAMABAD: Indian High Commissioner Sharat Shabarwal on Monday called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and conveyed him good wishes from Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

In a meeting held at the Prime Minister House, the Indian High Commissioner said the Indian Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude for positive role being played by Prime Minister Gilani in improving relations between India and Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gilani reciprocated by extending good wishes to his Indian counterpart.

He also enquired about the health of President Indian National Congress Sonia Ghandi and wished for her early recovery.

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