Showing posts from May 5, 2013

Dawood's role suspected in fake currency racket

Kathmandu:  Is  Dawood Ibrahim  still actively involved in sending fake currency notes to  India  using the porous Indo-Nepal border? The answer seems to be in the affirmative. Tuesday's arrest of a Pakistani national and his Nepali associate at theTribhuwan International Airport here gives indication that the underworld don is still using the same route. Sheikh Mohammed Fukran, 48, a resident of Azizabad in Karachi, was arrested by a team of Nepali police after he landed here on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha. Fake Indian currency notes worth Rs. 1 crore in denominations of 500 and 1000 were recovered from the false bottom of the suitcase carried by the accused, who was dressed as a Muslim preacher. This is the second biggest haul of fake Indian currency at the airport this year since arrests of a Pakistani mother-son duo last month with Rs. 45 lakh. The two had arrived from Karachi on a PIA flight. But it is the arrest of Mohammed's Nepali associate, Nur

Far-right trap : neo nazi trial

The trial of the surviving members of a neo-Nazi cell in Germany has come as a shock for a nation till now busy finding ways to deal with the flagging economies of its neighbours. In a case that has drawn international headlines, the trial in the Bavarian capital Munich is being seen as a test not only of Germany’s ability to stanch any far-right tendencies in its populace but also of the need to better integrate its minorities.  The integration of the more than three million Turks into the German society has been a hot button issue with both sides blaming each other for not doing its bit. Most Turks in Germany are the descendants of labourers who came in large numbers for rebuilding the country after the destruction of the Second World War.  The trial of  Beate Zschaepe and her four male accomplices is aimed at bringing to justice the only survivors of National Socialist Underground, the name probably a play on Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party.  They are accu

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada may leave UK soon

London: Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada will voluntarily return to Jordan if the country's Parliament ratifies an anti-torture treaty with Britain, an immigration tribunal heard on Friday.   The UK government has repeatedly tried to deport Qatada, who is wanted in his home country on terrorism charges since 1999.  But the courts so far have upheld his right to stay in Britain over fears that evidence obtained by torture may be used against him in the Middle Eastern country.  Representing the London-based cleric at a bail application hearing, Edward Fitzgerald has now said the terror suspect will return to Jordan once the treaty, unveiled last month by UK Home Secretary Theresa May, is ratified by the UK and Jordanian parliaments.  "If and when the Jordanian Parliament ratify the treaty he will voluntarily return to Jordan," Fitzgerald told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. The treaty with the Jordanians, which is designed to ensure he will face

Understanding the causes of violent extremism in West Africa

Insecurity in West Africa. Fostering development can help blunt extremist violence, observers say DAKAR, 10 May 2013 (IRIN) - Academics and government, military and civil society representatives gathered for a conference in the Senegalese capital this week to assess the interplay between development and violent extremism in West Africa, with some participants suggesting that underdevelopment, marginalization and weak governance create a breeding ground for militancy.  While local factors in West African and Sahel countries have contributed to extremist violence, the rise of global jihad in the wake of the US-led "war on terror" since 9/11 has also played a part in spreading radical militancy in the region.  "In the Sahel, there is a combination of bad governance, poverty, insecurity as well as several internal and external factors [that contribute to extremist violence]," said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, head of the Centre for Security Strategy in the

Philippines mulls Golan peacekeeper pullout after abductions

Manila: The Philippines may withdraw from a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights following the abduction of four Filipino troops near the Syrian border.   Terming the abductions "a violation of international laws", Foreign Secretary Albert de Rosario said he would recommend to President Benigno Aquino for withdrawal of the over 300 Filipinos peacekeepers in the region.  Del Rosario said that Philippines was cooperating with the international partners "for early and safe return" of the abductees.   A total of 843 Filipinos are serving as peacekeepers at various locations at present, he said.  The government has already repatriated 4,000 Filipinos from strife-torn Syria and is working to bring to safety other undocumented national working there, he said.  Syrian rebels seized the four Filipino peacekeepers at an observation post in the Golan Heights on Tuesday, only two months after 21 Filipino soldiers were abducted by the same gr

Maoist politburo member arrested in Assam

Guwahati: A CPI (Maoist) politburo member, wanted in several cases, was arrested from Silchar in Cachar district of Assam, police said on Friday.   Anukul Chandra Naskar alias Pareshda (65) was caught by a joint team of Assam police and special intelligence branch of Andhra Pradesh Police on Wednesday and brought to Guwahati for interrogation yesterday.  Naskar was a leader in the eastern wing of the outfit and wanted in several cases in Andhra Pradesh, police said.  Taking him into custody here for five days, police would interrogate him before handing him over to AP Police, they said.   On being asked by reporters here why he was arrested, Naskar said, "I don't know. They (police) are claiming I am a Maoist".  Police said Naskar (65), hailing from Balia area under Sonarpur Police Station in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, had joined the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) in 1967.   He became a central committee and politburo member in 1985

Baidya Maoists set 3 conditions for talks

KATHMANDU, May 10:  The Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist on Friday set three conditions for their accepting the government-forwarded invitation for all-party talks on new Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. As per a press statement issued by the party today, the conditions are: scrapping of the 25-point deal reached on March 15 among the four major parties, quashing of the citizenship ordinance and annulment of recent controversial appointment of former chief secretary Lok Man Singh Karki as new chief of Commission for the investigation of Abuse of Authority. “The talks will be meaningful and relevant only if these three conditions are met,” the statement reads. CPN-Maoist along with 32 other parties are protesting new CA elections and have said they would not take part in the polls in the existing situation.  Source

Philippine leftist group to keep panel, offices in case govt returnsto talks

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said Thursday that it will not abolish its panel as well as its offices in the Netherlands so that in the event that the Aquino administration decides to go back to the negotiating table, the leftist group is ready. The CPP, the umbrella organization of the New People's Army ( NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), denied that there was a rift among their leaders as accused by the Philippine government due to the alleged "disconnect" between the Netherlands- based leadership and the people on the ground. "In the interest of pursuing the path of peace negotiations, the local leadership NDF has kept the offices of the negotiating panel based in Utrecht, the Netherlands open in the event that the Aquino regime changes its mind and heeds the people's demand to resume formal peace negotiations with the NDF," it said. The leadership and entire membership of the CPP and all revolutionary fo

Police chief lauds peacekeeping efforts in Abra

DESPITE the current situation in Abra province, Gen. Alan Purisima, Philippines National Police (PNP) Director lauded the peace keeping efforts of the Cordillera police. The province of Abra has been placed under Commission on Elections control in previous polls but has now been downgraded to area of concern by the PNP for the upcoming midterm elections on Monday. “In Abra, we are giving all our best through Police Chief Superintendent Roberto Soriano’s leadership. The accomplishments are very laudable,” said Purisima during his brief visit at the Cordillera Police Regional Office. However, Purisima said the PNP will not delist the province in the watch list because of its history of election–related violence. Early this month, a close aide of Abra Rep. Joy Bernos was killed in the province and was classified as the first election–related violence in the region. The second election–related violence occurred in Kalinga. On May 9, a convoy of PNP, Armed Forces

Missing Bahraini blogger surfaces in London

London, UK –  For the first time since his mysterious disappearance more than two years ago, outspoken Bahraini opposition blogger Ali Abdulemam has reemerged in public. “I get tired from my phone so I switched it of no need for rumors plz,” was the last message the activist posted to his Twitter account on March 17, 2011. That was two days after the government declared a state of emergency aimed at quelling an uprising demanding change in the Gulf kingdom. Suspecting he would be rounded up by the authorities, he went underground. There has been no trace of him until now. The 35-year-old father of three said he spent two years hiding in Bahrain before escaping to London, where he’s seeking asylum. Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify when he left Bahrain. “The time came for me to… help the uprising and to help people in Bahrain publicly instead of… hiding all this time,” Abdulemam told Al Jazeera. “I will not be able to work and to support the uprising in Bahrain

Colombia: Is FARC making room for drug cartels?

More repression against terrorist and illegal armed groups could be behind the strengthening of the presence of Mexican drug cartels in the country. By Antoni Sedó for – 09/05/2013 BOGOTÁ , Colombia – While the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) negotiate peace, Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel may be strengthening its presence in the southwestern departments of Nariño and Valle del Cauca. Officials became concerned regarding the presence of men working under Sinaloa leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán following the arrest of Pedro Luis Zamora Caicedo, who goes by the alias “Junior,” in Bogotá in late January. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has identified him as a member of the cartel. After Zamora Caicedo’s arrest, President Juan Manuel Santos ordered authorities to investigate whether the Sinaloa cartel had established a presence in Colombia, specifically in the city of Cali, where “Junior” is from. In late Ap

Baghdad opposes PKK armed groups in Iraq

Iraq's central government has said it would not accept armed groups entering its territory as Kurdish militants began withdrawing from Turkey under a peace deal. "The Iraqi government welcomes any political and peaceful settlement to the Kurdish cause in Turkey to stop the bloodshed and violence between the two sides and adopt a democratic approach to end this internal struggle," said a statement issued by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday. "But at the same time ... it does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq's security and stability," the ministry said. In March, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, announced a deal to end a nearly three-decade conflict in turkey that has killed tens of thousands of people. The deal was reached in talks between imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish government. The refuge offer came from Iraq's Kurdish region, which enjoys limited independe

Advanced Cyber Attack Tools Seen Available to Hackers

Advanced cyber attack tools have become readily available for use by foreign governments and terrorists to infiltrate or cripple U.S. computer networks, two federal law enforcement officials told a congressional panel. Dozens of countries now have sophisticated cyber espionage capabilities and terrorists want to “digitally sabotage” U.S. power grids or water supply networks, Joseph Demarest, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, said in prepared testimony for a Senate hearing today. Enlarge image U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny Durkan said that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that China and Russia are responsible for electronic intrusions into U.S. computer networks and the theft of intellectual property. Photographer: Stephen Morton/Bloomberg “The tools and expertise to perpetrate a cyber attack with physical effects are readily available for purchase or hire,” he said. President  Barac

U.S. warns utilities of heightened risk of cyberattack

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government on Thursday warned of a heightened risk of a cyberattack that could disrupt the control systems of U.S. companies providing critical services such as electricity and water. Officials are highly concerned about “increasing hostility” against “U.S. critical infrastructure organizations,” according to the warning, which was released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a computer network accessible only to authorized industry and government users. “Adversary intent extends beyond intellectual property theft to include the use of cyber to disrupt ... control processes.” Senior U.S. officials have warned in recent months that foreign adversaries are probing computer systems that operate chemical, electric and water plants. But they are also increasingly concerned about the threat of a potentially destructive cyberattack. Such attacks are rare. Last summer, more than 30,000 computers at the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco were destroy

Eight New Yorkers charged over $45 million cyber-attack

Eight New York residents were charged in what US prosecutors said was a $45 million global debit card cyber-attack scheme targeting banks based in the  United Arab Emirates  and  Oman . The defendants are accused in a four-count indictment unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, of participating in two worldwide attacks. They used stolen account information for prepaid MasterCard-branded debit cards to withdraw millions of dollars from ATM machines from October 2012 to April 2013, prosecutors said. The targeted banks were National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC, based in the United Arab Emirates, and Bank Muscat SAOG, Oman’s biggest bank by assets, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. Participants in the scheme hacked into credit card processors to steal the card data and eliminate withdrawal limits, prosecutors said. They took out cash in coordinated efforts “reminiscent of the casino heist in ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’” Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch sai

Boston police wasn't told FBI got Russia's warning

The F.B.I. did not tell the Boston police about the 2011 warning from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, the city’s police chief said Thursday during the first public Congressional hearing on the attack. Boston’s police commissioner, Edward Davis, said that though some of his officers worked with the F.B.I. on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, they did not know about the Russian tip or the bureau’s subsequent inquiry, which involved an interview with Mr. Tsarnaev and his parents. Had his department learned about the tip, in which Russian officials said that Mr. Tsarnaev had intended to travel to Russia to connect with underground groups, “we would certainly look at the individual,” Commissioner Davis told the House Homeland Security Committee. He noted that F.B.I. officers found no evidence of a crime and closed the case. He said that he could not say whether he would have reached a different conclusion, but that his of