SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Israel's army fired tank shells into Syria on Monday and scored "direct hits" in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, the Israeli military said in a statement.Israeli military sources said Syrian mobile artillery was directly hit in the incident.
It was the second time in two days that Israel has responded to what it said was errant Syrian fire. On Sunday the military said it had a fired a "warning shot" across the disengagement line, while on Monday it said it had fired back at "the source".
Military sources would not say if the mortar bomb was fired by Syrian army forces or by the rebels they are battling in and around the United Nations' patrolled area of separation.
"A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an open area in the vicinity of an (Israeli Defense Forces) post in the central Golan Heights, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria, causing no damage or injuries," the military statement said.
"In response, IDF soldiers fired tank shells towards the source of the fire, confirming direct hits. The IDF has filed a complaint with the UN forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."
Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting his army for months in towns inside and adjacent to the Area of Separation between Israel and Syria, along the disengagement line drawn at the end of their 1973 war.
Technically the countries are still at war, but the Golan, a strategic plateau Israel captured in 1967, has been largely quiet for decades www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Jordan has foiled a plot by an al-Qaida-linked cell to bomb its shopping centers and assassinate Western diplomats, state television said on Sunday, thwarting an attempt to destabilize the key U.S. ally.
Security forces had detained 11 suspects, all Jordanians, in connection with the plot, which envisaged carrying out attacks in the capital Amman using smuggled weapons and explosives from Syria, according to security officials cited by television.
The plot had been active since June.
Minister of Information Samih al Maaytah said the arrests underscored the serious threat posed by radical "terror groups" seeking to undermine the kingdom's long tradition of stability.
A key U.S. ally in the Middle East and Israel's peace partner, Jordan enjoys close ties with Western intelligence agencies and has often been targeted by al-Qaida.
The cell had targeted two major shopping malls in the capital and was planning a bombing campaign in the capital's affluent Abdoun neighborhood, where many foreign embassies are located.
The U.S. and British embassies were among the targets, reported the Jordan Times, quoting a security source.
A security source said the suspects had manufactured explosives "aimed at inflicting the heaviest losses possible".
"The group was able to devise new types of explosives to be used for the first time and planned to add TNT to increase their destructive impact," said the source.
Links to Syria
The same security source said there was a crucial link with Syria where President Bashar al-Assad is battling to put down an uprising against his family's rule.
"Their plans included getting explosives and mortars from Syria," the security source told Reuters, saying the militants had sought to strike at a time of regional upheaval when the country's security establishment is over stretched.
The authorities said they had seized large quantities of ammunition, machine guns and other items such as computers. The militants were training to use "suicide bombers using explosive belts and booby-trapped cars", said another security source.
The case was referred to the state security court's prosecutor who began questioning "11 Jordanian nationals from Salafist movements," a judicial source told the AFP.
Maaytah told reporters that members of the militant group had spent some time in Syria, without saying when they had returned to Jordan.
"This group arrived from Syria. They have been going in and out," said Maaytah, explaining that the case had been transferred to the state security prosecutor.
Another security source said the cell had been fighting for "some period" alongside Islamist rebel groups in Syria.
If Jordan allows Assad's opponents to aid the armed uprising, Amman's security forces fear the Syrian government could retaliate by sending agents to carry out bomb attacks inside the country.
Intercepted electronic mail showed that the cell had received advice from explosives experts affiliated with al-Qaida in Iraq.
In 2005, al Qaida claimed responsibility for three suicide bombings that ripped through luxury hotels in Jordan's capital killing dozens of people.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Human rights groups have called on Bahrain to stop what they called the targeting of doctors who saw their jail sentences upheld last week (Oct 1) by the country’s highest court for their role in treating protesters during political unrest last year.
“Upholding the conviction of these medical professionals on spurious politically motivated charges continues the government’s broad and systematic attack on the country’s health system”, said Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), who attended part of the doctors’ trials in Bahrain but has since been refused a visa.
“Bahrain’s allies, especially the United States, should exert maximum pressure on the Bahraini authorities to end these gross violations of medical neutrality.”
The USA, whose Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the Sunni-ruled Gulf Kingdom, said the court’s decision was a setback for reconciliation. “We’re also concerned that these convictions serve to further restrict freedom of expression and hurt the atmosphere that’s so necessary in Bahrain for national reconciliation”, said Victoria Nuland, US State Department spokeswoman. “So we’ve repeatedly voiced concern about this case. We’re going to continue to do it both publicly and privately at the highest levels in Bahrain.”
After Bahrain crushed pro-democracy protests early last year, campaigners say that it has failed to fully implement recommendations from an independent inquiry that investigated abuses while clashes between police and protesters, mostly from the Shia majority, continue almost nightly.
Bahrain originally detained around 95 doctors and nurses and charged 48 of them with oﬀ ences ranging from possessing ﬁ rearms to refusing to
treat Sunni patients at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in the capital Manama. Many of those detained say they were tortured in prison to extract false confessions.
During the past year, 28 were charged with misdemeanour oﬀ ences and are now free. Of the other 20 who faced felony charges, nine were acquitted, two went into hiding, and three were allowed to remain free on time served.
“‘They’ve ﬁ red Shia doctors who headed departments and replaced them with Sunnis, so the whole medical leadership is changing...’”
Charges were upheld against the remaining six and they were rearrested last week although there were reports that one of them was released on Oct 7 for the time served before his conviction.
Sollom of PHR said he spoke with Ali al-Akri, one of the most prominent doctors because of his media interviews who faces 5 years in prison, just before he was rearrested on Oct 2. “Everyone was hoping the crown prince would pardon them but all six were carted oﬀ to prison where they can’t accept phone calls”, said Sollom. “The medics are only one of many issues in Bahrain but they’re the vanguard, they’ve become the symbol of the oppressed whether they like it or not.”
A systematic attack was being waged against Shia medics and the health system, he said, citing a circular issued on Oct 4 by the Bahrain Medical Association (BMA) to the 11 medics acquitted of felony charges saying they would be charged with ethics violations, which would mean losing their jobs. “The BMA is unlike other medi cal associations because
it isn’t independent, it’s part of the government”, Sollom said. “They’ve ﬁ red Shia doctors who headed departments and replaced them with Sunnis, so the whole medical leadership is changing. Medicine had been one of the last bastions for the Shia, who are barred from other professions, such as the police, education, and justice.”
The court’s decision in the case of the medics came only days after Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was denied release from prison and Zainab al-Khawaja, another activist, was sentenced to 2 months in prison for tearing up a picture of the Bahraini king.
“The Bahraini authorities have no intention to reform, calm the public, and resolve the political, security, and human rights crisis”, Hadi al-Moussawi of the Al Wefaq Society opposition group, told a press conference in Bahrain. “Quite the opposite is true; they continue to violate human rights through the continued use of the military apparatus, security forces, and politicised trials against activists, protesters, and all those who participated in the protests.”
In September, a group of human rights organisations sent a letter to Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, urging the end of US military assistance and arms transfers to Bahrain of more than US$300 million since 2002. “Whether pending arms transfers are ‘assistance’ or ‘sales’, the human rights violations perpetrated with weapons and equipment previously supplied by the United States mandates that both assistance and sales to the [Bahrain Defence Force] and police cease immediately”, said the letter.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the illegal sanctions that the European Union (EU) has imposed on the Islamic Republic are akin to double-edged sword which has left Europe worse off.
In a press conference with Kuwaiti journalists on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said Iran has had no economic ties with the US over the past 33 years so the current sanctions actually target European countries.
Noting that he EU is currently on the verge of collapse, the Iranian president added, “They (European countries) have, in their own terms, boycotted Iran for five years. But the question is whether it is the economic situation in Iran or Europe which is in bad conditions today?”
The EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed on a new round of sanctions against Iran, in spite of a UN warning against the humanitarian ramifications of the previous bans.
The illegal sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations and argues that as a committed signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Ahmadinejad said the hostilities against the Islamic Republic began when the Iranian nation toppled the Western-backed regime of the Shah of Iran in 1979 and the West has since used every excuse for enmity against the country.
He added that using the nuclear issue as an excuse for hostility against Iran is a “historic mistake” as those who have tried to eliminate Iran, throughout its seven-thousand-year history, have been destroyed themselves and the Iranian nation still stands.
The Iranians will resist the sanctions and Iran has a very large economy that can manage without oil so “the arrogant powers have no choice but to change the situation,” Ahmadinejad said.
“The arrogant powers want to take revenge on the Iranian nation through the imposition of sanctions, but they will certainly fail.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — European Union foreign ministers have agreed a new round of tough new financial and trade sanctions against Iran aimed at forcing a breakthrough in stalled talks on Iran's contested nuclear programme.
The new package targets EU dealings with Iran's banks, shipping and gas imports.
"This is a sign of our resolve," William Hague, British foreign secretary, said on Monday in Luxembourg.
"That we will step up the pressure, we will intensify the pressure and we will continue to do so over the coming months unless negotiations succeed."
An EU asset freeze and travel ban will be imposed on 34 additional entities, particularly in the oil, gas and financial sectors, as well as on one person.
Details on those targeted will be released on Tuesday but a government minister is on the new blacklist, said diplomats.
The US welcomed the accord as further strengthening "international efforts to pressure and isolate the Iranian governmen".
"Rallying the world to isolate Iran and increase the pressure on its leadership so that they stop pursuing a nuclear weapon has been a top priority" under President Barack Obama, Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said.
Guido Westerwelle, German foreign minister, said: "Iran is still playing for time despite intensive efforts for negotiation in recent months."
"We don't see sufficient willingness so far for substantial talks about the nuclear programme."
'Room for negotiation'
Catherine Ashton, EU's foreign policy chief, said before Monday's meeting that there was still "room for negotiations" between Iran and the P5+1 - the UK, US, France, China, Russia and Germany.
The P5+1 have asked Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 per cent.
Citing "serious and deepening concerns" over Iran's nuclear drive, a statement approved by the ministers said the EU had "agreed additional restrictive measures in the financial, trade, energy and transport sectors".
Previous sanctions, in particular a biting oil embargo that came into effect in July, are "quite clearly having an effect," she told reporters.
Under the package, the EU bans all transactions between European and Iranian banks unless authorised in advance by national authorities, for example for humanitarian or medical reasons.
It also tightens existing sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran.
Imports of Iranian gas will be prohibited, a symbolic gesture since the amounts involved are small, but the move sits alongside the much more significant July ban on imports of Iranian oil.
The package also bans the use of EU vessels for transporting or storing Iranian oil.
After long denying the impact of Western economic sanctions, Iranian leaders have changed their rhetoric.
They acknowledge that the economy is suffering in particular due to the cut in oil exports and production, the main source of the country's revenue.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Iranian hackers have repeatedly attacked Bank of America Corp (BA.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) over the past year, as part of a broad cyber campaign targeting the United States, according to people familiar with the situation.
The attacks, which began in late 2011 and escalated this year, have primarily been "denial of service" campaigns that disrupted the banks' websites and corporate networks by overwhelming them with incoming web traffic, said the sources.
Whether the hackers have been able to inflict more serious damage on computer networks or steal critical data is not yet known. The sources said there was evidence suggesting the hackers targeted the banks in retaliation for their enforcement of Western economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran has beefed up its cyber capabilities after its nuclear program was damaged in 2010 by the Stuxnet virus, widely believed to have been developed by the United States. Tehran has publicly advertised its intentions to build a cyber army and encouraged private citizens to hack against Western countries.
The attacks on the three largest U.S. banks originated in Iran, but it is not clear if they were launched by the state, groups working on behalf of the government, or "patriotic" citizens, according to the sources, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
They said the attacks shed new light on the potential for Iran to lash out at Western nations' information networks.
"Most people didn't take Iran seriously. Now most people are taking them very seriously," said one of the sources, referring to Iran's cyber capabilities.
Iranian officials were not available for comment. Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup declined to comment, as did officials with the Pentagon, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and Secret Service.
A U.S. financial services industry group this week warned banks, brokerages and insurers to be on heightened alert for cyber attacks after the websites of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase's experienced unexplained service disruptions.
NBC reported late on Thursday that the Iranian government was behind these attacks, citing U.S. national security sources. Reuters could not verify that independently.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Iran would like to increase annual trade with China to $100 billion, according to Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.
Rahimi made the remarks during a meeting with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, Wu Bangguo, in Tehran on Monday.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to increase its economic and trade ties with China to $100 billion,” he said, adding that Tehran wants to raise the level of its interactions with China in the oil and gas sectors.
Wu described Iran as an important and effective country in the region, noting, “China’s relations with Iran are considered a major priority.”
Wu is on a three-day official visit to Iran, which he has made upon the invitation of Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani.
Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption -- nearly one million barrels per day.
Trade between the two countries is currently dominated by Iran's energy exports, while the main Chinese exports to Iran include machinery and textiles among other consumer goods.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Russia issued a strongly worded statement expressing its “deep concern” at a warning that Syrian rebels plan to target civilian airports in Damascus and Aleppo from Tuesday.
“In Moscow we have seen with deep concern the statements distributed in the media by representatives of the so-called Free Syria Army that international civilian airports of Damascus and Aleppo are from now on seen as military targets,” the Russian foreign ministry on Monday said in a statement.
State-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Friday reported on a rebel statement cited by London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper saying Damascus and Aleppo airports and commercial flights would be targeted from Tuesday because they were being used for military aviation.
“We consider such threats absolutely unacceptable,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
“From a moral and legal point of view this means the opposition's critical proximity to a red line, beyond which are acts that are no different from the crimes of Al-Qaeda.”
“The most recent statement by the Free Syria Army essentially confirms that terrorism is turning into one of its main methods of activity,” the ministry added.
Russia called for “taking action on the leaders of the Free Syria Army in the most decisive manner to excuse such threats, not to mention their being carried out”, and reiterated calls for Russians to avoid travel to Syria.
Rebel forces have increasingly targeted the Syrian regime's military air power and claimed to have shot down a MiG fighter jet and destroyed a dozen aircraft on the ground last week.
Russia continues to lobby for a short-lived agreement struck by world powers in Geneva on June 30 calling for a rapid ceasefire and supports a move towards a transition government that would decide President Bashar al-Assad's future.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Tehran Times
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — “Four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near Hazar Ganji area, pulled five Shia vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead,” senior local police official Wazir Khan Nasir told AFP.
Another local police official Mukhtar Musakhel confirmed the incident and casualties.
The deceased were poor vegetable vendors who turned up to the market to collect their vegetable merchandise.
A little later, two persons who witnessed the shooting incident by the killers, were shot to death while they were on the run after the five killings, but they were chased till the Bus Stand and then they were also Martyred by the firing of the Terrorist of the Lashkar e Jhangvi.
He said in a second incident which took place at the Taftan Bus Stand where two motorbike riders sprayed bullets at two Shias Men on the outskirts of Quetta, Martyring both of them.
All the deceased belong to Hazara community. The names of the Martyrs are as follows :
Ali baba s/o Hassan Ali,
Jawad Hussain s/o Daulat Hussain
Noor Ali s/o Mohammad Raza,
Salman Ali s/o Abdul Waheed
Syed Yousuf Hussain s/o Syed Anwar Ali.
The Incident was deeply condemned by All the Shia Notables and Parties of Pakistan , and in this regard the Hazara tribal leader and Chief of Quetta Solidarity Council, an alliance of all Shia religious and ethnic groups of Quetta, Sardar Saadat has announced seven-day mourning and a shutter-down strike tomorrow.
The shia Target Killing which has been ongoing for the Last 30 plus years has now taken a dangerous trend , as now even the most patient Shia Man , have started to say that it has crossed the Limit , and for the defence of the Shia community , the terrorist should be given a strong reply , as neither the LEA’s , Nor the Administration , or either the Judiciary is serious in ending up this mess , and it looks that Under a big conspiracy that the lawlessness in Pakistan has been pushed towards the Peek of the Mountain , where it has to fall , and as it falls it will be splitted in several small Pieces.
And the Most dangerous part of it all is that the Establishment is still watching the Drama silently , while taking No concrete steps to eliminate this menace, who are duty bound to protect the country from Internal and external threats , while at the moment Pakistan is facing both the internal and external offensives against it , but it should be noted that either they are part of this conspiracy or they are so naïve to handle the situation , but if any thing bad happens to the country they ll also not benefit from it , as they ll also be the worst victim of the disaster , from whom and what ever guarantees they may get .—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Our day-to-day lives exist in what physicists would call an electrically neutral environment. Desks, books, chairs and bodies don't generally carry electricity and they don't stick to magnets. But life on Earth is substantially different from, well, almost everywhere else. Beyond Earth's protective atmosphere and extending all the way through interplanetary space, electrified particles dominate the scene. Indeed, 99% of the universe is made of this electrified gas, known as plasma.
Two giant donuts of this plasma surround Earth, trapped within a region known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts. The belts lie close to Earth, sandwiched between satellites in geostationary orbit above and satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) are generally below the belts. A new NASA mission called the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), due to launch in August 2012, will improve our understanding of what makes plasma move in and out of these electrified belts wrapped around our planet.
"We discovered the radiation belts in observations from the very first spacecraft, Explorer 1, in 1958" says David Sibeck, a space scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the mission scientist for RBSP. "Characterizing these belts filled with dangerous particles was a great success of the early space age, but those observations led to as many questions as answers. These are fascinating science questions, but also practical questions, since we need to protect satellites from the radiation in the belts."
The inner radiation belt stays largely stable, but the number of particles in the outer one can swell 100 times or more, easily encompassing a horde of communications satellites and research instruments orbiting Earth. Figuring out what drives these changes in the belts, requires understanding what drives the plasma.
Plasmas seethe with complex movement. They generally flow along a skeletal structure made of invisible magnetic field lines, while simultaneously creating more magnetic fields as they move. Teasing out the rules that govern such a foreign environment – one that can only be studied from afar – lies at the heart of understanding a range of events that make up space weather, from giant explosions on the sun to potentially damaging high energy particles in near-Earth environs.
To distinguish between a host of theories developed over the years on plasma movement in those near-Earth environs, RBSP scientists have designed a suite of instruments to answer three broad questions. Where do the extra energy and particles come from? Where do they disappear to, and what sends them on their way? How do these changes affect the rest of Earth's magnetic environment, the magnetosphere? In addition to its broad range of instruments, the RBSP mission will make use of two spacecraft in order to better map out the full spatial dimensions of a particular event and how it changes over time.
Scientists want to understand not only the origins of electrified particles – possibly from the solar wind constantly streaming off the sun; possibly from an area of Earth's own outer atmosphere, the ionosphere – but also what mechanisms gives the particles their extreme speed and energy.
"We know examples where a storm of incoming particles from the sun can cause the two belts to swell so much that they merge and appear to form a single belt," says Shri Kanekal, RBSP's deputy project scientist at Goddard. "Then there are other examples where a large storm from the sun didn't affect the belts at all, and even cases where the belts shrank. Since the effects can be so different, there is a joke within the community that 'If you've seen one storm . . . You've seen one storm.' We need to figure out what causes the differences."
There are two broad theories on how the particles get energy: from radial transport or in situ. In radial transport, particles move perpendicular to the magnetic fields within the belts from areas of low magnetic strength far from Earth to areas of high magnetic strength nearer Earth. The laws of physics dictate that particle energies correlate to the strength of the magnetic field, increasing as they move towards Earth. The in situ theory posits that electromagnetic waves buffet the particles -- much like regular pushes on a swing -- successively raising their speed (and energy).
As for how the particles leave the belts, scientists again agree on two broad possibilities: particles go up, or they go down. Perhaps they travel down magnetic field lines toward Earth, out of the belts into the ionosphere, where they stay part of Earth's magnetic system with the potential to return to the belts at some point. Or they are transported up and out, on a one-way trip to leave the magnetosphere forever and enter interplanetary space.
An artist's rendition of what the two Radiation Belt Storm Probe spacecraft will look like in space. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center "In reality, the final answers may well be a combination of the basic possibilities," says Sibeck. "There may be, and probably are, multiple processes at multiple scales at multiple locations. So RBSP will perform very broad measurements and observe numerous attributes of waves and particles to see how each event influences others."
To distinguish between the wide array of potential theories – not to mention combinations thereof – the instruments on RBSP will be equipped to measure a wide spectrum of information. RBSP will measure a host of different particles, including hydrogen, helium and oxygen, as well as measure magnetic fields and electric fields throughout the belts, both of which can guide the movement of these particles.
RBSP will also measure a wide range of energies from the coldest particles in the ionosphere to the most energetic, most dangerous particles. Information about how the radiation belts swell and shrink will help improve models of Earth's magnetosphere as a whole.
"Particles from the radiation belts can penetrate into spacecraft and disrupt electronics, short circuits or upset memory on computers," says Sibeck. "The particles are also dangerous to astronauts traveling through the region. We need models to help predict hazardous events in the belts and right now we are aren’t very good at that. RBSP will help solve that problem."
While the most immediate practical need for studying the radiation belts is to understand the space weather system near Earth and to protect humans and precious electronics in space from geomagnetic storms, there is another reason scientists are interested in this area. It is the closest place to study the material, plasma, that pervades the entire universe. Understanding this environment so foreign to our own is crucial to understanding the make up of every star and galaxy in outer space.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) built and will operate the twin RBSP spacecraft for NASA’s Living With a Star program, which is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.—www.shafaqna.com/english