240,000 Books available at Ahl ul Bayt (AS) Special Library

JNN 14 Dec 2010 : More than 240000 books in different forms ranging from lithographic to electronic versions are available at Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) Special Library.

The library, affiliated to the Astan-e Ghods Razavi, contains as many as 243641 works. The center, which has recently been launched, is regarded as a library specially designed for showcasing the works on Hadiths of Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS).

Up to 36200 books in Persian, English, Arabic, and Urdu featuring the life and character of 14 Infallible (AS) are at public disposal.

3889 manuscripts, 3500 copies in lithography, as well as 200000 digital versions constitute the other materials of the library, located at Goharshad Mosque next to Imam Reza (AS) holy shrine.

The Ahl-ul-Bayt Library aims to provide pilgrims with interesting sources so that they can learn more about the Seerah of the Infallible (AS)


Iranian movie enters for Oscar Awards


JNN 14 Dec 2010 : An Iranian movie depicting a US soldier accidentally shooting a little girl during a raid on her home in Iraq has officially entered for the 2011 Academy Awards.

Farewell Baghdad, directed and written by 37-year-old Iranian Mehdi Naderi, tells the gritty story of American troops in war-ravaged Iraq.

Naderi says his film, which explores the motivation and doubts of both US soldiers and Iraqi militants, has been made on a shoestring budget, Reuters reported.

The movie depicts a Polish-American failed boxer who joins the US Army and finds himself on tense foot patrols in the war-torn country.

During the film, Daniel is portrayed as a regular guy struggling to come to terms with the violent and alien environment in which he finds himself.

Each January, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to the Academy Awards.

The Oscar winners are named in a telecast in February.


China exports, imports hit record highs


JNN 14 Dec 2010 : Chinese customs authorities have officially announced that the country’s rate of exports and imports hit record highs last month.

Exports increased 34.9 percent in November from a year earlier to 153.3 billion dollars, while imports also rose 37.7 percent to 130.4 billion dollars.

The increases trounced analyst forecasts for 22.4 percent growth, while the values were record highs for a single month, the customs authorities said.

Analysts said the data showed the Chinese economy remained in good shape despite sluggish growth in the United States and the worsening European debt crisis.

“It is increasingly difficult to argue that China’s export sector cannot tolerate some currency appreciation, a move which would also help Beijing get price pressures under control,” Brian Jackson of Royal Bank of Canada said.

“The strength of domestic demand also suggests that rate hikes are needed to keep China’s economy on an even keel,” Jackson was quoted as saying by AFP on Friday.

The data comes ahead of the release of key economic figures for November on Saturday, including inflation, and as top leaders meet for the annual Central Economic Work Conference to discuss policies for the next year.


Pakistan rebuffs British PM visit request


JNN 14 Dec 2010 : British Prime Minister David Cameron has failed in his attempts to mend fragile relations with Pakistan after he was snubbed by his Pakistani counterpart, news reports said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Reza Gilani has turned down a demand by David Cameron to visit Islamabad on his way to Afghanistan, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The British premier’s attempt to invite himself ended in a firm refusal, as Prime Minister Gilani said he did not want to be tagged onto a visit to Afghanistan, the report said.

Cameron wanted to visit Pakistan to try and repair relations after he accused the country of exporting terror during a visit to India.
The Prime Minister also suggested that Pakistan had links with terrorist groups, and was guilty of double dealing by aligning itself with both the West and the forces it was opposing.

“We can not tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world”, Cameron told the audience in Bangalore, India.

Pakistan voiced dismay at the remarks, noting that Cameron’s remarks were prompted by classified US military reports published by the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks Website.

Cameron often tries to squeeze several countries into a single foreign visit, as he has to try and deal with the recession and cuts agenda at home.

The UK Prime Minister made a phone call to Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday night. The two leaders discussed bilateral issues as well as regional and international developments.


US envoy for Pakistan & Afghanistan ,Holbrooke in critical condition

JNN 14 Dec 2010 : The US State Department says the country’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has undergone surgery and is in a critical condition.

The 69-year-old diplomat was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after falling ill at work on Friday, AP reported.

“This morning, doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta,” State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said on Saturday.

“He is in critical condition and has been joined by his family,” he added.

Former two-time Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Germany, Holbrooke brokered the 1995 accord that ended the Balkans war. The success brought him one of his seven Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

He has also played a key role in leading American diplomatic efforts in the region in the early days of the Obama Administration.

Holbrooke, who began his long career as a foreign service officer at the American Embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War, has been alternating between financial executive and diplomat.

Nicknamed “the Bulldozer,” Holbrooke is known for getting warring leaders to the negotiating table, an ability which served him as the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In 1998, Holbrooke was nominated by former US President Bill Clinton as the American envoy to the United Nations. His appointment, however, was delayed for more than a year as a federal ethics probe was carried out over his second career on Wall Street.

He was also an advisor to Senator John Kerry during his presidential campaign in 2004, as well as Hillary Clinton in the 2008 campaign.

US budget deficit climbs to $150 bn


JNN 14 Dec 2010 : The US Treasury Department has announced that the country’s federal budget deficit has climbed for the 26th consecutive month in November, reaching above $150 billion.

The $150.39 billion deficit is 25 percent more than the figure in November 2009, the department announced on Friday.

The development comes as analysts’ average forecast for the shortfall was $134 billion, while many economists believed the figure would decline gradually in coming years, AFP reported.

The report comes as the US continues to grapple with its worsening economic recession debt crisis. Experts believe the gap will deepen if Congress passes a tax cut plan that is estimated to cost $855 billion for Washington over the next two years.

US President Barack Obama and the Republicans have reached a tax-cut deal that will extend tax cuts for the rich.

Last week, Senate Republicans rejected Obama’s initial proposal for a budget bill that would only extend the tax cuts to the middle class.

Reports say that Democrats in the US House of Representatives have agreed to reject the tax-cut extension package during a private meeting held in Washington because it would also extend Bush-era tax breaks for America’s wealthiest.

Obama predicts that Congress will approve the tax-cutting plan, but it will undergo some changes by the Democrats.


Egypt Fueling Israel , sign natural gas deal


JNN 14 Dec 2010 : An Israeli firm has signed a multi-billion-dollar agreement with Egypt’s East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) company to buy Egyptian natural gas for the next 20 years.

Based on the contract, EMG will provide Leisrael 1.4 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 20 years, one of the shareholders in EMG said on Monday.

The gas delivery will begin in the first or second quarter of 2011. The 4.2-billion-dollar contract’s value is estimated to reach USD 10 billion over time.

The new deal is in addition to an agreement EMG signed in 2008 with US-Israeli consortium Yam Thetis to sell 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas through 2015, fertilizer and specialty chemical maker Israel Chemicals (ICL) said.

EMG is a joint company owned by Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem, Egypt Natural Gas Co, Thailand’s PTT, Israel’s Merhav Group, Ampal-American Israel Corp (AMPL.O) and American businessman Sam Zell.