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New York braces for fierce snowstorm -
NEW YORK, Jan 26 (APP): The US Northeast was bracing Monday for a monstrous winter storm that could trigger massive power outages and disrupt air traffic and rush hours, dumping as much as three feet of snow on New York City.


UN-facilitated Libyan political dialogue set to resume in Geneva -
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 26 (app): Libyan stakeholders will return to Geneva this week for a new round of United Nations-facilitated dialogue aimed at resolving the war-torn country's longstanding political crisis, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has announced.


US can play significant role for settlement of Kashmir dispute: Ali Raza -
BRUSSELS, Jan 25 (APP): Chairman Kashmir Council EU Ali Raza Syed Sunday said, suitable settlement of Kashmir dispute is essential for peace and development in the region of South Asia and US can play significant role in the settlement.


UN chief strongly deplores latest deadly attack in Ukraine -
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (APP):  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned Saturday’s rocket attack in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol which reportedly killed dozens of civilians and left another one hundred injured.


Obama likely to raise question of resuming India-Pakistan dialogue with Modi: Report -
NEW YORK, Jan 24 (APP): US President Barack Obama is likely to raise with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of how the two nuclear-armed neighbours can resume dialogue and reduce their hostilities when the two leaders hold talks during the American leader’s shortened trip to India, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.


Sport News
Pak skiers off to South Korea to participate in world dream programme
ISLAMABAD, Jan 26 (APP): Two members National Ski team of teen agers along with an official of Pakistan Ski Federation flew on Monday to South Korea for a 15-day tour to participate in the world dream programme. 
 
Afridi to feature in T20 Blast cricket for Northants
KARACHI, Jan 26 (APP): Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi will feature in the Twenty20 Blast cricket next season with Northamptonshire, a leading cricket website reported on Monday.
 
UAE being considered as venue for Pacquiao- Amir Khan title fight
ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (APP): UAE is being considered as a venue for a title fight between Manny Pacquiao and British boxer of Pakistan origin Amir Khan, if the proposed May 2 showdown between Floyd Mayweather and the Filipino ring legend doesn’t happen.
 
PIA jumps to top of points table in First COAS Challenge Hockey Cup
RAWALPINDI, Jan 25 (APP): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) moved to the top of the points table in pool A after a 4-2 thrashing of Police in a match of the First Chief of the Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup (COAS) here at the Army Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
 
Ajmal optimistic of getting cleared after retest
ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (APP): Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who underwent official ICC retesting on his remodeled bowling action in Chennai on Saturday, believes that his “doosra” is within the legal limit now and is hopeful of being cleared to bowl again in international cricket.
 
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Rohingyas Muslims face ‘severest’ discrimination, restrictions: US Report PDF Print E-mail
WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (APP): The constitution, laws and policies in Myanmar (formerly Burma) restrict religious freedom and Rohingyas Muslims face ‘severest’ form of discrimination and restrictions including on access to education and health, a US report on the state of religious freedom said. Released this week, the annual International Religious Freedom Report 2011 noted that Muslims across Myanmar, as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, often were required to obtain permission from township authorities to leave their hometowns.  Authorities often denied Rohingya and other Muslims living in Rakhine State permission to travel for any purpose, the report says. However, it adds, permission was sometimes obtained through bribery.

Muslims in other regions were granted more freedom to travel, but still faced restrictions. For example, Rohingyas living in Rangoon needed permission from immigration authorities to travel into and out of Rakhine State.
“Muslims in Rakhine State, particularly those of the Rohingya minority group, continued to experience the severest forms of legal, economic, educational, and social discrimination,” the State Department report said, documenting the plight of Rohingya Muslims during last year.
There were reports that Buddhist physicians would not provide Muslims the endorsement required by the Ministry of Health that permits Muslims to travel outside Rakhine State to seek advanced medical treatment.
The government denied citizenship status to Rohingyas, claiming that their ancestors did not reside in the country at the start of British colonial rule, as the 1982 citizenship law required. The Rohingyas asserted that their presence in the area predates the British arrival by several centuries. In November 2008 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women urged the government to review its citizenship law. In February 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar visited the country and noted discrimination against Muslims.
Many of the approximately 28,500 Rohingya Muslims registered in two refugee camps in Bangladesh and the estimated 200,000 Rohingya Muslims living outside those camps, also in Bangladesh, refused to return to the country because they feared human rights abuses, including religious persecution.
Essentially treated as illegal foreigners, Rohingyas were not issued Foreigner Registration Cards (FRCs).
Since they also were not generally eligible for NRCs, Rohingyas have been commonly referred to as ‘stateless’. In the run-up to national elections in November 2010, the government issued Temporary Registration Cards (TRCs) to residents in northern Rakhine State; the majority of them are Rohingyas. The issuance of TRCs was primarily done, it appears, to allow Rohingyas participation in the elections.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) worked with approximately 750,000 residents of Rakhine State who did not hold citizenship in the country. At the end of the reporting period, the UNHCR (quoting government estimates) indicated that 85 percent of eligible residents (637,500 stateless persons) over the age of 10 possessed TRCs.
The UNHCR noted that according to information from individuals in northern Rakhine State, many individuals issued TRCs were actually only given a TRC number and no document. The UNHCR also assisted Rohingyas with education, health, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and agriculture.
Without citizenship status Rohingyas did not have access to secondary education in state-run schools. Those Muslim students from Rakhine State who completed high school were not permitted to travel outside the state to attend college or university.
During the period covered by the 2011 report, the document also makes note of the government’s implementation of considerable political  reforms, but says it did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom.
The government maintained restrictions on certain religious activities and limited freedom of religion, although it generally permitted adherents of government-registered religious groups to worship as they chose.
Authorities continued to bar Muslim university students who did not possess NRCs from graduating. These students were permitted to attend classes and sit for examinations, but they could not receive diplomas unless they claimed a foreign ethnic minority affiliation.
Rohingyas also were unable to obtain employment in any civil service positions.
Rohingya couples needed also to obtain government permission to marry and faced restrictions on the number of children they could have. Muslim newcomers were not allowed to buy property or reside in Thandwe, Rakhine State, and authorities prevented Muslims from living in the state’s Gwa or Taungup areas.
The government continued to monitor Muslim activities closely. Restrictions on worship for other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued.
Although there were no new reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists, authorities in some cases influenced the placement of orphans and homeless youth, preferring Buddhist monasteries to Christian orphanages.
Adherence or conversion to Buddhism was an unwritten prerequisite for promotion to most senior government and military ranks.
Nearly all senior level officers of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the armed forces are Buddhists.
There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. During the year, social tensions continued between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities.
According to the report, widespread prejudice existed against citizens of South Asian origin, many of whom are Muslims. The government continued to refuse to recognize the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority as citizens and imposed restrictions on their movement and marriage.
Antidiscrimination laws do not apply to ethnic groups not formally recognized under the 1982 Citizenship Law, such as the Muslim Rohingyas in northern Rakhine State.
There were reports of abuses of religious freedom, including the continued detention and incarceration of Buddhist monks throughout the country, the arrest of Muslims in the broader Rangoon area for unauthorized teaching as well as praying in living quarters, and the interrogation and harassment of Baptists in Kachin State.
The government selectively enforced legal restrictions on religious freedom. Religious organizations were subject to restrictions on freedom of expression and association. The government’s pervasive internal security apparatus imposed implicit restrictions on collective and individual  worship through infiltrating and monitoring meetings and activities of virtually all organizations.
In practice, authorities restricted the quantity of imported Bibles and Qur’ans, although individuals continued to bring them into the country in small quantities for personal use.
Government censors continued to enforce restrictions on local publication of the Bible, Qur’an, and other Christian and Islamic texts.
 

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