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Thursday
Dec302010

Islamic Index Encourages Muslims to Invest in Bombay Stock Exchange

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MUMBAI, India) -- The Bombay Stock Exchange has launched a new stock index of companies that are compliant with the Islamic legal code, encouraging Muslims to invest in India's fast-growing stock market.

Islamic law imposes restrictions on investing in companies that charge interest and those that sell products such as alcohol, weapons or tobacco.

The index, called BSE TASIS Shariah 50, is composed of the 50 largest and most liquid stocks that adhere to Islamic law. The companies were chosen by the Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions (TASIS), a Mumbai-based Islamic finance firm whose board members include legal experts and Islamic scholars.

Stocks will be reviewed monthly for Shariah compliance, and non-compliant stocks will be removed. Additional companies will be added on a quarterly basis.

"It will create a market for Indian Muslims," Shariq Nisar, the director of research and operations at TASIS, said in a statement. "We can provide opportunity to domestic investors so that they can invest their money without falling foul of their ethical and religious requirement.

"A lot of Muslim investors who could have invested their money in stock market and benefited from it, they were not having this opportunity earlier."

Islamic indexes already exist in other countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Pakistan and Indonesia, which have the two largest Muslim populations in the world. (India is third, with more than 150 million Muslims, or 13 percent of its predominantly Hindu population).

"These people were just keeping the money under their pillows," Nisar said. "Many were investing either in gold or in real estate."

The index will make it easier for Muslims to know which companies adhere to Shariah law, encouraging Muslims on a psychological level to invest.

The new index will increase awareness of "financial investments amongst the masses and help enhance financial inclusion," Madhu Kannan, the managing director and chief executive of the BSE, said in a statement.

Muslims, many of whom have been excluded from India's financial sector in the past because of Islamic law, will now be able to invest guilt-free.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

Attacks on Christians in Baghdad Kill 2, Injure 13

File Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BAGHDAD) – Coordinated attacks against Christian families in Baghdad have left two dead and 13 injured.

Various assaults were carried out in different areas of Baghdad. In one instance, an IED went off near a Christian family’s home in New Baghdad, in the eastern part of the city. The attack killed two and injured three others.

Three were injured in Karradah, in the central part of Baghdad, when another IED planted next to a Christian home exploded.

More attacks were carried out in the areas of Yarmouk, Amiriyah, Dora, Saydiya and Amil.
 
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

More and More Brits Living to 100

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- According to new British government statistics, roughly a sixth of the country's current population will live to see their 100th birthday.  While that's good news, it also raises the question of how to properly fund old age.

The numbers come from the government's state pension department. "For people like me the question is, if you thought you were going to live to 100, how would that change what you do now in terms of working and saving? And saving more has got to be part of the mix," says Steve Webb, the minister of state for pensions.

The bottom line is under the current economic climate, saving for those golden twilight years may be easier said than done.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

Bomb Explodes Outside Athens Court Building; No One Injured

Photo Courtesy - Louisa Gouliamaki /AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece's capital was rocked by another explosion Thursday morning, leaving behind broken windows and at least eight burned-out cars, but no injuries.

A bomb hidden on a parked motorcycle ripped through an area just outside of a court building in Athens.  The blast sent up a cloud of smoke that could be seen across the city.

A warning was called in to several media outlets, which allowed people to clear out and avoid getting injured.

The explosion is believed to be linked to an upcoming trial involving a group of homegrown militant suspects.

At least a dozen suspected members of the anarchist collective known as the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire are due to go on trial in mid-January.  The group is allegedly responsible for the series of parcel bombs that were sent to embassies in Greece last month.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

Former Israeli President Found Guilty of Rape, Sexual Harassment

Photo Courtesy - Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- The man who served as Israel's eighth president from 2000-2007 was found guilty Thursday of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses.

Israel's former President Moshe Katsav was convicted of raping a former employee twice and sexually harassing two others. The lead judge in Tel Aviv's district court ruled that Katsav's testimony, in which he stated that he did not rape his former employee while serving as the ministry of tourism over 10 years ago, was filled with lies.

The verdict means Katsav will spend four-to-16 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

Yemeni Detainees at Guantanamo Receive Video Call Service

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba) -- Dozens of Yemeni men imprisoned at a U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can now video teleconference with their family members abroad.

The new service, sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross and launched earlier this month, provides many detainees the first face-to-face contact with relatives since their detention nearly a decade ago.

The teleconferences also come as the Obama administration considers an executive order to hold some detainees indefinitely.

"Because of the length of their detention at Guantanamo, we've been pushing for this service," said ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno.  "And we have the full support of the [U.S.] authorities."

Previously, the men could communicate only through sending paper messages or occasional telephone calls transmitted through the Red Cross.

The video calls can last up to an hour and could occur once every three months, whenever the ICRC visits the facility.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

US Revokes Venezuelan Ambassador's Visa after Rejection of US Ambassador to Caracas

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez, in retaliation to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's rejection of Obama's proposed envoy, State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirms. 

Earlier this month, Chavez rejected the Obama administration's proposed ambassador, Larry Palmer, to Caracas.  While the U.S. had warned it would retaliate, Chavez dared the U.S. to kick the Venezuelan ambassador out of the country.

"We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded agrement [sic] regarding our nominee -- Larry Palmer.  We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action," Toner said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

Pentagon Team Will Assess Evacuation of Ivory Coast Embassy

Photo Courtesy --Getty Images(WEST AFRICA) – A Pentagon team has arrived in the Ivory Coast to assess whether to evacuate the embassy there amid tensions over the ex-president’s refusal to step down.

The team arrived in the country Tuesday, and according to the State Department, will look at “contingencies” should things get worse.

The embassy has been under so-called “ordered departure” since December 20 as tensions send the country closer into full-blown conflict. All non-essential personnel and families of Americans stationed there have been removed from the country.

Last week, the embassy’s perimeter was hit by a stray RPG round during fighting nearby. Nobody was injured in the incident, however. 

The nation’s ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down after losing last month’s elections. Last week, the U.S. slapped travel sanctions on Gbagbo and his inner circle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

'Mumbai-Style' Attack Planned on Danish Newsroom

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) – Danish Intelligence Services say a “Mumbai-style” attack was planned on a Danish newsroom.

Investigators arrested five men who allegedly had planned to storm the newsroom of the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and shoot as many people as possible.

Officials arrested four of the men in two separate raids outside of Copenhagen and a fifth man in Stockholm. Police recovered automatic weapons, a silencer and ammunition.    
 
Jyllands-Posten is the newspaper that published the controversial prophet Mohammed cartoons five years ago.
 
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

Ex-White House Spokesman, National Security Analyst Urge Ahmadinejad to Allow Inspections

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(WASHINGTON) – A former White House spokesman and a national security analyst are urging Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow nuclear inspections in the country. Meanwhile, the ratification of the START treaty has brought increasing world attention to Iran as a potentially rouge nuclear state.

In an OpEdNews article Wednesday, ex-White House staffer Robert Weiner and national security analyst James Lewis said Iran’s “nuclear ambition seems likely” given that the country borders Pakistan. They also reinforced the concern that perceived nuclear development by the country could lead to an arms race.

“The U.S. believes that Iran is now developing advanced missile technologies with the assistance of North Korea,” the article read. “These advances and further cooperation have increased the range and accuracy of Iran's Shahab missile program capable of delivering nuclear warheads."

The article also addressed Ahmadinejad’s concerns that Iran in unfairly being portrayed as “the bad guy.” Weiner and Lewis say it is important for the U.S. to understand the basis of his concern.

“Regrettably, the government of the United States has not only used nuclear weapons, but continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries, including Iran,” they wrote.

Still, the article argues that the only way for Iran to alter the world’s perception of its nuclear activities is to allow nuclear inspections.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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