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African leaders meet to finalize Mali force

Yamoussoukro - African leaders meeting in Ivory Coast on Saturday are expected to sign off on a regional mission that is due to take over from French forces fighting al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali, but is still short on financing and planning. France has carried out air strikes and scrambled ground troops to halt an Islamist advance, acting to prevent militants from tightening their grip on Mali's northe ...

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Really? The Claim: Listening to Music Can Relieve Pain

THE FACTS Can the right sonata soothe the pain of a medical operation? A growing number of doctors have been using music in clinical settings, believing that it might have analgesic effects on patients — or at least take their minds off an otherwise painful procedure. Scientists only now are seeking to determine whether the notion is more romance than reality. In the most recent study, published in December ...

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Federer blows away Tomic

Roger Federer extinguished the Australian Open hopes of home favourite Bernard Tomic for the second year running with a ruthless straight-sets win. Tomic declared in the build-up that "it was a good time to play him" but that optimism appeared horribly misplaced as the brash 20-year-old was swatted aside 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 by the Swiss master. Federer, 11 years his senior, was superior in every element as he ...

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U.S. Says “Disappointed” At Iran’s Failure to Cooperate On Nuke Program

Washington - The United States said on Friday that it was "deeply disappointed" at Iran's failure to accommodate the UN nuclear watchdog over its controversial nuclear program. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland slammed Iran for missing another chance to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by failing to agree on a structured approach and denying the agency access to its Pa ...

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White House Urged Not to Cut Size of Afghan Forces

Washington - Two top American lawmakers have urged the White House not to reduce the size of Afghan national forces after 2014. In a letter to US National Security Advisor (NSA) Tom Donilon, Senators Carl Levin and Jack Reed urged the Obama administration to reconsider the plan. The US is said to be pondering a cut Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) after 2015 from its present strength of 352,000 to 230, ...

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Kabul Hails Islamabad’s Decision on Prisoners

Kabul - The Afghan government and the High Peace Council on Saturday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to release all Afghan Taliban prisoners still in its custody, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar -- the group’s former second-in-command. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters in Dubai on Friday: “The remaining (Afghan) detainees, we are coordinating, and they will be released subsequ ...

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India Approves $93m for Afghan Scholarships

Kabul - The Indian cabinet on Saturday approved Rs492.55 crore ($93.5 million) to fund enhanced scholarships for Afghan students, the government in New Delhi said. “Scholarships for Afghan students in various universities in India will significantly contribute to the human resource development of Afghanistan,” the Indian Education Bureau said. Afghan students’ skills would contribute toward the development ...

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Moving beyond Taliban’s Release

Decision of Pakistani authorities to release all Afghan Taliban prisoners from prisons was hailed by Afghan officials and political circles as it was aimed to enhance bilateral ties between Islamabad and Kabul. Relations was strained between the two neighboring countries due to cross-border attacks, refugees issue, closure of Torkham gate and torture of Pakistani citizens in Afghanistan and of Afghans in Kh ...

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Do Human Rights Exist?

By Abdul Samad Haidari Perhaps, human beings are all born free, with equal rights and dignity. We are bestowed with reason and conscience to accept and respect each other. We should act towards one another with compassion and in a spirit of brotherhood because human rights are the very foundation of modern human rights activism and promotion of mutual respect and compassion. Today, human rights are not just ...

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Pakistan Says It Will Free All Afghan Taliban Detainees

ABU DHABI - Pakistan plans to release all Afghan Taliban prisoners still in its detention, including the group's former second-in-command, an official said on Friday, in the clearest signal yet that it backs reconciliation efforts. Regional power Pakistan is seen as critical to the success of U.S. and Afghan efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, a task gaining urgency as the end of the U.S. combat miss ...

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UK Troops Could Be in Afghanistan for Years: Labour

Kabul - Hard-earned gains could be reversed if the British government does not detail its exit strategy and the future role of UK forces in post-2014 Afghanistan, the opposition Labour party has warned. As British troops could remain embedded with Afghans fighting insurgents for years after a formal end to NATO’s combat mission, the party will ask Prime Minister David Cameron to detail the exit strategy. In ...

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Military Presence Aimed to Combat Terrorism: US

Kabul - The United States on Thursday reiterated that it did not want permanent military bases in Afghanistan and the objective behind long-term cooperation was to help Afghan security forces in the war against terrorists. US Ambassador James Cunningham, billing President Hamid Karzai’s recent visit to Washington as a success, told a news conference in Kabul that his country had no intention to pose any thr ...

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Pakistan cleric’s party may take part in election

Islamabad -  A cleric who has been pushing for electoral reforms in Pakistan will resort to street protests again if the government does not abide by an agreement that eased a political crisis, an aide said on Friday. Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, who has a history of ties with the military, reached a deal with Pakistan's ruling coalition on Thursday that will give his party some say over the formation of a caret ...

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Dorna moves to cap price of World Superbike machinery

Dorna’s crusade to drive down costs in MotoGP will be mirrored in World Superbikes, with a price cap on machinery certain to be introduced for 2014. Now that Dorna controls both MotoGP and World Superbikes, CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is spearheading a cost-cutting drive in both to counter the on-going impact of the global financial crisis. The Spaniard is also keen to return World Superbikes to its production-bas ...

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China figures shore up markets

LONDON (AP) — Mounting hopes over China's economy combined Friday with signs that the U.S. recovery is gaining traction to shore up markets, particularly in Asia. Following a lackluster start to the week, investors have since been cheered by the signals showing the two world's largest economies have started 2013 in relatively rude health. Many stock indexes around the world, including the Dow, are trading a ...

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American Airlines Unveils First Facelift In 45 Years

The new logo is both contemporary and understated, while the aircraft has a bold red and blue striped tail design. According to Friedman, "We did a lot of research with our customers and our employees to understand their views of the American brand and what they were looking for going forward. We heard a few things loud and clear. The silver fuselage, our silver bird and our eagle were very important to the ...

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U.N. says 400,000 refugees may flee Mali in coming months

GENEVA  - Up to 700,000 people are expected to be uprooted by the violence in Mali, including 400,000 who could flee to neighboring countries in the coming months, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. French, Malian and African forces are confronting an Islamist rebel alliance that includes al Qaeda's North African wing in a military operation that began last week. "We believe there could be in ...

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Sahara hostage holders make new threat

ALGIERS — At least 18 foreign hostages were unaccounted for on Friday and their al-Qaeda-linked captors threatened to attack other energy installations after Algerian forces stormed a desert gas complex to free hundreds of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths. With Western leaders clamouring for details of a raid they said Algeria had launched on Thursday without consulting them, a local source said the ...

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No More a Spoiler?

Pakistan announced that it was planning to release all Afghan Taliban detainees in the country, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former right-hand man to Taliban top leader Mullah Omar. A top Pakistani Foreign Ministry official, Jalil Jilani, told a news conference on Friday that "The remaining detainees, we are coordinating, and they will be released subsequently." The move seems to be, indeed, a ...

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Pakistan Political Crisis, impact on Afghanistan

Ahmad Shah Katawazai Often overwhelmed by turbulent politics, Pakistan perhaps is passing through severe crisis from multiple fronts once again, putting the civilian government on the brink of collapse. -          On one hand the Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in a corruption case on Tuesday. Last year the Supreme Court ousted Yousaf Raza Gilani, Parvez As ...

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