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Boosting Women Participation in the Elections

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has begun implementation of a program to boost women’s participation in the forthcoming elections, due to be held in the coming spring. The program is financed by UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asia Foundation. According to the officials, the program is aimed to enhance women’s participation in the presidential and provincial councils’ ...

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Nabil Appointed As Acting Head of NDS

KABUL -Rahmatullah Nabil has been appointed as acting chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy service, the government announced on Saturday. Under Article 64 of the constitution and based on his handling of the intelligence agency affairs, President Hamid Karzai elevated the NDS deputing head as acting director. A statement from the Office of the Administrative Affairs said Nabil ...

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Kabul-Heart Truckers Strike Intensifies

Kabul- After staging demonstrations in Kabul city, truck drivers who commute on the Kabul-Herat highway announced on Saturday that vehicles of the Kabul-Herat Transportation Union (K-HTU) would halt all operations until the security situation on the highway improves. The truck drivers central grievance is the deteriorating security situation facing stretches of the country's major highway system. The Kabul- ...

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Putin Says Would Be ‘Utter Nonsense’ For Assad to Use Chemical Arms

Vladivostok - Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday it would be "utter nonsense" for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons when it was winning its war with rebels, and urged U.S. President Barack Obama not to attack Syrian forces. The United States said on Friday it was planning a limited military response to punish Syria's President Bashar al-Assad for a "brutal and flagrant" chemical ...

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U.N. Rights Chief Says Sri Lanka Heading in ‘Authoritarian Direction’

Colombo - U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay hit out against the Sri Lanka government on Saturday, saying that four years after the end of civil war people were still suffering amid signs the country was headed in an authoritarian direction. "It is important everyone realize that although the fighting is over, the suffering is not," Pillay told a news conference at the end of a controversial fact-finding m ...

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Russia Says U.S. Threat of Force against Syria Unacceptable

Moscow - Russia said U.S. threats to use military force against Syria were unacceptable and that Washington would be violating international law if it acted without the approval of the U.N. Security Council. The United States said on Friday it was in the planning process for a limited military response to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a "brutal and flagrant" chemical weapons attack that it say ...

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Most French Oppose Attack on Syria and Don’t Trust Hollande to Do It: Poll

Paris - Most French people do not want France to take part in military action on Syria and most do not trust French President Francois Hollande to do so, a poll showed on Saturday. The United States said on Friday it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus last week, and Hollande said Britain's parliamentary vote ...

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Top Indonesian Energy Official Barred From Travel in Latest Government Scandal: Media

Jakarta - A top Indonesian energy official has been banned from overseas travel, media reported on Saturday, in the latest graft case this month which threatens to further tarnish President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's final year in office. The reported travel ban on Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Secretary General, Waryono Karno, follows the arrest earlier this month of the head of the energy regulato ...

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Al Qaeda Affiliate Urges Attacks on Egyptian Army

Dubai - One of al Qaeda's most militant affiliates has called on Egyptians to take up arms against their army, saying a bloody crackdown on Islamist protesters showed peaceful methods were futile, according to an Internet statement posted on Saturday. Scores of Egyptian security forces have been killed in a series of attacks by suspected Islamist militants - mostly in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula - since Islamis ...

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Syrian Rebels Plan Raids to Exploit Western Strikes: Commander

Beirut - Opposition fighters across Syria are preparing to launch attacks that exploit anticipated U.S.-led military strikes, but there are no plans to coordinate with Western forces, a Syrian rebel commander said on Saturday. The United States said on Friday it was planning a limited response to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a "brutal and flagrant" chemical weapons attack it says killed more ...

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International Weapons Experts Leave Syria, U.S. Prepares Attack

Beirut - U.N. experts left Syria on Saturday after investigating a poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians, and the United States said it was planning a limited response to punish Syria's President Bashar al-Assad for the "brutal and flagrant" assault. U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States, which has five cruise-missile equipped destroyers in the region, was in the planning process ...

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Govt in Secret Contact with Taliban: Minister

Islamabad - Backchannel talks between the ruling PML-N and Taliban are under way to work out a peace formula and end violence which has claimed thousands of lives in the country since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in Oct 2001. “Unofficial talks between the government side and Taliban are in progress,” Information Minister Pervez Rashid told Dawn on Friday. He said the government was exploring all optio ...

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Iranian MPs Head to Syria to Meet Assad

Tehran - A member of Iran's Majlis says an Iranian parliamentary delegation has left Tehran for Damascus to hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the latest developments in the Arab country. Mansour Haqiqatpour, who sits on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Iran’s Majlis said “During the visit, the latest developments in Syria and solutions to the current situation in the c ...

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Indian Teen Sentenced to Three Years in Delhi Gang Rape Case

New Delhi - An Indian teenager was sentenced to three years in juvenile detention on Saturday for the December gang rape of a trainee physiotherapist, the first verdict in a case that sparked debate over whether India is too soft on young offenders. Police say the 18-year-old and five adult men lured the 23-year-old woman and her male friend onto a New Delhi bus where they repeatedly raped her and beat them ...

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Attacks in Southern Afghanistan Kill at Least 18

Kabul - A suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a police checkpoint and a bank in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, one of two attacks in the heartland of the insurgency that killed 18 people over 24 hours. Separately, a NATO service member was killed by insurgents in the country's east, according to a military statement. No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Taliban ...

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Islamabad and Kabul Agree to Relocate Taliban’s Qatar Office

Kabul- In the wake of President Hamid Karzai's trip to Islamabad last week, and over two months after plans for peace negotiations with the Taliban at their office in Qatar fell apart, a top-ranking Pakistani official has reported that Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to relocate the Taliban's political office in a renewed attempt to jumpstart the peace process. Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani Prime Minister ...

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AEA Worried About IEC Autonomy and Electoral Fraud

Kabul- The newly formed Afghanistan Electoral Alliance (AEA) on Saturday expressed concerns with the government's influence on the functioning of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the outcome of the upcoming elections. As the Presidential election next spring draws near, fears of possible electoral fraud and manipulation are becoming an increasingly hot topic of debate. Memories of widely docume ...

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A Right Move for Protecting Minorities’ Rights

Amid uproar of war and corruption, the government took a remarkable step forward in guaranteeing the rights of one of the most unprivileged minority community in Afghanistan. In response to calls from civil organizations and Afghan Hindu activists, the council of cabinet ministers brought amendments to the election law so that the Hindu and Sikh minorities of Afghanistan could have a seat in the parliament. ...

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Relatives of Sri Lanka are Missing Vent Grievances at U.N.

Jaffna - Protesters in Sri Lanka criticized the United Nations for a second day on Tuesday during a visit by U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay who is assessing rights in a country still divided by a 27-year war. Angry members of the majority Sinhalese community protested in the capital, Colombo, on Monday, calling on Pillay to get out of the country and stop criticizing its rights record. Pillay vi ...

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China Accuses Briton, American of Illegally Buying Private Data

Beijing - China has accused two risk consultants, a British man and his American wife, of illegally buying and selling private information, state media reported on Tuesday, amid a nationwide probe into the drugs industry. The Briton, Peter Humphrey, and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, were detained in Shanghai on July 10 as police investigated bribery accusations against British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (G ...

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