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U.N. Agency Says 2.2 Million Zimbabweans Face Food Shortages

Harare - Zimbabwe faces its worst food shortages in four years following a drought and poor harvest, the U.N. World Food Programme said on Tuesday, a month after veteran President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF disputed re-election. The agency said it was working with the government and other international aid organizations to provide food assistance to about a fifth of Zimbabwe's 13 million people from October un ...

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As Obama Pushes to Punish Syria, Lawmakers Fear Deep U.S. Involvement

Washington - President Barack Obama's efforts to persuade the U.S. Congress to back his plan to attack Syria were met with skepticism on Monday from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party who expressed concern the United States would be dragged into a new Middle East conflict. "There is a lot of skepticism," said Representative Jim Moran after taking part in a 70-minute phone briefing for Democratic lawmaker ...

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Abdullah Warns Against Bids to Influence Polls

KABUL -A key opposition leader on Tuesday warned President Hamid Karzai against influencing the electoral process, saying that the head of state would live a respectable life after his retirement if he stayed neutral. National Coalition of Afghanistan leader Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that rulers of the day and political leadership could prove their worth by holding free, transparent and inclusive elections ...

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Ten Percent Increase in Fruit, Vegetable Exports: Officials

Kabul - Officials of the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) on Monday proudly announced that the country's fruit and vegetable exports have increased by just over 10 percent during the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to the same period in 2012. Sayed Azim Mustafa Hashimi, head of the Fruits and Vegetables Department of EPAA, cited higher levels of rainfall this year as one of th ...

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Postpone Presidential Election until 2018: Tribal Elders

Kabul - A number of tribal elders from various provinces of Afghanistan jointly advocated for Afghanistan's Presidential election slated for next spring to be delayed until 2018 in light of the security problems the country continues to face. The elders said that enough Afghans are endangered by insurgent activity that if the election was held according to schedule, it would have unacceptably low participat ...

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Reshuffles in top Security Posts

The newly appointed acting Interior Minister Omar Daudzai, former Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, officially took over the job form his predecessor on Monday. His appointment to the top security post was made by president Karzai only days after appointment of Rahmatullah Nabil as the acting chief of the National Directorate for Security (NDS). Mr. Daudzai, who is considered a close ally to President Karzai, ...

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India Rules Out Night-Time Fuel Pump Shutdown

New Delhi - India is not considering a proposal to shut fuel pumps at night as it looks at ways to cut its oil import bill, Oil Minister Veerappa Moily has said. Earlier reports quoted Mr Moily as saying it was one of the options the government was mulling. India's oil imports are one of the biggest contributors to its widening current account deficit. Mr Moily said his ministry would also launch a conserva ...

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New Charges Laid Against Pakistan Ex-Leader Musharraf

Islamabad - New murder charges have been registered against Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, officials say. Mr Musharraf, who is currently under house arrest, already faces murder charges over the deaths of Benazir Bhutto and a Baloch tribal leader. He also faces charges over his attempt to sack Pakistan's higher judiciary in 2007 and the government has said it will try him for treason. Mr ...

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Civil Society Names Rep for Selection Body

KABUL -Civil society groups on Monday nominated Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada as their representative for the selection committee that has been tasked with recommending Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) candidates to the president. With the nomination of the civil society representative, the selection body started working today on finalising IECC probables, its spokesman and Senate Chairman Fazal ...

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Baghlan Security Set for Elections: Officials

Kabul - While many have expressed anxieties about the security challenges facing next spring's elections, security officials of northern Baghlan province on Monday assured that they had were ready with a plan to ensure effective election security in the province.  Asadullah Shirzad, Baghlan Provincial Police Chief, emphasized that the Afghan Local Police (ALP), Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan Na ...

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Former Cypriot Minister to Be Extradited to Greece in Graft Inquiry

Nicosia - A court in Cyprus ordered the extradition of a former Cypriot interior minister to Greece on Monday for questioning related to corruption charges against a once-powerful Greek politician who is now in jail. Dinos Michaelides would be the first Cypriot government or former government official to be extradited to Greece. Greek authorities want to question him as part of a graft inquiry against Akis ...

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Belarus Accuses Uralkali’s Kerimov of Abuse of Power

Minsk - Belarus said on Monday it had formally accused the top shareholder in Russia's Uralkali of abuse of power on Monday, deepening a diplomatic and trade dispute between the ex-Soviet states after the collapse of a potash sales alliance. The Investigative Committee, the country's top crime-fighting agency, said it had asked Interpol to search for Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, a billionaire with close ...

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Russia Sending Spy Ship to Mediterranean: Interfax

Moscow - Russia is sending a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean, Interfax news agency reported on Monday, as the United States prepares for a possible military strike in Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will seek congressional authorization for punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after what Washington said was a sarin gas attack that killed over 1,400 people. ...

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Turkish Generals Go on Trial Over 1997 ‘Post-Modern Coup’

Ankara - The first of more than 100 senior Turkish army officers began testifying in court on Monday over their alleged role in ousting Turkey's first Islamist-led government 16 years ago, a trial that could see them facing life imprisonment. The investigation into the overthrow of prime minister Necmettin Erbakan in 1997 extends a series of judicial cases targeting the once-supreme Turkish military, whose ...

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Former Nazi Guard Goes on Trial for Murder of Resistance Fighter

Berlin - A 92-year-old who served in the Waffen-SS, Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi troops, goes on trial on Monday in the western city of Hagen on charges of having shot in the back and killed a Dutch resistance fighter at the end of World War Two. Although an international military tribunal put some of the most infamous Nazi leaders on trial soon after World War Two in the Nuremburg Trials, Germany has a patchy ...

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Merkel’s Germany Necklace’ Clear Winner of Debate on Twitter

Berlin - Never mind the euro crisis or the war in Syria - what seems to have generated most comment among Germans who tuned in to a live TV debate between Angela Merkel and her election rival Peer Steinbrueck is the German chancellor's necklace. The twisty necklace, made of long metal beads in the red, yellow and black colors of the German flag, now has its own Twitter account - with the handle @schlandkett ...

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NATO Chief Convinced Syrian Government behind Chemical Attack

Brussels -  NATO's secretary-general said on Monday he had seen evidence convincing him Syrian authorities were behind a deadly chemical weapons attack and said it would send a "dangerous signal to dictators" if the world did not respond firmly. However, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was up to individual NATO countries to decide how they would respond to the attack and he did not envisage any NATO role beyo ...

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Sherzai Has Reneged on Vow to Quit: Qadeer

JALALABAD -Lawmaker Zahir Qadeer on Monday accused Nangarhar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai of backing out of his repeated promise to resign. Qadeer, a powerful figure in the eastern province, led protests against Sherzai in April this year, calling for the governor to be dismissed. The MP said he would never compromise on issues of national interest. The protestors, including some members of parliament, kept al ...

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Taliban Bombers Attack US Base in Afghanistan

Kabul - Taliban militants have attacked a US base in eastern Afghanistan, sparking a lengthy gun battle in which three insurgents were killed. Reports say the attack on Torkham base in Nangarhar province unfolded after militants torched Nato supply trucks on the highway leading to the base. Officials said that no Afghan or US soldiers died in the raid. The attackers did not enter the base. But officials say ...

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Kabul Values Its Ties with Moscow: Karzai

KABUL: Afghanistan valued its relations with Russia and wanted to further improve the ties between the two neighbouring countries, President Hamid Karzai has said. Karzai, who met a delegation of traders and investors from Russia at his office on Monday, said Kabul was ready to further enhance trade and economic relations with Moscow. A statement issued from the Presidential Palace said Russian deputy energ ...

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