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Merkel Rivals Signal Tough Bargaining on German Coalition

BERLIN - Angela Merkel's center-left opponents took tough bargaining positions on Wednesday for the political poker game that follows her German election victory, with the Social Democrats and Greens feigning no interest in forming a coalition with her. The conservative chancellor fell just short of an absolute majority on Sunday, meaning she has to form a government with one of three other parties who made ...

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Syria Rebels Reject Opposition Coalition, Call for Islamic Leadership

BEIRUT- Thousands of Syrian rebels have broken with the Western-backed coalition and called for a new Islamist front, undermining international efforts to build up a pro-Western military force to replace President Bashar al-Assad. Ever more divided on a battlefield where Assad's better armed troops have been gaining ground, allies of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were among 13 disparate rebel factions to disow ...

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Iranian Leader’s Smooth Diplomacy Poses New Challenge for Israel

JERUSALEM - A charm offensive toward the West by Iran's new president and his nuanced approach to his predecessor's Holocaust denial have run into an Israeli wall of suspicion hardened by Tehran's nuclear pursuits. Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, will not be fooled by Hassan Rouhani's international outreach and the world must not be either. So when Netanyahu arrives in the United States next ...

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Coalition Forces on Course to End War in Afghanistan: Obama

Kabul- US President Barack Obama at the UN's 68th General Assembly session on Tuesday said that the international coalition forces will end its war in Afghanistan, after having "achieved" its mission of dismantling the core of Al-Qaeda that attacked America on September 11, 2001. "Next year, the international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of A ...

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Gen. Dostum in Disagreement over AEA’s Nominees

Kabul- According to reports, Dr. Abudullah Abdullah, the leader of the National Coalition of Afghanistan (NCA), will be soon making a formal announcement regarding his nomination for Presidency. He is also expected to announce the candidacy of Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal and Hajji Muhammad Muhaqeq for the post of First Vice-President and Second Vice-President, respectively. The nominees will be representing the ...

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Omer Daudzai Wins “Vote Of Confidence,” Appointed as Interior Minister

Kabul- Omer Daudzai, the nominee for the post of Minister of Interior; and Akram Khpalwak, the nominee for the post of Minister of Tribal and Border Affairs, have won the "vote of confidence," which was moved by the Lower House on Wednesday. The MPs also gave their "vote of confidence" to Lotfurrahman Saeed, the nominee for the Commission on Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution (COIC) membership; a ...

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The Islamic Scholars’ Conference for Peace

In a bid to encourage Islamic scholars from across the world to help ending violence and war in Afghanistan, the Afghan High Peace (HPC) Council organized an international conference of the Islamic scholars from different Islamic countries as well as a number of other countries. Representatives of many Islamic organizations and many reputable Islamic figures from different countries participated in the conf ...

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Israel Bleak about U.S.-Iran Rapprochement at U.N. Summit

Jerusalem - Israel voiced concern on Tuesday over a potential meeting of the U.S. and Iranian presidents, saying Tehran's conciliatory overtures to world powers masked an acceleration of its disputed nuclear program. An official Israeli assessment said Iran now had centrifuges for quickly turning low-enriched uranium into bomb fuel, putting it on a fast track to atomic arms even if it gave up uranium of mid ...

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Govt Determined To Hold Fair Elections: Khalili

KABUL - Second-Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili on Tuesday said there would be no problem if computerised national identity cards were not issued to all Afghans ahead of next year’s elections. The electronic ID cards were to be delivered before the April 2014 presidential and provincial council polls, but the plan is unlikely to be completed till that date. Amirzai Sangin, the telecommunications and in ...

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UNFPA, Australian Government Grant $1.5 Mn for Afghan Women

KABUL - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised a meeting at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in Kabul city on Monday, to discuss the deplorable state of women in Afghanistan and find a solution to ensure their rights are protected. At the gathering, several women rights activists criticized the government and security personnel over their inability to curb the increasing violence against women. ...

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Karzai to Leave For China on Wednesday

KABUL - President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to leave for Beijing, China, on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremony of the 2013 Euro-Asia Economic Forum (EAEF), the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday. "Karzai has been invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping," Hong Lei, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a daily press briefing. The EAEF will begin on September 26th and continue unti ...

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Kenya Forces Comb Westgate Site

Nairobi - Security forces are combing the Nairobi shopping centre attacked by suspected al-Shabab militants, as they seek for a fourth day to secure the site. An explosion and gunfire were heard at the Westgate complex on Tuesday morning, but later a senior police source said the operation was "over". At least 65 people have been killed, including three soldiers. Meanwhile, Kenya's foreign minister said "tw ...

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Ex-Pope Benedict Denies Covering up Sexual Abuse

Vatican - Former Pope Benedict has denied that he tried to cover up sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, in his first direct published comments since he stepped down. The comments came in an 11-page letter to Italian author and mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi, who had written a book about the problems facing the Roman Catholic Church before the pope resigned in February. "As far as you me ...

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French Court Upholds Sarkozy Vote Funding Probe

Paris - A French appeals court ruled on Tuesday an investigation could proceed into former president Nicolas Sarkozy on accusations he duped L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt into donating election campaign funds. The decision, which could lead to a trial in the long-running scandal, complicates any political comeback by Sarkozy, who has been dogged for years by the "Bettencourt affair" in which he denies ...

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Ex-FBI Agent Pleads Guilty in National Security Leak

Washington - An ex-FBI agent has agreed to plead guilty to leaking information to a reporter about an al-Qaeda bomb plot and to child pornography charges. Donald Sachtleben, 55, is to be sentenced to 12 years in prison. The May 2012 disclosures jeopardised an international intelligence operation and put lives at risk, officials said. Investigators identified him after seizing phone records of the Associated ...

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Delhi Gang Rape: Four Convicted Men to Appeal

New Delhi - Lawyers for four men sentenced to death for the gang rape and murder of a student in the capital Delhi say they will challenge their guilty verdicts. Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta were convicted earlier this month. The trial court said the case fell in the "rarest of rare category" and rejected pleas for a lighter sentence. The woman, 23, was attacked on a bus in Dece ...

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Merkel Camp Eyes Tie-Up with Social Democrats, Shuns Greens

Berlin - Angela Merkel's conservatives appeared headed towards coalition talks with their main center-left rivals on Tuesday after heavyweights from the German chancellor's camp ruled out a marriage with the environmentalist Greens. Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), notched up their best result in more than two decades in a Sun ...

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At U.N., Brazil’s Rousseff Blasts U.S. Spying as ‘Meddling’

  New York - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday criticized the United States for spying, using the opening speech at the U.N. General Assembly to announce Brazil would adopt legislation and technology to protect it from illegal interception of communications. Rousseff last week called off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for October over reports that the U.S. Nationa ...

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U.N. Envoy for Somalia Seeks More Resources to Combat Al Shabaab

New York - African troops in Somalia require helicopters and armored vehicles to counter al Shabaab, the Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a Kenyan shopping mall, the U.N. envoy for Somalia said on Tuesday. Nicholas Kay, U.N. special representative for Somalia, said more troops may also be necessary and called specifically for targeting three ports along the Somali coas ...

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China Bans Several Weapon-Related North Korea Exports

Beijing - China says it has banned the export to North Korea of several weapon-related technologies which could be used in the development of nuclear weapons. China's Commerce Ministry published the list, which includes components for nuclear explosive devices and rocket systems, on Monday. It said the move would help implement UN resolutions on North Korea, and would be effective immediately. Analysts say ...

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