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Security Pact with US in Weeks: Ahmadi

KABUL -With negotiations on a bilateral security pact with the United States having reached a decisive stage, the deputy foreign minister has hoped the agreement will be concluded in the next few weeks. Addressing a meeting of the International Contact Group in New York, Ershad Ahmadi said the two sides were close to signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). However, he gave no further details. He cal ...

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Abdullah Stresses Caution in Freeing Insurgents

  KABUL -National Coalition of Afghanistan (NCA) leader Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday underlined the need for exercising caution in release of Taliban leaders. The call came a day after Pakistan set free the senior most Afghan insurgent in its custody in a bid rejuvenate the stalled Afghan-led reconciliation process. The rebel movement’s second-in-command had been detained in 2011 in the port city of ...

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Kenyan Deputy President Requests ICC Trial Adjournment

Amsterdam - Judges at the International Criminal Court will meet on Monday to decide if Kenya's deputy president can return home to deal with the armed occupation at a Nairobi shopping mall in which 59 people have been killed, a person close to events said. In a filing seen by Reuters, William Ruto's lawyers had asked judges to meet in emergency session on Sunday to adjourn the trial. If it had been granted ...

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France’s Hollande Hits New Low in Poll Ratings

Paris- French President Francois Hollande saw his approval ratings fall to their lowest level so far in a monthly poll that showed less than a quarter of voters were satisfied with his actions. In a survey by pollster IFOP published in weekly paper Le Journal du Dimanche, Hollande's approval ratings dropped 5 points from last month to 23 percent. This was below his previous low of 25 percent in the same pol ...

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China’s Disgraced Bo Xilai Given Life Term for Corruption

Jinan - A Chinese court sentenced ousted senior politician Bo Xilai to life in jail on Sunday after finding him guilty of corruption and abuse of power, a tough term that gives him little chance of staging a political comeback. Bo was a rising star in China's leadership circles and cultivated a loyal following through his charisma and populist, quasi-Maoist policies, especially among those left out in the c ...

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Israel Rejects EU Criticism of Palestinian Aid Seizure

Jerusalem - Israel on Sunday rejected EU criticism of its seizure of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and said European diplomats delivering the items had broken the law. Israeli soldiers manhandled the diplomats on Friday and seized tents and emergency aid they had been trying to give to Palestinians whose ramshackle homes in Khirbet al-Makhul in the Jordan Valley had be ...

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Merkel Eyes Third Term in Tight German Election

Berlin - Germans voted on Sunday in an election expected to hand Chancellor Angela Merkel a third four-year term, but she may be forced into an awkward coalition with her leftist rivals following a surge in support for a new anti-euro party. Europe is closely watching Germany's first national election since the eruption of the euro zone debt crisis in 2009. Some hope Merkel will take a softer stance on stru ...

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Britain’s Labour Leader Stakes Future on Cost of Living Election Fight

London - Britain's opposition leader Ed Miliband accused Prime Minister David Cameron of stoking a cost of living crisis on Sunday, attempting to overcome dire poll ratings and convince skeptical voters that Labour can be trusted to run the economy. Three years into his leadership, Miliband is under pressure from party activists to assert his authority and give a clearer idea of what he stands for after Lab ...

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Senators Call for Prosecution of Mass Killers

KABUL -A number of senators on Sunday demanded stringent punishment for the killers of 5,000 innocent people during the Soviet-backed communist regime. As part of a war crimes investigation, the Netherlands prosecutor's office on Wednesday released nearly 5,000 names of the Afghans tortured and killed in 1978 and 1979 by Afghan intelligence agents. A senator from southern Ghazni province, Abdul Baqi Baryal, ...

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HPC Asks Pakistan for Baradar’s Address

  JALALABAD -A senior Afghan peace negotiator on Sunday asked Pakistan for the address of recently released Taliban’s second in command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.  He said Baradar’s release by Pakistan on Saturday was the result of efforts by the High Peace Council (HPC). But the ex-defence minister was not handed over to the Afghan government. Islamabad said his release was aimed at advancing the sta ...

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Karzia’s Assurances

In a gathering of Afghan youths in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai said that the election will be held on time, emphasizing that the process is the only way to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. The remarks came after the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and political parties expressed concerns about efforts by certain circles for postponement of the elections. Recently, a gathering of tribal elde ...

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Nawaz Receives “Medal of Democracy” on Visit to Turkey

Islamabad - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received the highest Turkish Civil Award, “Medal of Democracy” on his three day visit to Turkey on Tuesday at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, Express News reported. This award will help further the ties between the two countries. On receiving the award, Nawaz Sharif said “It is indeed a great honour for me to have been bestowed with the ‘Medal of Democracy’ ...

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Malala Receives Top Amnesty Award

London - Rights group Amnesty International announced on Tuesday it had awarded its highest honour to Malala Yousafzai, the teen activist shot in the head last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education. Malala will share the 2013 Ambassador of Conscience Award with American singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, the London-based NGO revealed. The award, which recognises “individual ...

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US Hopes Security Pact to Be Inked in October

WASHINGTON -The Obama administration is hopeful of concluding the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Afghanistan in October, a top American diplomat said on Monday. “We're hoping the agreement can be reached sometime in October, and we're reasonably optimistic that it will be,” Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told reporters here. Negotiations on BSA are currently be ...

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Mullah Baradar May be Freed in a Day or Two: Aziz

KABUL -Pakistan could release the Taliban's second-in-command in a day or two in a move aimed to jump-start the Afghan-led peace process, the country's foreign policy chief said on Monday. But Sartaj Aziz, the advisor on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told a leading Pakistani newspaper Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar would not be handed over to Afghanistan. In an exclusive talk with Dawn.com, he ...

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Fugitive Snowden in Running for European Rights Prize

Brussels - Fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden is in the running for a European human rights prize whose past winners include Nelson Mandela and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Snowden, who is in hiding in Russia, is one of seven nominations made by members of the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, a move likely to upset Washington which wants to try ...

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Netanyahu, Obama to Meet In Washington on Sept 30, Official Says

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on September 30, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, for talks expected to focus on Iran's nuclear program. Netanyahu, confirming he would see Obama but giving no exact date, said the talks would take place before he attended the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York. "I intend to focus on ...

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U.N. Inquiry Decries Widespread Abuses in North Korea

Geneva - North Korean camp survivors suffered "starvation and unspeakable atrocities", evidence of widespread and systematic violations by the state, U.N. human rights investigators said on Tuesday. Michael Kirby, head of the independent inquiry, said testimony from North Korean exiles, including former political prison camps inmates, given at public hearings in Seoul and Tokyo last month, suggested a patte ...

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Russia and France Disagree on Syria Sarin Attack

Moscow - Russia said on Tuesday it still suspected an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria was carried out by rebel forces, despite a report by U.N. investigators which France said showed the government was behind the attack. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius set out their countries' opposing views following talks in Moscow, one day after the investigato ...

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Joint Plan for Election Security Devised, Senate Told

KABUL -An elaborate joint security plan has been devised for next year’s presidential and provincial council elections, senior officials informed the Meshrano Jirga on Tuesday.  Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi and Interior Minister Omar Daudzai assured the upper house their strategy would ensure adequate election security. Mohammadi acknowledged polling stations in several parts of the country were fac ...

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