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UN Concerned at Worsening Rights Situation

KABUL -The United Nations’ top human rights official on Tuesday warned that the human rights situation was worsening in Afghanistan, where the NATO-led combat mission is scheduled to end in 2014. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a day after meeting President Hamid Karzai, told journalists in Kabul: “I do have serious concerns the human rights situation in the country is deteriorating.” Fea ...

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No Rush to Sign BSA, Polls on Schedule: Karzai

KABUL -If the United States does not hold out the guarantees sought by his administration, it will have to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the new Afghan government, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday. Addressing a youth conference in Kabul on elections, BSA and the peace process, he billed the security pact as an important issue for the country. If his conditions were met, the accord w ...

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A New Chapter in the Election Process

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) began the process of registering presidential nominees on Monday. But no candidate referred to the IEC to register for the presidential race on the first day. According to IEC officials, 29 people have received information for registering in the presidential election. No candidate registration on the first day of the candidate registration process is suggesting that ...

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Iran ‘to Expand Cooperation’ With U.N. Nuclear Watchdog

Tehran - Iran's new atomic energy chief pledged increased cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, delivering a conciliatory message ahead of talks between the two sides this month over Tehran's disputed atomic activities. Ali Akbar Salehi also said Iran was optimistic about the outcome of broader diplomatic negotiations with major powers, should the parties enter "with good intention and with ...

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Khalili Introduces Daudzai And Others for Confirmation, Speaks on Elections

Kabul - A number of major political nominations were introduced to Parliament for confirmation by Muhammad Karim Khalili, the Second Vice-President of Afghanistan, on Monday. Khalili also took the opportunity to speak to the Lower House about the importance of the upcoming elections and a smooth transition of power in Kabul. The nominees introduced on Monday included Mohammad Omer Daudzai for the post of Mi ...

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Top Afghanistan Female Police Officer Dies

Kabul - The most senior woman police officer in Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province has died in hospital, a day after being shot by unidentified gunmen.  Lieutenant Negar was shot in the neck near police headquarters in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. She is the third senior policewoman to be killed in recent months. Her predecessor in Helmand, Islam Bibi, was killed on her way to work in July. Pol ...

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China Rejects Interference in Hong Kong, ‘Thoughtless’ British Remarks

Hong Kong - China said on Monday it would not tolerate outside interference in the affairs of Hong Kong, rejecting as "thoughtless" a call from a British minister for people in the former British territory to have a genuine political choice. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of wide-ranging autonomy and an independent judiciary and media under a "one country, two systems" formula ...

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Russia Says May be Time to Force Assad’s Foes to Talk Peace

  Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday it may be time to consider efforts to force foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend an international peace conference instead of just urging them to do so. Lavrov also accused European countries of trying to reinterpret the agreement he reached with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry under which Syria is to give up its chemical ...

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South Korea Military Shoots Man Trying to Float Across River to North

Seoul - South Korea's military shot and killed a man who undertook a rare attempt to enter North Korea on Monday by floating across a river that runs near the heavily militarized border, an official in Seoul said. It was not clear whether the man was a South Korean, the official said on condition of anonymity. The military was still trying to recover the body and investigating the incident, he said. South K ...

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U.S. and Cuba Resume Talks on Direct Mail Service

Havana - The United States and Cuba sit down on Monday in Havana for a second round of talks on re-establishing direct mail services between the two countries after a 50-year ban.  Guidance for the talks, issued by the U.S. State Department, said the meeting was "to work out details for a pilot project to provide direct mail service." Both sides ended their first encounter in Washington in June with stateme ...

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Karzai Appoints 5-Member Electoral Watchdog

KABUL -President Hamid Karzai on Monday appointed five of the 15 individuals recommended to him as members of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC). On Sept. 11, the selection committee recommended 15 of the 263 short-listed applicants to president today. The nominees included three females, five Pashtuns, four Tajiks, two Uzbeks, three Hazaras and one Turkmen. The Office of Administrative ...

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Iran, Iraq Parliament Speakers Call for Fostering Ties

Tehran - Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani in a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Osama Al-Nujaifi called on the two countries to enhance ties to establish peace and tranquility in the region. According to IRNA, referring to the terrorist operations in Iraq, he stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the terrorist attacks in Iraq are aimed at sowing sectarian discord among different tribe ...

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IEC’s Concerns for the Elections

There Independent Election Commission (IEC) has raised fresh concerns about the elections, saying that some certain circles are trying to halt or suspend the election process. In the eve of beginning of the candidate registration process, Ziaulhaq Amrkhil, a member of the commission said that despite the efforts aimed at postponing the elections, the IEC would proceed with the process on the due date and th ...

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Pakistani General, Two Other Soldiers, Killed in Bomb Blast

Islamabad - A roadside bomb killed a Pakistani general and another officer on Sunday near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani army said, rare high-ranking casualties in Pakistan's war against militants. Major General Sanaullah Khan, along with a lieutenant colonel and another soldier were killed in the Upper Dir district after visiting an outpost near the border, the army said. "Pakistan army has mad ...

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Change in Pakistan’s Afghan Policy Ruled Out

KABUL -Despite its promises to help promote the reconciliation process, Pakistan is unlikely to change its policy toward Afghanistan until the end of 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to leave the country, analysts predicted on Sunday. Islamabad continues to stick to strategy of exploiting religious and cultural values in an attempt to achieve its “nefarious designs” in Afghanistan, they allege ...

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Britain Wants Taliban to Contest Polls

KABUL -Britain says it will respect the result if the Taliban win next year’s presidential and provincial council elections.  “The election is open to everyone.  If the Taliban take the path of honors and wish to nominate a candidate, that is their right,” the British ambassador to Afghanistan said on Sunday. But the Taliban’s boycott of the polls would prove they were afraid of the verdict of the Afghan pe ...

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Last Week’s BSA Talks Unofficial, Signing Still Stalled

Kabul - Janan Mosazai, the spokesman of the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said that the two rounds of talks between U.S. and Afghan officials that took place last week in Kabul regarding Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) were unofficial. Mr. Mosazai stressed that no final decisions were made about agreement that is expected to lay out the details of the U.S. troop presence and involvement in A ...

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South Korean Anthem for Lifters in Pyongyang

Seoul - History unfolded around two junior South Korean weightlifters in Pyongyang on Saturday after their national anthem was played for the first time on North Korean soil. The North's official KCNA news agency reported that Kim Woo-sik and Lee Young-gyun were placed first and second in the Interclub Junior Men's 85kg category. They were the only lifters in that division. Footage from North Korea's state ...

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China Welcomes Russia-U.S. Accord on Syria Chemical Weapons

Beijing - China on Sunday welcomed a deal reached by the United States and Russia to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, saying it would help promote a peaceful resolution of the crisis. After three days of talks in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday demanded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad account for his secret stockpile within a week ...

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Netanyahu Gives Guarded Response to Syrian Chemical Weapons Deal

Jerusalem - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday on a U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria's chemical weapons, an accord that drew a guarded response from the Israeli leader. Netanyahu, in a speech before the meeting, said the agreement would be judged on whether it achieved "the complete destruction" of the Syrian government's chemical weapons stockpiles, and ...

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