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Pakistan to Release Mullah Baradar

After years of diplomatic efforts from the Afghan government, Pakistan agreed to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is considered a right-hand man to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. According to reports, a senior aide of Pakistani Prime Minister has said to the media the Baradar’s release would take place within a month. The announcement is coming after the Pakistani Express Tribune reported Pakistani gove ...

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Cannabis Cultivation Down by 17pc: Survey

KABUL -A yearly report released in Kabul on Tuesday showed the cultivation of commercial cannabis (marijuana) in Afghanistan had decreased by 17 percent last year, officials said. A joint venture of the Afghan Counternarcotics Ministry and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC), the survey covered 16 provinces, where commercial cannabis cultivation had been observed or reported in past surveys ...

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Afghanistan Returned Looted Cultural Artifacts in US

WASHINGTON -The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) returned five stolen gold artifacts and an ancient vase to Afghanistan in Washington a day earlier. HSI Assistant Director for the Office of International Affairs John Connolly presented the objects to Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Eklil Hakimi. “Afghanistan is a nation with a proud cultural herit ...

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French Pension Protests Cause Little Disruption, Trains Run

Paris - French trade union strikes against pension reforms won only limited support on Tuesday, with most trains running in a sign President Francois Hollande's modest proposals were unlikely to stir broad opposition. Hardline unions led by the CGT called for rallies and work stoppages in 180 locations across France where workers, civil servants and students will march to voice their anger over the reform a ...

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Berlusconi Allies Step up Threats over Italian Senate Ruling

Rome - Allies of Silvio Berlusconi stepped up warnings on Tuesday that they would bring down Italy's unstable ruling coalition if center-left lawmakers refuse to delay a hearing over expelling the billionaire former prime minister from parliament. A cross-party Senate committee, which is deciding whether Berlusconi should be stripped of his seat in the upper house following a conviction for tax fraud last m ...

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China Welcomes Russia’s Proposal for Syria Weapons Handover

Beijing - China said on Tuesday it backed a Russian proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons for destruction, a plan that could avert planned U.S. military strikes in response to the country's suspected use of its arsenal on civilians. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fighting to continue his family's four-decade rule, must be punished for what Washin ...

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Russia Works On “Concrete” Plan for Control of Syrian Chemical Arms

Moscow - Russia said on Tuesday it was working with Syria on an "effective, clear, concrete" plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control with the aim of averting a U.S. strike. Syrian state television quoted Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki as saying President Bashar al-Assad's government backed the initiative, confirming what his foreign minister had earlier told the speaker of the ...

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Iraq Closes Airport in Second Largest City, no Explanation

Mosul - Iraq closed the international airport in its second largest city Mosul on Tuesday, grounding all flights without giving any explanation, air industry and security sources said. The closure affects flights to and from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, as well as daily internal flights between the northern city and the capital. "Security forces closed Mosul airport without giving any reason ...

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France Pushes for Tough U.N. Resolution on Syria

Paris - France sought to seize the diplomatic initiative on Syria on Tuesday, saying it would push for a U.N. resolution setting out terms for the destruction of its chemical weapons and warning of "serious consequences" if it resisted. The announcement by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius came a day after a surprise proposal by Russia that its Syrian ally hand over its chemical weapons stocks, a move ...

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Japanese Tourist Stabbed to Death in Turkey, Friend Wounded

Istanbul - A Japanese tourist was stabbed to death and her friend seriously wounded in an attack in a popular tourist destination in central Turkey, the Japanese embassy said on Tuesday. The women, who police said were both 22, were attacked on Monday in Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its volcanic rock formations and centuries-old underground cities, southeast of the capital, Ankara. "U ...

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Greens Dream of Power Fading as German Election Nears

Berlin - Sven Suska looked like a typical Greens voter as he sat in his sandals and shorts in the Berlin sun eating a fruit salad, but the computer programmer is abandoning the party he says is now too much part of the establishment. Like other Germans once attracted to the world's most successful pro-environment party, Suska is now turned off by the Greens -- and his defection helps explain a sudden drop i ...

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Egypt Bans Mosque Preachers in Crackdown on Islamists

Cairo - Egyptian authorities will bar 55,000 unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques in the latest move against sympathizers of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, the minister of religious endowments said on Tuesday. Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood since the army toppled him on July 3 following mass protests against his rule. Minister of Endowments Moha ...

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UK’s Cameron: Syria, Russia Must Show Chemical Arms Proposal is Genuine

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron wants Russia and Syria to demonstrate that a Moscow-backed proposal for President Bashar al-Assad to put his chemical weapons under international control is genuine, Cameron's spokesman said on Tuesday. "The onus is very much now on the Russian government and the Assad regime to follow up in a way to show that the initiative is a serious and genuine offer," the ...

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HRW Criticizes Iran’s Plan to Deport Afghan Refugees

Kabul - The international humanitarian watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday expressed its disapproval the Iranian government's recent announcement that it would deport thousands of undocumented Afghan refugees living in Iran. HRW officials urged the Iranian government to reconsider its decision and other methods of resolving the refugee issue. Heather Barr, a researcher at HRW, said that over 600,00 ...

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Two Held in Afghanistan Over Killing of Indian Writer

Kabul - Afghan police have detained two insurgents suspected of killing an Indian author who they accused of spying, a provincial police chief said on Tuesday.  Sushmita Banerjee, whose story was told in the movie "Escape from Taliban", was pulled from her home by gunmen in the eastern province of Paktika on Wednesday last week and shot dead. Paktika provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran said two insur ...

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CPPW Tells Female Voters to Support Pro-Women Candidates

Kabul - The Committee on Political Participation of Women (CPPW) on Tuesday kicked-off a countrywide awareness program to educate Afghan women about their voting rights and how they should evaluate candidates in the spring elections. Officials from CPPW said female voters should only support candidates that believe in gender equality and women's rights. The CPPW said it would be seeking to remind Afghan wom ...

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Secret Talks for Resumption of Peace Process

The Pakistani Express Tribune reported that Pakistani government is considering transfer of Mullah Baradar, former right-hand man to the Taliban leader, to another country – possibly Saudi Arabia Turkey. The news comes days after Pakistan released seven Taliban members, including Mansoor Dadullah, a former top military commander of the Taliban in southern provinces of Afghanistan. Undisclosed Pakistani offi ...

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China Charges Businesswoman in Railway Graft Case: State Media

Beijing - China charged a well-known businesswoman, who has ties to a disgraced former railways minister, with bribery and illegal business activities on Monday, state media reported. Ding Shumiao, helped 23 businesses win railway construction contracts and funneled 49 million yuan ($8 million) worth of kickbacks to former railways minister Liu Zhijun, the official China Daily said, citing Beijing prosecuto ...

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Pakistan to Swear in New President Mamnoon Hussain

Islamabad - Pakistan is set to swear in its new president, Mamnoon Hussain.  On Sunday Asif Ali Zardari ended five years in office, becoming Pakistan's first democratically-elected president to complete his tenure. The 58-year-old widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto received a guard of honour from the armed forces. The largely ceremonial post of president is elected by members of parliament and ...

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Nawaz Urges Leaders to Shun Politicking on Terrorism

Islamabad - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday urged all political forces in Pakistan to shun politicking on issues of national importance such as terrorism and the energy crisis, and to join hands to address them unanimously. Sharif was chairing the All Parties Conference (APC) aimed at evolving consensus on a counter-terrorism strategy as well as a plan to cope with the law and order situation of Karac ...

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