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IECC Pledges Fair Probe into Candidates’ Complaints

KABUL - The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) said on Sunday it had started investigating complaints against presidential and provincial council runners in an impartial manner and in the presence of their representatives. The electoral watchdog held out the assurance to the 16 presidential wannabes who were excluded from the preliminary list of candidates. They were called to the IECC offic ...

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Next Year’s Budget Envisages 300,000 Jobs

KABUL - Job opportunities are envisaged for 300,000 people in next year’s budget, much which has been devoted to security and development, the finance minister said on Sunday. Dr. Omar Zakhilwal said this while presenting the draft budget for the next fiscal year -- beginning from December 22 -- to the Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of the parliament. He projected next year’s general budget at 275 billion a ...

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Afghan Youth; Underappreciated and Excluded

Naweed Kawusia - Afghanistan is a big country with a large population. It is estimated that Afghanistan’s present population is about 36 million. Those between the ages of 15 to 35 form more than sixty percent ‘of the total population. For our purposes we count them all as the youth. These comprise students, employees, workers, farmers and persons from various professions including the unemployed – educated ...

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What Next For TTP?

The killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is coming as another major blow to the group, which has lost many of its senior leaders in recent years in US drone strikes. The TTP is killed when the government of Pakistan was beginning talks with the militant groups, preparing for sending a three-member delegation to North Waziristan to directly talk with senior leaders of ...

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Whisper it…!

Evgeny Lebedev - Whisper it... but maybe our boys didn't die in vain: In this brilliant dispatch, EVGENY LEBEDEV meets British troops in Helmand - and despite the butchery of the Taliban finds glimmers of hope for a land that's cost us so much blood. Stretched across the valleys and mountains of Helmand are too many corners of a foreign field that will be forever not only England, but Scotland, Wales or Ire ...

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China Says Tiananmen Attackers Carried Out Reconnaissance Trips

Beijing - Eight suspected Islamist separatists behind a deadly attack in the Chinese capital had carried out three reconnaissance trips and collected 400 liters of fuel in preparation for their assault on Tiananmen Square, state media said.  The accused all came from Hotan in the restive far western region of Xinjiang and were hiding out in western Beijing ahead of the attack, state television said late on ...

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Georgian PM Names Interior Minister as His Successor

Tbilisi - Georgia's prime minister on Saturday proposed his close ally, Interior Minister Irakly Garibashvili, to succeed him when he steps down in the next few weeks. Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has said he will quit as premier after Georgy Margvelashvili is sworn in as president on November 17. The prime minister's position is now the most powerful in the former Soviet republic under constitutional ch ...

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Snowden Seeks the World’s Help against US Charges

Berlin - The U.S. refused to show any leniency to fugitive leaker Edward Snowden on Friday, even as Secretary of State John Kerry conceded that eavesdropping on allies had happened on "automatic pilot" and went too far. Snowden made his appeal for U.S. clemency in a letter released Friday by a German lawmaker who met with him in Moscow. In it, the 30-year-old American asked for international help to persuad ...

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Iranian Official: Nuclear Talks Need New Approach

Istanbul - Iran's foreign minister said Friday that both Iran and the West need a new approach if negotiations on Iran's nuclear program are to succeed. Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a conference on disarmament in Istanbul that a decade of failed negotiations has led to consequences neither side wanted. To Western dismay, Iran has drastically boosted its ability to enrich uranium. To Iran's detriment, intern ...

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Pakistani Taliban Confirm Leader Killed by Drone

Islamabad - The Pakistani Taliban confirmed the death of their leader in a U.S. drone strike Saturday, a day after he was killed, as the group's leadership council met to begin the process of choosing a successor. The death of Hakimullah Mehsud, a ruthless leader known for attacking a CIA base in Afghanistan and a bloody campaign that killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and members of the security force ...

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Kabul Agricultural Fair Draws Crowds

KABUL - Thousands of visitors converged this week on the 15th Kabul International Agricultural Fair organized by the government for local and foreign producers to network and market their goods. Planners of the three-day fair said from Wednesday through Friday nearly 200 local and foreign businessmen came to display their products, including individual farmers, incorporated importers, exporters, wholesalers ...

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Loya Jirga Only to Debate Security Deal with US

KABUL - Nearly 3,000 public representatives would attend this month’s The Loya Jirga and advise the Karzai administration on whether or not to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement(BSA) with the United States, an official said on Friday. A day earlier, a number of civil society groups said insistence on holding the consultative assembly amounted to an attempt at delaying next year’s presidential and provinc ...

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Canvassing Before Time Violation of Law: IECC

KABUL - Campaigning before the release of a final list of presidential and provincial council candidates is a violation of the election law, the electoral watchdog said on Friday. Following the display of the final list in a fortnight, Presidential runners will be allowed to canvass in the 60 days from February 2 and provincial council candidates for 30 days from March 4. The Independent Election Commission ...

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Malaysia Protests at ‘ U.S and Australia Spying’ in Asia

Kuala Lumpur - The Malaysian government has summoned the heads of the US and Australian diplomatic missions in Kuala Lumpur over a row about an alleged American-led spying network in Asia. The Malaysian foreign ministry said the reports of spying could "severely damage" relations. It said a protest note was handed over. China and Indonesia have already protested at the claims that Australian embassies were ...

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China to End Use of Prisoners’ Organs for Transplants in Mid-2014

Beijing - China, the only country that still systematically takes organs from executed prisoners for use in transplant operations, plans to end the controversial practice by the middle of next year, a senior official said on Saturday. By mid-2014, all hospitals licensed for organ transplants will be required to stop using organs from executed prisoners and only use those voluntarily donated and allocated th ...

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Brazil and Germany Draft Anti-Spy Resolution at UN

New York - Germany and Brazil have asked the UN General Assembly to adopt a draft resolution calling for the right to privacy in the digital age. The draft calls for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, noting that the illegal collection of personal data "constitutes a highly intrusive act". Brazil and Germany have both been angered by allegations of large-scale US surveillance. The allegations stem ...

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Obama and Maliki Discuss ‘More Active’ al-Qaeda in Iraq

Washington - US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki have discussed how to counter a "more active" al-Qaeda in the country. But following talks at the White House, nearly two years after the last US soldier left Iraq, Mr Obama did not unveil any new offer of military aid. He stressed the importance of an inclusive and democratic Iraq. Mr Maliki's visit to Washington DC, his first sin ...

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Europe’s Spies Work Together on Mass Surveillance: Guardian

London - Spy agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance of Internet and phone traffic comparable to programs run by their U.S. counterpart denounced by European governments, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday. Citing documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian said methods included tapping into f ...

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Japan, Russia Agree to Cooperate on Security as China Rises

Tokyo - Japan and Russia held their first joint defense and foreign ministers' meeting on Saturday and agreed to boost security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific as they both warily watch neighboring China's rising influence. Japan and Russia have never signed a treaty to mark the end of World War Two because of a territorial dispute but they are moving to deepen ties despite that, and despite Russian concern ...

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President Returns from 5-Day Visit to Britain

KABUL - President Hamid Karzai on Saturday returned from a five-day state visit to Britain, where he attended the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum and a trilateral summit with UK and Pakistani prime ministers. Apart from talks with host leaders, the president also met several Muslim world leaders on the sidelines of the forum, visited the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He saw British Army officer trainin ...

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