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Senators Oppose Pressure on Karzai over BSA

KABUL: Some members of the Meshrano Jirga -- or the upper house of parliament -- on Tuesday suggested President Hamid Karzai should be allowed to take a decision of his choice on inking the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US. A public representative from southeastern Paktika province, Khan Mohammad Khagi, believed the president should take his time before arriving at a decision on the issue. “Th ...

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Women’s Rights in Jeopardy

As the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan is on the decline, there are worrisome signs of a possible rollback of women’s rights in the country after 2014 as violence against the vulnerable segment of the society is already on the rise and policymakers fail to provide sufficient protection for women. The mutilation of Setarah which occurred recently in Herat province once more highlighted the startlin ...

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Thai Opposition Debates Whether to Run in February Election

Bangkok - Thailand's main opposition party opened a meeting on Monday to decide whether to take part in a snap election called by the government to defuse street protests but one senior member said reforms demanded by the protesters should be implemented first. Prime Minister YingluckShinawatra called the election after weeks of protests against her and her brother, ousted ex-prime minister ThaksinShinawatr ...

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Presidential Stance Sentimental: Abdullah

KABUL - Leading presidential contender Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Monday slammed President Hamid Karzai’s recent remarks that Washington was acting like a colonial power as “an emotional approach”. In his interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Abdullah warned Karzai’s rhetoric on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States would further complicate the current situation in the country. Earlier, ...

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SultanzoyFears Unemployment

  KABUL - Presidential candidate Mohammad DuadSultanzoy on Monday warned that a delay in concluding the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the US could trigger economic problems and unemployment in Afghanistan. Sultanzoy told reporters in Kabul the security deal with Washington should be signed as soon as possible in the larger national interest. A Loya Jirga in November overwhelmingly endorsed th ...

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Turkish Court Rejects Requests to Free Kurdish Lawmakers

Ankara- A Turkish court on Monday rejected bids by two Kurdish lawmakers to be released from lengthy pre-trial detention, a move that could undermine confidence in a fragile peace process with Kurdish militants. The decision by the court in Diyarbakir, the regional center of Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, came despite the country's top court ruling this month that the lengthy detention of another MP pen ...

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Russia Says Kills Leader of Caucasus Militant Group, Three Others

Moscow- Russian security forces have killed four alleged militants including the leader of a group suspected of carrying out attacks on tourists and ski facilities in the North Caucasus, a government agency said on Monday. The suspects were killed by FSB security service officers who besieged a home in Kabardino-Balkaria province near Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest peak and a destination for skiers and clim ...

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Turkey, EU Sign Deals on illegal Immigrants, Visa-Free Travel

Ankara- Turkey and the European Union signed an agreement on Monday allowing EU governments to send back illegal immigrants crossing into Europe from Turkey in a move highlighting a thaw in relations between Ankara and the 28-member bloc. At a ceremony in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom also signed an accord to enter into discussions on dro ...

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Israeli, Lebanese, U.N. Officers to Discuss Cross-Border Killing

Jerusalem - Israeli, Lebanese and U.N. military officers will meet on Monday to defuse tension after a "rogue" Lebanese soldier shot dead an Israeli soldier the day before, Israel's defense minister said. The Lebanese soldier went missing after the cross-border shooting, but has now been found, a Lebanese security source said. Sunday's incident jarred the relatively stable standoff between the two neighbors ...

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U.S. Offers Help to South East Asia, Most to Vietnam, to Patrol Seas

Washington - The United States on Monday offered $32.5 million in assistance to Southeast Asian nations, more than half to Vietnam, to boost maritime security, which comes as tension grows with China over rival claims in the South China Sea. On his first visit to Vietnam as secretary of state, John Kerry denied that the assistance had anything to do with China. He however called for "intensified negotiation ...

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EU Says Door Remains Open to Ukraine as Unity Cracks

Brussels - Divisions emerged in the European Union's policy towards Ukraine on Monday as the Dutch foreign minister slapped down a senior EU official for announcing on Twitter that he had suspended work on a trade agreement with Kiev. EU foreign ministers arriving for talks on the EU's relations with Ukraine and Russia said the door remained open for Ukraine to seal a far-reaching trade and political agreem ...

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U.N. Seeks $6.5 Billion for Syria Crisis in 2014

New York - The United Nations appealed for $6.5 billion for Syria and its neighbors on Monday to help 16 million people next year, many of them hungry or homeless victims of a 33-month-old conflict that has no end in sight. The Syrian appeal accounted for half of an overall funding plan of $12.9 billion to help 52 million people in 17 countries, announced on Monday by U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valer ...

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Australian Military Mission in Uruzgan Ends

KABUL - The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has announced an end to its military mission in central Uruzgan province with closure of the combined team and departure of last soldiers leaving Tirinkot. Defense Minister David Johnston told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the pullout of the last combat troops ended Australia's military involvement in the 12-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. But 400 Australian ...

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BSA Can Be Signed by Karzai’s Successor: Kerry

KABUL - US Secretary of State John Kerry, insisting on the early conclusion of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), has said the deal could be inked either by President Hamid Karzai or his successor. Speaking to ABC television on Sunday, Kerry hinted for the first time at some flexibility in the Obama administration's stance on the issue and said the agreement could be signed even by President Karzai's s ...

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David Cameron Visits British Troops in Afghanistan

Kabul- David Cameron has visited UK troops in Afghanistan a year ahead of UK combat operations in the country ending. The prime minister's pre-Christmas trip, which was not pre-announced, saw him meeting troops stationed at the main headquarters at Camp Bastion. He was accompanied by the former England footballer Michael Owen. Several thousand UK troops are still serving in Afghanistan but will end combat o ...

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Hindu and Sikh Minorities Betrayed

In an unexpected move, the Afghan parliament rejected the proposal of the government for reserving a seat for Hindu and Sikh minorities in the lower house of the parliament. This is the second time that the lawmakers in the parliament oppose a reserved seat for these minorities. Months, before, it had rejected an article of the draft of the election law that had allocated a reserved seat for Hindus and Sikh ...

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NATO Ponders Bilateral Deal with Kabul

KABUL: The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has indicated its interest in inking a bilateral security deal with Afghanistan, an issue that will be discussed at the defense ministers’ meeting in late February.In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Heinz Josef Feldmann  said NATO was willing to ink a “Status of Force Agreement” with Afghanistan. Bu ...

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Qatari-Funded Fuel Enters Gaza to Ease Power Crisis

Gaza - Israel allowed the entry of 450,000 liters of fuel, paid for by Qatar, into the Gaza Strip on Sunday to enable the Palestinian territory's sole power plant to resume operations. Gaza's 1.8 million people have been enduring daily blackouts of around 12 hours since the power plant was switched off 43 days ago due to a fuel shortage caused by neighboring Egypt's closure of smuggling tunnels. "Hopefully, ...

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Japanese Diplomat Stabbed in Yemen Kidnap Bid: Source

Sana’a - Armed men stabbed a Japanese diplomat in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday when he resisted a kidnapping attempt near his house, a security source said. It was the latest in a spate of attacks on foreigners in the impoverished Arab state, where the government is struggling to restore law and order since former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped aside in late 2011 following mass protests. The sou ...

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Catalans Want Independence Referendum in 2014: Poll

Madrid - The majority of Catalans want the right to decide on independence in a referendum and believe Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should authorize such a vote, a poll showed on Sunday. Last week separatist parties in Spain's Catalonia region set November 9, 2014 as the date for a proposed independence referendum, a vote the Spanish government opposes and says goes against the constitution. But 74 ...

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