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Erdogan Targets Enemies after Poll Triumph

Ankara - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan looked a step closer to a presidential bid and to gaining the upper hand in a bitter power struggle on Monday, casting strong local election results as a mandate to hunt down enemies within the state "in their lair." His AK Party swept the electoral map in Sunday's polls, retaining control of the two biggest cities Istanbul and Ankara and increasing its share o ...

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Russian Prime Minister Flaunts Grip on Crimea with Visit

Moscow - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev flaunted Russia's grip on Crimea on Monday by flying to the region and announcing plans to turn it into a special economic zone, defying Western demands to hand the region back to Ukraine. The visit, hours after Russia held talks on Ukraine with the United States, is likely to anger Kiev and the West, which accuse president Vladimir Putin of illegally seizing the Blac ...

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Kerry Meets With Lavrov on Ukraine, Urges Troop Pullback

Paris - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks on Sunday about ways to defuse the crisis over Ukraine, with Kerry telling Moscow that progress depended on a Russian troop pullback from Ukraine's borders. "Both sides made suggestions of ways to de-escalate the security and political situation in and around Ukraine," Kerry told a news conference late on Sunday ...

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Australia PM Vows to Continue Hunt for Missing Malaysia Plane

Canberra - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had no time limit, despite the failure of an international operation to find any sign of the plane in three weeks of fruitless searching. A total of 20 aircraft and ships were again scouring a massive area in the Indian Ocean some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of Perth, where investigators believe the B ...

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Ahmadzai Promises Development Projects for Faryab

MAIMANA - Presidential runner Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Monday promised to convert the poor northwestern Faryab province to a hub of agricultural and economic land and implement projects if he won the April 5 vote. Speaking to thousands of his supporters in Maimana, the provincial capital, Ahmadzai said Faryab was a rich province in natural resources and he would take measures to extract the underground ...

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Afghan Forces Launch Coordinated Assaults Nationwide

KABUL - The Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) released a statement on Monday saying that 36 insurgents were killed, 17 injured and 14 others arrested over the course of the past 24 hours during a series of coordinated nationwide operations conducted by Afghan forces. The statement said the "Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan National Army and the National Directorate for Security (NDS) conducted several ...

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Presidential Campaign Host up in South, East

LASHKARGAH/JALALABAD/ASADABAD - As the April 5 elections draw closer, the presidential race has gained momentum, with candidates wooing voters in several provinces of the country on Monday. Huge public gatherings were held in different provinces in support of Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, Mohammad Shafiq Gul Agha Sherzai and Zalmai Rasoul. A large number of peop ...

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Absent MPs Warned of Disciplinary Action

KABUL - Some Wolesi Jirga members on Monday said most of their colleagues were busy in electioneering for the April 5 provincial council polls, causing quorum problems and delaying approval of essential legislative measures. Of the 246 lawmakers, only 12 were present at today’s general session, which was also attended by Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi, his deputy Sadiq Ahmad Usmani and Secretary Irfanullah Irf ...

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Determination of Afghans to Participate in the Elections

Despite daunting challenges ahead of the ongoing elections, a vast majority of Afghans seem determined to take part in the elections and make their voices heard in the collective decision-making process for determining the future leadership of the country. In recent weeks, there has been a wave of violence by terrorist organizations – the Taliban and other terrorist outfits. The Taliban organized a number o ...

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Long Search Looms for Malaysia Jet, Families Renew Protests

Kuala Lumpur - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could take years, a U.S. Naval Officer suggested on Sunday, as search and rescue officials raced to locate the plane's black box recorder days before its batteries are set to die. Ten ships and as many aircraft are searching a massive area in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, trying to find some trace of the aircraft, which went missing more ...

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North Korea Condemns U.N., Threatens a ‘New Form’ Of Nuclear Test

Pyongyang - North Korea threatened on Sunday to conduct what it called "a new form of nuclear test", raising the level of rhetoric after members of the United Nations Security Council condemned the North's recent ballistic missile launch. "It is absolutely intolerable that the U.N. Security Council, turning a blind eye to the U.S. madcap nuclear war exercises, 'denounced' the Korean People's Army (KPA)'s se ...

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Ukraine Crisis: US and Russia Set for Paris Talks

Paris - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has set out demands for a neutral and federal Ukraine, ahead of crisis talks with his US counterpart in Paris. Sunday evening's meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry was hastily arranged after President Vladimir Putin phoned Barack Obama on Friday. Russia has annexed Crimea and there are reports of thousands of Russian troops massed close to Ukraine's bord ...

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748 Polling Sites to Remain Closed

KABUL - Independent Election Commission (IEC) security body on Sunday announced that 90 percent of polling stations across the country would remain open on April 5. The IEC’s security body chief, Maj. Gen Salem Ehsas told reporters in Kabul 748 of 6,423 polling sites would stay shut on Election Day due to insecurity, road blockades and other factors. IEC Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, who was also present on ...

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Foreign Observers Pulling Out of Kabul

KABUL - International election observers are preparing to leave Kabul following a string of deadly Taliban attacks in the heart of the central capital, a source said on Sunday. Brazen assaults on Serena Hotel, frequented by foreigners, and the Independent Election Commission headquarters have prompted international monitors to pull out of Kabul. Coming a week ahead of the landmark presidential vote, slated ...

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The Candidates Must Accept Election Results

Only days into the upcoming elections, a high ranking UN official urged Afghan presidential candidates to be prepared for accepting the election results. As the election date is getting closer, concerns are widespread about behaviors of the election candidates after the election outcome is announced. One of the key characteristics of the ongoing election is that it is highly contested and each of the frontr ...

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Turkey Begins Espionage Investigation after Syria Leak

Ankara - Turkey has started an espionage investigation after a discussion between top officials on potential military action in Syria was leaked on YouTube, heralding a possible government crackdown on its political opponents after elections on Sunday. The recording of the meeting between Turkey's intelligence chief, foreign minister and deputy head of the military was by far the most serious breach in week ...

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Russia Says Has “No Intention” of Further Ukraine Incursion

Moscow - Russia said on Saturday it had "no intention" of invading eastern Ukraine, responding to Western warnings over a military buildup on the border following Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking on Russian television, reinforced a message from President Vladimir Putin that Russia would settle - at least for now - for control over Crimea despite massing ...

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New Objects Seen, But Still no Evidence of Jet

Kuala Lumpur - A Chinese military plane scanning part of a search zone the size of Poland for signs of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 spotted several objects floating in the sea on Saturday, including two bearing colors of the missing jet. But it was not immediately clear whether the objects were related to the 3-week-old investigation, and the second day of searching in the area ended with no evi ...

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Obama to Putin: Pull Back From Ukraine Border

Riyadh - Worried about Moscow's intentions, President Barack Obama urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull his troops back from the border with Ukraine during an hourlong phone call Friday. The Russian leader, who initiated the call, asserted that Ukraine's government is allowing extremists to intimidate civilians with impunity. The White House and the Kremlin offered starkly different summaries of t ...

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Russia Threatened Countries Ahead of U.N. Vote on Ukraine: Envoys

Moscow - Russia threatened several Eastern European and Central Asian states with retaliation if they voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution this week declaring invalid Crimea's referendum on seceding from Ukraine, U.N. diplomats said. The disclosures about Russian threats came after Moscow accused Western countries of using "shameless pressure, up to the point of political blackmail ...

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