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Top U.S. General to Visit Israel amid Strategy Differences

Washington - The United States' top military officer will visit Israel next week where he will meet the defense minister who has angered Washington by criticizing its strategies in the Middle East and Ukraine. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, will meet Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in Jerusalem on Sunday, an Israeli government official said on Saturday. Another official sa ...

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Sadat Warns of Threats to Election Process

KABUL - Only one week before the April 5 vote, the independent election commission (IEC) on Saturday warned of serious threats to the process. IEC Chairman Abdul Sattar Sadat told a news conference in Kabul that insecurity posed a major threat to the presidential and provincial elections, slated for April 5. He added election observers found it hard overseeing the process in insecure areas, where there were ...

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IEC Kabul Office Attacked Second Time This Week

KABUL - Four insurgents armed with RPGs and automatic guns opened fire on the Independent Election Commission's (IEC) headquarters in the Pul-i-Charkhi neighborhood of Kabul Saturday afternoon. The attack marked the second time in less than a week that the IEC office in Kabul has been assaulted. At the time of writing, clashes were still ongoing between security forces and militants outside the office. No c ...

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Frightening the Voters

Less than two weeks to the presidential election, the level of violence is steadily rising with Taliban militants organizing terror attacks on daily basis. On Tuesday, the militants attacked on an office of the Independent Election Commission in Kabul and a bank in eastern Kunar province which. The two terrorist attacks left many civilians and security personnel dead and wounded. The sudden surge in violenc ...

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U.N. Says Mass Egyptian Death Sentences Contravene International Law

  New York - The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday an Egyptian court's decision to sentence 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death contravened international law, and voiced concern for thousands of others facing the same charges. Rights campaigners and lawyers described Monday's ruling as the biggest mass death penalty handed out in Egypt's modern history. The Muslim Brotherhoo ...

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35 Countries Pledge to Boost Nuclear Security

Hague - A total of 35 countries have pledged to turn international guidelines on nuclear security into national laws, a move aimed at preventing terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear material. Tuesday's initiative also commits countries to open up their security procedures to independent review, marking a further step toward creating an international legal framework to thwart nuclear terrorism, the ...

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Obama Aims to Soothe Saudi Fears with Riyadh Visit

Riyadh- U.S. President Barack Obama will seek to ease Saudi concerns that he is neglecting an old ally when he visits Riyadh on Friday, months after top Saudis objected to what they saw as a growing rapprochement between Washington and their rival Iran. Rifts over Middle East policy came to a head last year when Washington worked with other powers to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions on its ...

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Egypt Puts Muslim Brotherhood Leader, 682 Others on Trial

Cairo - The leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others went on trial on Tuesday on charges including murder, their lawyer said, a day after more than 500 supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi were sentenced to death. Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, 70, and the others were being tried in the same court in Minya Province that condemned 529 members of the Islamist gr ...

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Malaysia Says Search to Shift to Smaller Area

Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia said Tuesday that it has narrowed the search for a downed jetliner to an area the size of Texas and Oklahoma in the southern Indian Ocean, while Australia said improved weather would allow the hunt for possible debris from the plane to resume. The comments from Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein came a day after the country's prime minister announced that a new analysis of satellit ...

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West, Russia Signal Line Drawn in Ukraine Crisis

Kiev - Russia and the West sought to draw a provisional line under the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday after major industrialised nations warned Moscow of tougher economic sanctions if it goes beyond the seizure of Crimea. After initially scoffing at a decision by the United States and its allies to boycott a planned Group of Eight summit in Sochi and hold a G7 summit instead without Russia, the Kremlin said it w ...

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Pak Role in Afghan Stability Critical: Dobbins

KABUL - The United States has underlined the importance of Pakistan's role in bringing stability to Afghanistan, which heads to presidential and provincial elections on April 5. "Pakistan is a critical partner in supporting Afghanistan's stability, particularly in areas of security and economic transitions," the US special representative for the two countries said. According to news agency APP, James Dobbin ...

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IEC to Expose Officials Interfering in Polls

KABUL - The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Tuesday urged President Hamid Karzai to initiate action against government officials interfering in electoral affairs and warned to expose such individuals. IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told Pajhwok Afghan News they had shared with the Presidential Palace documents proving government officials’ interference in the elections, due on April 5. “My reques ...

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Afghan Mps Approve Qanuni as First Vice President

KABUL - Afghan MPs approved on Tuesday Younus Qanuni, a former House Speaker, as first vice president to replace Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died of a heart attack two weeks ago. Qanuni was introduced by President Hamid Karzai to the MPs for a confidence vote. "We have selected Mohammad Younus Qanuni from those who were offered for the first vice president and we hope you very soon confirm him," Karai ...

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Rassoul Vows to Disarm Warlords

KUNDUZ CITY/ZARANJ - Dr. Zalmai Rassoul on Tuesday warned warlords and strongmen against violating human rights, saying the perpetrators violators would be punished. Addressing thousands of people at a gathering in Kunduz City, Rassoul promised to ensure security, combat corruption, enforce the rule of law and disarm armed individuals if he won the April 5 vote. Kunduz is one of the provinces where thousand ...

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Pakistan Rejects Afghanistan Accusations of Backing Taliban’s Hotel Attack

Islamabad- Pakistan on Monday rejected allegations by the Afghan government that its intelligence agency could be behind an attack on a five-star hotel in capital Kabul. The Afghan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack on Hotel Serena which killed at least nine people including a journalist and his family members. Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), in ...

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Karzai’s Comment on Crimea Unhelpful: Pentagon

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Monday took strong exception to the President Hamid Karzai's recent remarks in support of Russia's annexation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian province. "I'm going to let President Karzai speak to his comments. What I can tell you is it is clearly not helpful,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters at a news conference in Washington. At a meeting with a pa ...

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Afghanistan’s Flawed Foreign Policy

Afghanistan joined the few countries that have recognized Crimea’s annexation to Russian after the last week referendum which the West and Ukraine transitional government call illegal. Crimea’s referendum and annexation to Russia marked a bitter confrontation between Moscow and the West which was unprecedented after the Cold War. In fact, it was the most serious confrontation between Russia and the Western ...

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Abdullah to Boost Transit Trade thru Badakhshan

KABUL - in a visit to Badakhshan, presidential hopeful Dr. Abdullah has promised to develop the northeastern province if he won the upcoming vote, officials said Monday. Abdullah told thousands of supporters in Faizabad he would construct a dam and step up trade activity in Badakhshan, which would be transformed into a major transit route. In case of his election victory, construction work on the Silk Road ...

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Obama Opens Crisis Talks in Europe as Ukraine Pulls Forces from Crimea

Washington - U.S. President Barack Obama began crisis talks with his European allies on Monday after Ukraine announced the evacuation of its troops from Crimea, effectively yielding the region to Russian forces which stormed one of Kiev's last bases there. Obama, who has imposed tougher sanctions on Moscow than European leaders over its seizure of the Black Sea peninsula, will seek support for his firm line ...

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Australian Ship Homes in on Possible Debris from Malaysia Plane

Kuala Lumpur - An Australian navy ship was close to finding possible debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner on Monday as a mounting number of sightings of floating objects raised hopes wreckage of the plane may soon be found. The HMAS Success should reach two objects spotted by Australian military aircraft by Tuesday morning at the latest, Malaysia's government said, offering the first chance of p ...

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